Finding the Right Career for You

Make Money or Be Happy

Maybe you’ve only ever thought that you can make money or be happy when you choose your career. That seems like an extremely hard choice, right? Either you find a job that makes you satisfied and happy to go to work every morning, or you get a job you despise purely because it pays well.

How do you choose?

Maybe we can suggest that the two aren’t your only options or that they aren’t mutually exclusive. There’s always another way to think about it.

Being Happy With Your Job

As you browse the internet, you’ll probably come across quotes that say stuff like, “When you wake up every morning excited to do your job, you’ll never work a day in your life”. That makes you think that you should find a job that makes you happy. Right?

Not necessarily.

Being happy is what people think it’s like when you’ve made it, when you’re sitting on the top of success, when you’ve gotten everything in life you’ve ever wanted. That’s when you’re happy. Only, that’s a horrible way to look a life. Because nobody ever feels like they’ve achieved everything they ever wanted. Even the richest person looks at something they don’t have and works to attain that.

It’s a poor definition of the word, though. Life isn’t about being happy; it’s about being satisfied. You should find meaning in what you do. That little transformation makes all the difference in how you choose a career. If you find meaning in it, if you can find satisfaction in your job being well done, that make you satisfied. You might not be ‘happy’ all the time, but you have meaning, which matters much more.

Making Money with Your Job

The other side of the coin is that many people choose a job because it gives them money. They might not like it, they might not have wanted it growing up, but it pays pretty well. Seeking a satisfying paycheque isn’t bad; it just shouldn’t be the end goal of how you choose a career.

Haven’t you ever wondered how you hear all those stories of people who’ve won the lottery continuing to be miserable, losing all their money within a few years, and feeling worse off than ever? Haven’t you wanted to just have the chance to test to see if that would be true for you? Money might not buy happiness, you say, but I sure would like to find out for myself.

Studies show that after a certain point of income, money does nothing for us anymore. We seek a paycheque to avoid the pain, not to gain happiness. Once you have enough money to avoid a painful life, that’s all that matters.

That means that it’s not a bad thing to seek out a career that makes you money, but you shouldn’t try to find satisfaction from it. Your satisfaction should come from somewhere else than your money. You should be defined not by your career (“I’m a doctor. I’m a pharmacist. I’m a solicitor”), but as a person who happens to have this profession (“I’m an avid fisherman who happens to practice law. I love to bake cakes when I’m not at the pharmacy.”)

Should you make money or be happy with your job? It turns out you can have both.