Teena Rose is a columnist, public speaker, and certified/published resume writer with Resume to Referral. She’s authored several books, including How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag Book, 20-Minute Cover Letter Fixer, and Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales.


Well, if it is, consider a career as a financial planner, computer techie or epidemiologist according to Fast Company because those are just three of the top 25 jobs this magazine picked as the top-paying professions in the future. Of course, if you’re looking up ‘epidemiologist’, it’s probably not the career choice for you.


For some, it is all about the money and the great toys it buys. Cool cars, surround sound and two cell phones (16% of cell phone users carry two) are usually some of the first purchases for the new hire landing her first six-figure pay check. Indeed, money, the quality of life and financial independence are great motivators to get up and go to work everyday.


But for some, the toys don’t matter as much, financial independence isn’t even a consideration and quality of life isn’t measured in an asset portfolio.


The Emotional Rewards

There are lots of people making lots of money who go to work everyday to a job they hate. There are just as many people who go to work everyday to a low-paying job that they love. They love it because the job provides so much more than dollars and cents.


Pegasus Therapeutic Riding is a non-profit located in upscale Darien, Connecticut. The organization provides therapeutic horseback riding instruction to children and adults with a variety of physical and emotional special needs. It’s a remarkable organization, but because it’s non-profit, the instructors and support staff don’t make a great deal of money.


“The first time an autistic child speaks is something that stays with you for a lifetime,” one instructor was quick to point out. Though they live in an expensive region, these dedicated pros find reward beyond the pay check. And they count themselves lucky to have these experiences in their lives.


Teachers, nurses, law enforcement and emergency rescue personnel don’t make the kind of money a CEO makes, but most of them wouldn’t change careers for a bigger salary. To these people, it’s more important to receive the emotional rewards a career provides.


Job Status

What’s the first thing you ask someone you’ve just met? “So, tell me Jim, what’s your line of work?” We always want to know what the other party guests do, right? Sure. We define each other by the work we do.


Ask any employee of the Internal Revenue Service how popular he is when people discover he audits tax returns. And you just know that morticians are going to have trouble making chit chat over the canapés. What do you talk about at parties?


All jobs carry status in our society. High on the list are college professors (must be very smart), doctors (modern day wizards), religious leaders (good hearts) and school teachers (large buckets of patience).


Low on the status list are politicians (all crooks), used car salespeople (all crooks), stock brokers (sales hype), telemarketers (annoying) and the folks who scrape up road kill (Yuck!).


But notice that status isn’t related to earning power. Most religious leaders don’t make huge salaries, but still hold high-status positions in our society. Conversely, successful stock brokers usually clear six figures annually, but most of their clients would consider brokers a necessary evil.


Status isn’t related to salary. But it is related to your self-esteem. 



If you have high self-esteem, you think you’re doing okay in the world. If you have low self-esteem, you can’t figure out why your career lacks traction. You aren’t getting anywhere, you don’t like your job, you don’t like your life and you don’t like yourself or your cat or your apartment.


The fact is, that not only do we define others by how they earn a living, we also define ourselves by the work we do. Our professions and careers become woven into the fabric of our self-image--the way we see ourselves and believe that others see us, as well.


And over the years, our society has attempted to increase the self-esteem factor by changing job titles and descriptions. Janitors are now sanitation engineers and Wal-Mart clerks are associates. It’s all part of improving the image the job projects to the rest of the world. Let’s face it, automobile broker sounds better than used car salesperson.


What About the Other Benefits?

Flex-time, an in-house day care, summers off, a great health plan, company car – there’s more to most jobs than the bottom line, especially in this hectic work-a-day world in which time has more value than cold, hard cash.


Most parents will swap flex time and telecommuting for a bigger paycheck because those benefits also improve quality of life. More senior employees will seek out good health plans. New hires seek opportunities to advance. There are as many reasons for taking a job as there are people who take them.


And What Does This Mean to You?

It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out in a career or thinking about a mid-life career change. If you focus solely on the salary, you’re limiting your options and your chances to really improve the overall quality of life.


Weigh the other factors – benefits, job status, self-esteem and the emotional and psychological benefits – that a job offers. You’ll expand your career horizons and you’ll more likely find true happiness on the job.


And that’s the most important consideration of all.

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Teena Rose is a columnist, public speaker, and certified/published resume writer with Resume to Referral. She’s authored several books, including How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag Book, 20-Minute Cover Letter Fixer, and Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales.