We have been hypnotised....
The commercial world is seductive and certain places and things make us desire too experience all the possessions and wealth it has... Personally I cannot be in Canary Wharf in London for more than about 15 minutes before feeling I need a new suit, a new car and better products for my face and hair... I also get the feeling most people I am passing would agree with my assessment! This is part of the problem. We judge others (and ourselves even more harshly) by some standards that feel right given the situation we are in. However, standards are something that need to be constant.
To check if your standards have been skewed by society's hypnotic trance, go into completely the opposite kind of place - so for me - a forest would be a good idea - now do I want the same things? Probably not.
This belief about work as something we have to do for money, so that we can buy the stuff we want is false.
You will have found the more you chase the money (be it for promotions you do not want or for additional work that you have not time to do or contracts that you do not like) the more that the money evades you, or gets absorbed by some emergency or another.
However, those times in your career where you have chased the love of the work, the thrill of learning that new thing, the joy of working with those kind of clients or with that great boss; the more the money chased you.
So, what is going on?