Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Money vs. Happiness

on September 30, 2010

I’ve been thinking about money vs. happiness a lot lately. All in terms of ones job.  Some people hate their job but it pays well so they stick with it. The good pay allows them to do what they want outside of work and buy shiny fancy things. Others get by on very little pay but love what they do. It makes some things harder in life but they enjoy going to work everyday and tend to be happier outside of work.

Recently I had to face the option of money vs. happiness head on. Based on the circumstances at work I need to start looking for another job. A company I had interviewed with was working on making me an offer. They knew where I needed to be salary wise so presumably planned to match it. I knew a phone call was coming so I seriously pondered how I felt about this job. All the people that know me and this company said it was a great fit, a great opportunity for me. So many things seemed right, in a nice area, close to friends, and a stable company that looked out for their employees. The job was something I’d done for years so I knew I was perfectly capable. All of my potential co-workers seemed very nice. They were even willing to wait for me to become available in 2011. All of these things were checked off in the “pro” column in my mind but something didn’t feel right. All signs said I should be  excited about this opportunity and I wasn’t. Part of me was even dreading the call with the offer. Hoping it would be delayed so I could have something else pop up and I could put off giving them an answer and keep it as a fall back. I finally realized all the pros were things  I was trying to use to convince me to take the job. Nothing about the job itself excited me.

When they called to make the offer they wanted me to come back in to make the offer in person. I had to be honest. I told them I wasn’t interested. I wasn’t going to waste their time or mine anymore. I didn’t even want to keep it as a fall back. I thanked the manager for her time and the opportunity. She left the door open in case I change my mind later.

I really hoped I had made the right choice. Then a co-worker said something to me after I told him what I decided.  He said, “Whatever decision you make will be the right one. Don’t worry about it.” He was right. No one knows me better than me. As long as I trust my instincts I’ll be OK.

I’ve realized that being happy in what I do is ultimately more important than making a bunch of money to buy shiny things.  I’m going to spend way too many of my waking hours at whatever job I find for it to be something I don’t enjoy doing. I’m not sure where I’m going to end up but I feel like I’m at least in a better mental frame of mind now. I know I can’t wait forever for the perfect shining job to come along but I’m not to that point yet. For now, I’m going to be picky and look for something that will make me happy.

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