5 answers

Is job stability ever more important than job satisfaction?

Updated Baltimore, Maryland

I am an undergrad working towards my Bachelor's. I left a very stable, well paying job in a career that I wasn't passionate about or satisfied in. I am trying to make a career change and am wondering if in the beginning of a person's professional career if job stability is actually more important? #career-counseling #career-choice #job-search #strategy

5 answers

Wayne’s Answer

Updated Cincinnati, Ohio

Great question. Unfortunately there is no clear answer since a person's circumstances, desires and responsibilities have a huge impact on which is more important. This particular priority changes over time as life changes. It sounds like you have made a choice to improve your education and make a change that you hope will be for the good but you are having second thoughts since you had to leave your previous well paying job to do it. This just indicates you are conscientious and have a desire to make the "right" decision which requires re-evaluating past decisions and possibly learning from those that don't seem to be getting you where you want to go. Right now you are opening doors that were previously closed because of the lack of whichever degree you are currently pursuing. Fear of the unknown is the biggest obstacle you must overcome. In order to answer your question, you must look at your responsibilities, circumstances and desires as they exist today and in the foreseeable future. You must ask yourself "what would happen if I were to be out of work for a period of time?" Would you be able to keep up with your responsibilities? If not, then job stability may be more important at the moment. If you get a stable job but are unhappy, it just provides you an opportunity to look at the responsibilities and circumstances and get those in a position where making a job or career change is feasible. Bottom line is that you are in control of your future. You are making the right decision by improving your training and education so that you bring more to the table in a career so make your decisions on the new circumstances and keep moving forward. Continue to be willing to change and adapt. You are the only one who knows what your circumstances are and what you desire out of a career so don't let others discourage you by saying "you should have...." Make the best decisions you can with the information at hand. If you find you were missing key information at the time, learn, add the new information and make the next decision. Reserve the right to be wrong. Life is a journey with many paths so if you don't like the path you are on, look for the nest one that is going in the way you will be happier. If that means sticking with a job for its stability because you need that at the time, so be it. It is what you need at the time and when the time is right, you can still make a change as long as you keep your options open, keep learning and don't get into the mindset that what is happening today is the way it will always be. Good luck in your decisions and keep questioning, learning and watching for opportunities.

Thank you for your honest and thorough reply!


This is something that many struggle with as there is often a trade off between job satisfaction and financial stability. But there doesn't have to be and sometimes you get can get both or at least a good balance that works for you. It's hard to know whether or not something is right for you until you try it. But there are a few resources that are helpful. I've found the books What Color is Your Parachute and Start With Why to be helpful. Those books will take you through exercises that will help you refine what your career goals and objectives are. The beginning of one's career is when you have the most flexibility so if you are ever going to try things out and take risks now is the time. The one upside to being a student is that you have access to internships which is a great way to try out potential careers. Often times internships are only offered to students that are currently enrolled in college so those opportunities may go away after you graduate. Also, I would encourage you not to think about it this in black and white terms as there may be creative solutions. Just because you are enrolled in school doesn't mean you can't earn money or get real world work experience at the same time. And just because you are working full-time doesn't mean you can't pursue other things in your off time and possibly build out a side hustle. There really is no easy way but you are asking the right questions. Keep being thoughtful and working hard and it will come to you.

Grace’s Answer

Updated Austin, Texas
What a great question! Unfortunately there is no absolute answer between the two options, however, I would say that "life satisfaction" is the ultimate goal. I know that seems obvious but it is easy to forget when you are trying to grow and manage your career, or trying to stabilize financial hardships. The way I would address this question would be to very intentionally look at the different areas of my life that require the most attention, as well as have a 3-5yr plan that I can work towards. Make your 3-5 year plan for job satisfaction and try to map out a career path to get you there. You may find that you can have both job satisfaction AND stability; often when we find something that we love, we are good at it, and therefore recognized. Lastly, try to define what job satisfaction really means for you. You may find it in many different jobs and roles that will also provide stability. For example, "I want to work in graphic design" is very specific and different to "I want to work in a job where I can leverage my creative and artistic expertise to help people market themselves and grow their own businesses." There latter description offers you many career paths that can lead to both stability and satisfaction. I mentioned that on the path to job satisfaction people often make sacrifices for stability. Bills need to be paid and kids need to eat! These are realities. Never feel bad about doing what NEEDS to be done, but never forget your longer term vision and keep working to get there. Good luck!

Kayla’s Answer

I think the answer would depend on your personal perspective. To a parent with a mortgage supporting a family stability might be more important because they rely on their paycheck to take care of their loved ones and they appreciate a steady schedule. However, if you have the freedom to move around or are just starting out you may think satisfaction is more important. No job will ever be perfect, but finding a healthy balance is important whatever that means to your personal circumstances.


Updated Dublin, County Dublin

We live longer than ever before, and considering how much time you spend at work throughout your life, I would say job satisfaction is WAY more important than job stability. Plus, in my honest opinion, if you have job satisfaction, you are more likely to do a good job, which gives you more stability. So pick something you enjoy doing, and have fun!