I recently ran into a couple of guys who I haven’t seen for a while. They were now fresh college grads and desperate for jobs. They almost immediately pummeled my friends and me with questions. “Where do you work now? What do you do? How much do you make? How did you get hired?” I could sense their urgency and it reminded me of myself not too long ago. They asked for advice on how to find a job, but the only advice I could give was pretty generic. Now that I think about it, I should have told them something that, in my opinion, was even more valuable. I should have told them “No matter what, don’t let your financial worth affect your self-worth.”
Sounds pretty intuitive right? Funny thing is, I learned it the hard way.
I was never really the type of person who cared about name brand stuff, nice clothes, cars or the newest technology. I mean, I liked money as much as the next guy, but I never let money define anything. Anyways, right after college I started working at a health insurance brokerage company. This company was a borderline pyramid scheme but I was young, stupid and stubborn, so I stuck with it. Needless to say, I was barely making anything.
As a kind of “motivation” it was quite common for the higher ups to brag about their $2,000 custom fitted suits, new houses, cars, toys and whatnot. We often had meetings where we would just talk about money and what we would do once we got it. I remember one time my boss invited us to his house, just so he could show us how nice of a house he lived in. There was an incredible money oriented atmosphere there, and slowly but surely, I was getting brainwashed.
It didn’t help that I was dating a pretty materialistic girl at the time. She spent her parent’s money quite ferociously and I had always theorized she never once practiced saving money in her adult life. She even said that guys should feel lucky when she accepts their expensive gifts. We definitely had different views and expectations of money.
However, after a year, my views and standards slowly moved closer to hers. I couldn’t see it at the time, but I was changing. I put a huge importance on money. It’s not that I didn’t care about money before, but now I was valuing everything, including myself, based on its monetary worth. I began associating my self-worth with my net-worth, which was basically nothing.
My self-worth plummeted. My confidence was constantly shot, and it affected my life in every way possible. I was miserable. I was waking up every morning, putting on a full suit, and working 40+ hours a week, with absolutely nothing to show for it. Money was constantly on my mind and I would subconsciously steer every conversation I had with anyone either towards my job, money, or lack of money. I wasn’t being myself, and I didn’t know why.
It wasn’t until months later I realized how I had changed. I fixed my flawed way of thinking and went back to normal. Finding a job that I actually loved doing helped too. Mindset is very important and it makes a huge difference. I shouldn’t have valued my self worth on my financial income… but rather on my… looks and physical strength. Just kidding. I think we should all let our self worth be determined not by what we have now, but by what we honestly believe we are capable of achieving in our lifetime.
If you’re currently unemployed or not making your desired pay, please don’t make the same mistake that I did. It is counterproductive and really not fun at all. Just keep your head up, work harder, and believe in yourself.