The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

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horsewoman
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The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by horsewoman »

I enjoyed this article by Paul Dolan, professor of behavioural science at the London School of Economics:

"The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?"

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/ ... ever-after

It was linked in this blog post
http://newescapologist.co.uk/2020/01/08 ... arratives/

Frita
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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by Frita »

Hm, there is some assumption that everyone should want more, needs to use education to achieve, and need someone else to be okay (Whoa, my extroverted self is a bit taken back that I typed that.). In my opinion, the end goal of happy sets us up for such myths and a never ending search for something better. I would rather to be at peace with whatever is, whether my preference and/or discerned to be pleasant, than happy any day.

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Stahlmann
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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by Stahlmann »

rich people (in global scale; undestood in terms of: political stability+income+possible "opportunities"+capital of 2-3 letters from your passport) saying that money doesn't make happy... again :-DD

ertyu
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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by ertyu »

well, no, rich people in "local scale" too.

that's a common blind spot to many of these books. because who buys a book like this? usually, educated + extra disposable income. Minimum wage workers will have better places to drop between 1 and 2 hours of wages. And who writes books? Usually educated, too. The bottom line is, non-fiction of this genre is often written by the (upper)middle class for the (upper)middle class. In the case of this guy, he does mention that money makes a huge difference when one is poor. But yes, this is a book targeted mostly at the middle class.

horsewoman
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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by horsewoman »

Of course the book/article is aimed at middle class, was this in question? Me thinks it is important that "the middle class" is given something to think about, some reasons to question if this way of life is really what it seems like. It's not, obviously - to us! But for those in the rat race of middle class this "striving for more, no matter the price" is very real. As someone who is deeply embedded in middle class lifestyle (family and most of my social circle) while living a very different lifestyle I often try to make the points raised in the article in conversations. It's like Wheaton levels, you need to use similar language to reach people. In this regard this article was interesting to me.

Also I don't understand the reference of @Strahlmann - it is very clearly stated in the article what the research says about how much money makes happy. Nobody says that no money makes you happy.

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Bankai
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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by Bankai »

Apparently you're not allowed to be unhappy or have any problems if you live in a 1st world country.

Frita
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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by Frita »

horsewoman wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 5:49 am
As someone who is deeply embedded in middle class lifestyle (family and most of my social circle) while living a very different lifestyle I often try to make the points raised in the article in conversations. It's like Wheaton levels, you need to use similar language to reach people. In this regard this article was interesting to me.
How does the conversation come up? Perhaps it is due to family dynamics and moving or just no longer working at all, but we rarely have such conversations. Too bad.

@bankai
Having problems seems to be part of the human condition. First world problems that are very real seem to be anxiety, depression, obesity, and general overconsumption with a conditional view of happiness. There is choice involved that some in developing countries never have.

horsewoman
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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by horsewoman »

Frita wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 8:52 am
How does the conversation come up? Perhaps it is due to family dynamics and moving or just no longer working at all, but we rarely have such conversations. Too bad.
Mostly because people cannot phantom how we make do on two part-time incomes (the two of us are working under 30 hours a week combined), while still paying off our house before 40 and a kid in private school...
Parents and siblings are worried about us not paying enough into the state pension system...
Our refusal of doing "normal" things like going on holidays, driving new cars, eating out, having our kid in lots of organised activities,...
I guess all the things people on this forum get questions about!

Even though we try not to, we do stick out like a sore thumb in our middle class environment and get questioned a lot (even though often good naturedly!).

Frita
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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by Frita »

@horsewoman
Thank you for explaining. It sounds like you are interacting with people closer in Wheaten levels than me. They can see some value in what you’re doing.

