I remember when I was younger and made half the salary I do now. I kept thinking, "If I could just make twice as much money, things would be perfect." I got lucky. I now make twice as much money. So these days I think, "If I could just make twice as much MORE ..."
And so it goes.
Some people just can't be pleased, and the more neurotic you are, the less likely you'll be pleased with a higher salary. That's the result of research done by economist Eugenio Proto at the University of Warwick in the UK.
He's published a paper suggesting that "neurotic people can view a pay raise ... as a failure if it is not as much as they expected." Apparently, when Woody Allen looks a gift horse in the mouth, he smells bad breath.
His character, Alvy Singer, describes the neurotic’s outlook on life this way in "Annie Hall"—"Full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it's all over much too quickly."
The Warwick paper, co-authored by Aldo Rustichini of the University of Minnesota, explores Neuroticism (which sounds like "eroticism" but isn’t, believe me). Specifically, it looks at Neuroticism’s impact on Life Satisfaction, which is defined as "the gap between aspired and realized income." Because it's all about the money, isn’t it?