Pay is often a key factor when deciding whether to accept a new job or pursue a promotion, but it can be a mistake to value earnings over job satisfaction.
While money is important, remember that you’ll spend a big percentage of your waking hours working. If you don’t enjoy what you do for a living, it will be difficult to be happy — at work or at home.
What follows are seven reasons why workers should choose job satisfaction over money.
1. Money doesn’t buy happiness
You may believe that you’d be happier earning more money, but studies have shown that’s true only up to a point.
For example, an expansive study published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour in January concluded that happiness peaks when income reaches $65,000 per year. Researchers noted that households that earned more money saw “no appreciable increases” in their happiness.
Economist Eric Tyson, author of “Personal Finance for Dummies,” agrees with such findings.
“Once people get beyond the poverty level and into modest levels of income, you don’t find correlations between higher incomes and greater happiness,” he explains.
2. Better physical health
Tyson says it’s important to remember that the stress from working at a job you dislike can have a negative effect on your overall health.
Additionally, numerous studies have found a connection between mental well-being and a reduced risk of health problems, such as cardiovascular disease.
For example, a report published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in September noted links between characteristics of positive psychological well-being — such as optimism — with all measures of cardiovascular health.
3. Better mental well-being
Working at a difficult job can take a toll on your mind as well as your body.
“When people are overwhelmed with stress, when they’re anxious or worried at work, it impacts mental health,” says Illinois-based psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo. “It can lead to depression. It can lead to self-medication.”
Stress can also impair brain functions.
Scientists have observed changes in how the brain processes information when people experience stress — which can interfere with attention, memory and mood, according to an August report from Harvard Medical School. This can put you at a higher risk for memory-related problems like dementia later in life.
4. Stronger personal relationships
When you bring negative energy home after working, it damages your relationships with your domestic partner and your children, Lombardo says.
It’s natural to want to share your work experiences with your spouse. However, over time, your partner will likely grow tired of hearing about how unhappy you are.
5. Greater productivity
If you want to accomplish great things in your career, choosing a job that’s satisfying gives you an advantage. It’s difficult to do your best in a job you dislike. In contrast, satisfied workers stay engaged with their work, and that can lead to greater dedication and focus.
Research by economists at the University of Warwick in England found that happy workers are 12 percent more productive, according to a 2014 report from the university.
Research has also shown that a positive workplace culture improves worker performance, according to a 2015 report in the Harvard Business Review.
6. More job stability
Some workers frequently change jobs as they search for a better situation. If you don’t want to jump from company to company, find a job that will make you feel fulfilled.
Dissatisfaction is a major cause of workplace turnover. According to a 2015 LinkedIn survey of more than 10,000 people, the most common reasons that employees give for leaving a job include lack of job satisfaction with multiple aspects of work.
7. Professional growth
If you’re bored or unfulfilled at work, it’s unlikely that you’ll seek additional training to improve your skills, attend conferences or earn professional certifications. Rather than putting more effort into mastering a job you don’t like, you’re likely to spend your free doing things that don’t remind you of your unhappy work life.
This can limit your ability to improve your skills and advance in your career.
Self-improvement will help you be more successful, Lombardo says, but it means going above and beyond your job description.
So, what’s your take on job satisfaction versus salary? Sound off by commenting below or on our Facebook page.