Sometimes, I wonder what will happen if everyone chose jobs that gave the best returns on investment - the world would have been filled with disproportionately large numbers of lawyers, doctors, software engineers, people who own popular websites, etc. I am not quite sure if our life would have been happier (because everyone is rich) or more miserable (because everyone is rich) in that case.
I am not talking about people who can’t choose better jobs due to various handicaps: lack of opportunities, poverty, discrimination, etc. and are forced to take up low paying jobs that require a lot of hard work [that's a whole different can of worms]; I am talking about people who probably have all the resources available and yet proceed to choose careers that yield disproportionately low outputs for their inputs (in terms of money and efforts). Here is a list of some of such careers from CNN Money that were piled under the label of “jobs: worst pay for investments” [median salaries are shown].
[Read with emphasis on "Likes" ; original image: CNN Money]
I don’t think the list is complete by any means; there must be hundreds of other such jobs that don’t pay well and yet there are people who choose such jobs out of their own volition. Most of these people are probably doing what they like doing most without worrying much about whether they are going to earn feasible returns on their investment. For them, jobs probably aren’t just about getting money in return for the amount of time they spend working - for them, such jobs are more about following their passions and inspirations.They may not be making big bucks, but they are probably getting paid for doing something they would have loved to do anyways. They may never rub elbows with the wealthiest people in the town, but it is very likely that these people have a clearer vision of what they want out of their life than those who are merely guided by million dollar goals and thoughts of happy retirement (or the strongly money oriented like me ).
By the way, I wouldn’t extend these feelings towards *all* the people who are working in the above areas - there will always be some who remain perpetually dissatisfied with everything. But, in general, given that none of the careers in the above list are “glamorous” enough to attract every Tom, Dick, and Harry, it is less likely that some random people will be suckered in to these jobs if they don’t have some kind of a strong liking. Plus, I don’t think people with only money on their minds would consciously choose one of these careers after realizing the enormous resources it will take on their part.
Anyways, once in a while, it is inspiring to know that life is not always just about earning a lot of money… sometimes it’s about doing what you like… doing what you are good at. And, it’s inspiring to know that there are people who walk on this path [at least, it's *inspiring* for me because I often get distracted by the money aspect easily].
And yes, this is not about *neglecting* money totally [there are bills to pay and mouths to feed], it’s about not making money your primary obsession.
[Note: I am conveniently ignoring issues about absurdly huge student loans to avoid complicating the discussion]