Money WAS My Career Compass

I chose a career in Engineering but unlike most engineers — I never had a passion for understanding how a machine works or found joy in disassembling things and putting them back together. I was also one of those students in high school who didn’t know exactly which career they should pick to build a successful future.

I preferred a career that involved more math than science because I hated memorizing scientific terms. But my report cards show I had better marks in science than math. This was confusing for me on deciding which career I should go with: Go with what I’m better at? Or go with what I wanted?

I wasn’t sure exactly which field of Engineering I wanted to get into but I know I had to pick a field that would allow me to make money as soon as possible.

That thought made me feel a little corrupted. It was against the belief I had way back when I was a kid: “Money is the root of all evil. Greed is what destroys a person’s life”. That belief was also reinforced by the T.V. shows and movies I’ve seen when I was growing up — where the rich takes advantage of the poor. It wasn’t all about the money. There is more to life than money. But why is it that everyone else around me (rich and poor) goes out of their way to acquire it? Again, I was confused.

I ended up taking a program in college that had internship. Because the thought of making money while learning was worth like GOLD to me (I was hungry for money).

I grew up believing that the reason why my parents wanted me to do good in school is so that: I can get good education, get a good job, make good money and use that money to experience a life better than theirs. Money was the ultimate solution to having a better life. The more money I have, the better my life will be.

But that skewed belief was changed when I left a company that offered good pay, good work benefits, job security and less stress. Working for that company made me feel like I hit the jackpot in the career lottery. But I ended up leaving because the lack of career growth slowly tortured my enthusiasm to work. Boredom became the enemy I had to face every day. To most people I talked to, leaving that company was a stupid decision. I didn’t care. If I stayed, I would’ve never understood exactly what other people meant by “it’s not always about the money”.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against making money. In fact, I wanted to make more money. The realization I had led me to another idea on how to attract more money:

1) Learn as many skills as I can.

2) Acquire as much knowledge as I can from people who are better than me.

3) Apply those knowledge and skills I acquired.

By doing those, I can increase my value as an individual and an employee — the idea of having a growth mindset [link]. But that strategy takes a lot of time and effort. Most people want instant results — I do too but that almost always never worked for me. To hold myself accountable for improving myself, I created a website to document my pursuit of unlocking my true potential [link].

I want to make more money now. It would be nice if I can fast forward in time where I have already acquired all the skills and knowledge I need to get paid more. Working my way up the company ladder is an option but that takes a long time and competition is often high. To hack my way into learning more skills in a shorter amount of time, I decided to take the route of jumping from one company to another [link].

To expedite my progress, I consumed books on personal development. One that inspired me to focus more on learning (instead of focusing on money) was the book, Mastery by Robert Greene [Affiliate Link]. The book shows the different ways to become a master at ‘some unique profession’. This ‘unique profession’ is typically a combination of the variety of skills, knowledge and experience we acquired throughout our life. But figuring out that unique profession/expertise is not an easy task. It requires a lot of time and self-reflection.

That is one of my current goals in life: To figure out what I’m really good at [link]. I continue to learn and evolve as I continue the career path I’m on right now. Since it’s a continuous evolution of career, perhaps I’ll never find out what that something really is — it’s a never ending task.

But when I do find whatever that something is, I can stand out from the crowd of other experts. How? I’m unique, which means I don’t have competition — makes it easier for me to find another job. That is another way of creating my own Employment Insurance [link]. Losing a job is not going to be a problem anymore because I’m confident enough to find another job EASILY. That’s the goal at least. I’m not there yet.

I got laid off from a company I loved to work for before. Before that, I’ve worked for four other companies where I learned different skills and experience. That helped me craft a good resume. I know it’s good because I was only unemployed for a month. I didn’t even get to receive money from the government’s employment insurance. Within that month I had two job offers:

One is with a large company with organized management, better salary, better work-benefits but PROBABLY low on learning opportunities.

The other was a start-up company where pay is a little less, “ok” work benefits but very high on learning opportunities.

Is it luck? Does my resume really look good? Maybe these companies are desperate? I don’t know the answer to all those questions but the point is — I found a job in a short amount of time. I ended up working for the start-up company.

Making money is still a priority but my new mindset made me realize that the money can come later. Money is not the end goal anymore. Money will come simply as a ‘reward on the side’ — a “side effect” for my pursuit of continuous learning and acquiring skills.

“Don’t do something just for the money. Money is a side effect of persistence. You persist in things you are interested in. Explore your interests. Then persist. Then enjoy all the side effects.” (Pg. 99, Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth)


Resources I listened to that helped me change the way I view things on Money and Career [links]:


· Third Circle Theory by Pejman Ghadimi — where he talks about the misconception of using money as a measurement of success.

· How To Become A Master of What You Love — An interview with Robert Greene on his book Mastery.

· Helping Joe Episode 35 — One of the hosts “opened up about his own career and going through work he hated to build towards the work that he liked”.


· The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Mastery

· Mindset for Achievement — More details on ‘Growth Mindset’.


· Mastery by Robert Greene

· Choose Yourself Guide To Wealth by James Altucher

(Previously published by Thought Catalog