I’m not going to try and argue that money is not important. Of course it is. But it is not the only thing that’s important when you are looking at changing jobs. And taking a job solely on account of the fat paycheque it’s going to give you can lead to some serious pitfalls. DISCLAIMER – I included the top reasons, but sadly there are others.

#1 – People tend to base their cost of living around the job they currently have.

They get used to that paycheque and invest in that townhome with the backyard rather than the one bedroom condo. Why? Because they can afford it (and if you are slaving away at a job just for the money, afford starts to equal deserve). But what happens when they suddenly lose that job (because they weren’t concerned with their actual skill set for the job, or if they didn’t fit with the culture, or the profitability of the company begins to tank, etc) and the bills keep coming in?  A ton of debt piles up real fast!

#2 – Money is hard to walk away from.

I used to work in a bank and they doled out tons of financial incentives, including a fat bonus every year. The longer you stayed with the company the bigger the bonus became. Every time I thought about resigning, I calculated how much money I would lose by not getting my bonus. Yes, I did escape after not too long, but it was tough to walk away from that. Imagine how tough it would be for someone after 5 years? Or 10?? Money can make a hostage out of you.

#3 – Money may incentivize in the long run, but it does not make you happy day to day.

By keeping you glued to your desk, that paycheque keeps you from pursuing your own dreams. Your boss might be a jerk, the commute may be too far, or perhaps you are not intellectually stimulated. But you are so busy complaining and being miserable that you have no time to actually reflect on what you need to be happy, or what would be the right job for you. And that misery starts to bleed over into all the other aspects of your life. Tell me I’m wrong.

So what is it that you need to be happy then?

There is no cookie-cutter answer for everyone – but instead 3 key areas we need to clarify for ourselves to get to the root of what makes us tick.

#1 – Your Core Values

These are your non-negotiables. It’s what you believe wholeheartedly in and really should be the guidelines for how you live your life. Do they align with the company’s values, with your bosses values? If one of your values are innovation, and the company is very resistant to change, you are probably going to find yourself frustrated every time you want to implement something leading edge. So super important your Core Values match those of the work you’re walking in

#2 – Your Anchor

Sometimes called your why (or your purpose) – what is the over-arching reason you get up and do this work everyday? Because you’re going to have hard days, you’re going to have days where you hate your boss and your computer freezes before you’ve had a chance to save your report and you have to work a VERY late night to meet that deadline. But if you know that big picture reason of why you are doing what you do, it’s going to carry you through those awful days and keep you grounded to the purpose of your work.

#3 – Your LIKES

Forget passion, passion is something that comes after the blood, sweat and tears. What do you enjoy doing? And how much of this job incorporates that? I would say at least 60% of the job should be comprised of ‘likes’. 70% – you’re golden. Realistic expectations are key. But if you like the majority of your day, you are going to be that much more motivated to go back the next day.

If you got these last three things figured out, great! You’re a lot further ahead than most people. But if you don’t, I really suggest you figure them out for yourself before you take that next step forward. Because I know that really big $$ looks super attractive and your daydreaming about all the things you’re going to buy yourself with all that extra money. But trust me, all that extra stuff is just going to be stuff at the end of the day, especially if you are spending your days miserable at a job you hate.


  • Allison Colin-Thome

    Career Coach

    Career Off Script

    Allison Colin-Thome heads up Career Off Script, where she helps young professionals find their ideal work, so they can stop waking up for just a paycheck and instead have a career that means something to them. She cuts through their confusion by helping them figure their strengths, their motivators and their true needs so they can find careers they love and finally take their next steps with confidence. After a bumpy journey of her own, Allison left her career in Corporate Recruitment to pursue the work she loved. She started her business while spending time in Colombia learning Spanish and can either be found sipping Earl Grey in a midtown Toronto cafe or online at www.careeroffscript.com.