Skip to main content

Most of Us Would Keep Working If We Suddenly Got Rich

The other day, my grade schooler asked me: "What would you do if you suddenly had a billion dollars?"

Hmm. For many of us, the answer would be a variation on a theme. We would quit our jobs, pay off our mortgage and other bills, take some nice trips, buy some nice things and donate a percentage to charity. Perhaps we would start a foundation in a loved one's name.

No matter what we decide to do, however, we would no longer be obligated to work another day in our lives, unless we wanted a cabinet-level position in the Trump administration.

But could the average employee really walk away from work for good if they won the lottery tomorrow? A new University of Florida business study finds most employees and entrepreneurs who come into a sudden windfall of cash can't deal with not working! It's like selling your company for mega bucks and then ending up as a skeptical investment shark on ABC's Shark Tank. Bring on your innovative Post-It note ideas!

Sure, the just-hit-the-jackpot types out there might take a bit of time off to travel -- maybe up to a year or so -- but then a sense of deep depression sets in as they realize they don't know who they are anymore. When people ask, "What do you do?" they struggle to respond. Their ego is diminished, and they feel like they're slowly losing status. They wonder if the other person thinks less of them for not working. Oh, wow. It's like being a stay-at-home parent stuck at your spouse's holiday party, only you're a billionaire!

Money Can't Keep Us Happy
Remember when you were growing up and everyone told you how money doesn't buy happiness, and you thought it was just a sappy saying aimed at people who don't have a billion dollars? Well, what is true is that money doesn't keep us happy! We may fall into riches but then...we get bored. Too much money, too much time on our little hands. Zzzzz. I guess? I wouldn't know. As the BBC reports:

You'd think striking it suddenly rich would be the ultimate ticket to freedom. Without money worries, the world would be your oyster. Perhaps you’d champion a worthy cause, or indulge a sporting passion, but work? Surely not. However, remaining gainfully employed after sudden wealth is more common than you'd think. After all, there are numerous high-profile billionaires who haven't called it quits despite possessing the luxury to retire, including some of the world's top chief executives, such as Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.

So this, in the nutshell, is why the .001% can't pack up shop forever. They need to stay active, and get all up in our business. They can't help themselves!

Bottom line: Money doesn't buy happiness for very long, but maintaining a sense of purpose and feeling connected to other people can make the very rich feel like they're still vibrant, and useful. Besides, unlike the rest of us, they're too big to fail.


Popular posts from this blog

Seven tips for dealing with a jealous coworker

Look at you, doing so well at work! We're so happy for you. Well, most of us are happy for you and refuse to spend the entire work day talking behind your back. Let's talk about how to handle our jealous co-workers!Like every other professional, you've no doubt experienced your share of failures and successes. Lately, however, things seem to be going your way at work. And how! Perhaps you've managed to ace an important project this quarter, been instrumental in landing a huge client, earned some well-deserved rewards for this and that, or -- egads! -- been given a slight promotion or additional work responsibilities (e.g., the work responsibilities you actually want).You're quietly chuffed, but somehow your co-workers seem none too pleased with this rapid turn of events. Oh no, what should you do now?It's a workplace tale older than the disjointed last season of Mad Men. The playing field in the department was even, cozy and overall very friendly -- until so-an…

Employees Blame Technology For Slowing Them Down At Work

Do you feel like you're always working, but never getting very much done? If so, you're not alone. Too much technology, and too much red tape, keep slowing us down at work. But technology, and more of it, is supposed to make our lives easier! Too much technology, however, does not compute for employees. A new SAP/Knowledge@Wharton survey of almost 700 corporate employees finds a full 60% of respondents blame technology "for inhibiting their ability to meet strategic goals." Gee, anyone who has ever used the self-checkout line at the grocery store can tell you that. However, 40% surveyed said that looking for ways to simplify the technology has been "a low priority" for their company. Too much paperwork is an on-going problem for the workplace, too. A new ServiceNow survey of nearly 1,000 managers finds that 90% are doing too much administrative work, no matter the size of the company. This paperwork includes filling out forms, writing status updates, …

Is Your Co-worker Always Late For Work?

You've started the workday, but where is your co-worker? Oh, she's running late again, just like yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. Let's get an early start on solving her tardiness problem, shall we? Working with someone who is consistently late is one of the most annoying aspects of office life, and also one of the most common, unfortunately. It's a universal theme of the workplace that everyone will get to work on time (give or take a few minutes...) except for the employee who is egregiously late nearly every day. And the excuses can get pretty amazing. Employees became more punctual as the Great Recession lingered, at least according to surveys. Everyone, that is, except for your able-bodied but habitually-tardy co-worker. It's bad enough dealing with tardiness when you're a manager, but it can be even more frustrating when you're a rank-and-file peer without any magical "shape up or ship out" managerial powers. So you…