Undoubtedly, you’ve heard the phrase “money is the root of all evil.” Whether or not you believe it, it’s a notion baked into our society, based on the idea that:
- Money makes us act immorally by causing greed and corruption
- It has an inordinate power over us by controlling our aspirations, dreams and actions
- It destroys lives and relationships when it becomes an obsession
- It is the sole measuring stick that defines success
Enter, me. I was convinced all business people blindly pursue money, dooming them to a shallow, empty existence, devoid of meaning. In order to avoid that fate, I moved to the Costa Rican jungle in search of something more. I was determined to shed the excess in order to connect with what brings true fulfillment and not let money cloud my judgment. Maybe if I moved to where money mattered less, I could follow my dreams, discover my values and live them out.
Reality struck as I was working 12-hour days, making $2 an hour. I was alone, far from family and close friends, unable to communicate effectively with locals and feeling purposeless. This wasn’t quite the idealized life I envisioned. What’s more, the Costa Ricans weren’t doing much better. They were struggling for money too. In fact, money seemed to dominate them as much or more because it was so scarce. I recognized that I couldn’t run away from money. We need money to survive in civilization. It mediates our exchanges with one another. I realized that even in the jungle, money is the life-blood of society.
Maybe money isn’t the root of all evil. Maybe the evil occurs when our desire becomes money. The problem arises when we ask money to replace us as the driver. Money will take me where I want to go, but I must remember I am in control. I understand that money is not the end goal, it’s not happiness and it doesn’t outline a code of values. Keeping this in mind, I can determine what I want, what I value, what my purpose is while still using money. With this awareness, I am not its puppet, rather money is my tool.
Now, almost a year later, I am a Compensation Consultant. Not only is money my livelihood, it is my job! But I worry, have I now become a foot-soldier for the very thing I detested, reinforcing the same empty values I fought against
I don’t think so, as long as I focus on reinforcing what money fundamentally represents. Money is a form of exchange based on the value of things people create. It allows us to trade the result of one person’s efforts for another’s. Money is founded on the principles of valuing our effort, our production, our ability to create something in this world. Used in its ideal sense, money rewards living out these values. Money respects our hard work. Since money reflects hard work, and hard work is honorable, money reflects something honorable.
As a compensation consultant, my goal is to help companies use money according to the principles it represents. Then it is not a source of corruption, but a way to reward competency and results and the best humanity has to offer. Employees can look to money as a measure of the manifestation of the greatest power within us.
I dream to create and leave my mark on this world. I used to think money was a poison that would impede me from achieving my dreams. Now I realize that money is only a poison if it becomes my dreams. As I aspire for excellence, money is a manifestation and reward of that excellence. I CAN have a fulfilling life while respecting money.
GUEST BLOGGER -- Andie Romanoff is a Consultant with Romanoff Consulting. She recently joined the firm after graduating from University of California Berkeley with a B.A. in Philosophy. Andie brings to her job a fascination with business culture, team-building, leadership development, and employee motivation. She will be taking over responsibility for marketing, selling and managing Incentive Plan Builder, our on-line incentive design tool.