When the Money Isn’t Worth It

First things first, check out this new updo that is the current front-runner for Saturday’s wedding look:

upd

I am in love.

I think it’s romantic and classy and might even work with super-thin hair like mine. The wondrous Martha Stewart even posted a tutorial about how to do the ‘do yourself… though I think I’ll leave it to a professional. We’ll see! My updo selection will likely be a game-day decision.

Lunch

Lunchtime!

Lunch today will likely look familiar…

bbq pulled pork 007

Leftovers from last night’s dinner.

Why only a tiny serving of beans you may ask? I spilled the Tupperware containing the beans as I was plating my meal and that pathetic little spoonful was all I could salvage.

Normally I’m a big proponent of the five-second rule, but with mice running around our apartment like it’s some kind of a carnival, I’m not about to eat fallen beanies.

bbq pulled pork 009

And now I’d like to talk about jobs and money. Oh, baby.

About a week ago, I was talking with a very close friend of mine who is incredibly unhappy in her job. She’s extremely overworked, stressed out and dreads going into the office every single day. Speaking with her made me want to cry for her and brought back memories of an awful time in my life where I felt like my job ruled my life and the stress was unbearable. I figured that since both my friend and I experienced such similar experiences, others may have been there (or may be there) as well.

When the Money Isn’t Worth It

People measure success in varying ways. Happiness. Money. Good friends. Close family. A top position at work.

One of the things that stuck out to me about Ryan when we first started dating was that he always made me his first priority. I never doubted how much he cared for me, and coming from a previous relationship where I never really knew how much I meant to someone until after we broke up, his affectionate ways and loving demeanor were extremely attractive to me. He made me feel like my happiness = his happiness.

As we continued dating, I learned more about his hopes and dreams for the future and his desire to do well in the business world. But the one goal he always said first? “Be happy.”

I used to simply smile at this remark and think to myself, “Well, duh.”

As the years passed, I realized that this goal is perhaps the most difficult goal to achieve. It takes effort, will power, dedication, strength and constant evaluation of your attitude and surroundings.

When Ryan and I discuss what exactly happiness means to us, we agree that having a loving family and a warm, safe and comforting home life are the key to our personal happiness. A job that is rewarding and makes us feel integral, excited and passionate is also important.

Job and financial success are a tricky one for me.

I was raised in a house that was very, very aware of finances. My sister and I would get in serious trouble if we left a room and left the light on. 

This turned me into a serious saver and was a major reason behind my decision to change majors in college to pursue a career I thought might be more lucrative.

My first job out of college paid very little. I was happy in my job, but after a year I got restless and applied for jobs that paid more.

I was offered a position as a marketing manager and it came with more responsibility and significantly more pay.

And more stress.

The intense stress I felt in my job as a marketing manager was so unexpected and so daunting. I had no work-life balance and worked late into the evenings on week days, worked weekends and thought about work non-stop.

When I would arrive home from work, I wouldn’t want Ryan to ask me about my day because I didn’t even want to talk about work. On Sunday mornings I awoke feeling depressed and absolutely dreaded Monday mornings. I remember crying to Ryan saying that I was wishing away five days of my life every week.

The money simply wasn’t worth it.

In the little spare time I had, I began applying for new jobs.

When I received an interview for a writing and editing position with a large website, I felt excited and relieved. And then I learned about the pay. It paid $10,000 less than the position I currently held.

I was so miserable in my current job, but could I really forgo $10,000? Was $10,000 worth having no personal life and feeling such extreme stress and anxiety? Absolutely not.

I cried and worried and freaked out many times before finally accepting the new position and leaving my job as a marketing manager.

From my first day at my writing and editing job, I never looked back. Not once did I think I made a mistake. Did I miss the extra money in my paycheck? Sure. But it was so incredibly worth it.

work

Two years out of college I learned that the old saying “money doesn’t buy happiness” really is true. I learned early on that I would rather make less money than make a ton of money if the extra money meant countless hours at the office, unyielding pressure, no time with those I love and intense stress.

Yes, money is important. It’s perfectly okay to have the desire to make money, be ambitious and have financially-driven goals. But I never want to forget the most important things in the world. My family. My friends. Personal peace and happiness.

Many jobs are hard at times and easier at others, but unrelenting jobs that provide no reprieve from stress and pressure are draining. My job as a marketing manager took more away from me than just my time. It took away me.

Sometimes it’s okay to take a risk. It’s okay to walk away. It’s okay to care more about yourself than your paycheck.

Questions of the Day

  • Have you ever been in a job where you were truly miserable?
  • Would you have a hard time taking a dramatic pay cut to accept a position you felt would be a better fit for you emotionally?

Comments

  1. Alison says

    I totally relate to this post and all the awesome comments and success stories give me the hope i need at this point in my career.

    I am only about a year out of school, but the job that im in now is extremely stressful, my boss makes me dread coming into work every day, and im just not as passionate about what im doing as i thought i would be. I am very seriously considering going back to school for a nursing degree (i have a business degree) but its terrifying trying to figure out how i could pay for school and pay my bills at the same time. This post really drove home the idea that things may be tough for a while but as long as i’ll be happy, it will all be worth it.

