Sponsored Content
« Mid-Morning Open Thread [CBD] | Main | Reporter: So You're Doin' Better
Hillary: Super, Thanks For Asking
Reporter: So You'd Take a Neurocognitive Assessment Test
Hillary: Neurocognitive Assessment Test? What, Like a Cloth? »
September 23, 2016

The Money Trap [Warden]

Tonight, my wife and I ran into some old friends from our neighborhood. They're middle aged, like us, with two kids--a boy and a girl, age 9 and 10. We have two boys, 4 and 10. The husband has a lucrative job. They moved our of our upper middle class neighborhood two years ago into a $500,000 home.

The husband travels overseas three weeks out of a month for his job. Some weeks he returns home Saturday night and flies out again on Monday morning. When I asked the wife how they were handling the schedule, she sighed and replied, "I don't know how much longer we can hang on. But if he were to find a job in his industry where he didn't have to travel, he'd have to take a pretty big pay cut."

Some part of me wanted to scream, "Take the pay cut! You look miserable just talking about it, and you could move right back into our neighborhood and still be better off than most people!"

But it's not that simple, is it? New money doesn't stay liquid for long. It always finds a way to fund new obligations--the bigger home with the upscale patio and fire pit, the luxury SUV, the vacations, the dreams of early retirement.

We all want to feel like we're advancing in life, both in status and wealth. Stepping back feels like failure.

My friends are trapped. I see it a lot as people hit middle age.

I'll be honest/ Although I'm good at it, I pretty much hate my job. I work in a poisonous work culture. I dislike my industry and most of my coworkers. I am bored, resentful, and simply phoning it in for a paycheck. I am capable of achieving and earning much, much more. And when I see someone in a personally rewarding, high achievement career I feel envious.

But I have a job that allows me to be my kids' primary caregiver while they're young. And it pays well enough to allow us to live within one of the top school systems in the state. I do not travel for work, rarely put in more than 45 hours a week and never bring work home.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt what it is that I value. I am a family man foremost and always. My relationship with my kids means more to me than anything else in the world, and I know that you can never get back this time with them when they're young and precious and treasure my attention.

A sober accounting would say I have no good reason to be dissatisfied. My health is good, I have a happy marriage, I get to spend a great deal of time with my kids, and I don't have a lot of material wants.

And yet there's still that nagging sense of underachievement and wasted potential. I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel insecure and slightly embarrassed of my own middling accomplishments when socializing with high career achievers. This, despite knowing that my choices have been deliberate and well considered.

The money trap for me isn't even about money. It's about what it represents.

So, how do you balance work and family life? Are you happy with your choices? And if not, what is stopping you from taking a different path? If you could do things over, would you do them differently? What will you tell your kids about work, family and how to define success?

digg this
posted by Code Red at 12:13 PM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
[/b][/u][/i][/s]Muldoon: "Think about it for a minute. If you rearrange ..."

Sponge - F*ck Joe Biden: "[i] Ooh, ooh, ooh, now do surgical scrubs!!! Pos ..."

[/i][/b]andycanuck (Vwz3I)[/s][/u]: "@disclosetv · 2h JUST IN - Hawaii's Mauna Lo ..."

Puddinhead: "356 Yup, and when I was flying in the AF the grou ..."

Warai-otoko : "Nothing will happen to the CCP because they have a ..."

Sponge - F*ck Joe Biden: "[i]Is there an argument that doing non- flight stu ..."

Smell the Glove: "JJ thx for the morning report as always. Don't wor ..."

Village Idiot's Apprentice [/s] [/b] [/i]: ""Ooh, ooh, ooh, now do surgical scrubs!!!" For ..."

Mister Scott (Formerly GWS): "Trump is terrible at hiring staff. Who the fuck wa ..."

[/i][/b]andycanuck (Vwz3I)[/s][/u]: "@disclosetv · 38m JUST IN - Ireland fines Zu ..."

Piper : "358 he says he is ant-Semitic. So there is that. H ..."

Martini Farmer: "> We should not be wearing flight suits when doing ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64