Dream Job Vs. High-Paying Job: Which Should You Choose?
Playing your cards right is not always easy.
In an ideal world, we can have it all: a job we genuinely enjoy that pays all the bills, financial stability, and emotional health. But the reality is, life does not always tick all our boxes. At some point in your adulting journey, you may be faced with one of the most difficult decisions you have to make: Should you choose your dream job or go for a better-paying job?
What is a dream job, anyway?
In an article by online job portal Indeed, a dream job is described as “a position that combines an activity, skill or passion with a moneymaking opportunity. Dream jobs can be exciting and glamorous like acting or playing music, or they can be prestigious and high paying like working as a doctor or lawyer. Dream jobs differ from person to person.”
Basically, a “dream job” is something that doesn’t feel like work, a.k.a you make money by doing what you love. And while this is what everyone wants, not all dream jobs can pay the bills.
Now, what is a high-paying job?
A high-paying job is literally a job that pays well. It’s not necessarily something you enjoy doing, but it gives you a sense of financial freedom. It is described as a job that “satisfies one’s basic needs and at the same time provides the key to spend the surplus in fulfilling one’s dreams like buying homes, cars and another luxury lifestyle.”
Dream job vs. high-paying job
Founder and CEO of SkillSuccess, Michael Shen, lists down the pros and cons of each option.
If you choose your dream job, Michael says that your career won’t seem like work because you love what you do. “It makes you more motivated to do your job, [and] you won’t get easily drained,” he says. Having your dream job can also give you a sense of happiness and fulfillment.
However, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. “It might not be as satisfying as other jobs in terms of wages and benefits. The career growth may be stagnant, depending on the nature of the niche,” explains Michael. “You might get overworked because you are devoted to it. In some instances, you’ll have a hard time maintaining a good work-life balance as you are deeply involved with work.”
If you choose a high-paying job over your dream job, you can benefit from monetary perks. Michael says, “You can provide for your personal or family needs with ease. For some, there is a higher chance of career growth.” A high-paying job can also offer salary satisfaction, prestige, and connections.
The cons include seemingly difficult workload (because it’s not exactly something you enjoy), not liking what you do, and getting stressed easily. The workload seems more difficult for you. “You are not as motivated as when you have your dream job,” says Michael.
So, how can you decide?
38-year-old Candy worked as a call center agent after she graduated college. She finished a Marketing Management degree.
“At first, I chose a high-paying job. Medyo malaki ang starting salary sa call center compared to other entry-level jobs, may benefits pa at HMO,” she shares. “So kahit hindi siya connected sa tinapos kong course, I worked there for about three years before venturing out.”
Her customer service job provided her family with basic needs. She was able to pay her electricity bills, send her younger brother to school, and save a bit of her salary.
“Sa totoo lang talaga, hindi ko gusto ‘yung trabaho ko. Wala akong passion sa ginagawa ko, but it gets the job done and that was my priority before,” Candy explains. After saving enough money from her full-time job, she managed to establish a small clothing business at 26 years old.
“That was when I started being passionate about what I do,” she says. “Hanggang ngayon, business pa rin ang main source of income ko at hindi ko ‘yun magagawa without my foundation as a call center agent.”
If you find yourself confused on what to do, Candy suggests evaluating what you currently need.
“I was not born in a privileged family. When I graduated, ang alam ko lang ay kailangan ko kumita ng pera para may pambayad kami sa renta at mapag-aral ko ‘yung kapatid ko,” she says. “Some dream jobs have decent pay, and if yours is one of those, then go for it! Pero para sa akin, pagiging praktikal ang pinaka-importante.”
She says that if you do choose a job that you don’t 100% enjoy, it doesn’t mean that you will stay stagnant forever. “There’s a certain path we’re following, and it’s possible that this job is only a stepping-stone for you,” she says. “Kahit ano naman desisyon ang gawin natin, meron at meron ‘yang mga consequences. Ang importante ay alam natin ang priorities natin at may plano tayo to move forward in the future.”