Job Satisfaction vs Salary: Which Matters More?

For some people, happiness is found in making enormous contributions at work.


SPONSORED - Whether it's money for luxuries such as tropical getaways and lavish sports cars, or a bit of cash to pay for medical aid and comprehensive car insurance, everyone could do with a few more Rands in their account. That brings us to an age-old question that's been asked since the concept of employment was created: when it comes to long-lasting happiness, should you pursue passion or profit? That question is hard to answer for several reasons.

Happiness Doesn't Mean the Same Thing to Everyone

For some people, happiness is found in making enormous contributions at work. For these people, back-to-back meetings and working in high-pressure environments makes them feel more alive than anything you can imagine. For others, happiness comes from being with their family as often as possible. For these people, "less work, less pay" just translates to "more time with the people I love". That is all to say that there's no blanket definition for happiness.

Which Stage of Your Life Are You In?

Are you a recent graduate with no experience? To get the job you truly want, you may have to carry out tedious tasks and earn a junior's salary. That's just how it works: everyone has to pay their dues. But what if you recently got married and found out you're about to be a parent? If a well-paying job comes your way, job satisfaction is probably the last thing on your mind. At that point in your life, paying your bond, levies, home insurance and car instalments may matter more than jumping with joy when you walk into the office.

What's Your Ratio of Ups and Downs?

We spend a third of our day at work, so it only makes sense that we'd want to be happy while we're there. But no matter how much you love your job, there will be periods where you want nothing to do with it. The intensity of these negative emotions you feel in those moments is not as important as their regularity. How often do you have to summon superhuman strength to get out bed and head to work? Once in a while is fine, if not expected. But if it's every week, it may be time to rethink your job choice, even if you're earning a salary with more zeros than you can count.

People have different reasons for seeking job satisfaction over salary and vice versa. Neither is right nor wrong, it all depends on what you prioritise. If you're looking for an answer to the question, "What matters more, job satisfaction or salary?", the solution is way more straightforward than you think: resist the urge to follow everyone else's lead and just live your way