By Perminus Wainaina
What is more important, being in a job you’re satisfied with, or one that pays you well? Would you rather go for the money or satisfaction?
These are some of the questions Sharon was battling with when she reached out. She has been looking for a job for over eight months. From the frustration and desperation she was in, she had resorted to applying for any job she came across.
Sharon is an accountant by profession; she has four years’ experience in the field. She is passionate about accounting, and says even ten years from now, she would still like to be an accountant. In her previous Job, she was earning a gross salary of 60 thousand shillings.
Three weeks ago, she was called for an interview at a startup for the position of senior accountant. A few days later, she was also called to another interview, this time; the organization was a leading betting company. The position she was interviewed for was Customer Service Executive.
A while after the interviews, both companies called her. She had passed both interviews after attending a coaching session. The betting company was offering her a gross salary of 90 thousand shillings, but it was in a field she was particularly passionate about. While the startup did offer a job in a field she was familiar with and passionate about, the gross salary offered was 45 thousand shillings.
At first, Sharon consulted with her friends and family. While they all had differing opinions, most told her to work for the betting company, as she would make more money, and be in better position to pay her bills, and possibly start a side project that she could move to eventually. A few of her friends, however, advised her to follow her passion, where she would be happy, even if the pay was lower than her previous job, and a half of what was being offered by the betting company.
“What I’m I supposed to do? Both companies would like an answer this week, so I can start in April. What do I choose?” asked Sharon.
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I have always been a firm believer that you should go for a job you like over one that pays you well. This may be a contrary opinion from advice out there. Why do I believe your satisfaction in a job is better than the size of the paycheck? Here are my reasons;
1. You should do something you enjoy
As an HR professional, I have interacted with professionals from different sectors. One of the most common types of professionals is those who went for the money but ended up in a job they did not enjoy.
Sometimes, the problem goes much deeper. Two years ago, for instance, I met a young man who was excellent at his job. However, when we started talking, he revealed he hated what he was doing. However, it is what he had studied. As a result, he felt he was stuck with a career he termed as ‘boring and unenjoyable.’
Do you want to be stuck in something you don’t enjoy? At the start, it might seem tolerable, but ask yourself if this is a state you can tolerate for five or ten years. At some point, you’ll get to a tipping point.
When choosing a career or when deciding whether or not to take a job, simply ask yourself if you’ll enjoy being at the job ten or twenty years from now.
2. You should work in a healthy environment
The state of your workplace will have an effect on your life. Essentially, your job is where you spend most of your active time. If money is your major motivation to where you work, you’ll likely overlook some of the other factors such as the values the organization holds.
I have seen professionals who earn a lucrative salary. However, they do not believe in what the organization stands for. This could frustrate you and mess with your ability to execute your roles. This could also mess with your mental health.
Recently, I was reading the story of a lady on twitter. She was at a job that had a great salary, with great additional benefits. However, her boss would verbally abuse her. Eventually, she had to leave the job as it was interfering with her productivity and mental health.
3. You should look forward to challenges
When I asked Sharon what she was looking for in her next job, one of the things she was searching for was a challenge. At the workplace, challenges help us move to the next level.
When you’re faced with a challenge, you’re forced to think of a new approach, try new tactics, and get out of your comfort zone.
If you’re working just for the money, you might not feel the urge to rise up and tackle a challenge. When you’re at a job you like, you’ll be inclined to make the best of every situation.
For Sharon, a job in Customer Service was not her passion. As such, she would likely not go out of her way to find solutions. For the accounting job, she would likely look for solutions and get out her comfort zone to ensure the seamless running of her department and the growth of the startup.
When you’re excited about your job, you’ll seek to grow and overcome forthcoming challenges. If you’re working for money, it’s very easy to find you’ve stagnated in your career.
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After we had looked at these factors, Sharon had clarity on what path she was going to take. She ended up taking the startup job. She is excited about starting, and I believe this will help her grow both in her career, and help the startup grow to another level.
At the end of the day, your wellbeing and wholesome health are important. When you love what you do, you’ll look forward to the next day. You’ll look for ways to grow your career. When you put all these factors into consideration, it is evident that job satisfaction outweighs the pay.
Do you agree with me? Should you put job satisfaction over what you’re paid? Share with me your comments in the comments sections below.
Perminus Wainaina is the C.E.O and Managing Partner at Corporate Staffing Services, a leading HR & Recruitment consultancy firm based in Westlands. Through personalized career coaching he assists mid-level and senior professionals get solutions to complex and challenging career issues that they are facing. Click here for more on career coaching.