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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 July 10, 2020

      Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

      Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

      Have you ever caught yourself in a daydream where you’ve gone for that upcoming promotion, and you’re now the boss at work? Or how about the one where you’ve summoned up all your courage to quit a job where you’re feeling stuck in your career and live your dream instead? Or when you’ve changed career paths to do what really makes you happy?

      Then, you snapped back to reality and realized that you’re not the boss, not living your dream, and not even happy in the career path that you’re on.

      Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of individuals who’ve told me they feel stuck in their careers, that something had to change for them to break free and be happy, but they lacked the confidence to take that step. My mission is to make sure that nobody feels stuck in their career because of a momentary lapse in bravery that’s dragged on for too long.

      Read on to find out how you can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work. .

      Here are my top ten tips for becoming unstuck in your career.

      1. Make Time for You

      If you’re feeling stuck, frustrated, or unhappy with how your career is panning out, the first step is to work out why.

      Maybe you’ve arrived in your current career by accident and haven’t ever made time to deliberately think or plan what you’d love to do and how you’d get there.

      Prioritizing time to think is the first step you need to take to stop feeling stuck and start getting ahead. Book some time into your day where you can have an uninterrupted meeting with yourself. This is your thinking time.

      Work out what makes you happy at work, what doesn’t, and where you might want to go. Decide on the steps you want to take to progress your career in the direction that you want it to take.

      For example, are there training days, evening courses, or online learning that you can do? Have you considered getting a mentor to help you get ahead?

      By booking in a meeting with yourself, it signals it’s important (to you and your colleagues) and also stops others spotting a gap in your day and filling it with a meeting.

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      2. Grow Your Network Before You Need It

      Who you know is more important than what you know for career progression. Don’t wait until you’re feeling stuck in your career to start expanding your networks. Do it now.

      Adam Grant, the author of Give and Take, says you’re 58% more likely to get a new job through your weak ties than through your strong ones. Your strong ties are those in your immediate circle whom you interact with often. Your weak ties are your friends of friends. They move in different circles to you, they know different people, make different connections, and are more likely to introduce you to new and different opportunities[1].

      When I was thinking about setting up my current company, Lucidity, I turned up to every networking event. I drank a lot of coffees with a lot of different people to understand what they did, to ask for advice, to unpick what their problems were, and to look for opportunities for collaboration and connections.

      It paid off because, when I launched my business, I let my network know how I could help them, and soon I had my first clients.

      Pay attention to building and nurturing your networks and focus on how you can add value to other. That’s where your next career opportunity is most likely to come from.

      3. Surround Yourself With People Who Inspire You

      According to Tim Ferriss, “You are the average of the five people you most associate with,” and his associations with different people ebbs and flows depending on what he’s working on and trying to achieve[2].

      For example, if you are trying to be fitter, it’s easier if you hang around with people who love doing exercise–they help you to up your game.

      If you want that promotion, a career change, or to set up your own business, seek out people who are excelling at it already. They’ll have valuable things to teach you about breaking free and getting ahead.

      4. Work on Your Personal Brand

      Jeff Bezos defines a personal brand as “what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” People will talk about you when you are not in the room anyway, so you might as well be deliberate about what you’d like people to say!

      Your personal brand isn’t about pretending to be something you’re not. That can actually keep you feeling stuck in your career. It’s really about being your best “real you.” It’s about owning your strengths and being purposeful about how you want to be perceived by others.

      What do you want to be known for? By being more deliberate about how you want to come across and what you’re looking for in your career, you’ll increase your chance of attracting the right opportunities.

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      Once you’ve given your personal brand some thought, make sure that you show up online. Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? And if you don’t have one, get one. Make sure it communicates what you want to be known for and that it’s consistent with your other social media profiles.

      Try these 5 Steps to Master Networking Skills and Perfect Your Personal Branding.

      5. Be Accountable

      Achieve your career goals faster, and grow and learn by making yourself accountable. Tell other people your goals and a timeline. and have them to hold you accountable.

      For example, you might want to get a promotion by the end of the year, have decided the sector you want to move to by the end of the month, or have got your new business idea before the next pay day. Whatever your ambitions are, you can tell a friend or a colleague, or share this with a mentor or a mastermind group.

      When we tell other people our goals and intentions, they hold us accountable, and we are more likely to make progress faster.

