I can hear The O’Jays singing “For the Love of Money.”
It’s been just over two weeks since I began my first full-time job out of college, and now I’m holding my first post-university paycheck.
Now I know everything is falling into place. My paycheck is a normal amount of money that is capable of sustaining all my pesky little habits, i.e. eating and living in an inhabitable apartment. It isn’t $150 a week (which was what my full-time editor job in college paid), and it isn’t $7.50 an hour (what my server job paid, which is sadly the most I made at any point of college).
Sometimes when I’m at work, I forget I’m receiving a normal salary. For so long, I was paid little to no money, begging for scraps of work to keep me going. Such is the life of a student. You beg for an internship or job, claw your way above the other applicants, and receive mere breadcrumbs as a reward. I know many students who take great internships in far away cities and receive almost no compensation. And they still need to cover their living expenses.
It feels good to leave that game. I get paid like a real person with real bills now. I find myself awash with a sense of accomplishment — something that can only be felt when a check rests placidly in your hands.
How can a small piece of paper bring such joy?