Whether you’re a recent college graduate or a professional with years of experience on your back, at some point you will probably ask yourself this question:
Is my job fulfilling my purpose or dreams?
It’s hard to follow your dreams as a professional. Most of the time, we are drawn to careers that are linked to things we care about most, but then we act reasonably and choose professions that are a safe bet on the overcrowded job market.
If you’re at the crossroads because you’re dissatisfied with your current job or have the opportunity to pursue what you’ve always wanted to do, this article is for you.
A better-paying job might be the answer for some, but there are plenty of other things you should take into account when choosing between a dream job and a sensible job.
Here are 6 tips to help you decide what type of job to pursue right now.
1. Get a new perspective on high-paying jobs
Even if it seems that money is the easiest path to satisfaction, here’s what the reality looks like if you’re a high earner.
The thing is that we tend always to compare ourselves to others. So if you get a smashing bonus, you might not be that pleased with it when you find out that your colleague got an even higher bonus. To anyone on a regular salary that type of reaction looks ridiculous.
But you see that in this case it’s not really about the money, but about the recognition.
That extra bonus of your colleague means that they performed better than you – and that might make you unhappy. Moreover, it’s very easy to get trapped in high earning jobs.
You might get stuck in a job that you hate simply because it gives you the salary you need to support the lifestyle you are used to. You can’t just tell your partner that you’re moving to a smaller house and taking the kids out of private school just because you hate your career.
2. Consider the price of happiness
We tend to associate happiness and the money with money, but that that only holds true to a certain extent. Recent research from pointed to where the connection between income and life satisfaction actually lies.
According to the study, the emotional well-being of people tends to rise with income, but beyond an annual salary of around $75,000, there is no further progress.
What it means is that earning an average middle-class income is more than enough to make you happy. However, the same research found out that having no money or a meager income causes real emotional pain.
High income will buy you life satisfaction to a degree, but not happiness. Keep that in mind when choosing your job.
3. Consider your options
There are many factors you should consider when presented with a high-paying job. For example, one of the most important considerations is your partner and family. Naturally, if you choose a higher paying job, it might mean that you will be spending less time with your kids – but also have more money to save up for their future.
On the other hand, if you’re a recent graduate with no such responsibilities, you may choose a high-paying job because it will help you pay off your college debts faster.
But it’s not only your situation that is of importance here. Your dreams and desires are just as crucial. The thing about following one’s dream is that it may carry more or less risk – that’s why it’s always a good idea to revise your goals and adjust them to the reality in which you find yourself.
For example, if you’d like to become a successful rockstar, you’re likely to become unhappy because most of the people who try that will fail and only few will get where they want.
On the other hand, be aware that doing what you enjoy may set you up for a slow start. For instance, college students who get a degree in humanities may take a longer time to find themselves in the job market.
But once they do find their footing and embrace their talents, many of them can become successful. Doing what you love often means that you will be good at it and more successful down the road.
4. Define your needs
Before taking on a high-paying job or an opportunity for following your dreams, you need to have a clear picture of your needs and what they entail for your professional life.
For example, what kind of income so you need to have to follow the lifestyle you want? What kind of work schedule do you prefer? Do you need benefits like health insurance? What kind of impact will your new job have on the quality of time you spend with friends and family?
If a job fails to address your basic needs, you will struggle and be unhappy – even if you get the highest paying job.
5. Find a strategy for getting a passive income
A smart way to pursue one’s dream is simply coming up with another source of income. A passive source of income will allow you to spend more time focusing on the things you love and making a career out of them. If it means being stuck at your high-paying job for several years, it might be worth the trouble.
Calculate the risk to find out whether staying at your current job will make sense in a long-term perspective. If that’s not an option for you, you can also find other sources of income through investment or trading.
Allocating your resources well is the best strategy for making the most of your life because you will be supported by passive income all the while you pursue your dreams.
6. Look for jobs with specific perks
Once you evaluate your needs, you will know what’s important to you when it comes to the job market. Sometimes it’s a good idea to choose a job that pays less but offers you benefits that have a significant impact on the quality of your life and take you closer to realizing your dreams.
Even if you’re being paid less, the employee perks and benefits might be making up for the lost income. That type of compromise is another excellent strategy to getting where you want in life without having to sacrifice your career.
Choosing a career based only on your interests is a mistake because there are so many other factors you should take into account. Sometimes, it might take a while for you to convert your passion into a profession, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t add any meaning to your professional life right now.
Use these 6 strategies when considering your next step and you will be on your way to making sure that you don’t sacrifice your passion for money, that your passion doesn’t become a source of financial suffering.