The main reason for most of us to hold a job is to receive a steady paycheck and benefits, but the role your career plays in your life extends well beyond basic compensation. Many Americans spend 8-10 hours a day at work, and as such we tend to define who we are (or how we see ourselves) based on the career we choose. Since your career represents so much more than a steady paycheck it’s important to consider factors other than just money and how they play into whether a career or job change is worthwhile. In other words, if you have the option to choose, don’t necessarily take the job with the highest paycheck. If you’re choosing between opportunities, or considering switching companies, consider these three important factors to help you determine if the career move is overall a better option.
1) Sense of contribution: We all want to live meaningfully and feel as though we’re contributing. While your work doesn’t need to be your main input of contribution, it certainly helps your general well being if you feel as though your career is worthwhile and contributing to society as a whole. Some jobs, such as medical professions and teachers obviously lend themselves to that feeling of contributing. However, there are many jobs that can offer you a sense of contribution and aren’t as obvious. Looking for a career path that is greatly appreciated by the people your services support or one where the technology you are helping change will better the world we live in is a great way to ensure you will feel content in your work. For long term happiness and fulfillment at work, it’s important to choose a job that will provide you with the feeling that you are bettering the lives of those around you, not just making the most money you can.
2) A schedule that allows for personal time: Some jobs can pay well but are too demanding. At some point, the money isn’t worth it if you’re missing sleep and time to properly take care of yourself or see loved ones. In fact, many people take lower paying positions because they value their time over money, and they make enough from their jobs to cover their expenses. You will need to balance how much you value free time and how much you value money. In most cases, working less and having enough money is better than working too much and having more than enough. Another thing to consider is how much time you would spend commuting. Very few jobs are worth a two-hour commute to most people. A job that pays less but is closer to your home is more worthwhile than a slightly higher paying job farther away. The lower paying job will pay you back in the time saved.
3) Enough challenges to keep you focused: Other than money, we often depend on a job to keep us interested and engaged in the world. Many of us find other outlets in the rest of our lives for challenges, learning and engagement. If this is the case for you, simply having a job that supports you might be enough. However, having a job that keeps you sharp and attaining new skills is rewarding and fulfilling. If you find a dull job draining your energy away, seek out something with challenges that requires you to learn new skills.
You should consider these factors when making a decision about a career change. Taking these considerations into account when searching for and choosing a new career will help guarantee your happiness over the long term.
At SCR our goal is to find our clients the best talent in the energy sector. This, in turn, helps you find the right employer to make the best use of your skills and foster your happiness. We encourage you to check out our current opportunities to see if there is one that could be the right fit for you!