I can't stand it when people say "contributing to society" when they really mean "making money".
I can be neck-deep in activism and volunteering and the people who want me to wear a tie will say I don’t contribute to society. On the other hand, were I a landlord or financier or even a successful poker player, they would admire me even though those occupations do not make the world a better place. Some might even consider them to be harmful to society.
Similarly, if I read and learn at home or online, I’m a layabout but if I incur thousands of pounds of debt to do it in an old building, I’m a student.
Perhaps if the critics of my lifestyle said what they mean, that they want to see me making money, it would force them to confront their obsession with pounds and pennies. By dressing up their rancor as concern for the well-being of society, they don’t have to examine themselves at all. They assure themselves that I must be doing something detrimental to humanity otherwise I would be overworked and stressed as they are.