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Money v. Happiness

hicocohicoco Chicago member
100 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper

Ladies, I need some life advice. I may have mentioned on here that I'm not crazy about my job. It's to the point where I dread going in, but there are some days that are better than others. I have been interviewing for other jobs and I received an offer yesterday for a school librarian position, which is something I have done in the past and loved. The schedule is better, it's a more relaxed environment and I love the field. However, it's a significant pay cut and no benefits, and I would be going from salaried with PTO to hourly. I will be on FI's insurance in October so that's not my biggest issue, but I am concerned about the pay. I will still be able to pay towards our bills, I just won't have as much left over to save or for other things. So I guess my question is, what's more important? Money or being happier in my job? What would you do?


P.S-I know I am the only one who can actually make this decision, but I've gotten lots of great advice on here and am just curious as to other's opinions.

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Re: Money v. Happiness

  • bethsmilesbethsmiles Denver, CO member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I hate my current job and am looking for something else. If I were offered a job with lower pay that would make me happier and I could still pay the bills I'd take it in a heartbeat. You spend the majority of the day at your job, it has a big impact on your day-to-day happiness and mental health overall. So I'd absolutely take the job with lower pay.


    hicoco[Deleted User]sassyfrass2014
  • kvrunskvruns member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited May 2015

    How much of a cut?  I was getting miserable at my old job (loved my coworkers but boss and the company as a whole were nuts) and I knew I had to leave.  I took what is basically a lower tier job (though I took it knowing it should have growth potential), lower paycheck, less PTO etc. But I was miserable at my old one and had to get out.

    My new job is a fun environment, much much more flexible, etc. I also went from salary to hourly but with getting overtime I ended up breaking even.  You probably won't be able to get OT at a school, or at least not much so it is a consideration. My pay cut wasn't huge, about 10% I think, but I had set  bottom limit of about 20 % lower paycheck to leave if it felt like a good place.

    Happiness at work is very important since you spend so much time there.  You cant guarantee this new job will be better but it sounds like it will.  So if financially you are ok then it might be good to get out now and re-evaluate in the future.


    Edit for words

    hicoco
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    My H and I have been having a very similar conversation. We boiled it down like this - is it more important to be able to afford the big things we want in the future or be happier day to day but maybe not being able to afford any trips or football tickets or whatever. 

    So, I think you and your FI need to talk about what your goals are, one year, five years, ten years down the line. What do you need to be doing to get yourself there? Do you really really want kids and to retire early? Maybe it would be worth it then to keep making more money now. 

    For us, we've decided (we think - nothing concrete has happened yet) to be happier day to day. We don't want children so that will save us a boatload down the line. It's worth it to us to take pay cuts and basically start over to be able to take a chance. 
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    hicoco[Deleted User]
  • mikenbergermikenberger In a f'n cornfield member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    I get my happiness from being able to pay for things. So I guess I'm money driven over happiness at this point. My biggest thing right now is getting rid of my student loans and car payment. So when I see those numbers go down and I'm able to pay 5x my minimum payment and I'm getting closer to being debt free - that's when I happy to have the job that I have where I make an extremely good living.

    However. I commute to work everyday and overall, it's a rat race. So FI and I have an agreement. When I am done with paying off my debt and have saved a predetermined amount towards a new house for us (which the price point for the house is already predetermined as well), I can quit my job and work at something closer to home. At which, I will be entirely happiness driven and not money as money will no longer be a large concern of mine. If I make a bunch of money at whatever I find, wahoo. If I don't, we are good with that as well. I'd rather enjoy every day of my life than dread it. Working is a huge part of the American lifestyle. Gotta love it or life will be a little less fun.

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    hicoco
  • theartistformerlyknownastheartistformerlyknownas peaced out. member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    @shessocold JINX you owe me a Coke.

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    ShesSoColdlnixon8
  • anjemonanjemon Minnie and Paul (MN) member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    For me it would really depend on how much money. Because having a good quality of life, enjoying work more days than not and not bringing work unhappiness/stress home with you is very beneficial. When H transitioned from a stressful management position to a regular position, our lives improved dramatically because of his lack of angst over work.

