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What to Do if you Win the Lottery: Keep Working

What to Do if you Win the Lottery: Keep Working

Posted On
January 21
Stefan Schumacher

We’ve all given it some thought. What would I do if I won the lottery?

The cliched answer is to storm into your boss’ office and triumphantly and aggressively quit your job. Undoubtedly, a few lottery winners actually follow through on that fantasy. But most do not.

And, according to a new survey on behalf of CareerBuilder, half of U.S. workers (51 percent) actually would continue working if they won the lottery. The results are a strong testament to the American work ethic and indicate we understand the positive nature of having a purpose every day.

Although the survey was not taken of business owners, it would be interesting to find out whether they would be more or less likely to continue operating their businesses compared to rank-and-file workers staying on the job.

A business owner, perhaps, would factor in the disruption on other employees’ lives if the business was closed or sold. Not to mention the fact that you’ve likely poured your heart and soul into the business you started. Will mere dollars fill that void if you leave it all behind? Maybe…

Here are the reasons workers revealed that they were not willing to give up their paycheck even after the lottery checks start rolling in. The most common rationales were:

  • I would be bored if I didn’t work – 77 percent
  • Work gives me a sense of purpose and accomplishment – 76 percent
  • I want financial security aside from the financial winnings – 42 percent
  • I would miss co-workers – 23 percent

The results mirror a 2013 Gallup poll that found that workers “committed” to their jobs were even more likely to stay at work if they won the lottery. The Gallup poll said 63 percent of workers would continue working.

Extensive Gallup research shows that when employees are engaged they are less likely to leave their employer. This poll reinforces the high value people place on a good career. Even when provided with a hypothetical scenario that would provide financial security for life, those who are engaged at work are much more likely than less engaged workers to say they would continue in the same job.

One hidden reason that might be affecting the poll results is the news, over the years, of lottery winners whose lives were shattered by their new-found wealth. Just last year, a popular website chronicled the phenomenon in a post titled, “19 lottery winners who blew it all.”

Although most of us will never win the lottery, the stories of those who do win it can teach us lessons. And the lessons for some is that a job is more important to our emotional well-being than might be apparent.


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