I went to visit my parents after New Year’s for a week – Sunday night to Friday. I hadn’t been for ages and I had a lot of saved up vacation days at work that I would lose if I didn’t use them. While I was there I looked through all of my parents’ Christmas cards and my mother brought me up to date on what those whose names I know, but do not personally know well – mainly children of their friends – were doing. My mother’s description generally went something like this, “Tom has a really good job. He and his wife just had a child, the baby’s doing well, and they sold their condo and are moving into a house.”

Everyone my mother described has a “good” job. Some couples had experienced troubled pregnancies, or were selling their condo for less than they bought it for, but everyone, and I am not exaggerating, everyone, had a good job. So I finally asked my mother, “What is a good job?” But I was really just asking a rhetorical question. “Is a good job one that pays a lot of money? Is a good job one that’s relatively stable? Is a good job one that the person actually likes doing?”

My mother didn’t have an answer. I decided a good job was any job that the mother of the other child told my mother was a good job. “Oh, Tom’s doing great. He has a really good job, and they just had a baby.” So good really didn’t mean anything much at all other than Tom was employed in some sort of sustainable position and he may or may not be overcome with dread every Sunday night before going back to work – we don’t know. Maybe Tom wasn’t telling his mother the whole story. Maybe the other mother wasn’t telling my mother the whole story.

Good is relative. Do what’s good for you and your circumstances. And everyone else should do what’s good for them.