Friday, August 03, 2007

Die Broke - Mercantile Ethic

I have been reading Die Broke by Stephen M. Pollan. A major point of the book is that individuals should think about their work as primarily a job to generate income. He calls this the mercantile ethic. Forget about spiritual, belonging or self actualization components of a career. Mr. Pollan proposes that these career ideas were created when jobs were plentiful and people worked primarily at one company.

At first, I didn't buy into this point. While most of his other points made sense, working only "for money" didn't sit well with me. After all, I had grown up with the belief that a career should be purposeful and satisfying. Upon thinking about the point further, I think I now understand and accept his concept.

It should be a job, no more and no less. A job should be an important part of one's life, not one's entire life. Money is a tool to be use. A job is to make money. One should work hard and excel at one's job, but primarily to make money. One should look for acceptance, spiritual growth, or personal development in other areas of life, not from one's job.

In the context of making money, a job should be something at which one is good and optimally at which one can excel. Skills and experiences should be directed towards increasing one's ability to make money. A job should not and cannot be everything to someone.

How then should one address one's spiritual, personal development and acceptance needs? Here's what Mr. Pollan recommends:

Spiritual - Get religion or join a church. One's spiritual needs should be filled from these places instead of work.

Personal Development - Get a life. Have personal interests, hobbies and do non-work activities that one enjoys. Be the best spouse, parent, neighbor, friend or citizen you can be.

Acceptance - Get a family and good friends. They can provide love, friendship and a sense of belonging.

For more on Reaping the Rewards, check back every Friday for a new segment.

This is not financial or career advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2007 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

1 comment:

Zachary said...

I completely agree with the point about a job just being a job, whose primary goal is to make money. I have had a diversity of jobs and the end result is the same for each: a paycheck to get on with my real life.