THE SANTA CLARA
May 22, 2014
As graduation draws near, seniors at Santa Clara face many important decisions, including which jobs to apply for and accept as our first major steps into life after college.
Of course, a pivotal factor in that decision is often the starting salary. Many students view money as a factor not only in job satisfaction, but also in their overall happiness.
What role should money play in our future happiness?What role should money play in our future happiness?
A recent student panel in Graham Commons discussed Sam Polk’s article “For the Love of Money” from The New York Times. Polk made $3.6 million in bonuses on Wall Street by age 30 when he realized that he was addicted to money. His exorbitant amount of wealth did not make him any happier, a disheartening fact that caused him to quit his job to go into nonprofit work.
Students discussed how many at Santa Clara get used to a certain lifestyle, going out to eat often and spending money on other comforts. Would we be able to give that up if we’re going to be fulfilled in our careers, or are we sort of stuck needing a certain salary and a higher standard of living to be happy? Is this problem a product of being at Santa Clara or is it a national or global culture?
Students also noted the difficulty between choosing a job that makes you happy over one that pays more. How do you know when the scale tips between not making enough to be happy, even at a job that you love, and making more than enough money but not being fulfilled at work?
For the past several months, students have been asked, “What are you doing this summer?” or “What are your plans after graduation?”
We compare notes with friends and classmates on where they have applied, what jobs they have been offered and, yes, how much they are getting paid.
Perhaps it’s because we believe that a number can quantify our worth to an organization.
If Company X offers me more than Company Z, they must value my work more, even though a salary should not quantify one’s worth. Or perhaps some of us simply made it one of our goals to accumulate wealth and have not thought too much about why.
Ultimately, we look to get paid what we “deserve,” but how do we determine what we “deserve?”
Culture at Santa Clara might favor an uncritical view of wealth accumulation. What is clear, though, is that there needs to be an ongoing, open discussion among students about how we view money and how our desire for money is affecting our futures.
Nellie Bohac is a senior finance and political science double major.