Why Career Happiness Is More Important Than A Big Paycheck

If you asked me what I wanted to be when I was little, I would tell you a fashion designer. Why? Because I liked clothes. When you ask me today what I want to be, I’ll tell you a fashion editor. Why? Because I like clothes. What I have learned after a little growing up and a couple years in college (the place where we’re supposed to “have it all figured out”) is that “what do you want to be?” isn’t actually that easy of a question to answer.

 At what point is what we want to do in life no longer determined by our interest and passions, but by the amount of zeros that come at the end of our paychecks?

I mean you’ve got to be kidding me if you honestly think someone, aside from the worlds most boring man, is an accountant because they LOVE doing taxes. No one loves doing taxes.

Maybe the switch flips when the world tells us to be more realistic.

When we grow up and are told time and time again the value of practicality and that practicality leaves no room for dreaming. Well, I call bullshit on that. I can tell you that practicality is the best way to kill ambition and dreaming is the best way to ignite it.

I’ve seen first hand that the happiness side of the career debate is often the one that comes out on top. I’ll use myself as the best example I’ve got.

During my sophomore year of high school, I took my first fashion class and had a teacher (shout out to Mrs. Coors) who I must give partial credit to for my strong believe in career happiness. She encouraged me to give the whole fashion thing a whirl, as more than just an extracurricular class. That year I started my own fashion blog (one I have to this day, 4 years later) and applied to my first Teen Vogue Fashion University in NYC (I’ve now been accepted 3 years in a row). Fast forward to college where I’m still using my dreams to guide my path and am studying fashion, working on forming my own fashion editorial major, and have already had a summer internship in NYC following my freshman year.

I understand that seems like a lot of bragging on my part, but let me compare that to my money driven friends and I think you’ll get my point. I’d say about 95% of my friends are driven by money.

I can’t even keep track of how many times they’ve told me to look up how much a fashion editor makes, trying to use dollars to make me reconsider my career path. Each time they do I respond with that scary six-word question, “what do you want to be?” Each time I ask I notice the lack of enthusiasm in their voice. The answer, usually something finance or business related and constantly changing, is followed by a complaint about the work they have to do or how boring their major is. Most of them don’t do anything to further their career in said boring profession; they’re just working on a degree. They haven’t even began the job hunt yet and you can tell they’re bored out of their mind. I can’t help but feel a little bad.

There is a difference in the way my friends and I talk about our futures. There is a difference in the tone of voice and a difference in the light, or lack thereof, in our eyes.

Now, I’m not saying that all business and finance jobs are terrible or that everyone should have dreams about working in a creative field. And I’m not saying money doesn’t matter at all, because that’s a great way to start a life, and silence our student loan debts.

What I am saying is that the average person spends 40 years of their life and around 90,000 hours working and it would absolutely suck to be bored that whole time. Base your future on how happy you’ll be to wake up in the morning, not off of how happy you’ll be a few times a year when a paycheck roles around.

Passion goes a long way; nobody was ever the best at something they didn’t love. Success is determined by ambition and soul. Success isn’t always material, sometimes it’s as simple as having the courage to make a living doing something that makes you unbelievably happy.

“What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” —Bob Dylan

Featured Image by Anna Thetard

Julia Dearing

Editorial Contributor, Indiana University Major: Apparel Merchandising and Fashion Design Her heart belongs to: Fitness, Fashion, music, the color black, lipstick, New York City and chai tea lattes Her guilty pleasures: Carbs, over priced coffee, and 80s movies

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