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How Money Affects Career Happiness

How Money Affects Career Happiness
career advice entrepreneurship happiness passion income money

    You know the expression ‘What would you do if money wasn’t a thing?’ Go ahead and ignore that, because money is a thing and we need it to survive. Finding a path that provides career fulfillment and a great paycheck comes easier to some than to others. When picking a career, does following a passion or chasing a paycheck lead to a happier life?

    There are a lot of factors that play into accepting the right job. Of course there’s company, location, timing, title and salary. Accepting a complex role with a great title in a place you love sounds like the perfect setup, but what if that job pays significantly less than the others in your field? Will a lower income affect your overall job satisfaction or make day-to-day expenses difficult to cover? What if your dream job offers your dream salary but a year into the position you realize it’s anything but what you had hoped for? At what cost do you leave for a role with lower compensation? These questions aren’t intended to make you second guess your career choices, but consider how compensation plays a role in decision making and overall job satisfaction. So let’s take a deep dive into how salary influences overall happiness when we let income determine our roles or completely ignore income when choosing a career path.

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    We spoke to a group of experts at GigSesh who provide career advice about the importance of money in their career decisions and happiness. When asked if the jobs they have loved the most have paid the best, the majority of people said yes, but on the other hand less than 15% said that salary was the most influential factor when picking a job or career. One expert, Vicente DyReyes, began his career as an investment banker in which he was the highest paid in his age bracket but also on the lowest end of the happiness scale. Now as the Founder & CEO of mise en place (mepNYC), he tells us that “happiness at work and at home has driven career decisions thus far.” DeReyes states that “finding happiness in your career is extremely attainable, and money isn’t even at the table to drive the decision.”

    They say that money can’t buy you happiness, but living paycheck to paycheck doesn’t sound like happiness either. Based on studies done across the United States, an average household income of 75K or higher does not correlate with overall happiness. While money might not be the only decisive element in career decisions, most young professionals desire compensation that will allow them to achieve or exceed this income. With a competitive job market and rising real estate and food costs, money is more sought after than ever, especially in large cities with notoriously high costs of living *cough* New York City and San Francisco *cough*. Yet 64% of Millennials would rather make $40K a year at a job they love than $100K a year at a job they think is boring. So more than ever, people are pondering if they should pick between a career of passion or a career that ensures a high income.

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    career advice entrepreneurship happiness passion income money

      When asked about how salary has influenced happiness at work, GigSesh expert Elise Giannasi told us that “In the past, I’ve used money as an indicator for the level of the job but also for how hard I’ll need to work. Working in jobs like HR or even consulting, your role can be rather similar regardless of the company. The more you are paid to do that job, the higher the expectation that you’ll always be on and the greater the responsibility and pressure. The money is great at first but the overtime hours lead to emotional, mental and physical burnout — which eventually outweighs any positives the higher paycheck brought.”

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      Some people are lucky enough to have passions that don’t make income and happiness mutually exclusive; software engineers who love writing code will most likely always be on the high end of the pay scale. Musicians who strive to be on stage might have a more difficult time supporting themselves when following their passion. The majority of us fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, wanting a career that is interesting, challenging and creative, but also pays well and has a promising future. Kevin Siskar, a Managing Director at Founder Institute New York believes that “the time we are given to live is a more scarce and precious resource than money. I believe you can make money doing most things in this world, so while it might take longer to get there at times, it’s best to make money doing something you enjoy. The earlier in life you realize this the more time you have to capitalize and grow while on the path you desire.”

      So why is it that so many people ask if they should pick between a career that brings happiness or a career that brings a higher paycheck? With rising education costs, it’s difficult to graduate without loans and justify a career that is not lucrative after putting yourself into debt. The fact that we’re able to have this discussion at all is a luxury as many people don’t have the opportunity to do what they love and simply do what they must to survive. Being grateful for the opportunities that you have and making the most of them is just as important as questioning if job satisfaction leads to a happier life than higher earnings.

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      Some people will spend long hours and overnights in the office to earn huge paychecks and live a lavish lifestyle once off the clock. Others value their free time more and choose career paths that may not pay as handsomely but provide compensation in the form of flexible hours and laid back work environments. So instead of asking if you should pick a career that brings you happiness or pick one that pays, think about whether a high paycheck or a passion-driven career is more important to you.

      Want to hear more from career experts about their professional experiences and get some personalized career advice? Check out GigSesh’s superhero roster of experts and sign up to book a call with someone who can help you find success while following your passion.

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      Gwen Schlefer

      PR Manager at Bonanza.com

      career advice entrepreneurship happiness passion income money How Money Affects Career Happiness

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      Last Updated on January 14, 2019

      The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

      The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

      Regardless of whether you hold an entry-level administration role or regularly travel to the ends of the Earth as a hot-shot senior executive, you can still find yourself harboring an emptiness… a feeling that something is missing. A popular assumption that experiencing job satisfaction and a successful career should be underpinned by a well-rounded suite of tangible benefits, no longer holds true for many of us.

