Following your bliss versus following the cash

Today is a day where I need to get personal, I could use some feedback from people outside my personal circle and figured my blog was the place to go.

We as a society often look fondly at those individuals who do work that literally changes the world. Yet the sad reality is that most professions (teacher, social workers, etc) that truly help people and have the power to mold people pay nothing. Instead we (general societal we) tend to compensate well those who in many cases have jobs that don’t make a great difference in the world. After all please tell me why investment bankers and poorly behaving entertainers (Kanye West..anyone?) make oodles of cash? While that nurse’s aide who changes Granny’s bed pan at the Die Quick nursing home probably doesn’t even make $10 an hour and is eligible for government healthcare benefits since she can’t afford the one’s offered by the for profit repository for old and sick folks that makes money hand over fist by underpaying their staff.

Yeah, I am in a foul mood. I know, I chose to leave the word of corporate sales to become a lowly paid human services professional many years ago. Yet I felt a deep calling to make a difference in the world. In the years since I lefts sales, I have helped women get out of prostitution, in many cases seeing them break free from substance abuse addictions and eventually become reunited with their families. I have worked with homeless men and women and helped them secure houses and jobs. I have written grants that were funded to help oodles of people and for the last year I have worked with low-income at risk youth and their families.

During the time I was doing all this good work, I went back to school and secured a couple of degrees assuming if I went the management path at least I would earn a decent living. Ha ha ha….joke is on me. Instead I have grown broker and broker, for years I didn’t pay attention to the fact that I personally was earning less than I did as a 22 yo sales rep for a major medical journal since I had the Spousal Unit’s higher earnings to off-set the fact that my personal income had dropped.

Well as journalism is no longer what it used to be and the Spousal Unit grapples with what career might work well for a middle-aged writer, I am forced to look at the fact that I have gone into great debt to get an education to work in a field where I am not even breaking even. Let’s just say the ROI on my college education was real bad.

Yet this post is greater than me on some level, after all we love to tell people to follow their bliss yet what if following one’s bliss means living a standard of living that is not comfortable? What becomes of us as a society if we all stopped following our bliss and started following the cash? I mean one only has to look at the legal profession, we now have way too many attorneys. I have known a few who despite Ivy League credentials, really were not making that much money. Now I hear for the first time in years prospects are bleak for lawyers.

How many rappers, singers and entertainers can we really support? What if college students said the hell with professions like teaching and social work? What if medical students only decided to go into high paying specialties like dermatology? What if nurses aidse decided they only wanted to be RN’s where the pay is higher? Who would change Granny’s bed pan?

If everyone who was capable of doing higher paying work (college grads) what would become of our society? Personally I think it would be a fucked up place, the more I think of it, every job should be deserving of earning a living wage. There is a lot of talk about living wages, but we typically only think of those low wage positions like janitors, home health aides, etc. What about the fact there are plenty white and pink collar jobs that are absolutely needed but don’t pay a living wage considering many of these positions require education beyond high school, hell some require masters degrees.

At what point does one say fuck following your bliss and instead says show me the money? This is what I am grappling with at present, when do I say enough is enough and become a good worker at the good worker company where they will pay me a living wage, hell they will even offer benefits but they will require my soul to stay in their good graces.

So what say you?