    I recently moved from a first shift job (so shitty hours) with paid overtime, vacation days, and decent benefits to a contracting position. The new position pays a little more, but I don't get paid for days off, overtime is frowned upon, and the benefits aren't that great. But the change to a better schedule and doing work I enjoy more has been more than worth it. I get more sleep, I have more fun at work, and I'm overall happier. All of these benefits make the change worth it to me, even though overall I probably am losing money because of time off and lack of overtime.
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  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    Man as long as you can afford to eat and pay rent go for the happy job!
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    hicocolachattefatale
  • I have made that very decision. I was making 6 figures at a huge law firm in a major city and hated it. I hated everything about my job, dreaded going in, you name it. I left and never looked back and am so much happier because of it. I make just over 30k now, love my job, and have a great life.

    After having been through it, I would say if you are truly that miserable where you are then you will never regret leaving. I certainly never have. Even when things weren't great in my new situation, they were always better than what I had left behind.
    hicocolachattefatale
  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    That is a tough decision. For me, I would be so worried about the pay cut, no benefits, etc that it would probably ruin the fact that I actually like the job.

    Would you get vacation,. sick days, a 401k? Do you have enough saved to pay for your benefits until October?

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  • hellosweetie1015hellosweetie1015 Where the skies are so blue member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    I am the one to go for happiness over just about anything. I mean hell, I quit grad school because I wasn't happy.

    However, PPs make a good point: what long-term happiness are you going to sacrifice by going for short-term happiness? Being debt free? TTC? Buying a house? A long-desired vacation to Ireland? Your "dream" wedding? Owning a car that isn't "new to you"? If you're willing to sacrifice or push back those long-term happiness goals, then go for the short-term happiness. If you're not, look for a different job where you don't have to sacrifice those long-term goals.
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  • I wouldn't, because I think it sounds too soon and like you're not looking at enough options. Can you do what you're doing now at a different company? Is there experience you can be getting to help transition to a different role that might be a better fit?

    I wouldn't be in favor of staying forever, but I think a while longer is probably worth it.
  • beachyone15beachyone15 TEXAS (the home of my exes) member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    If neither of these options are appealing to you, I'd keep looking. Maybe you could find something where you wouldn't really feel like you're sacrificing a lot.


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  • redoryxredoryx member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    It depends on the pay cut. I'm miserable at my job most of the time but it keeps me the financial freedom to find happiness when I'm not working. I've turned down job interviews and opportunities because the pay cut was too much and being financially stressed brings a whole host of other issues.
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  • dolewhipperdolewhipper [wh]orlando member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    hicoco I'm in the same boat of interviewing. I'm happy at my actual job, but I hate my superiors. The "save for other things" might make you "hate your job" even more with being a librarian, though. I know I left my last job for the one I have now for that exact reason. I loved that job, but knew I couldn't live on $10 an hour PT.


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  • I quit my high stress, too many hours, on-call 24-7 job and took a job that paid less. FI freaked out for a week. We struggled for the 3 months of my probation, now I'm making more money than my previous job and the benefits are better. My hours don't suck, and I'm not on call 24-7. Plus I work with other nerds so my pop culture references don't get blank stares.

    You can only do what works for you. We are just starting to get back on track after taking a salary hit. That being said, I'm much happier, FI is much happier, I've gained back the weight I lost at Christmas and I feel less tired and stressed.
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I make significantly less then I did in the islands.   Heck even before I left for the islands.  Moving allowed DH to move up in his career.   His pay is more then our combined was in the islands and our benefits rock.  They pay 100% of his medical premiums and 80% of mine.     

    The reason I stay with this job is quality of life.  Plain and simple.  I get to make my own hours. I get to take time off when I want.    

