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From an adult POV, is it better to work for money or for interest?


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Daniel’s Answer

if you look at all the biggest companies in the world, the majority of them were founded by people who did something they believed in. It was never about the money. They worked out of garages and ate KD. When you work in something you care about, usually the money comes along. When you aim for just the money, in my experience, you end up in something that doesn't motivate you and no matter how much money you have in the world, it will never fulfill the void of not having purpose or passion for what you do. Follow your heart! The money comes along with that

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Meghan’s Answer

This is a great question - and if I'm honest, Lily, no adult has 100% the right answer. In a perfect world, focus on interest and the money will come - but the money can be a really real concern often, and you need to decide how much risk you're willing to take. I have found that the jobs I've loved the most and been most successful in - money-wise and otherwise - are the ones I've loved more, but I took my job right out of college in part for the money so I could have a stable income. I would encourage you to find a job you're excited about that pays enough that you feel secure as you get started - and then move more towards interest over time as you can.

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Jay’s Answer

From my perspective, you need to do something that you love. I've had several jobs and careers over the years and the one thing I can tell you is that when you enjoy what you do it does not even feel like work. When you're passionate about what you do, the quality of the work is better and you will rise in your chosen career faster. Money is certainly a consideration but your first priority should be finding something that you love to do.

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Pete’s Answer

Great question, there is no one correct answer. It is a matter of perspective and what your responsibilities are at any given time. However, if you can find something you are passionate about and can turn it into a career go ahead and pursue it. There is an old saying that if you find a job you enjoy doing, you'll never work a day in your life.

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Cullen’s Answer

This is a question people think about a lot, so you are not alone in asking this! I would say choose interest over money. It is very common for high school students to choose their major in college based off how much they think their future job in that industry will pay. A lot of the time, this leads to students not interested in the coursework in college so students end up switching majors to something they enjoy more. At the end of the day, work hard at something you enjoy and the money will find you.

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Liam’s Answer

Work for interests and money will find you.

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Brett’s Answer

Are you familiar with Maslow's hierarchy of needs? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs

The answer to your question isn't one or the other, but "it depends".

- Are you healthy, and fed? Depending on where you live, you may need enough income to be reasonably sure. (In the US, medical bills are a major source of bankruptcy, and it doesn't have to be a devastating cancer to be a ridiculous bill)

- If so, are you physically safe? Are you able to travel to/from work with a reasonable belief that you won't be harmed? Have that confidence at work? At home?

If you don't have those lower tiers, work for income, so you can get them. I'm not saying take ANY job, but at this point accepting physical risk for moral/emotional happiness is more likely to make you resent the choices, leaving you neither safe nor satisfied.

Once you have those taken care of, the answer becomes a lot more nuanced. You are at the point where you start to worry about more subtle and subjective issues. Answering what is right to do in those cases is a deeply personal question, and not one that is easy. The only wrong thing to do is pretend that it's NOT a hard choice. You are balancing different types of safety and happiness against one another. That's hard, PARTICULARLY if you don't have experiences to say what to expect from any choice: You are balancing PREDICTIONS of safety and happiness.

If you are fortunate enough to get to the point where you are at/near the tip of that hierarchy, then the question becomes easier (but not easy). Nothing is guaranteed, no one is every 100% safe or protected, so you can't pretend not to worry about those foundational tiers, but realistically, you can hit a point where more income won't make a notable change in those tiers. That's when you should give your other desires more weight (note I'm not saying "that is when you should pay attention" to them. They've always existed, always been real. They just didn't have as much weight).

I've spent a long time chasing income as a substitute for safety. I can say there is DEFINITELY a point of inflection. When you can get lost in a town and feel safe that if push comes to shove, you can call a taxi/lyft/uber/etc to get home without breaking the bank. When your car can refuse to start and you don't have to worry about getting fired or losing money you can't afford. When you have some symptom and can go to the doctor without worrying that doing so (regardless of the determination) will threaten your ability to pay for other things.

The biggest one for me was when I had enough savings to know that if I got fired I could pay the rent/mortgage and food bills for the time it would take for me to get another job.

Once I hit that point, though, more money didn't really help. I still feel immense pressure - what if I get disabled and lose my ability to work? What if I die, what happens to my wife? What if... - but earning more (and saving more) doesn't really help with those fears, at least not without a few decades more of saving money. The scale is just too big.

So I've hit the point where I should be giving my personal satisfaction more weight than income. Hopefully you (and everyone) is as lucky as I am to be able to find that point too.

Note: A lot of that sense of safety comes from having enough savings, rather than having a big enough income. People I trust recommend having enough saved to live for 6 months without income. Figure out your retirement plans and start early, which makes the effort involved less (but hardly zero). Savings is DEFINITELY easier when you have a bigger income, but if you don't start the process when you have little income it's easy to miss out on the opportunity if you get more income.

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Audrey’s Answer

Great question Lily!

I honestly dont think there is a right or wrong answer for this one. People are motivated by different things and for some, it may be money. I have worked several jobs where the money was great, but I was not happy and fulfilled with what I was doing. For me the higher pay was not enough for me to continue on the path I was on. I found that I was more productive, happier and less stressed in a position that I was passionate about. Work hard at something you love and the money will follow.

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Preeti Jose’s Answer

Hi Lily, great question! Money certainly does matter especially if you are struggling with your financial status and you want money to pay your bills. As students when you start off and especially when you don't have sponsors (parents/guardians) then you may want to take up a job that pays you well. I did that, I joined Goldman Sachs in the investment banking division to make money and who wouldn't want that right ? Dream company, minting money but having spent 2 years there I realized that's not something I love doing. I wasn't good with numbers and trade market and I would have ended up being a pathetic banker. Instead I loved talking to people, listening to them, being their problem solver, mentoring them. After I had a stable financial status, I realized that I need to get a degree in Human Resources and that's what I chased. And now I help teams and leaders at Cisco to create more value and impact.

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Carey’s Answer

This is a great question! There is no right or wrong answer. From my perspective you need to have some interest in what you do. You will be spending a lot of time and you want to make sure it's somewhat enjoyable. Money will inevitably come.

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