Why do so many of us work for a living? After all, work implies drudgery, mindlessness, boring duties and dissatisfaction. I don't work for a living; rather I live for what I do. I have created the ideal life for my family and myself, and have based what I do for income around that. Did you know that there are many cultures around the world that do not even have a word for 'retirement'?
We have known for a long time that in North the United States we are a 'special' culture. There is no other country in the world with the wealth and status that we enjoy that has the money problems that we are plagued with. Along the same line, people in most other cultures do not 'work'. Rather, they simply do what they love each and every day, and get compensated enough to make a living. That is not to say they do not do well.
If you travel much around the world as my wife and I have, you will notice that people are generally very happy. You will not find many people that slave away doing something they hate just to get by. Our mentality in the U.S. is driven quite a bit by the fact that we are in over our heads with debt because we most likely bought things we could not afford. You will not find many new houses in Paris, Rome, or Mendoza Argentina. You do not need a new home if your neighbor just bought one that is 200 years old. The only Joneses in the world live right here in the United States. We want new stuff and we want it now. That mentality simply perpetuates our culture's belief system.
So in planning your career, first plan your life. Decide where you want to live and what kind of lifestyle you want to have. Do not simply jump into it, but plan to pay off a lot of your debt and put controls in place to make the transition.