OK ... I'll take a shot at this one....
I chose nursing as a career because I thought it was a good use of my talents -- and I wouldn't feel satisfied with my life if i weren't contributing something positive to society. Having a career that only "made me money" that did not do anything to help or improve society would make me feel as if I had not lived my life well and wisely. It would seem too selfish to me.
If I were to suddenly become rich tomorrow, I would choose to continue making some sort of contribution to society through nursing. I would want to continue making some sort of contribution for the same personal reasons stated above ... and I would choose to do it through nursing because that is where my expertise lies now that I have all this education and experience. Nursing is/would be the most effective "vehicle" to use to make a worthwhile contribution to society for me.
However, if I were to suddenly become rich ... I would probably quit my job and/or try to cut back my hours. The daily grind on a full time basis is stressful and I would seek opportunities to continue my nursing career in a different capacity -- a part time one that would give me more time for other aspects of life that are also important. I would seek a better balance.
So ... I guess ... I work a "job" full time because I need money to support myself. However, I definitely don't do it just for the money.
Over the years, I have contributed to society through nursing and contributed to the profession of nursing in many ways -- as a bedside nurse, charge nurse, preceptor, mentor, etc. I have done a little research and have had it published, thus contributing to our knowledge base. I have served as chairman of a committee of my clinical specialty's national organization. I have helped to educate students who have gone on to make contributions of their own. I have created and now run both a nursing student extern program and a nursing scholarship
program that will continue to contribute to the education and financial support of nursing students long after I am gone. (We have established endowed charitable funds to financially support these programs in the long term.)
I still have another 10 - 15 years of career years left. I hope to use that time wisely and continue to make positive contributions to society through nursing.