    I work a 2nd summer job to help with my financial goals.   All the money I make in the summer goes right into the bank.  I do not use that money for living expenses.  Last year I used a little of it for a trip, but mostly it just sits in savings.    Kind of the best of both worlds.   Extra money without long  term commitment. 


    Back when I was 29 I quit a high paying job and moved to the islands.  At first I worked at front desk at a hotel. Money sucked, so did the hours.  I works various jobs waiting tables, meeting planning and bartending.   Eventually I got on a boat.  Then a moved to even a better boat.  I got my USCG license.  I was back at making great money and only had to work 32 hours a week for 10 months a year.  

    Taking the risk of quitting a high-paying job I had for 8 years and move to the islands for a better quality of life was the best move I ever made.     I do not regret the choice at all.  Sure there were some lean times, but I pushed through and came out the other end very happy. 

    If your DH supports you then go for it.   You might have to make some changes with your budget and that is okay.  Do not underestimate quality of life.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • I think that if you're patient and persistent and flexible enough you can usually find a more satisfying job without having to take a huge pay cut. My FI was in a similar situation couple years ago. He absolutely hated his job and his coworkers. He was visibly anxious every morning and came home miserable every night. He thought many times about taking a much-lower-paying job that he thought he would really enjoy. He was on the verge of quitting even though he didn't have a new job lined up, but then his company announced cut-backs and he basically volunteered to be laid-off. He was unemployed for 6 months, but in the end he found a great job that uses his experience and skills but is much more enjoyable, and it actually pays better than his old job. I'm really happy that he stuck it out, because with the higher salary we've been able to afford to do things we otherwise couldn't have, like have a wedding and a honeymoon.

    So I guess my point is that you should think realistically about whether you could find something better-paying that you would still enjoy. I'd ask yourself why it is that you dislike your job - is it the whole field that you find awful, or is it simply that you'd be happier in a different position, having more (or less) responsibility, or working with different coworkers?
    RezIpsa
  • afox007afox007 member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    Not knowing how much of a pay cut you would take, but I think being happy trumps the money. I know there are a lot of people who if they don't have financial security can't be happy, but unless you are one of those I would pick the new job.

    FI was recently laid off from a job that was slowly killing him. Things are tight right now, but we have what we need and we've never been happier. It would be great if we could put more into savings or take FSS on vacation this summer, but seeing FI happy again is so much better.
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  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    I agree with everything the PPs have shared but pose a few more questions:

    1. Will you be as happy in the librarian position knowing that you could be earning more elsewhere?
    2. Along those lines, does what you earn play into your sense of self-worth?
    3. Will you resent the librarian position in any way when you find yourself limited by finances?
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  • Cookie PusherCookie Pusher Looking over your shoulder member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    When I took my current job, it paid roughly 30% less than the previous job I had (and at least 50% less than I could have made had I continued doing freelance and contract work). If I could do it all over again, I would still have taken this job. Even though I'm paid less, I'm treated better, I have a better work/life balance (what's the use in making a lot of money if you're never around to enjoy it?), and I feel more fulfilled with the work I'm doing. DH was not happy about how stressful my previous job was and encouraged me to find something that would make me happier - no matter what, we'd figure out the financial end of it. Leaving my last company was the best decision I've made. Besides marrying DH, that is!
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  • VulgarGirlVulgarGirl Desert Oasis member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
    Wifey realized after a few years of lawyering that it wasn't for her. High stress, long hours, great pay though. She left her job as an attorney and is now a mediator. It was a cut in pay at first, but she works more normal hours and has way less stress. And now makes way more money then she did at her last firm.

    Lolo gives good advice. Look at the overall picture. For us when she changed careers, we weren't looking to TTC anytime soon, we had a decent savings, and we knew if we held out she'd probably be getting back to her salary eventually. Or at least near it. It worked at that time and it's worked out well since.
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  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited May 2015
    I make significantly less then I did in the islands.   Heck even before I left for the islands.  Moving allowed DH to move up in his career.   His pay is more then our combined was in the islands and our benefits rock.  They pay 100% of his medical premiums and 80% of mine.     

