Is Getting a Good Salary More Important than Having the Job You Really Want?


In an ideal world we would all work in jobs we love as well as receive a bumper salary. Sadly, this isn’t an ideal world and you might find yourself forced to make a decision at some point.

How many people do you know who say that they would love to be a carpenter or a gardener or a writer or whatever else but can’t because it doesn’t pay enough? Personally, I know about half a dozen people who have confessed to me that they hate their job and only do it because of the money. So how do you decide whether to choose a good salary or the job you really want?

Could You Survive with the Dream Job Income?

To be honest, many of us probably dream of jobs we would prefer to do rather than the ones we get paid for. It is human nature to always look for something better, but it isn’t always a sensible approach. For example, could you pay your bills and save some money if you did what you really want to do? Even if you could survive just now, you need to ask yourself whether you would earn enough to make the money you need in the future. If you are planning to have a family or buy your own home then you will want to make sure that you have decent earning prospects in place. Taking the slightly boring job with the good salary is the pragmatic, common sense approach. This might not be what you want to do with your life but there is a reason why millions of people take this approach.

Could You Live Without Doing What You Really Want? 

What would your life be like if you decided to be pragmatic and take the good salary rather than follow your dreams? Some people can cope with this but others will find that this creates a simmering resentment which they can’t forget about. It is up to you to decide which one of these categories you fall into. If you think that you honestly couldn’t be happy if you let your dream career slip away from you then maybe you need to check out the next point we are going to cover. If you think that being practical and going for the sensible job would work for you then just be sure that you won’t have regrets later on.

Is There a Way of Doing Both?

One thing a lot of people do is stick with their “proper” job for the sake of earning a steady income. However, at the same time they will carry on with their true passion as a hobby. This can be very demanding, and it is extremely possible that you would end up giving up on your dream job at some point if you did this for too long. Perhaps a more sensible would be the idea of looking to advance quickly in the role you really want while you earn money in the other role. What I mean by this is that you make a determined effort to break through in the career you want. You surely won’t be able to maintain both jobs forever, even if one is just as a hobby. This means that it is far better to spend maybe a year or so pouring all of your energy into it in an attempt to make it happen before you run out of steam.  This might mean studying, practicing or whatever else you need to do; the important point is to go for it before it is too late.

Have you managed to turn your dream job into a career or have you chosen a more pragmatic approach?

16 Responses to Is Getting a Good Salary More Important than Having the Job You Really Want?

  1. NZ Muse says:

    I’m absolutely doing my dream job and getting paid decently for it, but I know there isn’t likely to be a whole lot more room to grow that. So, definitely considering my options…

  2. Great post. I am sort of trying to get my dream job going on the side while I’m working my proper job at the moment. It IS tiring, and I often feel like I have wayyyyy too much to do, but I hope it will be worth it in the long run!

  3. I have some few friends that are already a registered nurse, but they are working as a call center agent now. They really a have a good salary for being a call center agent that’s why I think they preferred to forget their ideal jobs.

  4. I can answer this in 2 words… no way. You only get one shot at life to be happy and achieve the goals you set for yourself. If working every hour god sends to fill your bank account is your thing then that is fair enough, if its not however, more fool you.

    • Robert Bell says:

      In theory I have to agree with you John but I wonder how many people out there could tell us their stories about feeling forced to take a job they didn’t really want

  5. Considering I’ve averaged around 20k/year as a professional actress, I’d have to say definitely not. At least not now. At some point I think the money will become a higher priority.

    • Robert Bell says:

      That’s a good point Stefanie. There are some careers in which you need to take a long term view of the financial rewards

  6. I would rather do what I love! I am home with my youngest son now but he will head off to kindergarten next year. As a former teacher, when I step back into the classroom I always feel content and happy! I would teach for free (I am now as I tutor our friend’s daughter in reading) so getting paid is a bonus!! 🙂

  7. I put providing for my family first. If I needed a higher paying job to provide for my family, I would do a job I absolutely hated to do it. Luckily for me, I don’t have to worry about that…I love my job, and make a good salary doing it.

  8. I’ve definitely made my dream job my career, but it’s come at the cost of lots of other things. I don’t see a feasible way to have a family or a real home while I do it and I feel like the best opportunities will often require me to just up and leave to chase them. There are lots of times when I wonder if it’s all been worth it.

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