Most jobs have their price

Screen shot 2009-11-23 at Nov 23, 2009, 8.39.56 PM

Dude, I would totally work just about any job if the money was right. You name it, manual labor, pedicurist, port-o-potty cleaner, pay me enough and I’ll submit my application. Does this make me a “sellout”? Possibly. After all, I would be working for “the money” and not “the passion”. Well guess what ya’ll. I’m a freakin’ sellout.

The inspiration for this post came from a conversation I had with my roommate the other day. It went a little like this….

Him: Would you work a job you didn’t enjoy if it paid a lot?

Me: Yes.

Him: Really? You don’t think you would end up unhappy in the end?

Me: No

Him: Care to explain.

Me: Not really, but I’m gonna go eat a twinkie.

Okay, well that’s not exactly how the conversation went. I basically told him, that no matter how miserable the job, I think money can help make things less miserable. That’s not to say that money can buy happiness, but it can definitely help.

My dreaded career would be anything involving history (I hate history). I would despise having to read old books, about old people, who did things a really long time ago. No offense to any historians out there, it’s just not my thing. But if you pay me $200,000/yr to read about Mesopotamia, you’ll get yourself one historically educated ninja ready for work.

Although money wouldn’t change the type of work I was doing, it would definitely change my attitude. And even though I may sacrifice a little bit of my happiness from 9 to 5, I’d totally be able to make up for it during my time off. Work might suck, but I still imagine my overall quality of life would be pretty epic.

Sure I would “sell my soul” for most positions, but I do have ONE exception to that rule. You are gonna have to come back tomorrow though to see what that exception is. So how bout it? Would you be willing to do some “less than desirable” work for a RIDICULOUSLY higher pay? And for those that totally disagree….care to share what jobs you would never do, no matter what the pay?

15 thoughts on “Most jobs have their price

  1. Frankly, my last job was the worst job ever in the history of jobs. I was worried that they were going to try to counter offer when I resigned. I was seriously unhappy in that job, so I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one. I'm sure that even if they paid me $200,000 for that job, I wouldnt' do it again. Maybe you too will change your mind if you spend a month in that job, but I would never even wish that on my worst enemy.

    Oh man, this is like the most negative post I've ever written. Haha.

    • You are correct in your assessment. I have never worked a job that I absolutely hated. But I do think that my attitude is part of that reason. I once worked in a factory putting stickers on backpacks for 8 hours (talk about mundain). Although the work was definitely not exciting, I knew I had to be there so I made the best of it, add in another $200K to my salary and I would have been in heaven. I guess I'm a big believer in positive psychology, but maybe there are jobs out there in which no good can ever come from it.

      • I worked for a small 3-person insurance company during college and for 3 years afterward. While the job itself was tolerable (well, for the most part!) it was dealing with the owner and the other employee that was the worst. I would go so far as to say he was bi-polar and dealing with his mood-swings and on-the-whim decisions gave me all kinds of grief. Promises, and then revocking said promises – you name it! Plus, he was CONSTANTLY trying to pry/run my personal life. Ridiculous! Not worth the $$$, Ninja! Sorry.

      • I think positive psychology must be a big part of it. My job wasn't quite like putting stickers on backpacks but it was very mundane and I actually was done with the work maybe within 30 minutes of the workday. I guess I dreaded the fact that I had to stay at work for the entire 8 hours plus no opportunity for other challenging projects was what ended up getting to me. I think a job like this would totally break you.

      • Mundane is different than hating it. When you hate a job, you know it. And it consumes your life. You go home unhappy, you wake up dreading life and Sunday is ruined because you know that in just mere hours you need to return to that place. I think there is also a big difference in knowing that a job is just for a summer or so than when you know that this is your job and you need it to eat and pay rent. Positive psychology can help and yeah, a ridiculous amount of money could change things but I think only because making 200,000/year, you know you don't have to work it forever. You 'should' have the savings to quit whenever you want for a while…, but what about a difference of $10,000. Is it worth doing a job you hate for just $50,000 instead of $40,000 elsewhere?

      • If you hated the job, that would be different than mundane.

        If your stomach flipped when you woke up and your heart beat quickly each time your boss said something-it would literally start to consume you.

        When I HATED my job, I couldn’t function. I would hate Fridays because it meant that Mondays were coming soon. I hated every time I got a new email because it involved another project that had no guidelines and that would end up with me working long hours and only to end up getting more criticism, blame, and threats of being fired.

        When I finally got laid off-I was walking down the street of my office and I felt a HUGE relief and everything was better.

        Working in a factory at a boring job is not the same as having a job that you hate.

