Back

Job satisfaction: What’s more important — money or respect?

Job satisfaction: What's more important — money or respect?

Is one of the main reasons you’re in your current job because the money is good? And is one of the main reasons you are reluctant to leave your job because you can’t imagine taking a pay cut, or the profession you really want to pursue has limited earning prospects?

I ask people these questions in my Brand YOU workshop. And every time at least 50% of all participants raise their hand. This response isn’t surprising since choosing a career and a job for its monetary rewards is the oldest and most powerful motivation in the world of work.

However, overwhelming evidence has emerged over the past two decades that the pursuit of wealth is an unlikely path to achieving happiness and personal well-being.

The lack of any clear positive relationship between rising salary and rising happiness has become one of the most powerful findings in the social sciences.

And that’s because we get caught on the hedonistic treadmill – as we get richer and accumulate more our expectations rise, so we work harder to earn more, and then our expectations rise again, and so we work harder to earn more, and so it goes. It’s never enough as we shift from one car to two, from a small house to a big house, from a holiday on The Gold Coast to a holiday in the south of France.

When asked what gives them job satisfaction, people never put money on top of the list

In the Mercer global-engagement scale, ‘base pay’ comes in at number six out of a list of twelve key factors.

What really matters is respect, the number one factor that drives job satisfaction

Now, respect is a word that’s thrown around a lot, with a lot of lip service being given to it. To my mind, respect is like a basic human right. It means being appreciated for who you are, what you personally bring to the job, and being valued for your individual contribution. And it has nothing to do with social status: I don’t respect someone just because she’s the CEO or because he earns millions of dollars.

Respect enables us to feel like a human being whose presence matters

So that may mean avoiding large bureaucratic organisations where individual efforts are barely acknowledged, and finding a workplace where you are treated as a unique and valuable human being.

Few people will ignore money when it comes to making career and job decisions, I get that: we all have bills to pay.

The real issue is how much weight should you assign to money?

And if money is coming at a personal cost – that feeling of “I’m just another brick in someone else’s wall” – perhaps it’s time to evaluate your priorities and make some hard decisions. You’ll be happier in the long run.

Back

Subscribe To Firebrand Ideas Ignition Blog

Sign up to receive our new blog posts via email. You'll get all the latest articles on digital, marketing, social media, communications, personal branding — and lots of career advice

Search Website