While not the first topic that I raised in his blog, to me work is the most natural starting point to actually introduce some of the concepts related to money. That is because our work is possibly the most obvious money related discussion point for our children. Work is where the majority of us spend the majority of our waking hours. Our children notice our absence. They see us get dressed up, leave for the office, sit on Zoom meetings, and more. Some of us love our work and some of us don’t, but at least as a starting point for other topics, it is a good one.
The blog started by talking about happiness and our role in society because those are big topics to think about before introducing work, if given the opportunity. The question is, when work comes up first, how to move the conversation from work to those more important initial topics. I’ll leave that to you, but hopefully this helps you better introduce work to your little ones.
Dear Ney Ney,
Most days when you see me leave in the morning I go to work. Work is how I earn money so that we can pay for the things we need, like a house to live in or food to eat, and want, like a vacation. At work I share what I know and help solve other peoples problems. The more problems I can solve and people I can help, the more money I can make.
Different people do different kinds of work, or jobs. Some people work in an office for a company. These jobs are called white collar jobs. They sit at desks and think to solve problems. Engineers and bankers are white collar workers. Other people work with their hands and use tools to solve problems. These jobs are called blue collar jobs. Plumbers and construction workers are blue collar workers. Some people earn money by entertaining others. Some people, like doctors, help others when they are sick.
Some people work together with many other people in a large organization called a company or corporation. They are called employees. Other people come up with new ideas to help people and start new companies to make money from the idea. Those people are called entrepreneurs.
Some people decide to be police officers, teachers, firefighters, soldiers, or diplomats. These people are called public servants. They work for the government, which is a group of people who help organize how we all live and protect us from harm. When work pays me money, the part of the money goes to the government instead of me, and the government uses the money to pay the police officers, teachers, firefighters, soldiers, and diplomats. They also use the money to build roads and parks.
Some people like the work they do. When they go to work it makes them feel good. It might make them feel good because they think the problem they are solving is interesting or they might like how their work helps other people.
There are people who don’t like the work they do. They go to work only because they need or want to earn money. They think it is boring, or that it isn’t very helpful to other people.
Some work makes people happy but they don’t earn very much money. Other people don’t like their job but they earn a lot of money. It is a great thing when you enjoy what you like to do and get paid a lot of money to do it. Some people prefer to earn a lot of money doing work they don’t like to be able to spend more money on things they enjoy when they are not at work.
While not always true, often the more you study and learn in school, the more you can help people, and the more money you will earn. Doctors, lawyers, and engineers are people who have to study a long time, but earn a lot of money. Plumbers and electricians do not need to spend too much time in school but can still earn a lot of money.
What people do for work is sometimes called a career. It used to be that most people did the same work for their entire lives. Now people sometimes change their career, so if you decide to start in one career but decide you don’t like it, you can change careers, too.
The good news is you have plenty of time to decide what kind of work you want to do when you are older. Now that you understand more about work you can ask adults about their work to learn more about how different people help others and earn money. I’m excited to learn what you want to be when you grow up.
I love you.