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education and career

choosing the less lucrative career

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I really like my job. Its interesting, even fascinating. I feel like I help people. I use skills that I learnt in my degree. I am well respected, and to some extent a semi-expert. I get on well with all the people that I work with and I have an excellent relationship with clients. I am paid the fair market rate (give or take) and it is sufficient to live on.

Its not however, the most lucrative career I could have chosen. I could make considerably more money now if I worked in a different field. I’m not career driven either. I am one of those people that prefers to do rather than manage. The financial aspects of my job always make me feel a bit sick - I am not cut out to hold the purse strings.

One of the best ways of getting ahead in my career is to move companies every couple of years, this is certainly the route to greater financial reward. This is not for me, it took me a long time to become comfortable in the company that I work for, and I do not relish doing that again.

Because I could make more money, I sometimes feel like a failure. It is unlikely that I have the earning power of many of my fellow personal finance bloggers or friends that I went to uni with. I have always felt that at least one of my parents is a little disappointed that I have ’settled’ and am not so ambitious. My choice of career has also compromised the place that I live in. I cannot afford to live the life that I really want, in the city that I really love, so I live the life that I want, in a city that I like.

Life is about possibilities and choices. I didn’t think that the choice that I made in my early twenties would be so rewarding and yet somehow restricting several years later. If I could do it all again, I would as I am happy, and yet…

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9 comments for “choosing the less lucrative career”

  1. Don’t feel like a failure!

    If it makes you feel any better I have a PhD that does little else but decorate a wall. ;)

    I’m glad you are doing what you love.

    Posted by paidtwice | August 22, 2007, 11:52 pm
  2. The tone of your post suggests that you are a little dissatisfied with what the future might hold rather than your current position. Whilst you are happy to work and live where you are at the moment you may find that your spirit has other plans for you. Perhaps you’ll discover something about yourself that provides you with the excuse to spread your wings and try something different.
    Even though today is bearable it’s another day that will never return. Just make sure you never look back and think If Only…

    Posted by John Murphy | August 23, 2007, 1:17 am
  3. I can tell you from doing the exact opposite (taking a lucrative job in a field I don’t care for much) that I have many of the same feelings. I feel a bit like a failure for selling out, and I wonder about the what ifs. My constant battle is to recognize that I am not my job, and that I am solely responsible for my own choices - both the ones I made in the past and the ones I’m making now. The important thing is to be happy with your choices…all of them.

    Posted by Brip Blap | August 23, 2007, 2:59 am
  4. I think you made the right choice. I have a good job that I used to love but now I’m bored out of my mind. My challenge at work is to get through the day!


    Posted by FourPillars | August 23, 2007, 3:46 am
  5. You’re right. I do think that I’ve probably made the right choice, but the key word there is ‘probably’.

    And yes, I’m more dissatisfied with the future than the present, mostly because I feel so settled and that nothing is really going to happen.

    Posted by plonkee | August 23, 2007, 11:01 am
  6. I think it’s about balance. Money is important, but not the most important. About five years ago I made a big career move that cost me 1/3 of my pay. I don’t regret the decision, and frankly it was one of the best life decisions I’ve ever made. Plonkee, it sounds to me like you’ve made good choices. You have one life to live, so live it as you choose, not as others would choose. Oh, I sound so profound!

    Posted by Dough Roller | August 23, 2007, 12:01 pm
  7. I also chose a less lucrative career where I help people. I can’t think of anything else that I would like as much yet earns a higher salary (I can think of things I might like better than earn less though!). I sometimes feel inferior not so much for my salary as for my lack of “advancement” in my chosen profession. I don’t want to be a manager, I don’t want to apply for more prestigious positions, I don’t want to work long hours doing “extra” things, I just want to come to work, do a good job, go home. This is my choice, and although I sometimes feel like I’m not living up to my potential or something, that’s mostly because of how it looks in the eyes of others, not because I really would want a more high-powered career. So I say, if you’re happy at your job, if you’re happy with your life, why change things?

    Posted by Monica | August 23, 2007, 8:03 pm
  8. After Graduating I made a conscious decision to take a low paid job that would leave me time to do other things that I enjoy. I never regret the decision, even though I have zero savings and a few debts to clear.


    Posted by Tejvan Pettinger | August 25, 2007, 1:21 pm

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