Talk-show host and self-made billionaire Oprah Winfrey was the commencement speaker for Stanford grads this past weekend. Her advice for the new grads? Do what you're meant to do! "When you're doing the work you were meant to do, it feels right. And every day is a bonus, regardless of what you're getting paid." Easy for her to say. Following your dreams! It's a great prescription for poverty. (As if every talented person who followed them ended up rich!)
"Money is pretty nice. I like money. It's good for buying things. But having a lot of money does not automatically make one a successful person. What you want is money with meaning - you want your work to be meaningful, because meaning is what brings the real richness to your life."
Oh my God, what does my last paycheck mean? An excellent antidote to Oprah's rather ridiculous words of wisdom comes from a 2006 "On the Contrary" article in the NYT titled "Dear Grads: Money is a Means":
It's graduation season, and once again affluent commencement speakers are fanning out across the land in something like an organized smear campaign against the almighty dollar. So I feel that it's my solemn duty to offer a little corrective: Graduates, it's not fashionable to say it, but money will, in fact, buy you a better life, all other things being equal. And if it can't buy happiness outright, it can certainly help you avoid a lot of misery.