And yes, on occasional, we experience a few moments of professional satisfaction for a job well done, but mostly we take it without so much as a kiss or a complaint.
I know from experience--and so do many of my friends--that no amount of money is worth the stress that fogs our focus, raises our blood pressure and twists worries so tight we can't sleep. And we know that stress is cumulative, building in our bodies over time--like plaque in our arteries--until our health is compromised for the rest of our lives.
Yet, when I say that slinging hash in a tourist trap has more allure than putting on my work clothes, many of these same friends react with horror. "You don't really mean that," is the most common response, followed by, "Be grateful you have a job."
Really? Does that mean the prostitute should just be grateful that the john didn't actually kill her? Sure, it's work. But at what cost?
Sadly, when pressed, most people continue to work in soul-sucking environments because of insurance needs. Either they have a condition that could kill them without continued medical care or they fear bleeding out in the ER if an accident happens because they don't have insurance and...
OMG, did I just talk myself into supporting universal healthcare?
Let me think about it.
Yep, I did. The stress in my job is short-term (I hope) and will go away soon. But what about other people? What about those who don't see the end of the road? The poor? Chronically ill? Children? Regardless of circumstances, I don't think insurance, or lack thereof, should drive our choices.
At the end of the day, most of us are willing to live with less stuff, and maybe even dumpster dive for dinner rather than work in place that slowly kills us, but few of us are willing to gamble with our health or our family's health in the short-term even if it means we saddle ourself with long-term, chronic illnesses.