    The reason I stay with this job is quality of life.  Plain and simple.  I get to make my own hours. I get to take time off when I want.    

    I work a 2nd summer job to help with my financial goals.   All the money I make in the summer goes right into the bank.  I do not use that money for living expenses.  Last year I used a little of it for a trip, but mostly it just sits in savings.    Kind of the best of both worlds.   Extra money without long  term commitment. 


    Back when I was 29 I quit a high paying job and moved to the islands.  At first I worked at front desk at a hotel. Money sucked, so did the hours.  I works various jobs waiting tables, meeting planning and bartending.   Eventually I got on a boat.  Then a moved to even a better boat.  I got my USCG license.  I was back at making great money and only had to work 32 hours a week for 10 months a year.  

    Taking the risk of quitting a high-paying job I had for 8 years and move to the islands for a better quality of life was the best move I ever made.     I do not regret the choice at all.  Sure there were some lean times, but I pushed through and came out the other end very happy. 

    If your DH supports you then go for it.   You might have to make some changes with your budget and that is okay.  Do not underestimate quality of life.
    Is this you Lynda:
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    ShesSoColdlyndausvi
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its

    I make significantly less then I did in the islands.   Heck even before I left for the islands.  Moving allowed DH to move up in his career.   His pay is more then our combined was in the islands and our benefits rock.  They pay 100% of his medical premiums and 80% of mine.     

    The reason I stay with this job is quality of life.  Plain and simple.  I get to make my own hours. I get to take time off when I want.    

    I work a 2nd summer job to help with my financial goals.   All the money I make in the summer goes right into the bank.  I do not use that money for living expenses.  Last year I used a little of it for a trip, but mostly it just sits in savings.    Kind of the best of both worlds.   Extra money without long  term commitment. 


    Back when I was 29 I quit a high paying job and moved to the islands.  At first I worked at front desk at a hotel. Money sucked, so did the hours.  I works various jobs waiting tables, meeting planning and bartending.   Eventually I got on a boat.  Then a moved to even a better boat.  I got my USCG license.  I was back at making great money and only had to work 32 hours a week for 10 months a year.  

    Taking the risk of quitting a high-paying job I had for 8 years and move to the islands for a better quality of life was the best move I ever made.     I do not regret the choice at all.  Sure there were some lean times, but I pushed through and came out the other end very happy. 

    If your DH supports you then go for it.   You might have to make some changes with your budget and that is okay.  Do not underestimate quality of life.
    Is this you Lynda:

    It could have been.  I moved to the same island, although years earlier then she did.  I moved without a job or friends. Felt a lot of the same feelings she had. 

    Even though I was making less, I was saving more.  I didn't have the same expenses.  I didn't have the same needs.  Life was simpler.      








    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • hicocohicoco Chicago member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper

    Thanks everyone for all of your advice and viewpoints! FI says he will support my decision no matter what, but I know he is worried about the money. It is about $15,000 less than what I make now so it's pretty significant. I am very tempted by the more flexible hours, the summer and holiday vacations, etc. Those are unpaid though. I don't really consider my salary to be connected to my self-worth, but I do sometimes think about my advance degrees and think to myself, I need a better job. Where I am now is very numbers focused, lots of pressure and responsibility. I like most of my coworkers and I have a good amount of downtime but this job doesn't really "fulfill" me. It's just a job. I have a good amount of savings saved for now, but I would hate to touch it.


    Honestly, just the last 2 days I've already been thinking to myself how I couldn't buy this or eat here, etc if I took the new job so I think that subconsciously I already know I am going to stay where I am for now..I want to be happy at work but like many of you have stated, I might still not be happy if I have to make a lot of cut backs.

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  • ashley8918ashley8918 Chicago Suburbs member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    This is 100% dependant on YOUR situation.

    I personally would NEVER take a job for a paycut, because my "happiness" means literally nothing if I lose my house or cant feed my kids. But, that is my situation.
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