Look at Your W-2: See How Much You Really Have?

You read that right. I am going to say something good about the process of filing your tax return (“this oughta be good!”). There is one advantage to getting that W-2 in the mail—it means that you actually have a job. I thought I should lay down a few reasons to be thankful as we move into the tax season because now that I am starting my income tax return (which usually means I have to pay more money when all is said and done) some angry anti-tax posts can not be far behind. 

1. I consistently complain about my job. However I have heard of so many people who are unemployed. I know first hand that jobs are scarce because I have searched for new jobs and there just are not any that require my skill set and it sounds like many others are in the same predicament.  I am glad to be where I am. Heck! Right now it is good to be anywhere.

2. I consistently complain that I do not feel I get paid enough to justify having gone to college. I do not mean that I would have not gone, but somehow I think I deserve more. The truth is I make pretty dang good money considering what little I do know (did I just hear some “amens”?). Tom DiLorenzo’s book “How Capitalism Saved America” states that we all have different interests and tastes and aspirations. Some workers labor so as to achieve a wealthy lifestyle. Others work simply to provide for themselves with perhaps some nice amenities along the way. In my heart of hearts I tend a little toward the former, but I am grateful to be resting securely in the latter.

3. My job seems to provide less than my ideal amount of income. Then again there are two other factors that I fail to consider: a) my wife also works and brings in a tremendous supplement to my income and 2) our income exceeds our expenses. This means that I am living larger than often think I am.

When I consider that last year I went out to eat innumerable times, bought some great gifts for my wife for her birthday and Christmas, went to Dragon*Con, went to Mississippi, made a trip to Alabama, went camping, bought a Macbook, bought lots of iTunes music and gave a weekly tithe to my church all without starving, then I must admit that I things are not as dire as I am wont to make them out to be.  Does anyone else have this tendency?

Josh H.


5 Responses to “Look at Your W-2: See How Much You Really Have?”

  1. February 7, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    That’s a good perspective. I’ve found that when i’m not happy in a job, I tend to think that I would be happier if I made more money. When i’m happy, like now, I tend to look at my financial situation from the perspective of how I spend what I have, not how much I make.

    The moral of the story? The happiness doesn’t come from the money at all. (Of course you and I know where the REAL happiness comes from) In this context though, the happiness comes from feeling like you do something make a difference and that you are valued as a person and a contributor to the mission of your organization.

    I’ve done it both ways. I’m glad to be where I am, and I’m glad to have a job. With God’s help, I made a move at just the right time to just the right place!

  2. February 7, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Does anyone else have this tendency?

    No, it’s just you, you ingrate.

    Just kidding. And there’s no doubt that the angst you describe does tend to distract us from the many blessings God has given us. But…don’t be too hard on yourself. There’s also a danger in just sucking it up when we are disenfranchised and saying, “Well, thank the Lord anyway”: what we’ve really got to find is the way to remain thankful for the freedom and blessings we have been given while also remaining vigilant and discontent enough to react against the injustices we are responsible for changing. I tend to think that dwelling too much on gratitude will put out the fires needed to forge a system that’s better for everyone, but it’s an unfounded fear: I can have both.

  3. February 7, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    I know how you get down sometimes about how *little* we make (seriously, it isn’t much by most people’s standards) but I am SO happy with what we do have. It all has to do with what you can be content with, and I honestly feel rich most of the time because we never go without necessities and rarely go without our wants. Thanks, Babe for providing such a good life for me. 😉

  4. 4 Ryan Cruce
    February 8, 2009 at 1:09 am

    Great post. As someone looking for a job right now, I can agree that it is very hard to find one right now. I’m very grateful to have the job I have at the moment, and I don’t know what I’d be doing without it.

    I realize that there are people all over the world who aren’t as blessed as I to have income and have a place to go if they ever are completely down on their luck and can’t afford their own place. I’m very grateful for my family every day. If I didn’t have them, I’d probably be out on the street.

  5. February 8, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    I’m glad this was such an encouragement to everyone. I hope you all have a blessed tax season (that sounds weird doesn’t it…oh well…be blessed anyway, guys).

    PS: I’m getting back a whole $43.

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