      We’d never deny health care benefits, appropriate and fair remuneration, bonuses and travel perks in a job package. However, even if served to us on a silver platter, those features can only satiate us to a certain point.

      You might wonder what governs entrepreneurs and start-up business owners to quit their lucrative jobs, essentially look the gift horse in the mouth and kiss such benefits goodbye! There can be an irresistible pull to mastermind a business with products and/or services that serve the greater good of community wider than that constituting their daily existence.

      Even with research showing entrepreneurship to pose greater threats to their mental and physical health, this unique breed of individuals choose to go against the grain in chasing their dreams of being their own boss. Why? Why would anyone risk this type of career suicide?

      Whether you’re an employee, have recently taken the leap to being a business owner or been in business for a while, the commonality is a congenital condition we all share as human beings; to feel a sense of purpose, value and contribution to our community. Despite it being harder to find this for ourselves in today’s world, these approaches will help you achieve ultimate satisfaction through the twists, turns and joyrides that are essential features of shaping a successful career.

      1. Search for Opportunities That Feed Your Passion, Not Temporary Excitement

      Even though well-intended, the ‘feel good now’ compass that career coaches and consultants often recommend you use to create career satisfaction can actually do you more harm than good. Excitement is transient. It doesn’t last. Passion is the compass you need.

      Passion and excitement are two different things. The resounding career legacy that still draws you to turn up on the job regardless of the sunshine or storm that awaits you…that’s passion. It’s like a mental and/or emotional itch you can’t shrug off. Staying attuned to that calling will breed success for you sooner or later. Patience is key.

      You’re also likely to have more than one key passion. Beware of getting caught in the notion you have to find your one true purpose. In fact, run immediately from any coach who tells you there is only one. There isn’t.

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      Your passion is a journey that can take multiple forms so forget thinking there is the single dream job out there that will give you satisfaction in every way you can imagine. It simply doesn’t exist.

      Consider embracing different roles and projects to help you fuel your passion or fuel your pursuits in finding it. Job satisfaction and your career success will be all the more sweeter from a wider range of enriching experiences.

      2. Don’t Position Job and Career Satisfaction Assessments as Pivotal Guides to Your Success

      Despite their popular use for vocational guidance, assessment tools such as Gallup’s Clifton Strengths and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator have come under fire[1] as being limited to the amount of true value and direction they can offer partakers.[2] These and many other guidance assessment tools (e.g. VIA Character Strengths , DISC ) are self-report questionnaires that don’t have normative population data against which to compare your results.

      Simply remember these tools help you develop a stronger sense of what you identify as strengths and weaknesses within yourself, not in comparison with other people. They will still add insight around what sorts of career opportunities, tasks and projects are going to light your fire, what ones are going to extinguish it and what will prod and keep the coals steadily smoldering.

      3. Be Clear on Your Personal Values, Ethics and Principles and Choose Relationships That Support You Honoring Them

      Teamwork, collaboration, open communication and trust are commonplace for any flourishing work environment. However, whether or not your personal values can be honored in your work can make or break your job satisfaction.

      How committed do you want to be to an organization that expects an average of 10 unpaid overtime hours every week under the guise of ‘reasonable overtime’? Are you willing to accept their construing this expectation as ‘strong commitment’ at the expense of your partner and children waiting at home for you? What are your boundaries concerning when you clock on to their time and when you clock off to yours?

      Being very in tune with what your personal values, principles and ethics are will bid you well in the job satisfaction stakes. Spending time to reflect on experiences and working relationships you’ve had – the good, the bad and the ugly – will help you make well-informed searches and grounded decisions that will propel your career success.

      Finding and nurturing relationships with associates and colleagues who share similar values doesn’t just make your day-to-day pursuits more enjoyable. You become fortunate to work with like-minded people who will support, understand and appreciate you like a second family.

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      Being able to honor your personal values in your work means you will still be able to sleep at night when you have to tread where others fear to, and make extremely difficult decisions others would never ever dream of having to make as you forge success in your career.

      4. Be Clear on Your Own Definition of What Having a Successful Career Means for You

      It’s tempting to get caught up in the ideals and projections of success expressed by those we love, admire and respect. Underneath, we all want on some level to belong to a successful club of some sort.

      With research reporting how much money we feel we need to be truly happy,[3] many of us try to subscribe to the notion that having the car of our dreams or taking a European holiday annually will not bring us happiness. The truth, however, for many of us is these tangible rewards are congratulatory reminders of our persistent efforts to chase our career pursuits.

      If those are things you aspire to, don’t let anyone steal your desire and want to feel deserving of these things, that those are some parameters by which you define your career success.

