When I was a teenager, I remember saying to my youth pastor, “When I’m older, I don’t need a big house; I just want one like my parents.” His response was to laugh and say, “What are you talking about? Your parents have a really big house.” Back then I didn’t get what he was talking about, but now that I’m older and a home owner myself, I completely understand his response. He was right; my parents had/have a really big house. As a kid, I didn’t see it that way. Compared to the custom built, three story mini-mansions, how could our house be big? Besides, I was a country kid and all my country friends had similar sized houses. My family wasn’t special. Sure, the house had five bedrooms and plenty of room for running around on top of a property that’s as wide as four properties of houses on my current street, but it was just a one storey house. I had no idea how lucky I was because I didn’t know how different life was for others. How often do we miss how lucky we have it because what’s considered special to many is just “normal” to us? Realizing how lucky we are is incredibly important, especially when it comes to appreciating our jobs.
Here are a couple fun facts I found on the statcan website:
- In 2015, the average household median income was $70 336. . If you didn’t catch that, let me point it out again: “The average household median.” That means the total income of both earners (if there are two earners) was $70,336.
- “According to the 2011 NHS, 10% of Canadians had total incomes of more than $80,400 in 2010 almost triple the national median income of $27,800. To be in the top 5%, Canadians needed to have a total income of slightly above $102,300 and to be in the top 1% required just over $191,100, nearly seven times the national median income.”
Did you catch that? Yes, the last stat is almost ten years old, but it won’t be that much different now, but the median income was under $30k a year! Ouch. And if you make $80k a year, you are in the top 10% of all of Canada. That means most government paid workers (e.g. politicians, consultants, police, principals, teachers, paramedics, and fire fighters) are in top 10% of wage earners. I hope they appreciate what they`re paid when every dollar they make comes at the expense of Canadian citizens just as I have to appreciate every client I see… but I digress.
Side note: If you make over $80k a year and you’re struggling to pay your bills, this is a clear sign that you need to re-evaluate how you’re spending your money because 90% of the people in the country are surviving with less and your total income is more than the average median income of most household’s dual incomes.
How financially beneficial your job is should actually be calculated by more than your wage. To better appreciate our jobs we need to look beyond our paystub. For instance, here are some important factors to consider:
- How long is your commute? (Driving an hour to work will cost you a lot more than being able to walk to work)
- How secure is your job from layoffs or at risk of dry spells where you’ll make less?
- Are there benefits and/or a pension plan?
- Is there room to increase income in your career? (e.g. hygienists are pretty set rate with little option for movement)
- Are you home in time to have regular family dinners?
- Do you get to work from home occasionally, on really bad snow days, or if your kids are sick?
- Do you get paid sick days and/or holiday pay? (e.g. business owners only get paid if we’re at work)
- Can you leave work early to take your kids to things like dance and hockey games?
- What are your holidays like? Do you get to chose when you take them?
- Do you get tax breaks for your expenses? (The one perk of being a business owner)
- Do you have to pay someone to do your bookkeeping and/or taxes like someone who owns their own business?
- How much does extra childcare cost (e.g. daycare, before and after school care)?
- Is there personal satisfaction in your job like helping people or do you need to find it after hours in a volunteer position?
- Does your job stimulate your brain or are you doing a job like an assembly line worker?
- Is your workspace climate controlled or do you work outside?
- How much is your work uniform(s)?
- Does your job mean you need specialist visits like massage because of wear and tear on your body?
- Do you have physical, emotional, or mental energy left for your family after work?
- Does your job allow you a routine schedule that makes life less chaotic than someone who manages a store?
- Do you get any perks with your job like a car, phone, or laptop to save you from buying your own?
- Do you enjoy your colleagues, clients, and/or work atmosphere?
- Do you get regular sleep or do you have to work nights?
- Do you have the ability to work paid overtime or have time for a side job?
- Do you get healthy social interaction (too much or too little)?
- How hard was it to get to this position? (e.g. bar exam and MCATs are pretty brutal)
- What’s your busy season like? (e.g. accountants have defined busy seasons)
- Do you have to bring work home with you or can you leave work at work?
- What extra fees do you have to pay like insurance or a governing body? (e.g. I pay over $1000/year for insurance and my college of psychotherapists)
- Do you have to do extra learning to continue your position? (e.g. healthcare professionals have to do this)
If you’re struggling with your job, the one thing I will point out is if you’re unemployed and looking for work, that’s one of the worst feelings you can ever have. It crushes your sense of self-worth and purpose while pushing you towards a pit of hopeless. Even if we don’t like our jobs and looking for a new one, we need to be grateful for what we have because it could be worse.
This week may we take a moment to remember how lucky we actually are.
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people (like me)