Trading Your Life for Dollars

Most of us can’t get through life without trading the hours of our lives for dollars. So, then, why do we say things like this about what others do?
  • “How great it would be to have a job where you don’t do anything but sit around and read all the time.”

  • “She’s not smart enough to do anything but work on an assembly line.”
  • “There were two guys digging and four stood around, watching.”
  • “It’d be great to work only 9 months out of the year and have all summer off.”
  • “If I had to flip burgers for a living, I’d die.” 
  • “All a minister has to do is stand up in front of everyone and talk for 30 minutes once a week.”
  • “You better watch it or you’ll be waiting tables.”
  • “Just leave that mess for the cleaning woman.”
  • “One of these days, I’ll write a book and get rich.”
  • “Oh, please. She doesn’t care. She’s just a housekeeper.”

I have heard, or overheard, all these comments at some point.

Why do we feel compelled to disparage others about how they earn a living? Since our jobs and careers take up enormous chunks of our lives, shouldn’t we honor our own work and the work of others? Doesn’t life move more smoothly when our hours are filled with meaningful activity?

Whether we flip burgers to pay the rent, stitch up incisions, scrub toilets, or write books, all work has meaning and value. My challenge to you, and to myself, is to find satisfaction and pride in our own career and honor the value in the careers of others.



5 Replies to “Trading Your Life for Dollars”

  1. I worked with a man who choose not to rent an apartment to someone who worked as a janitor for an adult arcade. Seems he felt the man didn’t have respect for himself if he worked in such a place.

  2. While there are jobs I hope to not have to work because I know I would not like it, it has nothing whatsoever with the people who do. I would not like being an accountant on Wall Street any more than I’d like sitting in a cubicle answering phones. I would love for my career to be writing because it’s one of the things I love most, but I will do whatever it is I have to do in the meantime. (Inspiring pic of the writer lady on the porch, by the way ;))

    1. I agree, Madison, that there are many jobs I hope never to have. In fact, the only job I’ve ever wanted or been happy doing, is writing. But how sad when we value someone’s worth by how they earn their living.

  3. Indeed you are quite right. Many years ago, when the pioneers started coming to Israel, a wonderful couple came to settle, escaping from persecution. He was a university professor; she was a high school teacher. There were few schools in Israel and no universities, and since they were fugitives, they did not have money and needed to work. The wife quickly opened a much needed high school. The husband decided to become a street cleaner. In those days, it was done at night, with an old fashioned straw broom. When asked why he chose this work, he explained that in his field, philosophy, it was an idea job. Plenty of time to think while cleaning, then during the day, write it down and publish his books. He was highly honored by everyone, since the work ethics of the time was better than ours. Of course, once the Jerusalem University was built, he became a professor, but he secretly missed the night job…

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