Choosing money over happiness: is it ever worth it?

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Many people strive to be the best they can possibly be in their career and to work their way up the ladder. The assumption most people make is that the higher up you climb, the richer you will be. Financially, that notion is probably accurate, but does money really equate to happiness and would choosing one over the other ever be the right decision to make?

Starting out in your career can be an exciting time, as well as incredibly daunting. The early enthusiasm can soon wear off though and the only excitement may well come in the form of a sizeable financial injection into your bank at the end of each month.

It can be miserable turning up for work every morning knowing that your day is going to be jam-packed with gloom and not be in the slightest bit fulfilling. But do remember that it can be equally miserable spending each day wondering how on earth you’re going to make ends meet. It’s important to find a balance. Is there any way of making work a little more of a pleasurable experience for yourself? Is there the option to work from home a couple of days a week? If your job is affecting your mental health, action must be taken. Perhaps a stress management plan could be set up; if you find it easy to talk to your line manager, do so. If not, seek advice from a trusted colleague or your union representative.

It is not necessarily the industry you are involved in which is causing you to be unhappy. It could be your specific place of work. If it is possible to move to a different office, try that and see if the environment is any better for you. Alternatively, seek a similar role working for a different company. When you’re feeling down in the dumps, it can be challenging to analyse exactly what it is that is bothering you; evaluating which aspect of work is the most misery-inducing is an important thing to do. Try to work it all out with a clear head, not after a stressful day in the office.

If you have evaluated your current role and decided that really, you’re not on the path you long to be on, maybe consider a complete change. If you never went to university, consider UK anthropology degrees or training to be a dental hygienist. Research everything thoroughly and make sure it is the right path towards getting the perfect job for you. The last thing you want is to discover you are feeling just as unhappy trying to forge out a new career as you were in your last role.

There is a final possibility. Maybe your unhappiness has absolutely nothing to do with work at all. Perhaps you are feeling completely unfulfilled in many aspects of your life and, because work takes up a large proportion of your day and week, it is easy to apportion the blame to it. Take a step back and assess which things in life make you proud and which make you anxious. Is it time you went to speak to your GP? You may need some sort of cognitive behavioural therapy to help you cope better with certain situations or maybe you are struggling to cope across the board and antidepressants could help. Professional help is important; it’s good to talk and share your concerns.

While money is important to survive, what kind of life is it if you are dreading work every day? There is an answer. Finding out exactly what that looks like for you could take time, but it’s worth doing. Good luck!

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