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How to find career happiness: Stop chasing the money

Rob Enderle | July 20, 2015
Do you think career happiness is all about the money? Columnist Rob Enderle doesn’t. He says focus on happiness as your main goal and let cash play a supporting role.

So, based on the research above, if they were paid 30 percent above what others are paid nothing would change or be in question. There is no significant upside in that scenario, but because they now believe they are being paid less than they should be, they are pissed. I'm willing to bet that before this person got the offer they were very content with their job and now, based on what they do, they could lose what may be the best job they'll ever have in their life.

Note there is no indication there they need the extra money. That is because "need" has nothing to do with it, at least not in this case. It is because they think they are being undervalued and that apparently upsets them enough to offset all of the job positives.  

This means both you and your employees can be motivated to do stupid things by just changing your perception on what you are paid.

Money, job satisfaction and performance

Once you get that money can be used to manipulate you, when you get an offer or see a management move you can at least factor that in to your decision. For instance, let's say you live in a wonderful low-traffic area with a low cost of living. You like your boss and you like your job. Then you get a call from a headhunter saying another firm is willing to pay you 50 percent more. The catch, however, is the job is in San Jose (one of the most expensive places to live in the states), schools aren't very good, traffic totally sucks and the job/boss thing is an unknown, but I'll bet it's worse.

Do you focus on the money or weigh the value of all the other stuff properly before you move? Do you consider how much headroom the salary range has (for instance if you are being offered top of range you can kiss off performance raises, and cost of living raises aren't that common anymore). After taking the job you may find your kids aren't getting a good education, your spouse is pissed because you are in a much smaller/less prestigious house, your cost of living and tax increases ate up most of the extra money and you finances are degrading because your income isn't keeping up with inflation. Suddenly that 50 percent raise isn't really the increase you thought it would be.

But if you don't take the job you're likely to feel like your boss is taking advantage, you'll suddenly be dissatisfied and your performance should drop unless you can rationally put that 50 percent raise where it belongs -- in the junk pile.

 

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