Society tells us that “fulfillment” is a job that makes a lot of money. Indirectly, that means money is expected to buy happiness. Our culture puts value on competition, “climbing the corporate ladder”, just to make it to the top so that we can have the job that pays the most. Here’s the formula for How to Become a Successful Business Person, According to Modern Culture:
Hard Work + Tons of Time + More Time + Know the Right People + More Training = JOB PROMOTION (translation: more money)
MONEY = HAPPINESS = FULFILLING LIFE
Repeat this formula over and over until you have enough money, so that you can be happy (translation: you’ll never have enough).
So we have a bunch of people running around panting after money, putting in long hours at jobs they hate*, because they think that money will bring them fulfilling happiness.**
THIS IS A LIE.
Money does not bring happiness.
Fulfillment is not found only in your job.
Yes, money can buy things that help make your life easier, thus bringing some elements of comfort. But there are things much more valuable than money.
Yes, fulfillment can be largely found in our day-to-day work, which is very important for those who have full-time jobs. But there are things more fulfilling than having a paid job that you do well.
What about being a kind neighbor? A compassionate friend? A loving spouse? A nurturing parent? A supportive daughter/son/sister/brother? A caring mentor? What about the time you invest in your community? To be fulfilled means “to be satisfied or happy because of fully developing one’s abilities or character”. If the only thing you feel good doing is your job, then I would venture to say that you are sadly overlooking the potential benefits you could be imparting to others around you!
Children are being taught the lie that the point of education is to get a “good job”. This is absolutely false! “The purpose of learning is growing, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as long as we live”, Mortimer Adler wrote. Education is meant to help the individual discover what his abilities and talents are, gain information about the world around him/her, and cultivate their moral, spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical capabilities. Education is so much MORE than a step on the road to achieving a career.
An anonymous quote I read the other day said this: “An educational system isn’t worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living but doesn’t teach them how to make a life.” Money, for now in our world, is necessary to be independent (independence is a prerequisite to freedom, which is one of the basic desires of human nature), and hard work is something that needs to be taught in order that children don’t grow up into adults who think that they can completely mooch off other people/the government because they aren’t willing to help support themselves with a job. But children do not need to continue in the drudgery of a school system, mindset, or society that promotes slavery to money and empty things as the root of happiness.
*If you are one of the few individuals who does make a lot of money doing what you love, then you are the exception to the rule, and I applaud you!
**Yes, I understand that sometimes people need to work at jobs they hate in order to bring in a paycheck, because we do need money to live. Children come along, bills need to be paid, etc., so I do know that occasionally there is no way to get out of a job you dislike simply because you/your family rely on the benefits you receive. I’m sorry if this is the case for you, because I’ve been in the same place, and I hope that someday you are able to improve your working situation so that you don’t have to feel frustrated every time you go to your job.