In the “just another word for nothin’ left to lose” department, take a look at this excellent post by Curmudgeon at BripBlap. Aside from having delivered an awesome piece of writing here, Curmudgeon is dead center on target. You don’t want to lose what matters in the pursuit of money or career.
Some years ago I connected with an old acquaintance. She was an associate professor in the Speech Department when I was in graduate school. Shortly after I finished the degree, she disappeared from the scene. She started a business of her own, catering to large corporations: basically what she did was hire out to teach the subject matter she’d taught in the classroom, only tailored to employee development. Before long she expanded the business to D.C. By the time we touched base again, she had farmed out the Washington office to a partner and moved back to the desert, where she continued to direct the operation. When we met for lunch, she was wearing more on her back than my entire net worth.
Like Curmudgeon, she had undergone a life-threatening medical experience while she was hitting her stride as a young professor, one that forced her to think about whether she really wanted to keep on with her job. When this happened to her, she was tenured and set for a perfectly fine academic career at a time when academic jobs were hard to come by. Her decision? She thought not.
The insight she gained from a dangerous health crisis was much the same as Curmudgeon’s: trading off your health for money—or for a job that makes you unhappy, for whatever reason—isn’t worth it.
Interestingly, after my friend started doing what she wanted to do with her life, she started to mint money. She loved what she was doing, and people paid her well for it.
The money will take care of itself. You have to take care of yourself.