    Thanks for your words of encouragement and all these awesome blog comments :)

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  2. Danielle says

    I love this post! I work in education and due to serious budget cuts positions get eliminated but the jub duties don’t. I am already doing the work of two people. With more changes happening my boss who used to do the job of two is now doing the job of three. I am at my breaking point.

    After your post when you announced you quit your job I took the opportunity to sit down with my husband and have a serious talk. I am in no position to quit. We need the money but I told my hubby I expected us to start being smarter with our money cause in a year I will want a change and it may mean less money. But if we don’t plan we may be in trouble when I up and quit. That is where I am. I dread going to work. I love the people but it is too stressful for me. He said he understood but I think I scared him a little when I said I was truly unhappy at work. I hope in a year we will be in a comfortable place with our finances so I can change jobs without worry.

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  3. Jessica says

    This post could have come at a more vital time in my life. I’m currently looking to relocate back home when the pay is much less, as well as the cost of living. I’m currently miserable in my situation. I work in a high demanding, high stress environment. It also stresses out my family and boyfriend to deal with me complaining and being depressed. I just found out I received a significant raise. I’m at a cross roads of continuing my job search or continuing to be miserable for the money. I’m leaning towards finding the new job. I know this current one is affecting my health and personal life. It’s a tough decision to make…

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  4. says

    This post showed up under one of your newest ones, and I’m SO glad I clicked the link! Next Friday is my last day at a job that pays very well, but which is unfulfilling, emotionally draining and not challenging enough. I have accepted a new position that pays, yes, $10,000 less and is part time. I have been super scared to make the change, but excited, too. This gives me new encouragement :) Good luck on your move! xoxo

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  5. says

    So, I am about 20 days late responding to this post. However, I know exactly how you felt! Sadly, it was my husband who was stressed to the max about his job. ( I wish it was me instead of him) May 2009 he lost his job, due to a tanking economy. Mind you, this occured 3.5 months before our wedding day. His stress load increased to the max. We had just purchased a house, we were getting married in less than 4 months and he had no job. I remember his last day at that particular job. I sobbed my entire work day! All I could think was “now what” . Thankfully, many prayers were answered and my sweet honey got a new job one month before we were married. The first few months were OK, the last year was hell! When we went on our 1 year anniversary trip, he had to check his email 3-5 times a day because he was having to make sure all was going right at his job. Finally it got to the point where he dreaded going to bed at night, especially Sunday nights. I would ask him how his day was and all I received back was this blank stare. Things got to the point where I asked him if he had gotten yelled at any that day. He took the leap of faith and began applying for jobs. He accepted a position that payed $9,000 less per year just because we both knew he would be happier if he was anywhere but where he was. Yes, things were a little tight at times but seeing a smile on his face made all the money worries disappear. Now, because of his hard work he has received a substantial raise and things are back to normal. I wouldn’t trade losing that amount of money for anything, especially his happiness. Now that he is happy, I am happier and our home is happier. I think our puppy even noticed a difference in her “Daddy”.

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  6. says

    This was absolutely amazing and inspiring. My boyfriend is currently going through a bit of a job hardship/crisis and I can only imagine what he’s feeling. You’re right though; sometimes the money just isn’t worth it. It seems to me that almost everyone goes through this little “Oh god, what now?” situation following college graduation and I am just not looking forward to it. But with all of you guys already have gone through it, it’s makes it easier knowing that other people feel the same way.

    PS: I’m glad you made the change! :)

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  7. says

    I just read this (saw from your 7 links post!) and yes, could not agree more. I was stuck in a job because of the paycheck and it was MISERABLE. I actively looked for new jobs but didn’t have much luck. I was like you, I was home everynight on my laptop working, and I cried myself to sleep most nights. I was utterly miserable. Now, at a job where I’m contracting and less pay, but I am SO happy. Money isn’t worth your sanity, money isn’t worth your happiness!!

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  8. says

    I couldn’t agree more. I had an internship for a summer that I hated. Each day I woke up and dreaded the day. That is no way to live and I’m so happy I didn’t take a full-time position there.

    Good for you! I’m so glad you’re happy!

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  9. Shannon says

    I’m so late in the game on this post. But I remembered seeing it and wanted to give it a read. I’m being considdered for a new job and my main worry is that it will eat up my life. I’m struggling with the idea of turning it down..but I know time with my family, fiance and friends and time for myself is really important to me. We shall see.

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  10. Samantha says

    all I can say is WOW! I spent the last two weeks crying on my drive home from work. This post really spoke to me! Its nice to hear someone say “make yourself happy” all I seem to hear is ” you’re lucky to have a job and benifits just tuff it out” and what you are saying just reassures me that my thinking is correct what is money worth if you are miserable. I’m not me and that isn’t fair to the people in my life!
    Thank you again for this post it really spoke to my situation!

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  11. says

    I randomly stumbled across this post at such a perfect time! Thank you for your honesty and for putting the words out there that I have been trying to find for how I’ve been feeling about my job! It’s difficult to get to the point of realizing why a job is making you so unhappy and hearing your perspective in this post really captured what I’ve been trying to figure out. Thank you again!!

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  12. says

    I hate my job, every day, every second… and I can’t wait to get out. I’m not making that much so when I change, it shouldn’t be that big a deal. However, despite applying to every job I know, hitting up every contact, I’m not having much luck. I’m happy to learn that your new job back then gave you more happiness than the money did.

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