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Why you should choose job satisfaction over pay

By Emilly Parris

Salary is an important consideration when deciding on a career path. After all, you want to be paid what you’re worth and live comfortably while supporting your family. But how important is money in relation to other factors? Is having a job that pays well really worth it if you’re unhappy?

How much you are compensated is one factor that determines job satisfaction. Others include workplace culture, job security, work hours, responsibilities and work-life balance. If these things are important to you, sacrificing them for a high wage will not lead to happiness—at least not for long.

For many Australians, job satisfaction is more than just earning a high salary. It’s becoming increasingly more common for career changers to set their sights on a career that is both professionally and personally fulfilling. Though at the end of the day you’ll need to decide for yourself if it’s worth taking a pay cut for a new job, here are some reasons you might want to choose job satisfaction over a higher salary.

1. Your career is important to you.

A career requires a great deal of commitment. You’re putting your energy into something that makes up a large part of your life. Therefore, it makes sense to choose a career that aligns with your values. If your career is important to you, you’ll want to take the time to consider every aspect—including the financial, but also the emotional, social and professional aspects so that you can weigh up whether a job is worth the effort you’re putting into it.

Choosing a career solely based upon income without reflecting on whether it’s something you actually want to do can lead to long-term dissatisfaction and burn-out. Your career should be fulfilling in a broad sense—that doesn’t mean you need to enjoy every minute of it—but working towards a bigger goal can bring a tremendous sense of fulfilment.

2. You want to make a meaningful impact with your work.

team motivating each other

Staying motivated and excelling at work is difficult if you’re bored and unsatisfied with your job. If your vision for a great career involves doing meaningful, purposeful work it’s essential that you are motivated and passionate about what you’re doing. Consider what motivates you to want to work harder and excel in your field—this will ultimately be your main purpose and reason for going to work every day.

Interestingly, a 2017 survey found that Australian workers in occupations with mid-range skills are more likely to report a high level of satisfaction with their job. These are jobs that include community services, child care and aged care.

3. You believe every single day matters.

Most high paying jobs are well-compensated because of the numerous responsibilities a single person must handle. Juggling too many responsibilities can be difficult to manage which is why many workers quit their high-powered jobs in favour of something less demanding. They may decide that each day is too important to be spent on something that brings little to no value to their lives.

The idea that ‘what you do every day matters’ can help you decide what you are willing to sacrifice to meet a greater goal. Ask yourself; are you still happy to go to your job every day, even if it is not what you really want to do? Beyond your finances, what do you want your life to look like? Are there adjustments you can make to your lifestyle so that you are still able to afford what you need? By answering these questions honestly, you’ll be able to get to the heart of what you really want.

4. You care about your mental wellbeing.

happy young man smiling at laptop

Health is one of the few valuable possessions we have that most of us take for granted. We push ourselves to our limits and wonder why we feel tired, stressed and anxious every day. Showing up to a job that drains you of energy without giving you anything in return understandably can have negative consequences on your mental wellbeing. If you’ve decided to prioritise your health and find a more suitable job (even if it pays less) you’re still making a worthwhile decision.

Thinking about switching careers?

Job satisfaction and a high salary are not mutually exclusive of course—you can be well-paid and very satisfied with your job. What’s most important is that the job itself meets your lifestyle needs and that you understand the sacrifices you are making when you decide to change careers.

If you’re ready to make the switch, you can start by taking an online course in your field of interest. In most industries, skilled and qualified workers earn more than those who do not have formal qualifications. To find out more, give Upskilled a call on 1300 009 924 or chat to one of their education consultants about what your options are today.
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