"I'd rather be working to earn a paycheck than waiting to win the lottery."
If you have a stable job, a paycheck is pretty much guaranteed. Is it an easy route to monetary stability? Eh. It depends what you do. Is it a fun route to monetary stability? I'm going to have to go with my aforementioned eh and again say that it depends what you do.
No matter what job I've had--and I've had a lot of jobs--should we count them? In order? Oh, let's. I love lists!
--I've had good days, and I've had bad. Since waitressing and teaching are the two things I did/have done the longest, those are the two that I'll talk about.
When I was a waitress, I waited on some super nice, super friendly people, and I waited on some real cretins (I worked at Denny's in the middle of the night; you seriously can't even imagine). I got awesome tips, and I got stiffed. I worked entire shifts that seemed like mere minutes, and I worked mere minutes that felt like days. I can't say I was at all sorry to take the perma-knot out of my tie, relegate my iron to the laundry room, and put my DT pin in a drawer, but I can paradoxically say that waitressing is a part of my life that I really miss.
Teaching is pretty much the same. My first year of teaching was probably the worst year of my professional life. Not only did I have no idea what I was doing, but they stuck me with a bunch of behaviorally-challenged kids who couldn't read, and as if that weren't bad enough, I was pregnant and hormonal. I remember a whole lot of devastating days, a whole lot of crying on my desk after school, and a whole lot of calling in sick. As bad as it was, though, I remember a whole lot of happy every other Friday when I'd get that $981.00 paycheck, which was a considerable improvement over the meager amount I'd been making at Cheesecake giving away as many shifts as I could to whoever wanted to shark them (that's in-the-biz lingo, yo--context clue it). As much as I hated teaching year one at Piper, once I came to Miramar, things totally changed. I can't say that all my days have been filled with truffles and pansies, but I've had some of the most fulfilling days I can remember here along with the disappointing ones. And, again, when I get my paycheck every two weeks (which, thankfully, is considerably more than that $981 that used to knock my socks off), the paycheck that enables me to send my kids to private school, go to The Melting Pot when I feel like I just can't live another day without a green-goddess-stuffed mushroom, and stock up on all the Benefit, Clinique, and various brands of mascara my vanity can accommodate, I'm pretty grateful that I have it. I'm not saying I wouldn't trade it for my very own column in a newspaper or magazine (ahem) or an advance to write a book (ahem ahem), but as much as I complain, it's not really so bad.
It's definitely better than sitting around unemployed, buying lottery tickets every week and hoping for the best.