You know that moment when a friend announces at dinner that she’s just got a GREAT promotion at work. Everyone enthuses for a few minutes, (“go girl!”, high fives etc.) then there’s a slightly stilted pause as you wonder if anyone will risk the social faux pas and ask the question you’re all dying to know – so what’s your salary increase?!?!
An article in the Sunday Times Style today says that 48% of Generation Y defines success as “earning a big salary”, which is slightly depressing but not at all surprising. We were brought up to think that if we worked hard and were successful at work, we should theoretically enough money to be as comfortable as our parents or even more well off!
However, once we got our first steps on the career ladder a lot of my friends (myself included) had a sad realisation: the career I want might not live up to my financial expectations.
This could be for a number of reasons – limited progression, an industry that’s declining, or maybe your perfect job simply doesn’t exist. At the end of the day you have to decide what’s more important to you – fulfilment from the work you’re doing or fulfilment from the life that having more money can afford you.
But why can’t we have both?!?! It’s true that more of us are trying to pave our own way to create the life we want – whether it’s going freelance, investing in a start up or dedicating time to look for extra income streams. This option could allow us the most freedom but also comes at the highest financial risk – something that not all of us are fortunate enough to be in the position to do.
However, our working life will now span up to 50+ years, giving us plenty of time to gain experience and figure all this shit out! If the thought of doing what you’re doing now for the next 50 years fills you with dread, it may be time to reassess your goals and think what actions will help them become achievable.
I know that I’d go stir crazy in a job that I didn’t find interesting on some level. Thankfully the Style article references that most women, of all generations, define success primarily in terms of personal happiness. So it’s not all about the dollar folks!
Whilst I do sometimes feel a pang of envy when I hear about my latest friends big pay rise, I know that ultimately we all have the choice to live how we want – and if the effort and sacrifices are worth it for my friend then I can only be happy for them. And for myself? I figure as long as I have enough to cover the essentials, a social life and the occasional holiday, I’m all good for the time being 🙂