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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 18, 2019

      How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

      How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

      Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

      However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

      Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

      Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

      There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

      Better Job Offers

      Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

      People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

      Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

      You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

      Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

      A Shot at Entrepreneurship

      Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

      We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

      13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

      1. Update Your Resume

      You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

      Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

      While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

      There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

      2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

      Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

      That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

      To hone this skill:

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      Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

      Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

      This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

      How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

      3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

      Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

      Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

      To hone this skill:

      Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

      4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

      No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

      Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

      To hone this skill:

      Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

      Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

      These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

      The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

      5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

      Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

      How to hone this skill:

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      Practice being resourceful.

      Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

      Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

      No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

      If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

      6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

      6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

      Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

      The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

      Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

      How to hone this skill:

      Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

      Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

      17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

      7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

      Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

      What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

      How to hone this skill:

      Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

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      Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

      5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

      8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

      Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

      Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

      How to hone this skill:

      Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

      Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

      What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

      9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

      How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

      Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

      How to hone this skill:

      Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

      Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

      The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

      10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

      Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

      How to hone this skill:

      Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

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      Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

      What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

      11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

      Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

      You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

      How to hone this skill:

      All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

      How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

      12. Build Networks and Relationships

      You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

      Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

      How to hone this skill:

      Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

      To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

      How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

      Final Thoughts

      Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

      You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

      Happy career switching!

      More Resources About Career Advancement

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

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