      6. Make Sure Your Values Are Aligned With Your Company’s

      All the professional development, goal setting, and networks in the world won’t make you happy if you’re working for a company that ultimately has opposing values to yours.

      Figure out what’s important to you in a job. For example, does your company’s product help people live a better life? Do you feel strongly about your company’s ethics and social responsibility? Does the company culture allows employees to be themselves and shine? Or maybe flexible working and more holidays for employees with families is where your heart is?

      Some companies put their employees well-being at the core of their business; others put profits first. If you feel that your values don’t match the core values of your employer, it could be a reason why you’re feeling stuck in your career and unhappy.

      It’s important to work through this and identify whether it’s the job that is not right for you, or if it’s a great job but the organization or sector is wrong for you.

      7. Get out of Your Comfort Zone

      Your comfort zone is your safe place. For any change to happen, you have to step out of your comfort zone.

      It’s actually much easier not to change anything and to keep grumbling on about how you’re stuck and unhappy in your career than to step outside of your comfort zone to address the fearful unknowns associated with change. It’s part of human nature that we’d put up with the devil we know rather than risk the devil we don’t.

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      This is true even if the devil we know is a boring, unfulfilling job because we’re wired to think that making a change to find a better option might actually leave us worse off.

      If you feel stuck, it might be that your confidence has got the better of you.

      To get ahead at work, start taking small steps outside of your comfort zone. Consider what you’re scared of that is stopping you from making a change. Then, tackle that in small steps.

      For example, if you know that to move into the job you want, you’ll have to do more public speaking, but public speaking terrifies you so much it’s stopping you from going for the job, then start small to build your confidence. You can speak up more in team meetings, then slowly build from there.

      You might also choose to set up or be part of a specific group. One of my clients, who found that confidence was holding her team back in achieving work goals, set up a “get out of your comfort zone club,” where they challenge and support each other to build their confidence by regularly leaving their comfort zones.

      8. Learn to Embrace Failure

      Failure is part of life. A New York University study found that children learning to walk averaged 2,368 steps and fell 17 times an hour[3]. Failure is simply the natural path to success.

      The truth is that we don’t get everything right the first time. We fail, we learn, we pick ourselves up, and we try again.

      In my experience, it’s common that whilst the theory of learning from failure is supported, the reality of being open about failures to enable personal learning is much harder to achieve.

      We don’t like to admit that we’ve failed. We have a fight or flight response to failure. It’s a normal gut reaction to ask ourselves: “Will I get away with it if I don’t tell anyone?” We are fearful of criticism, of losing face in front of others, or even being fired for failure.

      However, if you’re going to stop feeling stuck in your career, you must be open to learning from failure.

      Reframe failure by viewing everything as an experiment because you can’t have a failed experiment—you just learn whether something works or not. Think of Edison inventing the lightbulb, when he said:

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      “I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

      9. Build Your Resilience

      Resilience is the ability to tackle difficulties and setbacks, to bounce back, regroup, and to keep going.

      Getting unstuck in your career, taking a different path, and achieving the results you want will take resilience. Having resilience is also the capacity to choose how you respond to the unexpected things that life throws your way and adapt and thrive in times of complex change.

      Given that the world we live in is in constant flux, and the only thing that is certain is uncertainty, the ability to adapt and bounce back is an important life skill, as well as a career skill.

      In her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth’s research shows that when measuring success, the ability to persevere beats talent every time.

      Learn more about how to build resilience in this guide: What Is Resilience and How to Always Be Resilient (Step-By-Step Guide)

      10. Ask for Help

      It can be hard to ask for help, as it can make us feel vulnerable.

      No one person can be expected to have all the answers. That’s why we need a group of people that we can go to for help, people who can pick us up when we have setbacks and also help us to celebrate success.

      My advice is to be deliberate about creating your group. You can do that with a tool called a “Me Map”:

      1. Write down all the things that you might need support with, like help with career progression, interview practice, making new connections, talking through business plans, learning from failure, etc.
      2. Next to each thing, write the names of the people you go to when you need that particular thing.
      3. Make sure you get in touch and regularly connect with them.

      Final Thoughts

      You can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work by applying the tips in this article. Start small by incorporating three new things in your first week, and then adding more as your comfort zone and capacity expands.

      Remember, no matter how stuck you feel, it’s never too late to make a change and land the career that you truly want.

      More Tips to Stop Feeling Stuck in Your Career

      Featured photo credit: NEW DATA SERVICES via unsplash.com

      Reference

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