Lies our parents tell us: making good money
I don't know what everyone else's experience was growing up, but I remember being told on numerous occasions that I needed to work hard, get good grades, and go to school (meaning college) so that I could "make good money." Through all of my childhood, and into the early years of adulthood I associated "good money" with "lots of money." My life so far has taught me different.
When I entered the workforce I was in college, which is later than most. I started out as a waiter at Denny's, working the graveyard shift. When I talk about it now I sometimes sound like a soldier returning from war, "I saw things there I'll never forget," or, "when it's the dead of night and you're tired and your feet hurt and sleep seems a thousand years off, all you have is your resolve and your brothers and sisters in aprons." Let's dispel this myth right now, Denny's doesn't pay for shit, and working for tips is kind of like being a street walker with a Moons Over my Hammy.
While working at Denny's I thought if I could get away and start making just six or seven dollars an hour I'd be ok. I could make ends meet, maybe save a little, and I could buy some of the things I want. Well, not long after I left Denny's I started working for a company that paid me around six-fifty an hour to do tech support. While it was pretty cool to get a paycheck every week that had my name on it and around four or five-hundred dollars that belonged to me, I found pretty quickly that I hadn't discovered the elusive "good money." I remember thinking that if I could just get to eight dollars an hour I'd finally start breaking even. Not long after that I hit the high-water-mark I'd set for myself and it may surprise you to learn that I found it still wasn't "good money."
Things went in this vein for years; me thinking, "If only I could make ten dollars an hour," then it was, "if only I could get to twelve dollars an hour, then everything will be ok because I'll be making 'good money.'" As I got older and the jobs I took became more and more what are generally accepted as "real jobs" the standard for good money changed from what I made per hour to what I make per year.
It started at twenty-eight-thousand per year. When I started I honestly remember thinking, "I'm finally making good money." It wasn't long before I learned how wrong that was. Over the years that calculation has changed from "thirty-five-thousand, that's all I really need," to "We'll be ok when I get to forty-thousand."
It wasn't that long ago that it occurred to me the whole concept of "making good money" might be bullshit. Money in and of itself is neither good or bad, it's just a means to an end. Someone making thirty-thousand dollars a year can still do many of the same things as someone making a hundred-thousand dollars. It just takes longer to budget for it, and there are more sacrifices along the way. Most people just don't have the patience for it, me among them.
I think the truth about good money is that money is just money, and it is only as good as the good you do with it. So what am I doing with my money? I'm raising my daughter. I'm trying to make sure that, when the time comes for her to be on her own she gets a better leg up on life than either my wife or I were given. In the end I don't think there's a greater gift you can give your children than a good start when it's time for them to go and be their own people; make their mark on the world.
No matter how much money we make, as long as my wife and I can say that we gave our daughter the best shot possible, then we can finally say, "yeah, we're making good money."
The (not really) daily doodle: Cute Little Baby Monster Who Will Kill Us All
Cute little ball of death, isn't...uh...she?