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  • Choosing a Career: How Important is the Money?

    100 Dollars

    The last few years have been rather turbulent for the average American worker, haven’t they?

    As sick as we may be of talking about the economy and the recession, it’s difficult to avoid the subjects when it comes to talking about jobs and careers.

    Our country’s workforce has been battered as we’ve gone through this challenging era. Those who didn’t actually lose jobs either questioned the security of the jobs they kept or had more work and responsibility piled on them – with no additional pay.

    The Census Bureau reported that median household incomes, after inflation, fell to a level that was eight percent lower than in 2007 (the year before the recession began).

    Disengagement at work has reached ridiculously high levels. Over 71% of all American workers report that they are either “disengaged” or “actively disengaged” at their jobs.

    With job dissatisfaction being so high, over twenty-one million Americans were expected to change jobs this year, according to study released by Harris Interactive and Cornerstone OnDemand.

    Simply Hired, a search engine company that runs an online job database, published their third annual Job Seeker Report today. Based on survey results from their users, they reported that the recession has set back the careers of 72% of job seekers.

    So, let’s look at this little formula: We’ve got stressed out, dissatisfied, underpaid workers– at least 21 million of them – looking to get out and make a change.

    You might be interested to find out what the same survey had to say about money.

    Eighty-eight percent of the job seekers they surveyed said they would rather find a lower-paying job they love than a higher-paying job they don’t like.

    Eighty-eight percent is a pretty clear majority.

    These guys actually get it.

    Choosing a career isn’t all about the money.

    It’s about finding the work you love. The work you were made for. The work that brings a smile to your face (even if it is a somewhat exhausted smile) at the end of the day.

    As Dan Miller, career coach and one of my favorite authors, says, “Money is never ultimately enough compensation for an investment of our time and energy. We also need a sense of meaning, accomplishment, and purpose.”

    He also says that any work you commit yourself to must blend the following 3 areas:

    • Your Skills and Abilities
    • Your Personality Tendencies
    • Your Values, Dreams and Passions

    We can’t ignore the money. It absolutely does play a role in choosing our jobs and careers. But… it shouldn’t be the singular, central role.

    The eighty-eight percent of respondents in Simply Hired’s survey knew that.

    And, deep down, we all know that.

    Choosing a career is about aligning the three key ingredients that we mentioned above (skills, personalities, and passions) and figuring out how we can get paid for bringing that mix together in doing work that we love.

    If you’re one of the millions who plan to look for a new job or career in the coming year, consider these things before you make your big move.

    Those eighty-eight percent who said they would rather find work they love are talking from experience. They’ve learned hard lessons over the years about the cost of trading their time (and essentially, lives) in service of jobs that offer them no rewards beyond their paychecks.

    What’s your time (life) worth?

    I think it’s more than just a paycheck…

    LEGEND Talent Management works with both career coaches and individuals who are considering career changes. Their career assessment tools help determine the best fit for an individual’s skills and abilities, personality traits, and occupational interests. To learn more about joining their Career Coach network OR to schedule a Career Assessment, please contact them at