Ating Kabuhayan

Income is More Than Just Income

The Rev. John A.H. Tomoso †

I watch my income statements every month. From them, I can plan how to pay my bills. “I owe. I owe, so it’s off to work I go,” goes the cute yet true dictum of a sing-song phrase! So, like you, I work for a living.

I think it is important to work at something you enjoy doing. A job that one doesn’t enjoy or hates means that the income derived from it won’t be worth the work put into it. The paycheck will mean little or nothing to your sense of self-worth and accomplishment. So, let’s look at income, the pay one brings home after the taxes are paid. Let’s look at it as a reward, in three ways.

First, income is derived from what one can reasonably accomplish through training, experience and leadership. A good job is seen as what one has been educated for, or practiced to learn a skill. In this way, the income derived is a reward for a job well done. Over the years, one gains experience that is rewarded, probably with better pay. With even more years in the same job, leadership in the workplace is bestowed on a more senior worker, because of his or her training, skill and experience, by others with less years of job performance. Yes, income can be from leadership bestowed and undertaken in the workplace. A retirement party, given by fellow workers, is truly a reward for years of training, experience and leadership in the workplace. Think about this the next time you are invited to someone’s retirement.

Second, income is an emotional reality. It can make one feel good about the self. It is about how one accomplishes what one sets out to do. I counsel friends and anyone who asks, to establish life goals that can make one feel worthy or worth it, as far as living a good life is concerned. A life goal will allow one to actually go beyond just the money (dollars and cents) income and also see relationships, social connections and spiritual rewards as very much a part of one’s income. Giving to charitable causes stems from seeing income in this varied way. Being generous to others, especially one’s own family and children, is another way the emotional reality of income is experienced.

Income is more than just a paycheck or the residual of hard work. Income is an extension of the self…

Third, income can be something that is legacy-building; left behind after one has transitioned to the next life. I know of many who establish perpetual scholarships, in their name, from the income they gift to others. There are also ways, to bestow or bequeath income to schools, churches, institutions or non-profit programs. Such legacy-building is a reward to others because one is thankful for the life opportunities or experiences from which one derived a life well worth living.

So, income is more than just a paycheck or the residual of hard work. Income is an extension of the self; of living in relationship with others; of making this community better, stronger, richer and capable of being bound by a common thread of people who more alike than unlike, that leads to a shared quality of life. Income is about being rewarded for living an unselfish life and not just about “I owe, I owe, so it’s off to work I go!”

Rev. John A. Hau’oli Tomoso † is a Social Worker and Episcopal Priest. He is a Priest Associate at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Wailuku and an on-call Chaplain at Maui Memorial Medical Center. Tomoso was graduated from St. Anthony Jr./Sr. High School, the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota (Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology) and Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa (Masters of Social Work). In 2008, he retired from the civil service as the Maui County Executive on Aging. Tomoso is currently the Executive Director of the non-profit Tri-Isle Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. His wife Susan is a 7th grade Language Arts Teacher at Maui Waena Intermediate School.