Please indulge me in a bird walk: This past week one of my teen’s friends texted asking what he was buying her for her birthday. He replied the stores were closed, to which she replied that Amazon was an option. (Note that this girl would not be okay with a non-purchased present.) After some deliberation, he replied that as she knows he isn’t really into gifting but more into relationships and experiences. She unfriended him on Snapchat. That is a similar reaction from adults when they realize my spouse and I no longer work for money (though we volunteer with community activities as though they were part-time gigs). Even normal-age retired people here are baffled and standoffish. The (often self-inflicted) struggle for survival in the US is blinding. Do you think Germans have a different attitude toward money and possessions?

On a side note from the thread on post-corona virus gigs, the interest shown from people suggests that inspiring/showing/helping others with your method could be well-received.

ertyu
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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by ertyu »

I don't think it's the attitude towards money and possessions, I think it's the equivalent of the schroedinger's cat but for personal finance. If someone lives on savings and supplements with the occasional gig, you never know if this is a financially responsible person who has managed to save because they really have their shit and their life together or whether it's some secret pill popper that's living on the edge one step away from coming to pester you to give them money. People would rather be safe than sorry. It is for this reason I plan to keep saying I work online from home (e.g. translator or some such) rather than discuss my finances honestly with people. If people think you have a full time job, they are much more likely to trust that you are taking care of yourself financially and you are not about to use them for cash.

horsewoman
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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by horsewoman »

@frita wow that's really shitty behavior by your son's friend! I can imagine that this is rather frustrating for him, but I suppose he his well rid of her in the long run.

I recently celebrated my 40th Birthday and a couple of girlfriends made up a funny song about me and performed it at my party. There was lots of ribbing about my love for repurposing and used stuff, my disdain of store-bought cut flowers and my penny-pinching ways. I laughed myself silly.
But like I said, it was absolutely good-natured, even though my friends all lead perfectly normal middle-class lives.

IDK if it is because of a different personality in Germans, but at least to my face people are not unfriendly. Most are genuinely curious about how we live, even though they would never do it themselves. But I really don't interact on a deeper level with very many people, so it is a small sample. I've also kind of a self-deprecating sense humor and a "spiel" in which I highlight the "hardships" of our way of life in a humorous manner. People seem to like this and it keeps conversations about this topic on a light-hearted level.
Also, Germans as a whole are a lot more "green" than Americans, so you can always work from that angle - waste reduction, environmental issues, and minimalism instead of the money angle. There is more common ground to be found here with mainstream minded folks, which makes starting a conversation easier.
In my social circle, it is more of a "golden-handcuffs" scenario than a self-inflicted struggle for survival. Our area is dense with heavy industries, so people have been used for decades to high salaries and stable jobs.

Peanut
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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by Peanut »

Bankai wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:48 am
Apparently you're not allowed to be unhappy or have any problems if you live in a 1st world country.
Yes, and this attitude is terrible. I liked this article about how the phrase "first world problems" can be arrogant and condescending.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/ ... o-everyone

Frita
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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by Frita »

@ertyu
I never thought of that. Being some person living on the edge seems to be an assumption made more to singles and couples, versus families, but perhaps that is my own bias showing. Work isn’t something I really care to discuss and don’t. What outs us more than anything is freetime and independence. People here either have really good jobs for the area (very depressed wages) which they’d never give up or work multiple part-time gigs or are retired nowhere near early. There is a sense of quiet desperation and competition that we just can’t fake.

@horsewoman
How cool of your friends to create a song for your 40th incorporating your pastimes! It could be an opener for your potential YouTube station.

My teen seems to be taking it in stride. He said he would resume the friendship if she could have a conversation; otherwise, this was saving him from wasting time in the future.

Hm, I wonder what has created more of a German mainstream attitude toward waste reduction, recycling, and minimalism versus the US. Some of what I observe here is people thinking that putting a castoff on the curb is waste reduction, using cloth bags to put all their prepackaged groceries (and recycling the cardboard/cans) is being green, and having roommates (even families) due to the cost of living.

Aha, in your area there have been and are plenty of good jobs to go around. That explains a lot. I never understood this dynamic and how it affects a community until coming here. Tying into what @ertyu wrote, anyone is potentially competition where we live.

