Money vs Job Satisfaction – Which is More Important for You?

In corporate world, it would be called “RAM RAJYA” (perfect rule of state) if you have both Money and Job satisfaction. But have you ever experienced it? Maybe yes, maybe rare and the majority think this is not possible. I find a lot of people and career experts who preach “do what you like, money will follow” theory but does this concept holds the ground?

Talented people lead business that their father made for them; creative people work behind files, people loose health and murder family time for money. Then they say the money is not “enough”. The need of more money leads to more head-hitting and job dissatisfaction. Then there are lures and distractions as some will always be ahead of you in terms of money and position. The number game of “I will be the boss” makes you do what you don’t want to do. But again you get money, so I will hate what I do but will continue to do it as I get money. Is this justified? But yes this is happening and I have seen my clients, friends, and well-wishers doing this. I am putting certain cases in front of you. (Names have been changed as my friends also read my posts, and I will be murdered if I write their original names)

Money vs Job Satisfaction

Read: Steps before you start your own business

Money Vs Job Satisfaction? OR…Money + Job Satisfaction?

Disclaimer – this article is a question that I am throwing at you, by no chance I answering this or guiding you. But still, you should try to answer this question & also ask yourself “what are you trying to achieve in your life?” 

Real-Life Case 1

Amit, a Regional Manager in an MNC wanted to shift to his native city as parents were aging and had health issues. He willingly took a cut of 20% on his CTC and shifted to the new company. The company gave him nil increments during the next appraisal year and soon he was frustrated. Money which was not a problem a year ago became his mind tenant now. He could not get enough motivation to work and soon lost control there by hitting his performance. The company soon smelled that and he was shown doors. A case where the satisfaction of job and money changed due to working environment.

Real-Life Case 2

Ajit was a creative mind but had to start his career in a sales job as he was campus placed and his management institute could get only companies looking for sales profiles to the campus. And he himself was not sure of his creativity even though friends in college said he should have joined advertising instead of front-running jobs. The youth inside him, the money, the promotions, the career, and the reputation made him an enviable executive. But the artist in him kept him bothering. Now with a career of 12 years in sales, loads of family responsibilities, borderline cholesterol problem, and good money he keeps thinking he should change the field but can he? A case where a person does not know what is job satisfaction. Money keeps him moving.

Real-Life Case 3

Anant was a confused DNA. He was in a good job and was doing good also but deep inside he knew he was not meant for the F & M language, professional snakes-n-ladders, late night boozing and corporate parties. He was a quite person from inside and wanted to have his peace. He quit his job and started something which was never his passion but made that field his passion. Now he does something which is not his big dream, but he has to live with it and earn from it. He knows that the new profession will give him adequate money but less reputation and friends. He cannot go to work under somebody as he considers himself a misfit in corporate world. He never had a job satisfaction and nor will his own work give him job satisfaction. A more complex case as person thinks negative about himself.

Real-Life Case 4

Akash always wanted to do something of his own. He believed in his qualities but family responsibilities took him to job world. He started from the ground reached middle-level management in 10 years. His friend who was starting his own business made him an offer to join. But he declined because now his vision had changed. He wanted to taste the success at the top level. His package was decent and when the company gave him a transfer without adequate hike, he accepted thinking it as a career upgrade. He got less increments but he kept himself motivated by keeping his aim in front. In moments of stress and failure, he often thinks that if he would have accepted his friend’s offer he could have been making the same money but the family could have been together. But on second thought he thinks a CEO or being MD has its own high and he wants to have it. A case where the person is not bothered about job satisfaction or money. Aspirations are priorities of life.

Read- Saving is not enough, invest your money

Real-Life Case 5

Aneesh always dealt with crush and had no serious affair with the companies he worked for. Some companies closed operations/departments and which did business Aneesh could not stick due to performance issues. After 7 years of work experience and 11 employers on his resume, he was the unlucky one. He neither had the guts to start on his own nor he had enough backing to support a new start-up and family. Finally, after 7 years he landed in a company which was a laggard in the sector but did some meaningful business. Somehow Aneesh found this company as a stopover and he stick for 3 years in the company. His resume is sound now but his package due to frequent shifting is below for a standard of person with 10 years of experience. Aneesh has no way to get his package increased nor does he want to experiment again with new companies. He is settled and making no move to change. A case where job satisfaction is dealing with a money problem.

