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Prestige vs Money . . .

May 3, 2012

A friend posed this question a few days ago via Facebook . . . and I guess it sort of got me to thinking a bit . . .

Would you rather be a janitor/secretary/maid and make 100K or a CEO/Dr/Engineer and make 40K?

There were a lot of answers and a lot of theories and to each individual the question posed different problems, issues and so on and so forth. Do I want to do physical labor (janitor/secretary/maid) and make bookoo (is that a word) bucks but not be respected by society as someone of importance, or do I want to sit at a desk and tell other people what to do (basically) and make less money but have society look up to me for being super smart and powerful? So, edit the question:

Is it more important to make a lot of money OR be respected and have prestige in your workplace?

or even better

what makes you gain prestige in the workplace?

Well, doesn’t that pose some issues too? What makes the CEO/Dr/Engineer respected in the first place? The money they make or the money they spent (on college and grad school and all their various degrees) to get there? I think that might very well say something about our society in general – the answer to that question. Personally, I think the money they make is what makes them respected, therefore, the answer to question 1 is simple: janitor making 100K because you’d still get the respect even though you were doing a ‘menial’ job.


I don’t know. I could talk myself into circles all night about this. But, the answer for me is simple.

Respect, prestige, being in a position of power etc etc should not have anything to do with how SOCIETY views YOU, but how YOU view YOURSELF.

I’m an artist. I make way less than both of these numbers, but you know what, I have my own prestige, my own power, my own respect, because I give it to myself. And, well, in the end, I think that’s what counts.

{Nicole, our former guest blogger would have done a much better job at writing this out in a coherent form, but since she’s busy planning a wedding, traveling the world, and waxing eloquent on facebook, you have to deal with me;)}

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 3, 2012 10:52 am

    I really like this question! I think I’d go for the janitor making more money. Why? Well 1) the job is probably less stressful 2) It’s physical so I wouldn’t have to work out on top of it and 3) more money, duh.

    While I appreciate the prestige of the CEO position, I’d rather empty trashcans than have to deal with a lot of important issues that I probably don’t care about. If they both paid the same, I would probably still choose janitor since I feel like it’s a job that you leave and don’t have to worry about–I bet CEO’s bring their work home a lot!

  2. May 3, 2012 11:48 am

    Well – in essence, as CEO of our art businesses we have chosen the latter…

    I think there are artists that choose the prestige of saying they are ‘starving artists’ in lieu of focusing on their businesses to make them financially successful as well.

    I’m not sure you’d get very different answers from people currently laboring at lower paying jobs than those making $100k+… Same pay with less responsibility? Sure! Same job with 3x the money? Sure! Is it the job or the money that motivates? The answer will depend mostly on if your identity is wrapped up in what you do OR if it is just a means to provide, not to mention if you are currently struggling financially…

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