It’s Not About the Money
“It’s a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be happy without money.” —Albert Camus
I’m an intrinsic reward kind of girl. I work hard so I can pay off my house early and put away a nice nest egg, and maybe one day I’ll be a real writer with a stay-at-home job and contracts.
When my current boss and I discussed my five year plan last year, I said, “I could probably do this for five more years, but as soon as I pay off my house, I’m going to quit and write full-time.”
She gave me the best advice anyone has ever given me. “Five years is a long time, and you haven’t been happy for the last year. I don’t want to watch you suffer through another five years. (“Hell, I don’t want to be here another five years,” she said under her breath.) Is there any other job here that will work for you? You can still quit at the end of five years, but at least you’d be happy until then.”
I was in tears at the time, thinking, “No!”
And then I reconsidered.
My biggest problem with my current role is that I don’t get to be who I am. Instead, I get to be horrible-hater-bitch-critic who comes down hard on mistakes made in fifteen distinct behavioral expectations.
I would have taken a pay cut for a job that either allowed me to write all day, or a job that allowed me to meet HIV positive or high-risk people and help them get grants and funding to pay for their medications and preventive maintenance. I would have fucking driven to work an 8-5 job on the other side of town (I carpool)*, just so I can be and experience who I really am.
One of the reasons I got my new job was proving I was willing to do it as an internship. It wasn’t about the money. It’s about the opportunity to be me at my current company. It’s about the opportunity to be writer me, fixer me, user-friendly me. Granted, I’ll still be producer “get out of my way and let me do it” me, but at least I’ll have a smile on my face because I’m doing something I love.
Today, my boss asked us if we could be anyone in the world, who would we be? The sad thing is, based on the people in the meeting, I censored my original answer. OF COURSE I want to be Freddie Mercury, but he’s gay, and he died of AIDS, and people on the team just wouldn’t understand.
Another person said, “I want to be me, with more money,” so I said, “I want to be me, but a famous novelist.” One of my coworkers asked, “But what about the money?”
I almost started singing the Jesse J song. Instead, I said, “I don’t need a lot of money. Just enough to get me to conventions and to pay for the fun stuff.” You know…what I have now. Just FAMOUS. Because I’m bringing gay romance to the masses. It’s not opera, my dears.
*I say carpool, and my brother laughs. “That’s not a carpool. Lemur DRIVES you to work and DROPS you off.”