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Lowerdeck

Americans and the Greed Factor

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Hopefully this will have some sense of civility. But, I give it about 2 replies or 2 pages before it gets closed. Either way, it might have been a good run.

So anyway, my whole point is this... I just graduated college two months ago. I kinda stuck myself with a history degree on a fallback, but I have huge interest in journalism - sports writing to be particular. However, I'm running into this brick wall where real jobs want people with experience, not someone with just a college degree. (Perhaps they fear I'll leave for somewhere better after a couple years?). Meanwhile, if I try to find a job in the interim just to get some cashflow, the grunt jobs don't want me either cause I'm overqualified and a flight risk.

So the whole point becomes this... my family is endlessly on my case about getting a job. Even my 19 year old brother runs his mouth off because "I could be making $400 a week" and that "I've missed $2400 since graduation". I keep telling them points made in above paragraph, but all they keep saying is "you need a job, you need money" like robots. To them, money is the only thing that matters in life, the only thing worth living for in American society. My parents are completely miserable because they hate their jobs, but the money factor is what makes them keep quiet at the end. They get money, they shut up, unless they think they should be getting more money from somewhere or if something's going on to cause them to lose money.

I understand that everyone does need money in order to pay bills and everything in life. However, I'm more believing that one should be happier with what they do and where they are, and not be so focused on money grubbing. But I'm apparently an anomaly instead of a majority.

To steal a Nas lyric: what is to be praised, the mighty dollar or the mighty Allah? Or in other terms, do you feel Americans worship the dollar or do they value other things in life more than just getting money?

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First of all, this is just advice and opinion, so take it for what it's worth.

The good news is that you have your entire career ahead of you - think of it as a blank canvas. Work experience is always a Catch-22...if no one will hire you because you don't have any experience, how do you ever get experience? If your goal (right now) is journalism, take time to hone your skills, either through a paying job, or doing freelance work on the side. To an employer, both are positives on a resume. For the money part, you have to figure that our for yourself. It doesn't matter if you make $20,000 a year or $80,000 a year as long as you are happy and can live within your means. Try to avoid debt. Credit Card debt is very costly, and can pile up quickly.

Good luck!

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I understand your points. I'd never understood when I watched a movie and a character couldn't find a job because he was "overqualified," but I've actually witnessed it many times at the company I work for. It does suck.

Personally, I like the idea of working and of bringing in a paycheck--of supporting myself. I would do anything to avoid having someone else have to foot my bills. Having said that, sometimes it is unavoidable, especially if you're a recent college graduate looking for the right job.

I guess we're all slaves to money in a certain way, but I'd like to think sacrificing now will help me later and provide a good stable base for my family. What you're going through is very American though I think. I think Americans' are so consumed by their jobs, that it comes to define them. If they're happy at work then they're happy people. If they're not, they're unhappy. I'd just say, do what you enjoy, but understand that you might have to take a bad job here and there.

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Quick and easy advice: Find a job you like and work your way up or out. By out, I mean any job will teach you what job aspects you dislike, and you can avoid them for future jobs. For instance, I won't wear a pager or beeper or cell phone. My time is my time. I won't even consider 'on call' jobs. Sure, it closes some doors, but if you'd hate that aspect, why take the job.

Also, don't expect to make the big bucks for a few years. That's the working up part. Gain skills, experience and certifications that are marketable.

Lastly, we all need money, but don't be a slave to it.

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I'll tell you, 75% of the stress in my life has to do with money, whether current money, potential money (or lack thereof), or whatever. I feel money is important, and I don't consider myself "greedy". I don't live above my means, I don't have debt other than a mortgage, but I do have a wife and child, and I'm concerned about the future. Through my life I've been dirt poor and have had more money than I knew what to do with, and I was much happier with money.

