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A question that has been asked since the beginning of time: Is money more important than job satisfaction? When people ask this question they typically want a yes or no answer. But it isn’t as easy as that. In order to truly answer this question, you need to break it down on a personal level by asking yourself the following questions.

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How old are you? How long have you been in your field? Till when do you intend to work in this field? Did you pursue higher education related to your field? Are you in debt? Do you intend to make major purchases like buying a house? All these factors contribute to your priorities. And it is a question of priority.

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How old are you?

For younger people entering a job market, the appeal of a big paycheck might outweigh any personal fulfillment. Because with money come things like a house, a car, latest gadgetry and other material conveniences. But if you’re older then you likely have the basics of your life sorted out. So job satisfaction might be higher on your list of priorities. Then again it might be better to figure out what you enjoy doing at a younger age.

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What are you good at?

Statistics and numbers are great to look. But what about interests and aptitude? Any website will tell you that jobs in the tech industry are going to rise exponentially in the next decade. The same with artificial intelligence and data analysis. And if you look up which jobs pay the most then these are the answers you’ll get.

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But if you don’t know the first thing about computers or coding. And you’re horrible with accounts and analysis. Then pursuing a career in one of these fields will surely make you miserable and depressed. And you probably won’t go very far or accomplish any extraordinary feats in any case. Pursuing a field you’re interested in will push you to make a difference.

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How long have you been in your field?

If you’ve been in a particular year for around 2 years. And you realize that it isn’t for you. Then now is the time to leave. You may be making a lot of money as a stockbroker or hedge fund manager. But if that high-stress job environment isn’t for you then eventually you’ll burn out. Contrarily if you’ve spent over a decade in a particular field and don’t think there are any opportunities left for you to grow professionally. Then try something new.

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Did you pursue higher education related to your field?

This is a question of investment. Have you invested thousands of dollars and years of your time pursuing a particular field? And if you have then how willing are you to throw it all away? In such a situation dumping your field entirely might be an extreme measure. Instead, try looking for other job opportunities. If the work environment is getting you down then change companies. Or pursue a promotion to get more benefits.

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Are you in debt?

Whether or not you’re in debt drastically changes the importance of money in your life. Then can be student loans, car loans or home loans. But regardless, paying off your debt must be your number one priority. Even at the expense of job satisfaction. Strategize and make a plan that allows you to pay off your debt within the year. And spend this time considering alternative employment plans.

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Do you intend to make major purchases like buying a house?

What do you want? Where do you see yourself in the next 5, 10, 15, or 20 years? Do your plans include buying a house or car? Traveling? Are you organizing a wedding? How many children do you have? And do you expend to spend on private education for them? Your income defines your lifestyle. So how much you need to earn depends on what your expenses will be.

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