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Powerball and the journey to the center of job satisfaction

English: A map showing U.S. states currently o...

English: A map showing U.S. states currently offering Powerball and Mega Millions, as of June 2009. Red states offer PowerBall, blue states offer Mega Millions, and fuchsia states offer both. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I finally checked some old Powerball numbers of mine, discovered I did not even have one number and so had to write another day since I had the opportunity to do so. And strangely enough, still I feel rich. Go figure.

Playing games of chance, Powerball, Mega Millions, lotteries and raffles are sources of entertainment for many of us. Hopefully they are not the basis for anyone’s retirement. Even though it is hard to know what is a good investment these days, depending on games of chance would not appear to be the best methodology for early retirement, at least on the surface. A tad more on this in the coming weeks here at hittingthesweetspot by Bob Skelley, but today I propose the hypothetical question of, “What would you do if you hit the lottery and did not have to work the job you presently do a minute longer?”

Would any of you continue performing the job you have now if you suddenly were gifted the windfall that is copious earnings as a Powerball winner?

I love what I do. Writing is one of the great pleasures of my life and I am thankful to have its joys revisited upon me here in middle life. I look forward to rocking the keyboard for years to come. So, the thought of me abandoning writing would never occur to me (even if I won Powerball).

When I worked for companies big and small I remember throwing in on group, co-worker, bulk lottery and Powerball ticket purchases. We never won, but it was fun to throw around what it would be like if we were able to. No one ever wanted to remain on the job.

At the time that philosophy made perfect sense to me. Why should anybody continue to work a job they did not really care for if they no longer needed to? Who would not want to try their hand at something new and different, especially since they had breakfast, lunch and dinner covered indefinitely?

Fast forward to today and I find these same sentiments saddening. What it tells me is many people work jobs they do not really like. How can you be good at your job when you do not really like it? I believe you can be good at a job you are not really passionate about, provided it is a means to an end. The job is what you do, not who you are.

What makes it easy for people to stay in jobs they are not passionate about is how much money they haul down doing things that really do not stoke their fires. I have found rich people love their jobs. Even people, who you would not classify as rich, but who make enough money to eat well and easily pay their bills, are happy in their jobs.

So, does money buy happiness? Of course not, but it can distract you from the misery of someone who leads a life commensurate with the low rate of pay they manage on the job(s) they can get.

We all need money for basic things. I have heard it all the time from day one by students who get in the medical field so they can make more money. By making more money than they would have if they had not pursued medical-related careers, their lives may be easier in some respects, but perhaps more difficult in others.

Project logo for the National Football League ...

Project logo for the National Football League wikiproject. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Money is a reason to get involved in a short-lived career like that of a professional football player. I believe the average career is about 3-1/2 years in the National Football League (NFL). They don’t call it the NFL (Not For Long) for nothing. Most football players have only one contract where they make more money in one year than on any other job they will have the rest of their lives. That lone, non-guaranteed contract (if they are injured, they can be released with a modest injury settlement—again, if they are lucky) is their singular opportunity for big money (and happiness?). There are no guaranteed contracts in the NFL—only certain “up front” or signing bonus money is guaranteed. If you are cut from the team or injured, teams are not obligated to pay players the balances in their contracts.

College basketball players favor the “one and done” for the chance at a payday. Everyone seeks the big payday if it is at all possible in their lives. Not many would pass at the chance. But people who choose long-term careers in the medical field, for example, are doing so for many of the wrong reasons. People making career choices need to at least like what they are doing, otherwise their jobs will be a living hell (and no paycheck that allows them to make regular car payments is going to be enough to make them happy).

Work

Work (Photo credit: Devar)

I have come to find it rare the person who truly loves their life’s work or whatever job they do. Money helps make jobs bearable, but we are not as happy with our sights set so low.

If you are a young person, I would counsel you leave money out of the equation when you are considering what it is you want to do with your life. Let’s face it. When someone asks you what you want to do with your life, it implies what you are going to do to make a living and support yourself (and maybe eventually a family, too).

All the other stuff has a way of working out if you first find something that you like a lot, enjoy, and yes, maybe even love. And much like love, when your choice for work is born of a passionate heart and not a logic-numbing skull, you will find powers at your disposal you never could have dreamed of.

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