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What’s More Important; Salary or Satisfaction?


There is an old saying that if you do what you love, the money will follow. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In fact, often there is a big trade-off necessary when it comes to earning a higher salary. High paying jobs often fall into one of three camps – you have to have a lot of education or special skills, you have to work a lot of hours, or the job is dangerous.

On the other hand, many of the jobs that people love and are passionate about, such as social worker, writer, actor and related positions may pay very little or, in some cases, they may not even pay enough to live on!

In many cases, this leads to an interesting dilemma for people when they select an educational track or a career path. Should they opt for a position that provides them with a high salary or should they choose a job that provides them with the maximum amount of satisfaction?

High Paying Jobs That Come at a Cost

This decision is a very personal one. Those who are interested in taking higher paying jobs need to think carefully about the trade-offs that they are making in order to make sure that the high salary is worth it to them. For instance, if you can make a lot of money as a lawyer but you have to work 80 or 90 hours a week doing something that you hate, usually the trade-off won’t be worth it in the end.

Money Really Can’t Buy Happiness

They say that money can’t buy happiness and there is a reason for saying this. If you do something that you are unhappy doing every single day of the week, you simply won’t be content with life.

Most studies done on the subject have indicated that once you reach a certain base level of money where you have enough to pay for all of your needs as well as a few additional luxuries, more money has no ability to actually improve your happiness levels.

Choosing a job you love, on the other hand, can make you feel far richer than a six-figure income ever could. When you love what you do, you will be passionate and energized to wake up every single day.

When you love what you do at work, it never feels like a job to you and you don’t waste the bulk of your working life simply striving to earn more of the almighty dollar just to collect more meaningless stuff. As the iconic CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs said in his now famous Stanford commencement address, life is short and you should not waste yours living someone else’s life.

Your Job Has to Pay Enough

Of course, there is a caveat to the principle that satisfaction is more important than salary. Your job needs to provide you with enough money to live on. If you cannot afford a place to live, if you don’t make enough to buy food for your family or if you are constantly struggling because of your low salary, usually you can’t make up for these negatives no matter how happy you are with your career.


AUTHOR Derek Sall

Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially--one email, one article, one person at a time.

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