Money and Job Happiness
A recent Wall Street Journal article titled Money Can't Buy You Job Happiness the reporter, Jeff Opdyke describes what many of us may experience in our career:
"Just out of college, in my first job in 1989, I earned $315 a week -- $16,380 annually -- as a reporter for a small newspaper in north Louisiana. If I could only get to $25,000, I remember thinking, life would be a breeze.
With a job change a few months later, I jumped past $27,000 -- and soon saw $40,000 as my new bar. Hurdle that one, and I was absolutely certain my life would be so easy. Naturally, when that threshold came and went, my target moved to $50,000. Then $75,000.
It's a way of thinking that just about everyone slips into at some point, no matter what your salary is. Regardless of the size of the paycheck, we all manage to quickly grow into our income. So even if you can survive quite nicely on what you're earning, it never seems enough, and we immediately start daydreaming of a bigger figure.
That's because we're all inculcated to believe that bigger is better when it comes to our paycheck -- which explains why we're constantly trying to climb corporate ladders, job hop, negotiate pay packages and the like. There's nothing wrong with any of that, of course; striving for a better life marks our progress as a species.
But there's a line near the end of my favorite movie, "Wall Street," in which Charlie Sheen's Bud Fox asks Michael Douglas's Gordon Gekko, "How many yachts can you water-ski behind?"
In other words, when is enough enough? At what point does happiness in what you do -- or at least job comfort -- exceed an extra zero on your paycheck?
Without question, making more money is nice. And wanting to earn as much as you can underlies the American dream."
People change jobs looking for a better life . . . whether it's more money, more prestige, more control of their time. We can recount many stories that describe the mistake that people think they've made. Fun at Work results from us working in an atmosphere that is fun. And earning more money does not always mean we are getting to the greener grass on the other side of the fence.
One woman describes being offered a new high paying job that was difficlut to turn down. The WSJ reports, ". . . she has reached that level in her current job where she no longer must prove her abilities. She has a track record with her bosses who know she's good and who, therefore, trust her decisions. That allows her to coast through some parts of her job, giving her occasional down time to do things she needs to accomplish in her own life. That's not necessarily quantifiable in dollar terms, but it is a perk that's worth something, especially when you spend so much of your week at work.
'The thing is,' she says, 'when you walk through the new doors, you have to do it all over again. You have to prove yourself all over again, and that takes energy. I'm very driven, but to do that when you're established should really take something special, and something more than money.'
The ultimate question, she says, is this: Why put your whole life into potential disarray just for dollars? You risk misery. And is that worth the added bucks?
She hasn't decided yet. But she says: 'I'd be very angry with myself if I traded comfort in my current job just for money in a job that didn't provide everything else I might need.'
It is important for us to consider what we can do to make the job we already have better instead of looking for a new one. Put some fun into your work today and make where you work somewhere that you'd like to stay!
You can read the article at http://online.wsj.com/search#sb111368197917808812 The article is titled Money Can't Buy You Job Happiness from the April 17th edition.