Monday, January 21, 2008

More Money, More Problems

According to researchers at Princeton, the effect of income on mood [is] vastly exaggerated.
They performed a study on the moods of men and women with varying levels of income, and the results showed about an 11% difference is time spent happy, with incomes of 100k presenting with 11% more time spent happy. They also found that people with lower incomes spent 10% more of their time in leisure pursuits. No surprise there.

When deciding on a career path, income is something that we must take into consideration. Those of us who grew up in upper-middle class families have to consider whether or not their career paths will help them to maintain that lifestyle. But they must decide how important it is to maintain.

Potentially fulfilling jobs like teaching, which allow for takers to be involved in their more artistic or academic pursuits as part of their career, are off putting due to their repuation as low-income jobs.

Some people resort to more harrowing jobs like insurance sales, which can be very lucrative, in order to satisfy their hunger for a good income. However, there is an equation that everyone ought to consider when picking out their job.

More Money = More Wants

According to economist Richard Easterlin, who conducted a survey of 1500 people over a three decade time span, Wealth doesn't necessarily lead to joy and contentment. His findings also concluded that People with more money usually want more things.

Of course, there are issues of personal standards, and one shouldn't settle. But it is important to consider that making more money, isn't always the most important issue. Factors such as job quality affect quality of life, rich or not.

What's All This Hulabaloo?

As this blog is more or less dedicated to the distress one feels transitioning into the "real world," it has me thinking: What is the future job market?

It seems that around every corner, some aspect of business is "going digital." Ticket agents are using instead of their own databases. TV networks are posting their series on the web the day after they air. And here I am, blogging like a maniac.

In fact, one of the reasons I started this blog was to try and stay above the curve. Professional bloggers are sprouting like AOL users back in the 90's. If you look at an array of blogs, you'll notice the google adwords sewn amidst the content in many of them, in addition to banners and, on the more popular blogs, national advertisers. Whenever you see these, the owner of that blog is getting paid.

Of course more popular blogs yield much bigger profits than the unknown ones. But attaining these levels of traffic is not as easy as it was to start the blog.

You need good content. You have to be writing about something people either need or want to know about. Check out the most popular blogs. You'll find a couple celebrity gossip websites in the top 10, and a few gadget/technology ones, too. Obviously, to do the former, you'll have to find a way to get in the loop on celebrity gossip, and the latter, you'd have to know a thing or two about gadgets.

Luckily, you can learn from the blogs already in existence.

While anyone can write a blog for any reason, it's beneficial to consider the ways in which a blog can help your career. Check out blogs like Penelope Trunk's The Brazen Careerist, and Rebecca Thorman's These are two popular bloggers who have managed to integrate the personal and professional lives into popular blogs. An ideal mixture if you ask me.

MLK Jr. Day- Time To Relax and Reflect

I got up at nine o'clock this morning. That's two hours earlier than I have woken up in the past month. Lately, waking up has been a gradual process in which it begins with me lying in bed with my eyes closed, then turning on the TV, watching for an hour, then, if I'm having a particularly productive day, getting out of bed around 11. But today was the first day of classes.
I make it out of the shower with a few minutes left before I'm supposed to be at class, but I live so close, I'm sure I can make it. I throw on a sweater and the jeans i wore yesterday, carrying my jacket in my arm (no time to put it on) and head out the door. The sidewalks are empty, but I don't seem to take notice. My attention is elsewhere, as I ponder the new faces I will meet in class.
I'm taking a beginner French course, and I hadn't realized until this morning that I was probably going to be in class with a group of people who are, on average, three years younger than me. My feelings, being mixed-- am I "that old guy" or that "cool older guy"-- distract me until I get to the door of Phillips Hall.

The door is locked. "Huh?" I haven't a clue as to why classes would be cancelled. I try another door. Locked. I am fairly confused, and try every other door before I understand that there are no classes today.

So I run over to my computer, and I open up the university's homepage, and low and behold: It's Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (Though at first, I didn't connect it as a national holiday) This experience, although harsh on my ears, as they almost froze off, has given me a good moment in which to reflect on the meaning behind this day.

It's not simply a day in which to honor a man. But rather, a day in which to honor an idea. The idea that none of us are inherently better than anyone else. That regardless of what you look like, you deserve as much respect as the next person. That you are entitled to that respect, as a member of the human race.

And so I realize, that this holiday is not like other holidays. There are no gifts to give, no trees to decorate, no candles to light. There is no feast and you don't have to fast. Today is a day to reflect.

To reflect on the oppurtunities you have as a human being. To be thankful for the ability to walk down the street without being ridiculed. To be thankful for a more integrated society with less violence, and less hate. To realize the hardships we must sometimes go through in order to come out the other end better than we were before. In this sense, the fight for civil rights can be a lesson for our daily lives.

Hard work and struggle are the predecessor to any change and/or reward. We cannot expect to make giant leaps in a day. And without persistence and courage, we cannot move forward. We must be strong in order to attain those goals we know belong to us.

So on your day off today, relax, but also, reflect. On the life of MLK Jr. On the civil rights movement. On the serious hardships that mankind can endure, and move past. And take these lessons, and use them for good.
Oh, and don't go to class.