Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Protestant work ethic

One of my brothers sent an interesting e-mail to the family earlier this week. Essentially it was to indicate agreement that in the rare instances when he purchases a lottery ticket--super-huge jackpots only--that we are already in a partnership with him for a certain percentage of the winnings. The idea behind it is that if he won and wanted to give each of us some money, the gift tax would limit how much he could give without half of that going to the government.

As I read more through it, at heart is him wanting to provide enough money that we could all live off the interest alone and not need to work if we chose to. (My parents are retired, although still working in some capacity.)

I agreed --it's really a can't lose proposition--but it got me thinking. If I had enough financial security that I did not need to work, would I stop working? I have no doubt that this particular brother would. He's talked about it before, and I don't necessarily think it's related to being unhappy in his current job.

While it sounds tempting to ditch the job and spend every hour of the day as I see fit, I'm not so sure I'd want to do that. Maybe that indicates I like what I do and, for all of the nonsense that's cropped up this year and in the past, am basically happy in the job. Maybe it means I don't have anything else or fear that I don't.

As great as an extended break sounds right now, I don't know that I'd want a permanent one. I'd be glad to have money not be a concern--who wouldn't?--but the work ethic ingrained in me feels like I'd still need to be doing something beside indulging my every whim. What a pleasant problem that would be to have, right?

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