Money Isn’t Everything?

Of course money is important, but it isn’t everything. A big raise at work can’t make up for being bored to death, having no way to grow, being abused by a boss, stagnating and not learning anything new, spending day after day in a toxic environment, or working for a company without integrity. Instead of focusing on earning more and moving up two of my clients asked themselves these questions: How much money is enough? And, what else is important for my wellbeing? The great answers they came up with are below.

A parallel move pays off

Moving to a new job with little or no increase in earnings can change your life. Robert is a client who landed a job that’s a parallel move, not a step up, but (and it’s a big but) the change has many pluses. Initially, when he came to see me, he reported that he had been stuck, bored and unhappy for many years. Now that the economy had improved he felt ready to make a change. Through networking, he found a new job that has reduced his daily commute by two and a half hours! It’s a huge change that not only considerably reduces stress (he will be fifteen minutes away from work) but also gives him more time to be with his family, or  exercise, read, or rest. Maybe even time to think. He’s leaving a place where his coworkers were morose and depressed, a place where he saw no way to develop or learn new skills. He was convinced the work he was doing was not a good fit and he was miserable with an unresponsive boss who barely listened to him.

You can imagine how much his mood has improved since finding this new job. Now he’s looking forward to a new  environment with different coworkers, a boss he thinks he will like, and a much larger organization with opportunity to grow. He didn’t increase his earnings but he feels enlivened and optimistic because he’s opened up new possibilities for himself.

Sometimes spending money is the answer

It hurt me to hear Kathy blame herself for not being further ahead at work. It wasn’t her fault. We’ve just gone through the worst economic time I can remember in thirty-four years of being a career and professional development coach. Prior to the Great Recession, I often encouraged clients to leave jobs before they had found another if they were suffering at work. And they always landed on their feet and did well. But for almost seven years after 2007, I told people to hold on and stay where they were. There was nowhere to go. No one was hiring, remember? Those were hard years for some people, terrible for others. If you didn’t make progress in your eyes during those years you should not blame yourself. Just managing to hold on to a job was an accomplishment.

After Kathy lightened up on herself, she identified a different direction for the future. She already had a master’s degree but it wasn’t the background she needed to move into an area she’s interested in so instead of working on changing jobs, moving up and earning more money, she decided to go back to school for a second master’s degree. She plans to do it part time while continuing to work. It’s interesting that she feels better about her current job already and her mood is elevated. I’m sure it’s because she’s in action and doesn’t feel stuck. She’s headed towards something that’s exciting to her. She’s interested in the content of the classes she’s taking and thinks the colleagues she will meet are her “tribe.” In her late thirties, she has at least thirty more years to work. She thinks that investing in her education will pay off for many years and the cost is  worth it to feel alive and engaged again. I agree.

My advice?

Figure out how much money is enough and where you need to be to blossom. If you have both, that’s called thriving.

My wishes for you?

Keep thriving,


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