1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Making money

  1. Mar 4, 2009 #1
    How important is making money with regards to your career goals? For me it is a low prioity. I enjoy mathematics so much I'll do it for free. What's your opinion?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 4, 2009 #2


    User Avatar

    That is nice but it will be really hard to find a spouse who wants to live with a person working for free or retire ever.
  4. Mar 4, 2009 #3
    For me it is way down on the list, perhaps off it. I worked in industry and saw how much life sucks for these business people, the day to day routine is so boring. My gf will probably disagree with me but as long as we can afford to live,etc I am happy I dont need to be rich.
  5. Mar 4, 2009 #4
    It is definately a priority, unless I find a sugar momma soon. I wouldn't say that money is top priority though.
  6. Mar 4, 2009 #5
    Well, if you become a professor, you can do math all day, teach only about 6 hours a week, and still get over $100k/year if you work at a top institution. Sounds pretty nice to me.
  7. Mar 4, 2009 #6
    I want to be self sufficient and be able to pursue the interests I love. It's hard to get engaged in different projects if you're house is being foreclosed on or you're trying hard to make ends meet. In that sense, making a lot of money is important to me. But so are ethics. I don't want to make money unethically to the detriment of others. I'm not one of those reactionary refuse to pay my taxes greedy types.
  8. Mar 4, 2009 #7
    do you like to eat?

    don't get me wrong, I want to pursue what I love as well but money is still a priority; I agree with lubuntu I don't need to be rich though (100k salary does sound nice on the other hand haha)
  9. Mar 4, 2009 #8
    the way I see it is you can either dedicate your life to making money, which is what probably >95% or Americans do or you can dedicate your life to pursuing what gives you happiness? I think we only have one chance so I am taking the second one and pursuing my happiness, learning about the nature of our universe.
  10. Mar 4, 2009 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Why are the two mutually exclusive?
  11. Mar 4, 2009 #10
    Atleast for me they are, I'm sure some people can find happiness in jobs where they make gobs of cash.
  12. Mar 5, 2009 #11
    I think maybe what Choppy was getting at is what if you love your job, but it just happens, merely incidentally, to be well paying.

    Like the physicists at the company I work for. They initially came for the research and excitement of helping to build up a small tech company. And now that the company can afford it, they are indeed being payed gobs of money!
  13. Mar 5, 2009 #12
    It's all dandy to say you don't care about money while your parents are still supporting you. Wait til you get into the real world, all on your own.
  14. Mar 5, 2009 #13
    Everyone always says that to students...I don't get it.

    The real world is a piece of cake. I always heard about the "real world" from professors that refused to let students make up a quiz, or failed a student for missing an exam because of a family funeral, etc.

    Then I got to the real world and realized it's easier than taking a nap. Late for a meeting? "Bob, can you catch Troponin up on the 5 min he missed? He was in another meeting with Sal."

    Can't make it to work because of a sick child? "No problem Troponin, think you can get that article in by email this afternoon still?"

    If you can make it through a rigorous hard science program, the "real world" is nothing.
  15. Mar 5, 2009 #14
    That also depends on what your "real world" is...I think the truth is really too varied to generalize like that. It is true - I have friends that are bored to death of their jobs because they aren't challenged and given minimal work. HOWEVER I also have friends (and I also fall into this category) who are completely overloaded with work.

    For instance, Small company: "OK, you two have to develop this spectrometer by the end of the quarter. I know this is a job for a large R&D group, but we could only afford to hire two of you so you will each have to operate at 5000% efficiency and be insanely lucky at getting things to work"

    Or even in some large company nowadays "OK, now you have to do the job of 10 other people since we just laid them off"

    Ok, so these are exaggerations, but they are the sort of things I hear now and then. I also find it rewarding working for the small company because you can actually see your impact on the company's progress...which is kind of cool.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2009
  16. Mar 5, 2009 #15


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    As long as I can eat well and live in a decent house or flat, I'm happy and wouldn't ask more.
    It's not a priority at all for me. However studying physics is much more important to me and I'd do it for free if I could live for free!
  17. Mar 5, 2009 #16


    User Avatar

    I wouldnt bank my life on receiving one of 200 positions with the positions being taken for 30 years at a time therefore no real turnaround so that effectively there is a few positions every few years.
  18. Mar 5, 2009 #17


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    While I'm sure it's open to critique, this study has received it's share of attention over the years:
    http://education.ucsb.edu/janeconoley/ed197/documents/brickman_lotterywinnersandaccidentvictims.pdf [Broken]

    In summary - lottery winners are no happier than paralyzed accident victims over time. The general extension from this (and likely other similar studies) is to suggest that there is no correlation between wealth and happiness.

    That being said, I think ignoring money can lead to a lot of problems such as the accumulation of debt, the inability to meet unexpected expenses, restrictions on travel, and disagreements with partners on how to spend what money you share - all of which increase stress, which creates an obstacle to happiness.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  19. Mar 5, 2009 #18
    to the person saying the real world is a piece of cake you should really think about that, just because your job is so accommodating don't think everyone is so fortunate. Trying working 2 jobs to support your family, and I don't mean office jobs I mean manual labor or construction see how accomodating they are, "oh i can't make it in today because of a sick child", "oh ok you're fired, good luck feeding them "
  20. Mar 5, 2009 #19
    Obviously there is a continuum of these situations but I think most smart people could if they tried find an equilibrium between having enough money to be comfortable and doing something they really enjoy. Of course, I could be severely wrong because who know what will happen to me if I don't get into grad school :(. Probably end up a used car sales man.
  21. Mar 5, 2009 #20


    User Avatar

    I think that might be due to the realization that a few million isnt enough to live on forever and that a big chunk is taken away by taxes and inflation is only getting worse.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  22. Mar 5, 2009 #21

    Putting yourself in a position with a better job in the "real world" is easier than achieving success in a difficult academic program.

    The complaint isn't against the real world in general, it is a complaint that is made to (presumably high functioning students) in academia....from professors that the "real world" will be unforgiving to them.

    Ironically, this statement is most often made from professors who've spent their entire lives in academia.....and have never "really" been in the real world.
  23. Mar 5, 2009 #22
    This is just completely false. I know several professors who held positions in industry as engineers or scientists, and none of them ever said that the real world was a "piece of cake". My own parents have worked in the health care industry for decades, and they are always telling me how brutal the hours and working conditions are. These are professionals with post-graduate degrees who make very comfortable incomes. There are some people who slack off at work, but they rarely last for any length of time.
  24. Mar 5, 2009 #23
    Yeah, people complain about anything if you talk to them long enough.
    I'm sure someone coming in from the steel mills will really sympathize with their plight.
    You said yourself that they make comfortable incomes.

    You can think the real world is brutal, that's fine.
    I'm saying that if you can make it through a post-graduate degree program, you typically won't find a ton of misery and financial despair when you move on to the "real world."

    I'm not a young student.
    I've held two and three jobs to put my wife through school.
    I've started a business while still holding a full time job.
    I now own two businesses and effectively "retired" before I hit 30. I'm back in school because of some deep-seeded insecurity/stupidity to earn a degree in Math and Physics because I was always bothered that I never did good...or applied myself to those subjects.

    The real world was easy. If you have a decent level of intelligence and a good work ethic, you can make a life for yourself that is better than most people will be able to enjoy.

    I find academia much less forgiving than "real world" employers. I find professors to be, on the average, must more condescending than "real world" bosses.
    You're more than welcome to feel differently.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2009
  25. Mar 6, 2009 #24
    You really don't know what you're talking about.
  26. Mar 6, 2009 #25
    What up with every sentence having its own line, is that a poem or something?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook