News flash: life is not nearly as short as people like to think it is. In fact, the age of life expectancy has increased nearly 30 additional years in the last century. I don’t want to spend 60+ years of my adult life working towards wealth, because I can’t take it with me, anyway.
So, when I chose my career path, I did it with the thought of what’s going to best serve my life’s purpose, not my bank account.
The most excruciating thing that happens to me on a regular basis is people diminishing my worth to a dollar amount. Who cares if I’ll never reach that six figure income? Why does it matter that my degree isn’t going to make me rich? What gives someone the right to assume that my life’s purpose is to acquire the most money possible? Let me tell you what DOES matter – I’m going to save lives. There is no dollar amount in the world worth more than that.
Look, social service isn’t the money-making-machine that I wish it were. I will likely be paying off my tremendous student debt until my unborn children enter college, just in time to start paying their college tuition. I will likely spend many days in my future career wishing that I was a millionaire on a yacht with some cabana boy fanning my ego. There will be times that I want to give up, cry crocodile tears, and throw a hissy fit all the way to my momma’s house because my profession is so stressful.
So, for those of you who scoff at my “penniless” degrees or suggest that I try something “more lucrative,” I have one thing to say to you – I wish my degree wasn’t needed. In fact, in a perfect world, no one would suffer from mental health issues. In my fairytale dreamland, there would be no homeless, abused children or hungry, dementia ridden seniors. There would be no individuals planning their suicide or cancer patients needing financial resources. There would be no social policy issues or oppression on my picturesque planet. If I could erase world hunger, personality and mood disorders, abuse, neglect, exploitation, disadvantaged groups, and social injustice, I would sell my soul. That’s how much I believe in what I do.
I’m not here to praise my career path or warrant sympathy from individuals with high-paying, semi-meaningless jobs. I’m not trying to convince anyone that I deserve a six figure income, a yacht, or (wishfully) a cabana boy. I don’t want others to think of my work as that of the Good Samaritan. But, I do want others to recognize that this line of work is priceless. There’s no price worth the life of an individual and securing their best chance at success.
I’m tired of hearing that I won’t make any money. I’m sick of people asserting their thoughts and opinions about my career choice without being asked. I didn’t request your monetary advice (criticism) and I damn sure don’t care. There are millions of individuals who aren’t strong enough to handle this line of work and that’s okay! Don’t be one of the weak who comment on the work of the strong. Besides, maybe we should be thankful there are those willing to work for next-to-nothing to save this world?
You couldn’t afford to lose us, that’s for sure.