If you won the jackpot today, would you go back to work tomorrow? The question may sound absurd, but there are plenty of lottery winners who have done just that. There’s a waitress in Florida who went back to making $400 per week the day after winning $1 million, a German salesman who was told that he won $27 million only to tell the shopkeeper that he didn’t have time to chat because he was late for work and a British shelf stacker who returned to her job at Walmart after winning $3.9 million. This seemingly strange phenomenon becomes less strange once we admit what we all know: work isn’t just about paying the bills.
Making money is important and particularly with student loans, mortgages, health issues and little people with big educational needs, the urgency increases. But, even if we took the job just to pay the bills, those 40+ work hours add up to more than just dollar signs, they make up a large part of our identity. Hence why everyone’s favorite cocktail party question is, so what do you do?
Even if you’re not the cocktail party type (and I’ll admit that I’m more of a PBR girl myself), all those hours are bound to affect you. Maybe you spend the best years of your life thinking about how to provide excellent customer service at Walmart, maybe you spend them manipulating derivatives on Wall Street. Maybe you love all your co-workers, maybe you don’t. Whatever flavors go into your work wine, you’re not going to get out of there without a little tinge on your teeth.
Most Americans report being satisfied with their jobs. Young people, however, are not drinking the Kool-Aid. We consistently report low rates of job satisfaction and seem to change careers as though it’s, well, our job. Continue reading