That being said, I don't feel many people know what to do with money. Ego and/or competitiveness make people live above their means. My job takes me into every conceivable type of place, big houses, little houses, apartments, condos, big businesses, small businesses, etc. It astounds me that there is neighborhood after neighborhood of 3000+sqft houses going up. Where are all these people with money coming from? Half of these end up being pretty barren when I go in, the people just don't know what to do with all the room, they certainly don't need it for themselves, their 2 kids and the golden retriever. I ask them what they do and their jobs don't appear to be much better (if at all) than mine. So I ask myself: "where is this money coming from?" The answer, I'm assuming, is over-extension of finances to live "the life". There-in lies the problem. People don't know how to manage themselves. The person that said "money can't buy happiness" is an idiot. The real phrase should be "money can't buy happiness for those that are incapable of being happy". Money doesn't fix all problems, but it does one important thing: it allows you to forget about money.

So, just make sure you don't live beyond your means, be allergic to debt, and if you do get money, spend it wisely, not frivilously, and you'll be fine.

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i think many americans to worship the dollar, but that's not always true. i work in a college. i could be making more money doing what i do if i worked in the corporate world, $5-10k more in fact. i absolutely love my job and wouldn't leave it for the money. i make ends meet, sometimes i just barely scrape by, but i make it work. i'm not stressed because of it, in fact, loving my job makes a big difference. i've had jobs that i didn't like and i was miserable. while some days i don't really want to go to work, when i'm away for a while, i actually miss being at work sometimes.

all that being said, though, this is a capitalist country and you need to make money to live. i'd recommend a part time job or a temp position while you look for a suitable position. make sure that anywhere you apply and interview, you inform that you are seeking a different type of position and just using this to hold you over. many times they'll accept that and find the honesty honorable. my last job before this one was in a high school, working part time with instructional technology in their library. it was a job, but i made sure i told them that i needed a full time job with benefits, and they still hired me. so i took the job, but 2 months later, i interviewed for an was offered my current job. they were heartbroken that i had to go, but they understood. i gave them 2 weeks and left on good terms. now i'm far happier with what i'm doing and my life is just that much better and it shows.

the moral of the story: don't get stuck in a job that you aren't 95% happy with just so you have a job (that other 5% is those days that things just don't go well, and it happens everywhere). make those types of jobs temporary until you find what you want.

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......

So the whole point becomes this... my family is endlessly on my case about getting a job. Even my 19 year old brother runs his mouth off because "I could be making $400 a week" and that "I've missed $2400 since graduation". I keep telling them points made in above paragraph, but all they keep saying is "you need a job, you need money" like robots. ....

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If you don't have a job, who is paying for your expenses? If it is your family then I would say they have a legitimate case.

Agreed...there is no case if you don't have a job and wondering why money is being talked about. You can't do much without it, even the homeless wonder our streets because money is needed for even the simplest things in life.

Everyone on this planet is required to work to live, some work harder than others obviously but you can't get around it, no matter how much you believe it shouldn't be an issue.

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Alright. Perhaps I worded things wrongly. And then probably shouldn't have thrown in the backstory.

So, my question is... do Americans covet money? I know it's needed to survive, but I'm talking about really really going crazy about money, where getting it and talking about it consumes your personality.

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If a job you want is only looking for experience, then ask to work for free and show them what you can do. The reason employers ask for those types of workers is they don't want to pay someone who can't do the job. If you can prove to them that you have value they will have no problem paying you for it. Even if you don't get on with that company, at least you will have gained experience. You will also figure out if that is what you want to do. What most employers look for is punctuality and drive, college can't teach you that.

We all have to work, so you need to get over that real quick. As long as your family sees you trying they will probably get off your back about it.

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For what it is worth, don't feel so down on it - I think we have all been there at one time or another - in a few cases more than once. Its a lot easier to give advice than to actually do something. One thing that may help you is to instead of focusing on a job, focus on picking up skills. Some of the simpler jobs that may right now seem dead end and irrelevant might be able to build up some of your skills. for instance, customer service or technical support often requires active investigation into problems, thus teaching a lot about asking relevant questions. And most any job where you are working with the public will build social skills. Many volunteer jobs will give you a lot of exposure to different viewpoints and help you see new ways of looking at things. So think in terms of selling yourself as contributor instead of applying for a job.

