She might have worked at data entry forever had SourceCorp not laid her off. “I used to do the only thing I thought I could earn money from,” she says, “but I was kind of content.” Not content in a happy way but content in that she wasn’t looking for any other type of work. “It’s sometimes easier to stay where you’re at, instead of trying to get to someplace else.”
The American Prospect has a very good profile of Sue Christian, a mother of two who lives in one of America’s poorest counties: Owsley County in Booneville, Kentucky where 40 percent of the population lives in poverty. At 40, Sue decided to go to college so she could get a job in education to earn more money, and six months after graduating, was able to land a job working with middle school students. Sue gets a happy ending.
What was interesting to me, though, was that Sue was content (though not happy) to continue working at a job that paid her minimum wage, and didn’t get the wakeup call that she could be doing something better—and better paid—with her life until she was laid off from her job.
I think about all the times I’ve been content (but not happy) with a job because it met my basic needs, and why I was willing to stay at those jobs for so long even if they’re not fulfilling.
Sue is right: It’s always easier to stay where you’re at, instead of trying to get to someplace else. But every time I had a wakeup call to try to get to that someplace else, I’ve always been better for it. I’m here, aren’t I?
Photo: Shutterstock/Joanne Harris