Find a career that gives you meaning and a sense of fulfillment – do not just chase money. Many people choose a career because it brings the promise of a large paycheck and future riches. While money is important, it is not a guarantee of happiness.
As a special education teacher, I do not make a large salary. I know many are struggling right now so it is hard to complain about my salary, but I think most would agree that teachers are paid only a moderate income. Most teachers get into the profession because they have a passion for it, first and foremost. I know many people that have a lot more money and stuff than I do but they are not as content as I am.
You see, things can make you happy but this feeling does not last forever. If I go out and buy a new shirt, it feels great the first few times I wear it; however, after wearing this shirt five or six times, that feeling goes away. If I based my feelings of happiness and contentment on this item, I would be in a vicious cycle of having to buy things to make me happy.
Money can take away a lot of worries but it does not guarantee happiness. As an American, I live in one of the wealthiest countries on Earth. Despite that, thousands of people in the U.S. seek professional help becuase they are unhappy. This shows that bigger houses and a lot of things do not lead to a lifetime of contentment.
My biggest piece of advice to others is to find a career that brings you joy and the money will follow. When you are engaged in a profession that you feel is meaningful and you have passion for, you will find that you do not need outside sources to bring you happiness – you get it on a daily basis from your job.
Many people have told me that it must be tough to raise my family on a teacher’s salary and that I must sacrifice a lot to do this. The truth is, I actually have a sense of freedom. You see, even though I do not make a large salary, I have the freedom to pursue a career I am passionate about.
I may never own a Rolls-Royce or live in a 5,000 square foot house but, most mornings, I get to go to a job that I enjoy and feel has a sense of purpose. Better yet, my wife was able to be a stay-at-home mom for seven years and raise our two daughters.
That, to me, is priceless!