        Just be happy that you don’t have the experience.
        .-= Duddes02´s most recent blog ..Waiting for the holiday.. =-.

  2. I agree with the above posters. Thankfully I have a job I love that will pay me a lot of money (some day – maybe in 2 years, I hope).

    I could do what I love for little money, but I couldn't do what I hate for a lot of money. Too much of my personality embedded in what I do for work – for better or worse.

  3. I think it all comes down to a balance of, among other things, (a) compensation, (b) hours required, and (c) how much you like it. I'm not currently in balance — I get paid pretty well, but I feel like I work too much, and I don't like it most of the time. There are days — even weeks on end where I get a sick feeling every time I have to come to the office. While there's a number they could throw at me that would make things come into balance, it's not realistic, given how much (b) and (c) are out of whack. So I've begun looking for something new. Bottom line is that money isn't everything, though it's obviously very important — it's all about balancing the factors.

  4. I think it depends on the job and environment. My late job was AWFUL because my boss was a bitch from hell. It got to a point where I felt physically ill every time I had to go to work. No amount of money is worth that. However, there might be a few things I would do for a lot of money if some other conditions were right.

  5. I've had several jobs that I hated and it was hard to even go to work. That said, they also didn't pay worth a crap. I've always felt that if I got a really high paying job, even if I hated it, I would try to stick it out for a year or so and get debt payed off and maybe build up more in savings etc. I would probably quit soon after though if I really did hate it a ton.

  6. I'm going to have to agree with Investing Newbie. While money is nice, a poor job, whatever it may be can have negative side effects (psychologically) that can affect other areas of your life. I too quit a job I hated, but the money was good and the old boss has tried to get me back over the years with promises of more $$$, but it's not worth it.

    Sure, the money would be good, but you'll be shelling out that extra dough to pay for psych doc visits or high blood pressure pills!

  7. I see the point that you're making Ninja.

    I think if you took the crappy job that paid heaps but had an endgame in mind, then it could be quite doable. Say you were getting paid the $200k a year for the job you seriously didn't like, but you were able to save $120k of that (you'd be able to save more, but you'd get taxed alot, let's face it), you tolerate the job for a few years and leave with a cool half million to go and do whatever it is you really matters to you, perhaps backpacking, starting your own business, buying a yacht and sailing around the world, or maybe even semi-retirement. Then whenever your job got you down, you would know you were working towards something big. However if you took the high-paying crappy job just for the $$$ then I don't think anybody would last too long in it.

    And my crappy job when I was younger was burning CD's for a software business. We're talking 100's a week, then applying a label, putting in the CD case inserts, then inside boxes, all for lousy pay. That was SO mundane, but if I was getting $200k to do it I'd turn up to work with a smile on my face 🙂

  8. I make about 2/3 what I made at the last job but I truly TRULY hated the last job so I'm willing to make it work. It's tough to want to walk away when jobs are scarce. This job pays less but… I don't hate it.

    On the flip-side, after being laid off twice in one year (yay for construction) any pay that covered the bills, helped me pay down my debt and offered health benefits quickly became preferable to better than part-time work or unemployment benefits. Also, it would seem a job that is hate-worthy seems to correlate with job security. Generally, if noone else wants to do it you may not be as likely to get turned out.

    There is something to be said for emotional anguish, too. Most people can accept difficult circumstances if they've experienced something far worse… like having to choose between purchasing tags for your car and paying your triple digit credit card payment. Not that I've ever experienced such a thing. Having a vision, as Ninja mentioned, gives people a way to tolerate the present in exchange for future reward.

  9. I'll agree with you, Ninja, with a couple of caveats: the money has to be going to a worthwhile cause and you have to be making real progress towards your goal and endgame.

    I worked a job I despised after a while for those very reasons: I had a family to support, and I knew that if I were willing to buckle down and work crazy hours, they'd pay me overtime. They did, and (almost) every penny went towards debt repayment, bills and savings. I negotiated raises and because they needed me, I got them but it was slogging through pure hell to do it.

    I was sick to my stomach every single morning before I walked in the door, the bosses were verbally and mentally abusive, they broke every possible HR/management law there is, they were racist, misogynist, and out of control. They thought that pantsing an intern in full view of the street was acceptable behavior!

    But there were no other jobs to be had in the area (believe me, I was searching diligently) for the money I was making and I had to make sure my family was taken care of. So I buckled down and made the best of a bad situation until I could get out.

    Of course, I never want to have to do that again! And unless my family's well being was at stake, I wouldn't do it again. But it can be done, if you must.

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