“Money is a great servant but a bad master” ― Francis Bacon
Job satisfaction is subjective to one’s preferences, so there isn’t any universal scale on which we can plot how shitty a job is, right? Wrong. Let me introduce to you the job-shitiness scale, that has been built into society. Despite individual preferences, over time, such a scale has been established based on majority societal preferences. The more people that don’t want to do a particular job, the shittier it’s considered. And the more people that do want to do a particular job, the more preferable it’s considered. Pretty simple.
As you might imagine, not many people would opt to do the shittier jobs. But the work needs to be done. So, to incentivize us to do them, these jobs exploit what seems to be mankind’s top priority: money. They offer high salaries in exchange for completing tasks that are at best mundane and at worst suicide-inducing. And this strategy works. The bulk of us pine for jobs that are closer to the “shitty” end of the scale, rather than the “preferable” end. We willfully trade in life-fulfillment, meaning and enjoyment…for a bigger paycheck. The only thing worse? Since we’re so obsessed with money, we glamorize the high-paying shitty jobs, and actually mistake them for preferable jobs.
Money so strongly influences us because it’s a sharply defined commodity. We know exactly what we’re getting, and how much of it. On the other hand, life-satisfaction is relatively nebulous. We don’t know with preciseness what it entails. And since humans have the tendency to shy away from the unknown, we latch on to the certainty of money, and lose out on living gratifying lives. We even toss aside our individuality for higher salaries. People who hate the very idea of team work start professing their love for “collaborating with like-minded individuals” during job interviews.
“But won’t my job as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley open up so many doors for me?” Yes. It will absolutely open up doors – to future jobs that you find equally abominable.
It’s all a pretty vicious cycle. Millennials take out massive student loans, in order to get degrees that’ll help land them one of these coveted shitty jobs. Then they feel trapped in said jobs, because they’re desperate to rid themselves of their mountainous debt. The result: years and years of enslavement, depression and misery. If we focused less on becoming rich, and more on our life-satisfaction, we could nip this issue in the bud. The trick is to find fulfilling work, and to let money be a mere by-product.
My advice to all you shitty-job-mongers: Quit, God Damn it. It’s never too late.