A few months back, a coworker and I were baking in the D.C. heat and humidity as we walked a few blocks to grab lunch. We were especially chatty and began to discuss all the things we wished were different about the weather, our lives, our careers and everything in between. She made the comment that, as a 25 year old, she was determined to bring in $100,000 per year by the time she was 30.
Seeing that our career field is not known for its high pay grade, she knew she had to kick it in a little and was already working on a few side hustles to help her get there. I was impressed by her determination and her confidence in each step she was taking. Two years her younger, I decided to set the same goal – heck, that’d give me seven years to make six figures. Piece. Of. Cake.
I make a steady income, thanks to my awesome parents I have no student loans, and I regularly put money away for retirement. Financial responsibility is not the issue. While my goal isn’t unreachable, it’s going to take a while to reach and I’m going to have to dedicate a lot more time and effort to side jobs and freelance work to get there… extra time and effort that I’m realizing I just don’t have.
- Reality is: In the 30 minutes of free time I do get in a 24 hour day, I find myself stressing about my future, my hypochondriatic health problems and my nonexistent social life.
- Reality is: I’m learning that money isn’t everything. Is it an awesome feeling to get a big fat check every other week? Yes. But is it worth it to give up other important things, like an actual life, to get dat dough? No.
- Reality is: If I were to put that time and effort into something else, which I clearly need to 1) find and 2) better prioritize, I want to put it toward girls nights, romantic dates, football tailgates, zip-lining through Africa, ski-diving in Australia and eating lots of delicious foods.
I’ve never been accused of being under motivated – if anything it’s been the opposite. I’m just realizing that putting a monetary value, or in my case an income, on happiness is never going to work out for me. So maybe I need to rejigger my goals, but I’m still going to work hard to advance my career and do my best at whatever comes my way. I picked my career because I liked the work and it would make me happy, not because it paid a doctor’s or a lawyer’s salary. Perhaps the day will come where I’ll need to or want to, but for now, I’m done sacrificing my happiness for more dolla dolla bills, y’all.
If you’re stressed about financial issues or career goals, that’s completely normal. Just don’t let it take away your sanity and positive outlook on life. Don’t hesitate to seek advice and ask for help and make sure you spend some time distressing with friends or family – what are they for if they don’t help you through the tough times and, while they’re at it, make you laugh so hard you pee?? (Disclaimer: I swear I was not implying I have a laugh/pee problem!)