Why You Should Work for Less (And Do What You Love)

Nowadays, millennials use the expression “YOLO” quite a lot. It means ‘you only live once’. Most times, it is used to justify the spontaneous (and often stupid) acts that follow. They are correct, though. Every day, millions of people go to jobs they don’t like, convincing themselves that financial stability and a steady income are what really matter. They do matter, but they also lure you into a false sense of security causing you to stifle your talents and passions to pay the bills. I say “false” sense of security because in these tumultuous economic times your professional life could be changed in an instant. Budget cuts due to poor performance or a decision by your company to streamline departments could leave you on the breadline. Why not do what you love instead? Risky? Yes! Worth it? Totally!

There is a correlation between happiness and what you do for a living. Both your life on the job and your private life are significantly impacted when you love what you do. Here are 3 reasons why you should consider doing what you love even if it means accepting a smaller salary.

It affects your personal life

Several studies link happiness on the job with happiness at home. The emotions you experience on your job often seep into your personal life. Your frustrations and anger are usually passed unto your loved ones unconsciously. The burden of a job you hate can negatively affect your relationships with family and friends. Because you spend so many hours at work, the effects outside the office are inevitable. They are palpable and far-reaching. Now imagine doing what you love and going home happy every day?

Money isn’t everything

Don’t get me wrong, money is important. In fact, it’s right up there with oxygen. You are prepared to endure a lot for the sake of a paycheck – your family depends on you, you live comfortably and you are downright scared of taking the plunge. However, a study conducted by Daniel Kahneman, professor of psychology at Princeton University, revealed that once people earn enough, money does nothing more for happiness.

Maslow’s needs theory indicates that once lower level needs are satisfied, higher needs like self-actualization come into focus. What this means is when your high-paying job satisfies your basic needs and even your safety needs, you will no longer be able to ignore the factors that feed into your unhappiness at work.

You are productive when motivated

Studies support that view. Employees who hate their jobs, do just enough to keep from getting fired. They are not creative and take little or no initiative. Money is an external motivating factor and its attractiveness can wane when you are facing other negative factors at work. Love for your job fuels intrinsic motivation which allows you to be productive and motivated regardless of external factors. Happy employees take pride in their work, pay attention to details and are willing to learn. Does this sound like you? If not, you may have to consider doing something that fuels your passion.

There is more to be gained from a job other than money. Temporarily accepting a pay cut is simply a stepping stone to true personal success. Chances are, if you love what you do and you’re good at it, the money will follow. But you should never give up on invaluable things if the only thing you get in return is an impressive salary. After all, YOLO. Think about it.



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