Your Guide to the Pay vs. Passion Debate

By Aryong Lim

In times like these (cue in: tight competition for Singapore jobs and little advancement opportunities within companies), success lies in choosing correctly between pay and passion. It cannot be both. A choice has to be made as to what factor influences your life more. Is your life heavily based upon financing activities and budgeting woes due to perhaps, having a big family to support? Or is your life a free-flowing spectacle that allows you to enjoy the best things in life whilst also earning money, albeit in small amounts?

Such is the acid reality in the recruitment in Singapore scene: Many things are subject to debate talks of the serious/heavy-implication caliber.  There’s the quality vs. quantity debate that has been going on since who-knows-when, and then, there’s also THIS. It’s basically impossible to run in full gear in your career building without first deciding on a FINAL stance vis-a-vis the pay vs. passion debate.


pay passion Your Guide to the Pay vs. Passion Debate

What, you’ve yet to decide on this? Don’t worry because decision making isn’t meant to be done in a hurry, anyway. But if you’re starting to notice signs of getting disadvantaged/ being handicapped in the corporate race due to your indecision as regards to this work life issue, then you MUST cast something into finality now before you run into an eternal dead-end.

First and foremost, make a self-assessment. What do you value the most in life? Would you rather be in a job that makes you happy personally despite receiving a low salary? Or would you rather be in a prestigious job title that pays well, but leaves you with very little time for family and other social activities?

More analogies to serve as your guide: If you’re unhappy in your current job, what has caused this hate? Is it the boss? Is it your job description that has left your social life in limbo? Or perhaps, you just feel super under-paid that you unconsciously switch to slacking mode if only because you want to even things out between you and your employer?

Need more scenarios? Well, try to remember your activities when you were still orchestrating a job search. Do you still remember those job ads you zeroed in on? What pushed you to choose them? Did you apply for these jobs due to their implied responsibilities or was it the CASH that caught your attention?

Unsurprisingly, most people choose pay over passion. It’s a majority response, perhaps due to the harshness and unpredictability of the economy these days. However, if you can’t understand why “these people” would do such a thing, don’t be discouraged to stick with your stance either. Don’t be ashamed of it.

The thing is, much like the quality vs. quantity  debacle, the pay vs. passion debate should be assessed in a microcosmic level. Just you, and your current needs. What’s your idea of a perfect job? And then there’s this question: How much do you need every month in order to be able to live comfortably? Take note that this is a matter of weighing in on your priorities in life and not necessarily what you’d love to do until retirement.

AND more importantly, no matter what answer you end up with, STICK with it. It’s your stance. It’s going to decide whether or not you reach the peak of the career you’ve chosen.

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