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Salary vs. Job satisfaction: what’s more important?

Written by Leslie Hemmerechts on 4 April 2020 for Graduates

What’s more important: (A) a high salary, or (B) happiness at work? Actually, it’s secret option (C) coaching! A coach helps you to figure out what you need to be happy at work, and also makes you better at your job, which in turn may result in a pay raise!



Scenario 1:
You make a lot of money, but you have drag yourself to work every day kicking and screaming. You have to stay there for 12 hours each day around people you can’t stand, doing a job you hate. You feel angry and frustrated most of the time, but during the two hours of spare time you have in the evening, you can stream series on a ridiculously oversized tv. And once a year, you can travel to a faraway destination and stay in a luxurious hotel, sipping cocktails and wishing you never had to go back to work.

Scenario 2:
You go to work smiling every morning. You spend 8 hours at a place where your co-workers are also your friends and you’re having heaps of fun, doing a job you love and are passionate about. After your daily duties you still have plenty of time for hobbies and to see friends and family, but you make a healthy amount of money, nothing extra. You have enough to do what you love and travel and you are happy at the place you work.

Which would you choose?

While a high salary may seem attractive, it doesn’t necessarily lead to job satisfaction. And while job satisfaction is important, it’s also essential to your happiness that you can afford the basics, like food and your electricity bill. The sweet spot lies on the perfect balance between salary and job satisfaction. How to find that balance, depends on your priorities and goals. A coach can be very valuable in figuring this out for yourself.

Maslow’s pyramid

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you need to satisfy the most basic needs before you can move up the ladder towards job satisfaction. Who cares about passion when you have no food or clothes, right? So in that sense you could argue that money is a more important driver for happiness than job satisfaction. On the other hand, as long as you have enough to live comfortably, having more won’t necessarily make you happier. Once your basic needs are met and stable, you can begin thinking of other factors, like work-life balance and office culture.



Growth and development

Opportunities for growth and development turn out to be a major factor in job satisfaction. Employees who have access to training and mentorship programmes tend to be more satisfied with their jobs. Also, if your employer allocates a budget towards your skill acquisition and personal development, this is an investment in your future as well – even if it doesn’t immediately show up on your bank account. There’s a good chance that these trainings and certificates will make you eligible for promotions and positions with more responsibility later on in your career. In that way, they can lead to a higher salary as well.



The value of coaching

Dilemmas like the one above can be daunting, especially for young graduates. Do you really know what your priorities and goals are before starting your first job? How can you correctly estimate the value of work life balance when you haven’t had to actually balance work and life before? And what happens when life changes – when free time goes from Friday beers to Sunday brunches? Having a coach to guide you through these first years can be very valuable.

A coach will help you figure out what your goals are and where your priorities lie, by asking you the right questions. They will help you discover what gives you energy, what motivates you, and what drains your energy. A coach is also someone you can turn to for advice and who can answer your questions. This is how a coach can help you gain 4 years of working experience in only 2 years.

In conclusion, whether it is a high salary or job satisfaction that is more important, is a highly personal choice. It depends on many factors, not all of which are within your control. One constant is this whole story is that everyone can benefit from coaching. A coach will make you better at what you do, and will ask you things you need to think about so that you will be happier as well. At Exellys, a coach will cost you nothing – but you will gain a few years of experience!

About Exellys

Exellys is a Tech Talent Incubator. We match ambitious companies with the finest tech talent. Are you ready to drive the innovations of tomorrow? Ready to make an impact and become a future-fit digital leader?

Whether you are a graduate or (young) professional, Exellys will unlock your full potential by guiding you to a challenging work environment that perfectly matches your personality, expectations and ambitions.

On top of that, you are enrolled in one of our very own training and coaching programs (based on your personal and professional ambition and experience). This means that, while working as an Exellys consultant, we are helping you to bridge your ambition to excellence.

Through intensive training and coaching, you’ll gain the essential skills, competencies and knowledge necessary to become the highly effective professional you aim to be. Become an Exellyst and get in touch with us today!