Happiness is Greater Than Salary
We have talked a lot in the past year on the topic of employment. In 2016 I got a working notice for the job I had for over 10 years. In early 2017 I got another job which almost immediately fell apart. Then in April I got yet another job which is going really well. Needless to say with so many peaks and valleys we’ve had a lot to talk about. The good thing about this rollercoaster is that I landed in a place where I’m happier with my job than I have in well over a decade. A couple of weeks ago something was brought up at work that brought up another topic. I was (sort of) offered a promotion.
What Do You Mean Sort Of?
So I understand the confusion, you either get offered a promotion or you don’t – there really isn’t a middle ground. Essentially there was a senior manager that was parting ways with the company. The owner pulled me into his office and asked if I might be interested. The role had many similarities to the one I did for the majority of my professional life. This job had less responsibilities but same idea. What it would mean is more hours, less flexibility, higher stress and presumably a hike in salary.
I say presumably because we never really got to the offer. After taking the weekend to think about it and discuss with Sarah – my response was that I was incredibly happy in my current role and that I was making money for the company. I feel that while they could replace what I bring to the table – my experience yielded better results in sales than management. If they felt it was in the best interest of the company for me to take on the role I would have; but if the choice was mine I’d rather not. Had I said I was interested, there would have been an offer that week. So I was “sort of” offered a promotion.
Am I Crazy?
My current role is Account Manager (aka Sales) and while I put in full time hours (and a few extra here and there) I don’t have set office hours. If baby Ava is having a bad morning I can spend an extra 20-30 minutes at home instead of having to bolt to make sure I get to my desk by 8:00. If we have an appointment for Ava, depending on any meetings I have set up I can often come. I get to be on the road, meeting with property and maintenance managers. The thrill of closing a deal gives me that rush of endorphins that simply cannot be beat. I am part of a team that is really supportive. I am very fortunate to have a wife that has worked her butt off in her company and has moved up to a point where we are comfortable financially having her be the majority bread winner. So I think it would be crazy to give up a great situation simply for a higher salary.
It is really common for people to identify themselves by their job title. If you browse people’s Instagram accounts you’ll see their job right up there with “Mother”, “Sister”, etc. If work (including commuting) takes up say 45 hours a week that amounts to over a quarter of your time. It only makes sense that your job is an important part of your identity. The mistake is to equate your worth. A job is so much more than a salary. The rewards you should achieve when working should include pride in the work you do. Balance between your personal and professional life is hugely important, a fact that many employers are starting to embrace. I’m an Account Manager for a Life Safety Manufacturer – I am not X amount of salary with X percentage commission.
Principal or Principle
Despite my feelings on where salary fits on the balance sheet of life, I’m aware that I am privileged to be in a situation where I have the choice (link to Financial Privilege). If Sarah was making significantly less, or if we hadn’t saved up for her maternity which Sarah is posting about next week my decision may have been different. We have a mortgage and making sure our family finances are stable is more important than holding on to a higher level of enjoyment. I’m confident Sarah would disagree, but even if it meant taking a hit to my happiness at work I would have taken the job had we needed the money.
I’m sure there are many of you reading this and thinking I’ve just committed career suicide. The truth is that I was in a role where I made a lot more money than I’m making now but was significantly less fulfilled in my life. I have a newborn baby at home, an amazing wife that means the world to me and a job that brings in enough money and makes me happy. If I never move up in my company because I turned down this opportunity, so be it. If our financial situation changes and we end up in a place where that extra salary would have made the difference, maybe I’ll have some regret (link to financial regret). We make the best decisions with the information we have at the time. And right now I can’t put a price on spending more time with my family.
Have you (or would you) ever turn down a higher salary in exchange for higher job satisfaction?