If You Never Had to Work…

I’ve been reading a few job search books, and one of them led me to ponder this question:

If you inherited a large sum of money and never had to work another day in your life, would you still work at your current job anyway?

Job dissatisfaction is supposedly fairly prevalent. I’ve read a CBS article written in 2010 that said 45 percent of Americans are unhappy with their jobs. Now that we’re coming out of the recession, I wonder if that’s still the case, or if people have gotten happier now that there’s a hint of “hope.”

I think that I would still work if I didn’t have to, just not as often as I did before. It’s nice to have a sense of accomplishment, knowing that you’re helping others or providing a service or making a difference. A lot of people would be lost without the daily structure that their job provides them with, and a lot of people truly enjoy what they do and they couldn’t imagine doing anything else. The mark of a good job is if you would gladly do the exact same work for free. How many of us can say that we’d work our current jobs for free because we love it so much?

Time without employment is very liberating… but sometimes it could be too liberating and lead to boredom. Once you’ve accomplished all that you want to accomplish outside of work, what more is there to do? Find new things to accomplish, perhaps. Go to school and learn something new. But what’s the point of going to school if you didn’t need to get a job with your knowledge? (Maybe learning just for the joy of learning.)

I know that if I didn’t have to work, I’d spend the majority of my time writing, because it’s always been enjoyment for me. It’s never really been “work.” My ideal job, that I would work at for free if I never had to work for money, would be spent writing or editing.

So how about you? Do you enjoy your job enough to work there even if you didn’t have to?

19 thoughts on “If You Never Had to Work…

  1. If I inherited a large sum of money and never had to work another day in my life, I would at least take a year or two off to travel the world. And if I have enough money, I’d probably sponsor a friend to come with me. Hehe.

    But at the end of the day, I’d still stick to SOME sort of a job so that I don’t end up being lazy and staying inside my house all the time. I’d be sure to choose a job that involved me travelling a lot and meeting new people, since I have the comfort of choice now.

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    1. Traveling the world… I’d love to travel. And that’s what I’d fear if I didn’t have to work: being lazy and getting used to the notion that I didn’t HAVE to do anything.

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  2. I had a co-worker once who sold his first novel, for such a large advance that it was reported in the New York Times, and we never saw him again. I wouldn’t do that — I’d stick around to train a replacement — but that would be it.

    But your point about structure is important. Maybe I’d get really professional about promoting my writing. Maybe. 🙂

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  3. If I would inherit a very large sum of money, I’d study, full time. And would be a stay-at-home dad. And I would plan in my own secret laboratory world domination.

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  4. I would NOT work . . . I would play . . . all day . . . doing exactly what I want to do.

    Of course, what I want to do is be happy . . . by making others happy. 😀

    It’s nice to have a sense of accomplishment, knowing that you’re helping others or providing a service or making a difference.

    We can made a difference without having a job ~ volunteering, writing, creating art, making people laugh, etc. It’s all good.

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  5. I’m a stay-at-home mom, and while I love it, I do miss being able to measure the results of a day. Sure, I do chores and cooking and other concrete activities, but they’re undone just as fast and then it’s time to do them over again. I miss the days of setting out to accomplish a professional task and then finishing it and moving on to the next thing. So in your scenario, I’d probably look for a part-time job or at least a freelance gig so I had a satisfying shape to my weekdays.

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      1. I think this is why it’s helpful to set deadlines, even on things which don’t actually have any. Both you and I have set blogging schedules, for example, and I find that very helpful (as opposed to just blogging when I feel like it). And of course it helps the readers, too. We (humans) tend to create structures and routines, because it’s actually helpful to getting things done.

        Some people adjust to retirement much better than others. Some can’t really adapt to the sudden lack of routines and schedules. Others, like my father, look forward to finally getting to do things they’ve always wanted to do (of course, my father had the advantage that he retired when he was ready, not according to some mandatory retirement age).

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  6. I am a nurse, and I love doing bedside care, but would I do this job if I didn’t have to for financial reasons?…No. I don’t like having great responsibility and little authority, being exposed to dangerous germs, and I don’t like having to work weekends and holidays. But until I win the lottery or Hollywood discovers me…I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.

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