Teachers have long hung their financial hat on the adage that “money can’t buy happiness.” Given their dismal salary, it's hard to know whether they did this out of true belief, cognitive dissonance, or to maintain some semblance of sanity.
And while the sentiment is admirable and hopefully rooted in truth, there are some exceptions.
In a recent experiment conducted by Harvard University and the University of British Columbia, 6,000 study participants from seven countries were give $40.00 to do with as they chose as long as they used it to provide themselves with some semblance of happiness. After spending the money, the participants were asked to complete a survey about their purchase(s) and their general level of satisfaction thereafter.
What did these blissful people buy? Fine wine? Tech gadgets? Clothing? Well, some people did, just not the happy ones.
It turns out that the key to answering this much-debated question lies in whether you used the money to buy products or services. Researchers discovered that those persons who spent their money paying someone else to do something they didn’t want to do achieved a much higher level of satisfaction than those who bought things.
Your new mantra:
“If it doesn’t take a Bachelors Degree in Music to complete the task, then it shouldn’t be done by someone who has a Bachelors Degree in music."
In other words, people who used the money to hire someone to mow their yard or clean their house were much happier than those who bought a new shirt or bluetooth headphones.
The lesson learned here applies to our profession and our jobs.
We all have part of our jobs that we dislike. And as unappealing as those parts may be, they still need to be done. No one signed up to be a music teacher to copy stand tunes. No one ever went to college dreaming of inventory management spreadsheets or successfully completed bus requests. But these things have to be done. However, that does not necessarily mean that it has to be done by YOU!
As music teachers, we may not have access to a large pool of money, but we do have access to eager workers who are wanting and willing to help. In the coming days and weeks I encourage you to think through the many simple tasks that add tedium to your day. Think of the things that, while not monstrous in nature, turn you into a monster and then assign them to someone else! It’s not child labor, it’s onshore outsourcing (I should trademark that).
So to the answer to the age-old question, “Can money buy you happiness?” The answer is a resounding YES! That is, if you know how to spend it.
Speaking of which, if I paid you $40.00 would you write next week's headline pun?