Why do people leave jobs & change careers?

In my practice, I have found a direct correlation between personal finance and job satisfaction. People who had job satisfaction had a straight and steady career and had less money wasted on shifting cities and financing the period between changes in jobs. Also, you can imagine what happens to my calculations when a client who gets his financial planning done for the next 30 years of service life, comes back and say that he has changed his mind and he is starting his own venture and needs assistance to finance it. So why do people leave jobs or change careers?

Well I read somewhere that one must never change job if you:

1)      Hate your boss.

2)      Are looking for happiness.

3)      Want more meaningful life.

But who is contended? Everyone hates his boss (even your boss hates his boss), everyone is hunting happiness and everyone wants more in life. Maybe money or a little bit more money help to swallow this quinine. But money has its after-effects too.

Few questions to be asked?

1)      Is job satisfaction possible? Can you actually derive pleasure working for someone else?

2)      Can money be used as a medicine to provide job satisfaction?

3)      Is money and job satisfaction synonym?

4)      Is starting a business or changing job a cure to job satisfaction?

Well, I leave you here with these questions. Please share your experience what you feel about this topic. You or maybe someone near you must had taken a strange career decision impacting his financial position. Do share your learning in the comments section.

Money vs Job Satisfaction
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Hemant Beniwal is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and his Company Ark Primary Advisors Pvt Ltd is registered as an Investment Adviser with SEBI. Hemant is also a member of the Financial Planning Association, U.S.A and registered as a life planner with Kinder Institute of Life Planning, U.S.A. He started his Financial Planning Practice & TFL Guide Blog in 2009. "The Financial Literates" is a dream & mission to make Indians Financial Literate.


  1. Hemant, Terrific post. The way I see it the trouble starts in school and get compounded by parents who are in turn are influenced by peer pressure. If school and parents encourage the child to find his/her true passion much of job related anguish can be done away with. Almost 99% of our educational system does not teach a child to cope with everyday realities of life. The simplest way to do it is to promote individuality and creativity.

    Of course there are those who simply cannot afford to follow their passion immediately because of family circumstances. That is nothing short of tragic.

    What is real strange is all the technology, innovation and creativity that surrounds us was done made possible by people who never cared of money. If everyone in the world started calculating all their moves based on money the world will be a very very poor place.

    The courage of the entrepreneur cannot be praised enough.

    • Yes…. I too agree with you pattu.
      Sometimes when no one believes in you but you are very much convinced with what you are heading towards, then you should definitly move on with your directions….
      I want to ask you Hemant…. When you opted to start this service business, were you supported by your friends & family… specially when you were already doing very well at job ? Please share your own experience 🙂

      • @Pattu.. problem is everywhere pattu.. it starts from schools and ends nowhere.. there are already so many problems discussed in the article and you added one more…where is the solution?????????
        @Hemant.. Its more of a psychological, cultural and emotional issues than making your own decisions. Emotional issues come when your family wants to see you secure by grabbing a good job… cultural issues come when the entire society is waiting to criticize your family if you try to take a decision like this.. and psychological when you try to break this and still not able to take decisions..You definitely have written a good article elaborating the problems… would love to see an article for the solutions of the problem mentioned above.. Ain`t we are getting in the habit of just blaming others without even realizing the situation..
        @[email protected] i know what are my problems..i am neither getting money..nor job satisfaction…my parents got influenced by peer pressure.. the same is with me…i wanna do my own business but do not have the clear direction…tell me the solution how to go forward..
        @Nishi..its not easy to break the need to have really strong to go against everybody`s wishes and take your own path

    • Hi Pattu,
      Agree with you – can you share where IITs stand in this “Almost 99% of our educational system does not teach a child to cope with everyday realities of life.”

      • IITs offer plenty of freedom. Students can do whatever (;)) they want. Soon they realize on their own that they cannot fool around and get serious and start thinking about what they want to do for a living. Some are lucky enough to discover their true passion before they graduate. For many it will have to wait a little while. Some do so after working a couple a years in IT/Corporate. Still only about 50-60 % who end up being truly happy in their jobs. Which is not bad but should be better.

