Community · Culture · Finance · Mental Health · Relationships · Uncategorized

Working for…? Like, why?

Ever notice how similar the work ethic of the very disadvantaged is so similar to that of the ultra wealthy? Similar, but for very different reasons.

With the disadvantaged person who works multiple jobs and has 18 hours days, the purpose of their long hours is to survive and to take care of their families. With the ultra wealthy, what’s the point? I’m not talking about upper-middle class people or those who are comfortable; I’m talking about the ultra wealthy, I mean the ones who have more money than they can use in their lifetime and more than enough to leave for their children and grandchildren. The ultra-high-net-worth-individuals (UHNWI).

When one has enough to retire or semi-retire and spend the rest of their life at the same standard of living, it seems like it’s just working for the sake of working. I am curious about their “why”. Is it because their identity is in their career? Is it because they need continued external validation through business success? Is it their comfort zone, and they don’t know how to deal with life outside of work? What’s their “why” to choosing to work for the sake of working rather than living life and trying new experiences? Not working does not equate to boredom or not having a fulfilling life. So what’s the point of being “too busy” for life when one is wealthy?

Why is that lifestyle praised? Why does society romanticize Elon Musk having worked long hours to the point where he would sleep in his office, although it cost him his relationships with his older children and his then-wife? Why is the sacrifice of family for the sake of “success” seen as something aspirational? Admiration of that kind of business ethic overlooks the destruction of the person’s personal ethics as they sidelined their other roles and responsibilities in life (e.g., as a spouse, a parent, or a friend).

I’m not here to criticize how others spend their time. Maybe the extreme dedication to work is a pathology. Or maybe the rush from achieving a goal is a literal addiction. Or maybe it’s a defence mechanism or coping strategy to avoid something too stressful to deal with directly. I’m just trying to see another perspective. And I’m trying to figure out society’s obsession and idolization of people who are successful in the business area of their life but are failing in other realms of their life.

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