@peanut
I read the article. To me, the term “first-world problem” is irritating because it is vague so one does not know if it is meant to be, or taken as, arrogant and condescending. Being in a privileged position makes one less aware in general and less likely to desire to have a conversation about the situation. Does it seem that once the term “first-world problem” is used, the topic is closed?

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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by jacob »

I've gotten the "Are you happy?"-question during various ERE meetups. I hate the question because it shoehorns a complex state of being into two boxes (happy and not happy). Indeed, I can't figure out where this obsession with happiness comes from? Is it US centric? Is it generational? Lifestyle based? Yolo? Temperamental, like Fe being a dominant function?

Denmark often takes #1 as "the happiest country on earth", but the Danish expression (lykkelig) does not translate into "happy" (glad), but more something akin to "fortunate". Indeed, this is as far as I understand what "happy" used to mean until it became more about one's current "feels". This also explains why they rank so high on the self-reported "happiness" scale. They essentially have very "little to worry about". Yet whether one has "little to worry about" is not what those asking the happiness-question usually want to know.

I prefer to see the question in terms of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27 ... y_of_needs ... This also puts the #firstworldproblem in its proper context. The right question to ask would be "are you self-actualizing?" For some this would imply being on a hedonistic joyride (the happy ones?) and for others it would be something else.

daylen
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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by daylen »

@Jacob I think Yolo is more of a Se/Ne thing. I never really understood the obsession with happiness either but it appears to be to Fe as "effective" is to Te. Never really liked the idea of effectiveness either. :)

Fortunate implies that something else is allowing you to exist or be satisfied or happy or effective or whatever. US culture prefers the idea that survival/satisfaction/happiness/effectiveness comes from within. Both seem like equally valid counter-nihilism tactics to me.

Loner
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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by Loner »

My guess is that the current popular definition of happiness (i.e. hedonistic) emanates from marketing in conjunction with the consumerist culture since it's the only kind of happiness that can be bought. You can't buy self-actualization, tranquility, satisfaction with life, and most of the other kinds of happiness we can think of since they imply an effort on your part. You can, otoh, buy experiences, restaurants, travels, etc., and everything else that passes for happiness these days.

Frita
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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by Frita »

Happiness does seem to correlate with feeling. When working in elementary schools, ESFJ/ISFJ teachers dominated. They were extremely concerned over student happiness to the point of telling a crying kid to stop, for example.

Like @daylen, effectiveness does not speak to my T. I value not wasting, well sort of as sometimes doing nothing is a good use of time. This is my good enough version of effectiveness.

HalfCent
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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by HalfCent »

Props to @Loner, that's deep.

daylen
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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by daylen »

@Frita Both T functions are concerned with effectiveness (does it work?) and efficiency (how well?). The difference between the extroverted version (Te) and the introverted version (Ti) is more a matter of decision making frequency. Te is better suited for rapidly making many decisions; Ti is better suited to deliberating over few decisions. Te is heuristical whereas Ti is more likely to complicate things.

A similar distinction can be made for Fe/Fi. Fe is heuristical with people and emotions. Where Fi sees many shades of grey, Fe tends to see in black and white. In a situation where many people must be dealt with rapidly (e.g. school), Fe dominates because just dealing with happy, sad, or disobedient kids is a whole lot easier than actually empathizing with every single kid.

The reason Te gets on my nerves in particular is that it often reduces the complexity of models into "good enough" versions for a narrow set of situations. This probably captures the most important part of the model and works in the most important situations but it still feels a bit like a gut shot. :)

In contrast, Fe does not bother me at all. Shallow emotions allow for deep thoughts which is my primary directive. Sometimes it is even a good tool to use when encountering many people (AKA mirroring and forgetting).

Frita
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Re: The money, job, marriage myth: are you happy yet?

Post by Frita »

@daylen
Now my former life in education is more making sense, thanks! As an ENTP, I tend to see the complexity of the situation rather than the model. My ISTJ spouse balances/mellows me out.

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