The Seduction of Power or Money

Since becoming a school board trustee I’ve gotten a much more realistic view of politicians and have actually begun to start to sympathize with them at bit.  Beyond realizing that it’s a fairly thankless job overall (if you do something good you get no media coverage, but if you close a school you end up the 6pm TV news).  I’ve also just started to understand the seduction of political power.

You see it starts so very simply.  People in the organization you work for treat you like you are important, which you are to them.  Yet after being treated this way for a while you start to expect it a bit.  You also start to realize the full extent of the changes you can make to a system and if you get used to that power you can run into problems of doing anything to retain that power.

Overall the effect is shocking similar to having a high income.   A six figure income means you can easily use credit to pay for entire kitchen renovation today, you can buy a new car today or even actually consider owning a second house either as a cottage or an investment.  So when you look at doing any of those things people treat you like you are important, because you are to them if you are spending a lot of money.

In both cases the seduction is a bit of an illusion.  You don’t have to spend the money if you make it and you don’t have to change a system just because you can.  Power is only in your head and often people tend to forget that 99.9% of the general population still don’t know who you are and have no interest in what you do.  You are really only important to a very small portion of people and only to a very narrow degree.  People are not their job regardless if they get elected to them or push paper in an office or pump gas.

In the end, now having sampled both money and political power now I can say I get the seduction of both is pleasant looking, but ultimately over rated.  I’ve ceased being overly impressed with either type of influence on the world.  Your life is what you make of it regardless if you ever hold a political office or make a lot of money.   So how about you?  Were you ever seduced by money?

5 thoughts on “The Seduction of Power or Money”

  1. Seduced by money, no. Seduced by power, yes. When you are a young adult and a bit naïve, you are easy to fool by people you (over)estimate. Most of the time you don’t even know that you over estimate them, and that they are using you to get to their goals. And, one day, you get dumped. Just like that. It is humiliating, frustrating… and a life lesson you never forget.

  2. Interesting take on all of this. I have to say that having been a teacher, sometimes there is an overtly stated message say from administrators: to kiss up to board members, not piss them off and not give their kids bad grades. Yuck, yuck, and double yuck.

    As you clearly demonstrate, not all board members behave in a way that would justify the terror of the administrators . . .maybe not even most of them do. But I’ve definitely seen the dynamic in action. Yes, people are impressed and influenced by power.

  3. Mama Zen,

    Mmm, I could see that one. Thanks for the story.

    Simple in France,

    Oh I pray my kid’s teacher doesn’t suck up to me or are instructed to do so. I’m so far up the chain I have nearly no influence in their day to day operations on a given kid. As you say: Yuck!

    What’s really ironic is if by some means my kid’s teacher ends up in front of the board on an official item I can’t vote on their fate. The conflict of interest policy prevents me.


  4. The last time I bought a car (3 years ago), I felt kinda powerful when I walked in there on a Monday, test drove the car, haggled with the car salesman, walked in the next day with a bank check for $17k, and drove the new car home like I was food shopping.

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