Love or Money? Which Should Motivate Your Career?

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It’s the argument of the ages. Should you scrape by on a low wage for a job you love? Or should you step up to the stress in exchange for being able to splash the cash? If you’re caught in a rut and are not sure which path to take, here are some thoughts worth considering.

A stressful job that pays well can still cost you

All jobs have their pressures. However, if you really hate your job and it is starting to negatively affect your mental health, regardless of the paycheque it may have heavy costs down the line. Your stressful job could have you paying for counselling sessions or fuelling an alcohol addiction. Stress can also cause damage to your physical health, causing high blood pressure and heart disease. Workplace stress is thought to rack up 190 billion dollars in annual US healthcare costs. A job you enjoy could save contributing to these figures.

An enjoyable job that pays less can cause you pain

Of course, a low paid job that you enjoy can also lead to depression and conflict. By not taking the decision to aim higher, you could end up missing out on a lot of life opportunities. You may have to scrape through your life by renting, be unable to afford holidays, turn down the social events of others and, if you have a kid, not be able to provide the upbringing for that child that you think they deserve. All this can cause sadness and regret. Wouldn’t a higher paid job spare this?

The solution — don’t settle for either

A high paid job that you enjoy is perfectly achievable — you just haven’t found it yet.

If you’re looking for a more well paid job but don’t have the experience or qualifications, there are now cheaper and more convenient services out there for getting these jobs. You can take graduate degrees online and save the cost and hassle of having to move location or commute. Meanwhile, you can get experience by volunteering or by sidestepping the corporate ladder altogether and starting up your own business. This could get you more money for doing something you enjoy.

Meanwhile, if you’re in a high paid job and are looking for less stress, a paycut shouldn’t be the only answer. First, take some time out to recuperate — consider counselling if you think you need it. Dedicate some time to job-hunting on your time off. By already having the experience, you should be able to find something more easily. Start treating interviews in reverse — use them as a chance for you to decide whether the company is for you, rather than the company deciding whether you are right for them. Consider going self-employed. If you can’t find anything during your time off, go back to work and take time to talk to your employer. Let them know that you’re finding the work stressful and negotiate a way of lessening the burden. If other people in the office are bringing you down, try working from home. Alternatively, get assigned to new roles where your responsibility is less or you feel more confident.

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