July 17, 2014

Defining Success: Pay vs. Meaning

Recently, the company PayScale (NB: a great website for assessing salaries when job-hunting) compared and contrasted median pay and job satisfaction for more than 450 careers. The authors looked at the following categories:
  • % High Job Satisfaction
  • % High Job Stress
  • Typical Educational Level
  • Gender Breakdown
  • Job Level
... just to name a few. With their data, they created an amazing interactive chart, which you can play with at this link

Interactive chart and full report at PayScale

Here are a few of their findings: the two least-meaningful job categories are food preparation/service and legal, probably not surprising considering how difficult the work is. For high pay and high job fulfillment, head straight to the medical field, since both well-paid health practitioners (doctors and surgeons) and lower-paid healthcare workers (nurses and technicians) ranked high in overall satisfaction and salaries. 

I have written before about my own life mission to find Sanity with a Side of Paycheck. This chart explains why that motto is easier said than done! It can be extremely challenging to find financial security and career contentment simultaneously. However, as I made my way through different jobs, different sectors and different stages of the professional pyramid, I found that each career change led me to better fit with my lifestyle. And when one factor was lacking, I compensated for it by working extra jobs, volunteering, cultivating desirable work skills and expanding my network of contacts. 

Finding the holy grail takes a mix of determination, goal setting, patience and persistence.  But speaking from experience, it does exist!