How to Weigh Job Satisfaction Against Salary

It’s an age-old career question that many have asked before and many more will ask in the future: which is more important? Job satisfaction or salary?

While answer to this question is highly individual, statistics show that once a salary eclipses $75,000, money does nothing to influence happiness, enjoyment or sadness. This could mean that — at least once certain needs are met — job satisfaction will more directly affect happiness, enjoyment and sadness, because money won’t.

Recently we polled our Twitter followers to get another perspective about the balance between job satisfaction and salary, and the results confirmed the general opinion: being satisfied on the job is more important than the salary that comes with it.

In this informal poll 73 percent of the 71 voters indicated that job satisfaction was more important than salary in their career. On the other side of the equation, 27 percent of the voters indicated that salary was more important than job satisfaction.

Finding a higher paying job or a more satisfying job are both legitimate career goals. It’s important to understand your own priorities during your job search, however, so that you can target your search for the best position for you.

Find A Higher-Paying Job

There are two traditional ways to make more money on the job: get a raise or find a new job that pays more.

A lot of getting a raise in your current job will come down to your skills, your performance and the timing within your company and industry. The best thing you can do is to bring more skills to the table and take on new responsibilities as you grow in your position.  

As for getting a new job that pays more, you’ll want to work on your skills for that as well. But you’ll also want to zero in on industries and companies that are known for paying well and refine your interview performance so that you can negotiate like a pro.

Find a More Satisfying Job

Finding your work bliss is no simple thing. The process starts with understanding which workplace qualities energize and satisfy you and which drain and demoralize you. You’ll want to consider a job’s responsibilities and the workplace culture from the perspective of your personality, your skills and your preferences so that you can find one that has the highest likelihood of making you happy.

What about you? Would you take a position with less satisfying responsibilities and requirements for a higher salary? Or would you prefer a lower salary with a high level of job satisfaction?