        Faculty member help students ‘find themselves’ by not spoon feeding them and offering them them tough assignments and exams. If they are truly passionate they will eventually get interested and work hard. If not there many options like change of degree, taking courses from other depts. etc.
        All these help students branch out. In fact some of our best ‘physics’ students are actually engineering students and have gone on to become prominent researchers in physics.

        It all comes down to the ‘F’ word – freedom 🙂

  2. Hi Hemant,

    Yes u r right. People have different types of experiences. Let me give u an example of my own cousin. He started his career as a Business Analyst 4-5 yrs back in hyd..He was earning very well. And it seemed that he has lot of business skills and was enjoying his job..He was getting good increments as well. He only had to look after his father. He had job satisfaction as well as good enough enough money to lead a good life and that too in a metro city. But after 1 and half yr of his job..he started thinking about his own business of interiors since he considered himself as a very good business analyst in his own rights..His father was against it.. The problem was that he did not earn enough in his kitty to invest in business at that time..So he started taking loans to start his business.. The clients that he got cheated him as he was too faithful with them rather than being professional and it really hurt him. He business went in a loss immediately. The loan amount reached double numbers in lakhs and he was getting desperate. He could not take care of his father as he himself was not able to look after..So his sister is taking care of his father now and my cousin’s brother in law helped him with his savings to wipe off that loan.. Today still he is having some loans which is some how trying to wipe off completely..But he still wants to continue with his business.

    As far as my experience is concerned, I am at middle stages..i.e not too happy with my job and not unhappy as well.. I am ok at present as far as job satisfaction is concerned. Its not the profession I enjoy but continuing with it because I am happy with the money I am getting and also happy because I am able to give time to my family as well.

  3. Hi Hemant,

    Its a classic debate which one has over drinks (especially, after the annual appriasal).

    Fortunately, i have experienced a fine balance of job satisfaction & money delivery in my early stages of corporate life. I had joined a MNC after a short 2 yr stint in a consulting firm, thinking that working with a MNC has its own perks (so i was money minded then). But due to the leadership in that organisation (CEO), i was so motivated to always step up by own excellence & test on new teritories keeping my own strentgth intact. A normal conversation with him would charge me so much to aspire enough in life. The knowledge he imparted upon everybody, i think it made every employee in the organisation satisfied in his/her job. And, so was I! It was an enriching & fulfilling experience . No doubt, he would make us work till late & work on weekends as well, but we would do that happily because he made us passionate about our job & his vision towards the organisation. Ofcourse, he took care of the money part as well.

    So, at the end, i was quite satisfied with my job without any ill-feeling towards the compensation.

    So, i think it eventually depends on the leadership you are working under which can keep satisfied in your job!


    • Hi Pankaj,
      Hope you are not in HR department….. Just joking
      I fully agree with whatever you have mentioned… I got an awesome boss in my second job and I give lot of credit to him for things that I have achieved in life and career. He is so good that he never misses calling me on my bday – I left that organisation 7 years back.
      I still remember – on day of my marriage, I was in office till 1-2 pm 😉

  4. v.nice article Hemant, made me think even more about job satisfaction. I too agree with Pattu, but what I think is India is large country with many people below or equal to middle class. How can’t you expect parents to bother about your job? Its true entrepreneur-ship is necessary, and it will surely change with time…we Indians are growing and maturing. 🙂

  5. Highly debatable article! The irony is most people leave their job as they do not want to work with current manager and often company is clueless about providing solution in such matter.

      • Correct! There is a famous saying “People don’t leave companies, people leave their bosses”.
        I find it very true.

  6. Hi Hemant,
    This article about money and job satisfaction is very relevant.I started working for money and was pretty happy with it.After sometime, money lost importance and family began to take over.I left my job and i’m pretty happy with the break i took.My family supports me and it was a good decision.It was only after sometime, i missed the freedom i had, when i had money.I realised job satisfaction and family time is great,but not at the cost of self-reliance i.e money.It always better to have you own money and job satisfaction will follow.Job or business,it’s upto you to get money and happiness from it !

