How do I let go of the constant striving for a higher paying job with more power and a title? The whole idea of making more money in order to buy more things is a way of thinking that is hard to break free from. I am a fifth grade teacher and I love teaching. I am happiest when I am in the classroom. I recently finished a degree in leadership that would make me qualified to become a principal. I did not do this out of desire for the job but rather as a way to compete with other teachers that talked about wanting to be a principal. It was also a convenient way to attract attention to myself. I did not enjoy one moment of the degree or the internship hours. Yet even though I am aware of all of this I feel a sense of duty to continue to seek that powerful, higher paying job. This whole situation is causing a great deal of stress that I cannot seem to meditate myself out of.
I can relate. I’ll probably run into the same thing myself within a few years, maybe sooner. I’ve always been far too competitive.
You state several things that might be the cause of this, but I think you should be able to narrow it down to just one. It’s important to think on this and see if you can narrow down your reasons for this behavior. Are you simply competitive? Are you greedy, wanting more and more money (teaching probably isn’t the best career for you if that’s the case)? Or are you doing this out of a need for self-promotion, attracting attention to yourself?
None of these ideas make you either unique or a bad person; we’re all raised with the idea of becoming a wealthy, successful person in a position of power. It’s not that hard to do it if you apply yourself and work hard. The problem comes when you get to that place by doing something you don’t enjoy doing, or cause yourself suffering by grasping too hard for more and more.
Buddhists can have ambitions. Buddhists need money too. Buddhists like recognition as much as the next guy. The problem arises when these things become goals, not tools.
You need to think/meditate on this and figure out why you are doing it. If you love the classroom, you’ll probably be miserable in an administrative position. It’s a whole different world. If you can find a good reason to become a Principal, then go for it. If you simply do it because of ambition, greed, or a need for attention, you are going to resent giving up the job you love.
Your instincts already tell you that there’s something wrong with your desire for this promotion. You already know that it’s not going to be what you want. You just need to figure out what the root cause is and work on that problem before your ambition or greed drives you to something you don’t like.