Money and Your Career: Weighing What Makes You Happy
The cost of living is getting higher and higher and it may seem safer to be practical rather than idealistic. As such, practicality can play a part when deciding on pursuing a certain career path or taking on a part-time job or agreeing to an internship program.
How many times have you heard of people turning down a job because it does not relate to their major or to their degree? Or how many times have you heard of people who are prepared to take on a stressful job because there are not a lot of options? On the contrary, how many times have you heard of people agreeing to a non-paying internship that sounds fun and interesting?
Psychological studies suggest that money can’t buy happiness, but when paying the bills and building a financially stable life is the priority, one can’t really chase idealism and do away with practicality. Or can you? If you are at that point when you are having second thoughts about pursuing a degree or a job that is seen as impractical or temporary, here are some things to remember:
Know your strengths and believe in them.
It is human instinct to compare ourselves to others from time to time. You might have a friend who does so well in his job at an investment firm that he’s been able to pay off his entire student loan in just a few years; or you might know someone who succeeds in a film production company and has traveled the world for some shoots. The latter’s job does not guarantee financial stability, but it does sound a lot more interesting than the former. Who would not be happy getting to travel the world for free, right?
However, it is no use dreaming of being involved in either of the fields above if you do not have the skills and strengths to work in an investment firm or a film production company. Knowing your strengths and believing in them and knowing exactly how to use them is your first step to finding true happiness when it comes to establishing your career.
Look at the whole package.
When people are in the transition, they are always quick to look at the short-term benefits, not the long-term benefits. For instance, if you feel your current major would not be able to land you a financially satisfying career, can your alternate choice give you the emotional satisfaction of what you are getting now?
This is the same case with people who are switching from one job to another. They always look at the salary offer and do not pay much attention to the compensation package in its entirety. Maybe the job does not offer as much money as their previous one did but does offer a lot more when it comes to dental insurance, optical insurance, company events, flexible hours, and vacation days. In fact, a 2016 study from University of British Columbia revealed that a large percentage of respondents preferred having more free time than money.
Put inspiration first before fancy calling cards.
It is always tempting to go for a career that makes you the popular one in business conferences and networking events. The company supplies you with a posh car, fancy calling cards, cell phones that have yet to hit the market or laptops that are not for general consumption. However, what do you do with these extravagant tools if you do not have inspiration or passion for the work you do? They will be meaningless. As such, do not ever be blinded by the lavish things that come with your job. Instead, focus on what really drives you to work every day—your real passion and inspiration to be the best in that field.
Still think money can buy happiness when it comes to career choices? You might have the highest-earning job in the world but if that is the only reason for you to come to work, you are pursing the wrong career.
Beall, Abigail. “It’s official, you really can’t buy happiness: People who choose time over money are more satisfied with life.” Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3634891/It-s-official-really-t-buy-happiness-People-crave-time-money-satisfied-life.html
Cincotta, Greg. “10 Tips For Finding a Job That Will Make You Happy.” Entrepreneur. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/278215
Whillans, Ashley V., Aaron. C Weidman, and Elizabeth W. “Valuing Time Over Money Is Associated With Greater Happiness.” SAGE Journals. http://spp.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/01/04/1948550615623842