    • Hi Mousumi,
      One of my businessman client tweeted this last week… So no freedom
      “So I thought I’d be an entrepreneur and be my own boss. Hell no, ended up having thousands of customers being my boss instead.”

  7. Hi Hemant, It’s a good one article. Now a days money and job satisfaction depends on each other. I want to maintain a balancing position. My career started under bad environment where people rushed for achievement anyhow and the fear atmosphere still I am carrying with myself. Now I know I have capability but affraid to accept new challenges bcoz of uncertainty.

  8. Job satisfaction reflects the degree of pleasure or happiness their job in general induces. Money, Position, Location are different kinds of pleasures / happiness an individual wants.

    “Controlling your wants is the only way to Satisfaction”

  9. I agree to ankit.. Most of the employees leave the company because of their immediate colleague just left because of his boss even though he loved his job.. a senseless , demotivating manager can always give high attrition rate for the companies.

    • Hi Prasanth,
      Most of the readers are of similar opinion but I think these days HR and management talks about 360 degree feedback. Do they don’t take action against…..

      • No Hemant, the 360 degree feedback [in most companies] is just like the laws in India. They are excellent on paper but a failure in implementation.

  10. I will vote for Job satisfaction.
    Even i am suffering from my un-satisfied job, to over come the family burdens, i have to earn money, for not having financial planning in my earlier career, i have no savings & no emergency fund.
    Planning for a emergency fund & a bit Bank balance, by which i can manage up to 6 months, definitely i will start my own business.
    Than you hemant…………..for sharing & inspiring people like us.

    • Dear Subhani,
      Take good time before taking a plunge in business… Grass looks greener on other side of the fence but actually grass is greener where we water it.
      You should read the article that I have linked at the end of above post.

  11. Wonderful post and totally agree with prof too.

    After 15 years in the same company/factory in 4 diff position and reporting to 8 different bosses financially I feel I have achieved much more than I thought of at the start of my career. God was kind enough, though I found myself in a job not at all related to my educational background but definitely found satisfaction in the challenges thrown on me which just made me the “expert” in the business :). Indeed money was secondary to recognition always, the thing money cannot buy.

    • Hi Shinu,
      Long time no see 🙂
      I think success is the biggest reason of job satisfaction in lot of cases..

  12. Dear Hemant,

    a very relevant Post – Money or Job Satisfaction. Here are my few pointers

    1) I guess majority of we Indians are not at all clear what our calling is at the early stages of life. More often than not we just are shown that you have to be a doctor, engineer, CA etc without actually knowing why we have to be one. Once we get qualified and get a good job paying good money we get into the groove. Another exceptional things about we Indians is that we are very good and honest doers and as a result we keep rising very fast in our careers.
    2) Once we reach a particular stage, Stagnation creeps up and the same money and Job starts sucking. My personal belief is first we rush very fast in life and when we get stagnated we take a break and start thinking what are we doing in our life and where are we heading to?
    3) I am quoting from my personal experience that when I was going great I was enjoying. The first time I got this feeling was when I got a very uncompromising Boss. I started thinking hard that I should be starting something of my own and as u correctly stated the feeling was guided more out of escapism rather than following my calling.
    4) Then with a change of Job and organization when situation once again became comfortable, I gave up the idea and am enjoying this journey. I have somehow convinced myself that I will start something of my own when I loose this job.
    5) Now I guess life is going good, good amount of money is coming then why to unsettle things. I might go for my calling but what is the guarantee of success. With 2 families to support I cannot take the chance and the question is why to take this chance? Is there something called as a calling.
    6) My question to those who say that Job satisfaction is most important is the fact might be the maximum job satisfaction would come out of social work but how many of us would actually do that devoid of money and further what is the guarantee that a path which you select compromising money for Job satisfaction would actually give you Job satisfaction.

    • Hi Amit,
      Thanks for sharing your story and I think most people kill dream of being entrepreneur because of family reason.
      “With 2 families to support I cannot take the chance and the question is why to take this chance? ”
      I was reading one blog which says…..
      Flat, marriage and family – 3 reasons why young Indians don’t turn entrepreneurs!

  13. The article is a slap on the face for those who correlate job satisfaction with earnings. Good and eye opening article.
    Thank you!

