Earn It Or Win It?



Would you rather earn or win your fortune?

The answer would seem obvious: throw me a pile of cash without making me work for it. But in a totally unrelated article, Money Magazine said, “Studies have shown that the pleasure centers in our brains are activated more when we do something to earn money rather than passively receive it.”

That was an eye-opener! I assumed that the reason I got satisfaction from my job was (besides the pay, of course) because I’ve always worked, I’m used to working and can’t imagine a life without work.

But that’s only half the story. CNBC reported in August 2013 that, “Most Americans would get up and go to work even if they won the lottery.” They cite a Gallup poll that points to the recent recession and inflation as two explanations for this industriousness in the face of wealth.

And get this: the Gallup Poll noted that of the Americans who predicted that they would continue working, most would stay in the same job. Those aged 55 and older would most likely stay on, but younger respondents “are more divided.” This is followed up in a December report showing that workers who are “engaged” in their work, who are “involved in and enthusiastic about their work and their workplace,” would stay.

I’ll throw out a question: What is work? It’s something you do that people pay you for. But what if you like the task? I do the detail work that nobody wants to do or understand, but I like it. I’m in my element when there’s a dilemma and the solution takes creative thinking, paperwork skills and the need to calm everybody down. When I’m solving a problem, I’m content. It’s still work but at the end of the day, I feel good about what I did.

If I had the winning ticket, I’d still go to work. I’m a worker; that’s my identity. My non-American readers will say we’re out of our minds, we work too hard and don’t relax enough. And you have a point! But this is the society we live in and this is the best we can do.

Even those lottery winners!

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