We have all heard that money isn’t everything. It’s important but shouldn’t be the only factor in decisions we make. Instead, there should be a healthy balance between supporting yourself and doing something you love. And that balance looks different for everyone.
For example, I went to a wedding reception over the weekend, and the entertainment for the party was a guy who is both a lawyer and a musician. He splits his year between the beaches of Florida and his Mississippi hometown. At each location, he does miscellaneous legal work and plays gigs at local bars. He can practice his trade, do what he loves, and make a living out of it.
Contrast that with a Wall Street Journal profile about Manuel Rodriguez who just retired from AIG with 62 years of service. He started as a messenger in 1954. Through his tenure, he was able to earn a college degree, build industry expertise, and move up the corporate ladder. Now at 79, he is finally cutting ties with his first and only employer. He was loyal to the company, and it was loyal to him.
Now, I think both of these stories are incredible. On the one hand, you have a guy who has found a way to couple doing what he loves with a new take on a traditional profession. And on the other, you have an extremely loyal man who has essentially given his life to the pursuit of honing an expertise and building relationships within one company. And while these two paths are completely different, both men seem fulfilled.
Unfortunately, society tends to judge the former and extoll the latter, which puts pressure on people to have a career that looks more like the “company man.” But if you work your entire career for a life you don’t even want, then what’s the point? If you are happier earning less but doing something you love, more power to you. There is no rule that says you have to pursue a six figure job so you can afford 2.5 kids, a black lab, and a white picket fence.
This is not an endorsement for being flaky or lazy. And I’m certainly not encouraging you to shirk the responsibilities of supporting a family. But everyone has choices. So make a sure you are happy living the life you’ve built.
Josh Norris is an Investment Advisory Representative of LeFleur Financial. Josh can be reached at josh@LeFleurFinancial.com.