Do you ever feel like you’re chained to your work? Can you be chained to your work if you’re not a, “big earner?”. I think so.
An individual earning $30K per year might not be, “golden handcuffed”, but they’re certainly “ball and chained” to their job if they need that income to survive. Lower and middle-class individuals can be “stuck” in their jobs just as much as higher earners (and maybe even more so). If you earn $30k per year and need to make $30k per year to pay your bills and keep food on the table, then you’re stuck at your job, or at an equivalent paying job.
Since I work for a non-profit agency in the social services sector, I’ve never really seen myself as a, “big earner”. But, now that I have my masters degree and have worked my way into lower management, I’ve been thinking a lot about next steps in my career. I’m not making so much money that I couldn’t leave, but obviously I’d like to make at least the same salary (hopefully more) when I do make the transition.
The stress of the work with challenging clients, combined with the hours I work (and am on-call) are certainly disproportionate in relation to the salary that I earn, compared to those who work in the for-profit world. And when I think about my future career path, I don’t envision myself being able to do this type of work indefinitely.
Here comes the “chains”…but if I don’t continue working my way up the career ladder at my current company, where would I go and what would I want do? My sister and I had a conversation about this very dilemma and she encouraged me to find a less emotionally demanding job, even if it means making less money. I think this is probably good advice, and it’s certainly advice I would give to others. But if I take a job making less money, what will that mean for my/our financial goals? Less money obviously means less savings and less retirement contributions. There are pros and cons of both options and I’m starting to carefully weigh them.
What do you think? Have you ever chosen a job with a smaller salary because it provides you a better quality of life?
Are you Chained to Your Work?