I have heard the same thing dozens of times; money isn’t everything. I disagree. In college, I read studies that encourage people to focus on what makes them happy and advises people not to focus overly much on their careers. It is preached that we should focus on what makes us happy and gives us enjoyment in both our personal lives and our work. Obviously, I am missing a crucial puzzle piece.

What do I enjoy? Quiet, peace, solitude. I enjoy reading, writing and researching. I love to research a topic and write about it, especially if I can argue something. I enjoy working alone, working on a task from start to finish with zero interruptions. And I really like money! I enjoy going to restaurants for dinner just to avoid doing dishes, going drive thru to buy coffee on my way to anyplace and I love having Chinese food delivered so I can sit on the couch with it while I watch a three hour long movie.

What makes me happy? Not having to cook when I am not hungry. Coming home to find it just as clean as I left it. Being able to read a book and be left alone. Being recognized for my efforts and my accomplishments. Being appreciated for the work I do. Being respected enough that people will not create more work for me to do or create another mess for me to clean. It makes me happy to balance the checkbook, pay all the bills and still have money left in my account. I am happy when I can just walk into a store and purchase my groceries or household items without a worry or care about what is my available balance. Pouring over half a dozen different books, researching something, spending half the night finding the information I am looking for, gives me a rush and I love it!

These things have only happened a few times in my life and they have all come with a price. During college, if I stayed up half the night working on my homework, I paid the price the next day when I still had to wake up at the crack of dawn with my oldest daughter. I started doing less and less homework and putting less effort into my schooling because it just wasn’t worth it. I wanted to do well in school. My education was something I was trying to take pride in. But I felt it was a waste of time because it always had to come second when it should have come first. Every time I walk into a store, I have to keep in mind how much money I have. This means limiting what I buy and more times than I am willing to admit, it means just skipping the store and going without entirely. And no matter how many hours I spend scrubbing and cleaning the house, the mess is always right there waiting for me the next morning.

Most of my life I have worked part-time, minimum wage jobs. This is all I have been able to find with few exceptions. These jobs all make me miserable. The pay is horrid, the hours are worse, and I hate the non-stop customers and endless cleaning tasks! I do NOT want to scrub floors, scrub toilets, sanitize tables or trash cans, degrease fryers and hood vents. I do NOT want to wear an ugly, bland uniform with a dorky hat and name tag. I hate coming home covered in salt, grease, gasoline, or smelling like cleaning solutions. I have spent too many years of my life working fast food and gas stations.

I want to wear nice clothes, maybe style my hair, and be able to wear my heels. I want to accomplish something on my own and have it mean something. Bottom line is, customer service is really not for me. I have been stuck in jobs that I hate because they were the only ones I could find at the time. The money was never enough and I hated going to work each and every day. I have had one job that I truly did love. Then the company changed my job description and gave me a new manager. I started to hate my job that first day when my new manager told me she was going to find a way to fire me.

Even if money were of no importance, I would still want to work. Why anyone would not want to work is beyond my comprehension. Since money is an important factor, I will take a job that I hate just to earn a paycheck. There is no career option out there for me that will pay me a living wage and allow me to do what I like. There is nothing about fast food or gas stations that I enjoy. There is nothing about being a stay at home mom that I enjoy. So I do not understand why so many people say that each person should find enjoyment in their jobs and home life.

In a perfect world, I would have an office job with deadlines, inbox, outbox, meetings, reports, special projects, research, presentations. Guaranteed hours, never having to turn down coming in early or staying late due to daycare, paychecks that will always cover my monthly expenses, going to the coffee shop whenever I want without guilt, all the time I want in the evenings to relax with a good book and quiet. My bills would always be paid in full, my checkbook would never be in the red, my car would always be in working condition, money would always be in savings to maintain my car, I would always have money to buy groceries or to go to a restaurant and never have to worry about the cash flow. I would work hard each day, earn my paycheck, and have something to take pride in. But I do not live in a perfect world.