Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Making a Difference versus the Mega Million Dollar Lottery

I am a very lucky person.  I have a job where I am making a difference, even if it is a small difference.  I teach GED classes, and I tutor high school students in math.

It is in the GED classes where I feel I am making the most difference in people's lives.  I am helping people getting their GED, which can enable people to go on to bigger and better things (college, a better job, etc.).  Two of my GED classes are at the jail in Manassas.  When the inmates get their GED, it can help them turn their lives around and become productive members of society.  Of course for all of these people, I just point them in the right direction.  They are the ones who are doing the work to get their GED.  They are studying and doing extra work outside of the classroom instead of doing something else.  I certainly admire these people who overcome many obstacles to reach their goal.  It is really quite incredible.

So what does this have to do with the Mega Million Dollar Lottery?  Yesterday, the grand prize for the Mega Million Dollar Lottery was $355 million dollars.  Two people won the prize, and neither one of them was me. 

What if I did win the lottery?  Almost everyone says if they won, they would immediately quit their job.  I said as much on my status on Facebook this morning. On Facebook, I said that I went to work this morning because I had not won the lottery.  It was meant as a little joke, but there was some truth in it also.  However, if I did win the lottery, would I indeed quit a job that really makes a difference to people?  Not everyone can say they are making a difference.  Even though I am currently not making much money in this job, I have a lot of job satisfaction.  I have a good reason to get up in the morning.  I am helping people who really want to learn.  There is a lot to say to that.  However, winning a lottery can make a big difference in my life.  It can get me out of debt.  I would no longer be living from paycheck to paycheck.  I can remodel my condo, buy a new car (one that gets better mileage than my Jeep), and travel. 

The best part about winning the lottery would be that I can do some things with the money that can make a difference to many more people than I do now, at least I hope I could.  It is that hope that would be the decision maker on whether I would quite this job or not if I won.  All that money can be a temptation however.  I have heard too many stories of people blowing all their winnings and being in worse shape than they were before they won the lottery.  I hope I would have the maturity and get the correct advice on how to handle that much money.  It is fun to dream about what you would do with all that money, but it can be a curse instead of a blessing.  It is very unlikely that I will ever have to make that decision because the odds are so against winning the lottery.  One can only dream.         

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