      Despite consistently being the top revenue earner for two years running, you may not wish to become the sales manager. You may not wish to step out into running your own business even though you consistently excel as an employee, delighting clients and repeatedly receiving glowing testimonials.

      Your definition of career success might be enjoying the predictability of a regular workplace routine. You get to leave – without feeling guilty – at the same time each day, love the people you work with and get to spend a good, uninterrupted amount of work-stress free quality time with your family. That picture is also blissful job satisfaction and complete career success.

      5. Identify the Sorts of Challenges and Problems You Want to Learn to Overcome

      Standard advice you might receive from a career coach might be to look for opportunities where you get to capitalize on exercising your strengths and career-related activities you enjoy.

      However, to become a success at anything involves improvement. To excel at anything often involves stepping outside boundaries and comfort zones where others wouldn’t. This means dedicating focus and attention to things you’re not so good at and things you don’t like.

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      Here’s where working with a coach can be particularly helpful. Map out the experiences that were unsavory in your working history. Were there challenges you opted out of, projects you failed at or toxic relationships that blasted your sense of purpose and self-worth into oblivion? It’s within these experiences that you might just find the most valuable lessons and guiding lights for your trajectory to achieve greater job satisfaction.

      If your natural leadership style is to be a collaborator, finding opportunities that require you to apply a more dictatorial style might be needed. Discussing a secondment or short-term project where you get to develop and test your skills can be a step further in earning contention to lead a larger project down the track.

      With several of the company’s boldest personality types penciled to roll out the operation, you’ll not only develop skills that earn your right to throw your hat in the ring; those key players have an opportunity to see your competence. You can then work on building relationships with those stakeholders before you need to hit the ground running should you win the lead.

      Greater job satisfaction comes with planning and choosing the lessons and opportunities you want to learn, not desperately flailing, floundering and hoping for the best.

      6. Keep Reviewing Your Goal Posts and Be Amenable to Change

      The word ‘career’ is indicative of a longer-term pathway of change, growth and development. The journey is dynamic.

      You will accumulate new skills and let those you no longer need, become rusty. Your intrigue will be stimulated by new experiences, knowledge and people you meet. Your thinking will continue to expand, not shrink. As a result, your goalposts are likely to change.

      A major part of enjoying a successful career is not just setting goals effectively, but regularly reviewing and readjusting them where necessary. However, moving the posts or the target still needs to take place by applying the same processes by which you originally created them. The strength of your emotional connection to those revised goals needs to be the same, if not stronger.

      By asking yourself the following questions, you can assure your developmental and growth trajectory is still on course:

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      • Would working toward these goals still allow me to honor my personal values, principles and ethics at the same capacity if not greater?
      • Do the activities I need to undertake to meet these goals honor my highest priorities?
      • Does this feel right for me and those who are nearest and dearest to me?
      • Is this aligned with my passion?
      • Is chasing this goal a right step for me to take now or is this a detour or distraction which could delay my greater plan?

      Each of your career goals should have different review periods. Whatever you do, stick to the review schedule you set. It will not only keep you focused but help you see your progress (or lack thereof) and allow you to timely re-chart your course before you get too far down the track. You don’t want to waste time haphazardly heading in the wrong direction.

      7. Be Prepared to Let Go

      It can be unfathomable to us as to why others risk leaping into the unknown when everything truly appears fine and dandy in the career realm. The company provided stability, recognition, financial success, interesting projects and the promise of a promotion…what was wrong? Why now jump sideways to run a café or train in another field altogether?

      Nothing may have been wrong at all. It was all going right. It was just the end of a chapter. Perhaps the yearning for the next step is actually taking a different trajectory entirely. You may want to simply experience a different rhythm. Perhaps it’s time to pursue a different passion.

      If you have leaped from employee-land to freelancing or have made the reverse-jump (or you know someone who has), you will have quickly grown a different appreciation for pros and cons each work lifestyle brings. Working for yourself can bring the greater realization of your creativity, whether or not it can be monetized to earn you a living.

      When your customers are buying you or a product you designed and fashioned, there is a direct level of appreciation and gratitude that can elevate your confidence in the way you have never experienced as an employee, regardless of your rank.

      Similarly, there are times where we need to recognize our business ventures were adventures, not long-term life-changing empires. There are times we need to recognize that time is what provides the clearest limitation of how long we persist for in such pursuits.

      We have to recognize the absence of enough financial, mental, emotional and physical breadcrumbs that tells us we’re no longer meant to push in that direction. At least, not for the present time.

      The Bottom Line

      Above all, keep the momentum. As long as you remain committed to pursuing work opportunities that allow you to honor your highest priorities, the truth of who you are and what you stand for, achieving ultimate job satisfaction and a successful career will never be too far away.

      More Resources to Help Advance Your Career

      Featured photo credit: Csaba Balazs via unsplash.com

      Reference

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