Help! I am confused about role of money in life.

Question: Help! I am confused about role of money in life. How should I select my career, one which pays more or one which I like?

Answer: As we grow, most of us gradually discover some career path especially suitable to us. However, often this process of discovery is not smooth and easy. For some people, both younger and older adults, it may come after much trial and error. This includes a deeper appreciation of the fact that the answer to your search for a future career option often does not have two basket categories, with one having all the career options which may pay good but uninteresting, and other having those which may interest you but pays poorly. The discovery process is about finding the best fit between you and a job, where you get opportunity to use your strengths in a job which also pays enough to fulfil your life requirements.

For finding such a job for yourself in future, you need to do a realistic assessment of your interests, values and your natural talents and capabilities. It seems that you already have some inkling as to what interests you, or what makes you feel good. You also need to know about your talents and here I am using the idea of talent in a broad sense. It may include even a certain kind of perspective you can bring to your profession due to the specific life experiences you had while growing up. Further you need to find out various ways to learn and refine your skills for a given job and its potential requirements. In today’s world there are various online and offline mediums of learning and you can go ahead and take it as a personal challenge to learn something everyday.

If you are able to discover such a good fit, you will be happier and more satisfied, irrespective of the absolute amount of money you can earn from your profession. Further, once you are happier, you are more likely to be creative and successful in your profession.

Question: I have come to a realisation that although I am interested in creative fields, but I do not have great talent to reach at the top of the field. Then shall I leave the field for a regular job?

Answer: Do not get disheartened! Even in a situation where you feel unsure about yourself and whether you have required capabilities needed for a field, explore the area more. You might find something which will match your level and where you can contribute with your existing capabilities. For example, every movie has a few star cast and a director, but they can’t make a movie on their own. They require hundreds of other professionals from actors, assistant directors, cameraperson, technicians etc to even makeup woman to spot boys. So find out more about your preferred field and various kinds of job options available in that field, and see what training you can get to pick up the required skills.

Question: I see many of my friends only think of finding a job which pays huge salary, with less stress. What other angles I should think of when it comes of money and career?

Answer: It is important to start with an attitude of ‘no pain, no gain’ and the important of hard work, no matter how talented one may be. Further, understanding that we value money for all the things it can get us, but those things are important mainly because we want to be happier through them. Thus, if in the end, money is not able to get us what really makes us happy, then it will have less real value for us. So it is good to step back and ask yourself what makes you happy? Whether it includes spending time with loved ones, doing things well, getting appreciated by others, making others happy, contributing to the society? As per research, all these things make us happy, and can be achieved with or without lot of money. So, seeing money as a means to a good life, for self and others and the world, instead of being a goal in itself, is a very helpful attitude to carry in life.

Expert:Dr Jyotsna Agrawal

Dr Jyotsna is assistant professor of Positive Psychology at the Dept. of Clinical Psychology, NIMHANS, Bangalore