Money or Happiness: How Much Should You Compromise in Your Career?


A lot of people looking for a lucrative career often forget how important it is that you love your job. Likewise, many people who want to do something they love can forget how important it is to make enough money to cover your basic expenses. These two things are often in conflict, except for a lucky few people who love practicing law or medicine.

Generally speaking, the things we love to do aren’t exactly the things that are going to make us the most money. Some people are lucky enough to be natural talents and can become professional musicians or athletes, doing something they love and making tons of money. For the rest of us, however, we have to make a choice. Money, or happiness? Maybe there’s a sweet spot in between.

Aiming for the Sweet Spot

Just because a job isn’t your favorite thing in the world doesn’t mean that it will make you miserable. Likewise, just because a job you love isn’t terribly lucrative, that doesn’t mean you should leave it behind altogether. There’s a happy middle ground for people looking for careers that meet both criteria.

The important place to start is to isolate the things you like to do. Are you a fan of creative work, or do you like working with data and numbers? Are you comfortable talking to customers all day, or would you prefer to work at a computer? Try taking some aptitude tests to give you an idea of where you might excel in a workplace.

Keeping an Open Mind

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that you get a job playing video games, riding jet skis, and taste-testing five-star meals. Some lucky celebrities might get that job, but it shouldn’t be your goal when you’re looking for a way to pay bills.

Keep an open mind about your career prospects. Maybe becoming a graphic designer isn’t the job as a world-renowned painted you were looking for. But it keeps the lights on, and it’s in the same wheelhouse!

What many people with a passion for a dream job do is find a job adjacent and more readily marketable. Some aspiring dancers could become dance instructors. Those looking to become professional musicians could work in an instrument shop.

This will keep you close to your dream while you’re still making ends meet. In your downtime, you can then pursue the dream job you know you’re perfect for! Keep an open mind, and keep at it. Your big break could be around the corner!