A question as old as time itself, it’s been asked by people worldwide, spanning languages, centuries and continents. It’s a question we’ve all asked at one time or another… a question that penetrates deep into our souls. Of course, that question is: “Are you sure the baby is mine?”
No wait. Wrong question. Let’s try again.
The question in question is: “Which would you rather have – a lower-paying job you love, or a higher-paying job you dislike?”
Before we continue, let’s make a few things clear:
- I’m not talking about your Dream Job vs. Being A Garbageman (sorry sanitation workers, not a knock against you. But I understand you’re all well-paid, so quit yer whinin’)
- I’m not talking about a high, six-figure salary at a job you hate vs. a low, five-figure salary at a job you love
- I am talking about having to choose between two (or more) jobs, where your preferred position pays slightly less than your not-so-preferred position
Essentially, I’m asking what you value more: Passion or Profit?
Let’s try an example: After months of job-searching you’re offered two positions, from two companies operating in different industries. The company in the industry in which you’d prefer to work offers a position with a salary of $40K, and no indication whether there’s opportunity for growth.
The company in the industry you’re not familiar with offers a similar position starting at $50K, with the chance to grow. This company is not necessarily the most ideal destination for you, but at the same, who wouldn’t want an extra $10,000 each year?
Pop Quiz, Hotshot: What do you do? What do you do!?
There are many factors to consider when faced with such a decision: the calibre of your potential team, the credibility and reputation of the organization, and the actual work you’d be involved in, for starters. There’s also the commute, the location, the growth opportunities, and whether or not you can expense that new BlackBerry you’ve had your eye on.
Does taking the higher-paying job make you a sell-out? Will accepting the lower-paying job signal you’re afraid to take on a new challenge?
Does taking the lower-paying job prioritize your passion and expertise over a slightly higher income? Will accepting the higher-paying job ultimately make you happy?
One question leads to many more, and it’s a struggle to solve them all. Ultimately, I try and err on the side of personal happiness. Whether it’s the right decision or not is something only time will tell, but I believe it’s most important to be true to oneself. Of course, that may mean different things to different people.
In the end, you must weigh all your options and make what will likely be a difficult decision, and one you may reconsider almost immediately. If you’re fortunate, you’ll know that you made the right choice. And if not, then at least you’re either getting paid real well, or having some fun.
Have you had any such experiences? Share your war stories below!