Does money make people happy?
I would say that the general consensus would be a yes.
Money allows for more freedom, opportunity, and safety. So when we hear that someone is having success in the workplace, we automatically assume that they are doing well.
This is a matter of habit. In the American culture we are conditioned that work is always one of the first things brought up in an introduction. It is often the main topic of conversation no matter where we go. So when it is going well, naturally, our lives must be going well, right?
Fact: I know some people who have had success in the workplace but they are absolutely miserable. I also know some people who have struggled in the workplace, but are content, and are the definition of "doing well."
Why is it that doing well is basically only tied into our career? Why can't it be about our family, friends, or our mental health? Why can't we talk about something else when we introduce ourselves?
We need to remember that our work isn't who we are, it is just something we do. We are so much more than our position.
Even the richest man can suffer from depression. Even the highest CEO is capable of having a problem outside of the workplace. Even the lowest paid employee in a company can be content. Someone who struggles can be happy with simplicity.
However, when we talk about one another, we tend to just look at work, and assume that people are "doing well" when in reality we have no idea how they are doing. Because we are taught to only care about success within the work place.
What if when we asked people how they are doing, we actually wanted a legitimate answer. Or the reverse, what if when people asked us how we were doing, we responded honestly? What if work wasn't the first thing that came up in that question?
I bet we would have more authentic conversations. Even better yet, I bet we would just be more authentic people. Work doesn't define us. If that is what defines you, you have robot like qualities. Take that however you want to...
It's not bad to take pride in your work. But when it becomes part of your identity, that is when it is dangerous.
It's still the beginning of a new year. Why don't we try to be more authentic in 2017.
Because what we do isn't what defines us.