Tuesday, May 18

Money, Travel, Knowledge

With ability to look back, there are moments in life that may not have known that were defining, but with hindsight, proved to be pivotal moments in changing your life course.  Not as dramatic as you might have thought.  Not as obvious as you had expected.  Nonetheless, you and your life path changed.

This is not one of those moments.  I know that whatever I choose will define my life for at least several years if not the next decade.  I stand on the precipice of choice with three paths in view, two more tempting than the third.  Each represent focusing on a different option:  Money, Travel, Knowledge.

In the two months that I have been back I have been working with a company that has opened my eyes to the world of cash.  As as friend of mine recently said to me, 'How does it feel to have sold out to the money man?"  Never has my education or career been about the pursuit of money, but here I am, in the throngs of how to encourage people to drop more cash, how to up-sell, and how to close the deal.  It is a strange place and surprisingly, a place in which I am thriving.  Within two weeks I was receiving offers of more responsibility; in one month access to a supervisory position; in two months, an offer to join the management team from which the entire country's chain would be at my disposal to climb.  Most of my co-workers have no higher education, and I have the education advantage, I could start climbing this success ladder of $$cash$$.  

My mind keeps going back to these thoughts:  I sell well to make more money?  For whom?  For what reason?  The gigantic conglomerate and their bottomless pockets?  To help the company stay in business so I have a job?  To support the people at the top making the decisions?  What if I could be one of the people near the top watching pee-ons like me make the company more money so my salary increases?  And the cycle of never enough money, never satisfied with my level in the company begins.  "Selling my soul to the money man."  So far this option is ranked #3.

Read this post titled "For My Next Wistful Voyage."  This is an opportunity to which it would be hard to say no.  To travel around a part of the world that is so different from any place I have lived (excluding Manila and KL.)  Other factors include the crap experiences I have had teaching over the last 3 years.  Hell in a brick box.  But would this school be different?  Would these students be different?  Would I do my job, go home and live a more relaxed lifestyle in the middle east?  Another factor is the lack of intellectual stimulation for me in teaching the same subjects, to the same age group, in the same box, just a different place.  I seek out and hunger for new ideas and thoughts in environments that encourage the development of the mind.  Never an intellectual in my own junior-high and high school days, I have become a seeker of knowledge in my adulthood.  Would being in a new place, surrounded by new experiences, people and pleasures be enough to off set the quandaries I have had in teaching young children that I cannot seem to escape?

The opportunity to attend grad school has opened its doors.  My brain would die of happiness in the swarm of responsibilities, expectations and work.  It is a chance to return to my initial degree in the Recreation and Leisure field, and let's face it, I am damn good at play.  This is what I do best.  This is what I help others do best.  This is my passion.  In researching the career options after a Master's Degree, there have never been so many positions available in the field, which has grown exponentially since 1998, the last time I worked in the field.  As well, travel and work in the recreation and tourism field is a possibility after I graduate.  The money is comparable if not better than teaching elementary school.  To be honest, the thought of eventually teaching at a college or university has crossed my mind.  A trick of life thrown in after I had thought I had made a definite decision.

Final Thoughts:

1)  Whatever I choose my mother has already stated that I am not allowed to complain.  I am to be happy and enjoy the good and the bad that will come with the decision.  I concur.

2)  How can I say no to Abu Dhabi when last year, with no idea that my words would come to fruition, I said to a friend, "I want to move to a place in the world that is different from my experience, including Christianity not being the dominant religion."  Voila, here is an opportunity.

3)  If I choose Grad School now, would I be wondering for two years what Abu Dhabi is like?

4)  If I choose Abu Dhabi, will I be regret not choosing intellectual stimulation and obtaining a graduate degree from which doors will open?

5)  Will Grad School be there after two years in Abu Dhabi?

6)  How far can I actually rise in a company with little money and management background?

7)  Where will I find the greatest degree of peace, happiness and joy for myself?

8)  Where will I find the crap of life that is the most manageable (because it will always rear its ugly head).

At least I know this time, that I stand on a precipice, that my choice will have long reaching consequences in my life.  But the question remains:  what shall I do?


  1. Hello,

    I am such a mooch. I was planning on using your apartment when I travel to the Middle East. If you waiver on that plan, then I must waiver on mine to visit you.

    If you no longer work retail, where am I going to get good scarves from.

    And if you choose the 3rd option ... then I will offer to edit your thesis. Oh, just fix the easy stuff -- you won't get any of the hard work on the content from me.



  2. I Love you and ever since I've met and known you I have looked up to your brillance and strength. Of course there has been a tad bit of envy thrown in there too. You write beautifuly, your smart, well educated, well traveled, and the countless other talents that make you as wonderful as you are.

    You have three great options, money, travel, and education.

    Let me say as one of those pee-ons as much as it sucks to work at a job you hate, which I have done my whole life. I want to be able to wake up in the morning and like what I do. Better yet I don't just want to like it I want to love it and be excited for once when I wake up. Will you feel this way about any of your 3 options?

    The idea of being able to make money is so far out of my mind right now. Most of my life I've only made enough to get by and to support my self, but to have excess. That would be a dream, all the things I could do with it. But would it make me happy? Would it make you happy? are you happy now?

    I suppose your post came at a good time, I've been thinking alot about what to do with my life. Not that Im compairing, but I have been spending countless nights awake with out sleep worrying about it. All I can do is weigh the pros and cons.

    What ever your decision It will be a good one.

  3. Don't pick school. You can be intellectually stimulated without attending a formal educational institution. If I was in your shoes right now I would ask myself if I actually liked the $$ job. If I did, and liked the idea of more responsibility (given that you seem to have a knack for it, even without the formal business background) I'd pick the $$ job.

    Take these words with a grain of salt and keep in mind that I'm poor, it's not fun. Money seems like a good option and one that would help ensure a comfortable future, allow you to buy books (to become more intellectual), and give you the funds to travel to countries where Christianity is not the dominant religion.

    Money doesn't make you happy, but it can help you do the things that do make you happy. It can also help you help others (in more ways than just financial). Good luck with the decision, I can't wait to hear what you do!!

  4. Seija,
    I just put this on your Facbook wall but I wanted to share this quick research with others.

    Just wanted to thank you for the comment on my blog and remind you of an important tidbit. The average Canadian woman works outside the home for an average of 20 years. Even those who spend a good many years working in the home as stay-at-home caregivers. The difference between women who obtain high levels of education and those who don't is $$$wage$$$. You may be poor now but you will have the highest wage of any woman I know once you have finished you PhD. Associate Professors in Canada make between $65,000 per year and $111, 000 per year depending on the size of University and where it is in Canada.

    Compare this to the women who did not finish University, or who has one degree and works full-time, or who 20 - 25 years after staying home and raising her children enters the work force, or who are immigrants, or a woman who is single and working full-time (some of this information is in this article.)

    Here is the best part of the article:
    The average earnings of employed women are still substantially lower than those of men, even when they are employed on a full-time basis. In 2003, women working on a full-time, full-year basis had average earnings of $36,500, or 71% what their male counterparts made. As well, the gap between the earnings of women and men has not changed substantially in the past decade. Women make up a disproportionate share of the population in Canada with low incomes as measured by Statistics Canada's low income cut-off (LICO) on an after-tax basis. Unattached women are particularly likely to have low incomes.

    Keep working on your PhD because the poverty you feel now, is not long term. When you are making $111,000 per year, I will let you take me to Europe! :)

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