Your Job: Purpose Vs. Pay

Purpose_Vs_Pay_WebAccording to the 2013 Work Stress Survey, 83% of Americans reported being stressed about at least one thing at work, with the number one factor being low pay. With workplace stress on the rise, have you asked yourself – “am I working for the pay or the purpose?”

Working for Pay
Payscale, a research provider on salary and career topics, dove into how meaningful people found their work versus what they get paid. The highest paying and most meaningful rated job is a dermatologist. But what about those jobs that have high pay with low meaning? Business Insider released a summary of the Payscale report focusing on jobs that pay well, but aren’t changing the world. That list included job titles for senior and corporate counsel, fashion designer, credit/collections director, and network architect. This list proves that high pay doesn’t always lead to high job satisfaction.

If pay is the most common factor in workplace stress, can workplace stress be alleviated just with higher pay? The highest earners in the Work Stress Survey cited their number one work stress was unreasonable workload. But if your work was doing something you truly love and find purpose in, more work might really just be more fun, right? It’s something to think about.

Working for Purpose
What about jobs with low pay but high satisfaction? Topping that list are sign language interpreter, worship coordinator, two jobs in the water treatment field – plant operator and plant laboratory technician, and soldier. This article also clarifies that high meaning doesn’t necessarily correlate with job satisfaction. Meaningful and fulfilling work can be hard, but is there a payout in knowing your work is creating a better world?

Another reason people may turn to careers of purpose is to have work that creates something. Generations ago, work resulted in a product, whether it was manufacturing or farming, you could actually see and touch your end product. A recent article in Parade stated that Etsy’s (an online craft marketplace) one million sellers will have sales of more than $1 billion this year. Individuals have turned to crafting as a relaxing hobby and have also found a way to make money off it.

The Balance
Finding the perfect balance of pay and purpose might be the definition of a dream job. Simply, what is your goal in finding employment? Your career goal may center on purpose if you are at a point in your life where financial responsibilities are lower. On the other side, if financial responsibilities are your driving motivation, it’s probably more important how much your paycheck is – not necessarily what you did to earn it.

For some individuals, a career of purpose is being noted as a career built for the second act of their business life. The Halftime organization “helps individuals find their passion to help lead a more significant second half,” as explored last month in a story on CBS DFW.

What about you? Are you trying to find your passion early in your career or are you working for a paycheck now with hope that at some point you can chart a new course? Share your thoughts in our comments section below.


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