Money & Meaning

(1 min read)

Sitting in a hot tub with two kids, I asked them what they want to be. (I’m allowed to do that because it’s my job.)

One wanted to be a rockstar and restaurant owner at the same time. The other, the older of the two, wanted to make money by doing as little as possible.

We never quite lose this dichotomy.

Yesterday, my client had the same dilemma. In his terms: “Do I keep becoming a douchebag or do something good?” You can see the internal conflict as if two kids were duking it out in his head. Money. No, meaning. Money! No, meaning!

I’m not going to tell you can have both with a single job.

Yeah, that’s the ultimate quest and it does happen, but it’s hard to find and you will have a life of disappointment if that’s your only goal.

Instead, keep it simple, seek both. All the time.

Beware of giving yourself too fully to the money-making machine. You’ll find yourself battling an emptiness that no 5-star meal can fill. But also, don’t dive too deeply into meaning alone, or you’ll surely become lonely and resentful that the world doesn’t value your thing as much as you do.

Some call this work-life balance. I think it’s more accurate (and more honest) to say money-meaning balance. That’s really what it’s about, the crux of my job as a career counselor – and no easy task, is helping people balance their scale of Money and Meaning.

And, because we grow and evolve and the world grows and evolves and the people you choose to have in your life grow and evolve, that damn scale keeps changing.