Bloomberg Work Wise just announced that Firefighters Are the Happiest Workers in America. They have the highest level of job satisfaction, even though their median annual income is just under $50,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Many studies point to the conclusion that wealth and happiness are not positively correlated. I have seen friends go bankrupt and their homes foreclosed. Even my parents went bankrupt twice. Therefore, I became good at controlling my finances as well as those of a company. I do think money matters, but only to a certain extent. Financial stress is the worst kind of stress, and with the continuing rising cost of living, many Americans are feeling the crunch of financial stress. Financial stress has been linked to health problems like depression and sleep disorders.
Money as the End Goal?
The other day, I was talking to a CEO whose purpose in life (so he told me) was to earn as much money as possible. He was obsessed with money; his goals were as follows:
- Lots of money
- More money
- Increasing and growing wealth
That leads me to the next question, can money truly make us happy?
Psychologists and economists have conducted many studies to determine whether money can trigger satisfaction and personal happiness, and the answer is yes, but with limitations. Money can have a positive effect on your happiness, especially when you’re moving up from poverty to the middle class. Ironically, however, scientists also say that you don’t get happier if you’re moving from middle class to upper class; in fact, your happiness may decrease. As the late rapper, The Notorious B.I.G would say, “Mo Money Mo Problems.” So, frankly, it doesn’t pay off to be stinky rich.
Ultimately, it isn’t money that makes us happy, as scientists point out. This means that attaining money as the final goal will not make us happy.
I know people who have taken on jobs, or entered a specific field, only because of the salary and increase in pay. They have ignored all warning signs that it might be a bad idea to take on the job or work because they have sold themselves on the money – yet, in the end, it has made them very unhappy.
So, when you think about your life and your career, please consider the following:
Don’t let money be the only driving force behind your chosen career path. In other words, base your career on more than just money. Try to find something you are good at, something you’re passionate about and something that there is a demand for in your market. Think clients, contracts and cash (in other words, locate your potential jobs and consumers).
- Teach yourself the basics of marketing, branding, customer service, production, manufacturing and accounting in order to grow your business or be hirable.
- Understand your financial situation; how much money will you need to earn and when will it be enough? Are you chasing a career or are you “just” going after a certain lifestyle? Everybody has a number inside their head. The number is almost like a lid. Some people’s money lid is $4,000 a month, while for others it’s $40,000 a month. We all have a number and what we think would make us happy, find yours.
- Save. Make sure you save. Saving allows you to have the mental freedom to know that you won’t have to sell your car because you’ve lost a job or went through a runt while growing your business and or changing your career.
I once took a job for more money and I end up very unhappy. With that said, if you can, never pursue a business or a career just for the money, not for the long term at least. When you combine your passion with a paycheck, money “should” always follow. Take your passion with you in all you do, and you will be rewarded because people will take notice.