It’s the rare person that dreams of a career in a low-paying job. It may surprise you to find out that many people do indeed make a low wage and are incredibly happy in their position. These people have put their happiness ahead of monetary gain and are being emotionally rewarded for doing so. If you’re struggling with the decision to take a low-paying job or to continue on in a lucrative career, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
What Do I Value?
Be very honest with yourself when you answer this question. There’s nothing wrong with you if the answer is “money.” Every person is an individual and holds different things valuable. For some people, respect and power are at the top of their list. For other people, happiness and satisfaction are at number one and two. Don’t base your values on the thoughts and opinions of others; this is all about you!
How Low is Low?
What you consider a low-paying job is subjective. If you live in California where the cost of living is high, a low-paying job may be one that pays $30,000 a year. If you live in the Midwest, a low-paying job may be one that pays $18,000 a year. You’ve got to make enough money to survive no matter how much you value your happiness. There are ways to live frugally that can make a low-paying job more bearable. You can take on a roommate, cook more and eat out less and even scale back your cable subscription.
What are My Goals?
What do you want to do with the rest of your life? You should decide what your goals are before you consider potential salaries. Knowing what you want to do with your life and following your goals can be very rewarding. If you want to work with children, being a teacher may be the best career path. Then again, becoming a social worker or a legal advocate may be better options. Decide on your goals and then research career paths that will help you reach them without considering possible salaries.
Will You Be Miserable?
Take a look at some of the highest paying jobs: engineer, lawyer, surgeon and CEO. Does the thought of spending the next 30 years of your life in one of these positions make you cringe? You will spend a third of your waking life at work. Do you want to spend that time being miserable? Research some of the higher paying jobs and look at the job requirements of each. Remember that you will be spending between eight and 12 hours each day at work. Can you see yourself happily performing any of these jobs for that long?
What Do You Need to Live?
Some people can be happy living on a diet of Ramen noodles and listening to the radio. Other people need caviar and satellite television to make them happy. Will you be happy being able to keep a roof over your head and the electricity on? Will you be disappointed if you can’t fly to Europe on your summer vacation and stay in a four-star resort? People have different requirements when it comes to lifestyle. The amount of money you make will greatly impact how you live your life.
Money is everything for some people. For others, being happy and fulfilled in their work is more valuable than anything money can buy. There’s nothing wrong with choosing to be happy over choosing to be rich! You can’t put a price tag on being satisfied with the next 30 years of your life.
Holley Ludlow writes full-time for education blogs nationwide. She writes for www.une.edu where you can find out more about msw programs online.