  14. My cousin brother started job after his graduation. He had join apparel export co. @ Salary 800Rs p.m. he is still working with same co. After two and three year he had gone as a production manger post .export co. have too many process fabric, accessories, dyeing, printing , packaging,stiching, clearing and forwarding. He thinks he doesn’t give client to co. not generate business for co. What he can do for co. he find the best and cheapest merchandize material for co. after he move idea and said to his boss I will find best quality for you and I will earn minimal commission from merchandize which will come from seller and service provider . His boss was agreed because my cousin track record and loyalty was undoubtedly. He always looks first for co. rather than his commission. He has some code of ethic he doesn’t take commission middle level job worker and small trader. He earns well off salary and commission. He has been not going to office for three years but the co. is giving salary. he mange buyer and trader over the phone. He have shifted his family business eating house of (jalebi ). Its flagship shop since 110 years old name of mumba devi jalebiwala zveri bazaar in Mumbai. He has expanded his family shop with three more branches. Beside He is successful employee and entrepreneur. He is happy with his job and his business. Now he wishes to resign the co. bz lack of time not unsatisfiedness. While the situation is company don’t want to lose him.
    He usually say always work with small co. bz you directly interact with owner. There is very little rivalry. Your performance sees in your boss observation. You can easily take leave or loan it’s depend upon your image in office.
    After 22 years of his carrier period he had receive thousand call and offer 10 time of his salary but he dint join any co.
    When he join the co. his father was extremely against his choice. He can join his family buss. But his ambition was different. He says its mine family buss. I can do this buss. Any stage of my life.

    • Wow Sadashiv,
      Thanks for sharing…. Even I believe in concept of “being big fish in small pond”

  15. The immediate boss plays a very important role in your present career .
    It is the immediate boss who creates life hell or heaven for the employee .Somewhere I read that do the HR people don’t do anything about this . I have observed that sometimes HR people are themselves dissatisfied with their work when they compare themselves with the money others in the same firm are getting.Hence they are indifferent with other employees concerns.
    Also main reason of the immediate boss behaving strange is that he becomes insecure himself of the talent of his subordinate and starts imaging the worst for himself .Hence he starts troubling the talented subordinate either to become demotivated or leave the organisation. Taking credit of the subordinates work in front of his own boss also happens subsequently.

  16. That’s a great post. Entrepreneurship has been on the rise these days and I hope it changes the face of India positively. At the present economic scenario,neither job nor business is safe.

  17. Hi Hemant
    I think our priorities change with time. When I got my first job the main concern was security of job in a public sector undertaking. I was satisfied with the salary and perks. I left the job after 17 years when job satisfaction became more important. In my subsequent job in private sector where I got decent salary and perks job satisfaction was the main concern.
    I feel money plays important role when we are young and job satisfaction becomes priority as we grow old.

  18. Dear Hemant,

    you are educating us free of charge, so nice of you, I think it is only one game that ” If you dont take risk – Risk will take you “

  19. Hi Hemant,
    Thougt provoking and insightful article!

    Honestly, I was still confused by the time I finished reading the article…Until I read Anil Kumar Kapila’s comment!

    In the end it all boils down to “finding your own mountain” as quoted in a blog on Rahul Dravid ( A nice read:

    All good things in life take time and require consistent effort. The road to success doesnt have a shortcut! 🙂
    I think a lot of people (including me) need to find “their own mountain” but that will come only from good and bad experiences and learning from one’s mistakes.. all we need is to embrace and acknowledge problems and mistakes instead of denying them, learn from them and finally move on!
    Hopefully, sooner (rather that later 🙂 ) one will be able to find his/her true calling and walk away into the sunset smiling and satisfied….


  20. Thanks Hemant,
    I Sincerely believe that your Skill, Ability, Expertness in your domain (Job/Bizz) plays an very important factor to make you feel satisfied in aspect of Money, Job & Family.
    you need to be very strong in your domain you work, than you will start enjoying your Job, your manager will be more friendly and supportive to you as you will be asset to your company and you will also able to manage your personal life as you don’t have to fear for Job loss.
    This is what I practically believe.

  21. Agree with you – can you share where IITs stand in this “Almost 99% of our educational system does not teach a child to cope with everyday realities of life.”

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