No, on to the real question. I think there are more than two goals in life. Money itself isn't usually an object for anyone. There are a few who are more obsessed with money as a comparative thing - these are the ultra-competitive types and even then money is simply a measure of achievement. Many people who seem to covet money really covet what that money buys - basically they really want toys. Money is simply the enabler to get those toys. Some people, a lot of people, in fact, really want security. Money is a big enabler in that, as well - money in the bank is a security blanket. These are usually the ones who talk about needing money to survive. They are also usually closely related to the family groups, as a big part of leading a familly is protection. For others, money is comfort and convenience - money is what enables them to go out for dinner whenever they want, to stay at the nice places, to eat good food.

Of course money doesn't play into everything. Those people who seem to lie a cheap job and are always off traveling and doing "exciting" things - often those people are excited more by adventure. They don't need fancy hotels or elegant meals - in fact it's more of an adventure when you don't have them. They simply look for just enough money to do those things, and then they are off. The same often goes for social types - the librarians and partiers. These people are really looking for either a wide social experience (the social butterfly), or they are looking for a one on one or even self-centered social interaction - money is less important when it comes to talking or to thinking.

The problem comes when we loose sight of what it is we are really after - we become so obsessed with the means that we forget the goal. I have no problem with the right people or the poor people. What troubles me is when money is used as either a measure of success in it's own right, or as a simple comparison between people.

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I love this thread!

The answer is No, you do not need to be a robot and just earn a paycheck

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Other than with a home loan (which I limit to a 15 year fixed rate with at least 20% down), personal debt is just a sign of immaturity.

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Other than with a home loan (which I limit to a 15 year fixed rate with at least 20% down), personal debt is just a sign of immaturity.

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I love this thread!

The answer is No, you do not need to be a robot and just earn a paycheck

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Student loans are another one that are unavoidable for some people. If you end up $50K student loan debt (generally low interest), but have a 6 figure job because of that education, that is probably the best investment you'll ever make in your life. However, if you go $50K in debt for a degree that doesn't pay well after graduation, then that was not a wise investment.

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At this point in my life, money would make me happy. It would cut so many strings. I am not one to dive into materialism, but to have the ability to do things and be free... if only I knew how to get it. Basically I feel I'm working for nothing.

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At this point in my life, money would make me happy. It would cut so many strings. I am not one to dive into materialism, but to have the ability to do things and be free... if only I knew how to get it. Basically I feel I'm working for nothing.

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if that low-paying job makes you happy, i'd say the $50k in debt is a pretty good investment. remember, money isn't everything. happiness trumps money in many, if not most, cases.

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Money isn't everything, but I can almost guarantee if a person is living month to month under oppressive debt, they won't be happy.

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All due respect, yes you COULD make it through school without loans, but that doesn't mean that you are going to do well, or that you are going to get a good education. The fact is education is an investment, and like most investments, you have to really put the work into it to make it pay off. One of the biggest problems I see is students who really don't put their heart into their school - their jobs and often family care take so much precedence they really don't focus on their studies. And while, particularly being from teh state system I recognize a good education doesn't have to cost a fortune, many of the cheaper options are in fact cheaper for a reason. And when it comes to grants and scholarships, many are unclaimed, but just because it goes unclaimed doesn't mean that you are qualified for it.

And, having been there, I would highly suggest that you think twice about just a $1000 cushion. A big medical emergency, a car accident, a string of bad luck with car problems and surprise bills, can set you up for another disaster. I too have been trying to live without credit cards, having had problems in the past. But I have realized that you do sometimes need that safety net, you just have to learn to use it wisely.

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All due respect, yes you COULD make it through school without loans, but that doesn't mean that you are going to do well, or that you are going to get a good education. The fact is education is an investment, and like most investments, you have to really put the work into it to make it pay off. One of the biggest problems I see is students who really don't put their heart into their school - their jobs and often family care take so much precedence they really don't focus on their studies.

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