When it comes to seeking happiness from work, the basic philosophy is quite simple: Get a job that you love and work your way up to earning a lot. But is life really that simple? At a time when options are limited, can people really get the best of both the worlds? And if not, which is the key to happiness - a high salary or job satisfaction? Gulf News readers debate.

There’s no point in doing a job that makes your crib

The most important thing for me is to travel the world. I would like to encourage young adults to travel the world more frequently, it would open them up to how different cultures work because when you stay in one place you tend to simply believe what you see on the news about different cultures and get steeped in your own misconceptions.

Between a high salary and job satisfaction, job satisfaction is definitely more important. You can get a good pay but if you are not happy there’s no point to it. I have been there – I was working as a manager and the pay was great but after some time you get so frustrated that you are not following your heart and kind of following someone else’s dream and you get so caught up that you tend to put your things on hold. My writing was always put on hold but after I lost my job last year it gave me the perfect push to pursue my passion.

I know a lot of college students who are doing a course their parents push them for but they aren’t really satisfied. In a way, my family has always been open to my decisions and are supporting me.

However, pursuing your passion can be hard and sometimes you don’t earn as much. That’s what stops a lot of people from doing it because they don’t want to start off small, they want to jump into the workforce straight away and make a lot of money. But sometimes, you have to crawl.

Even my younger sister freelances as a graphic designer but she, too, faces situations where people want her to work for free because they know her.

I think I have given up completely on a corporate career. I can pursue my passion and in case I need to move base to another country to make ends meet, I’m open to that as well.

It’s a horrible experience when you are in a job where you’re not at all happy and honestly, you could have all the money in the world, you could buy anything you want, but at the end of the day you’re cribbing about your work.

So, being your own boss can be good sometimes – you can do things your way. At least I know I’m happy the way things are moving for me. Yes, I will make mistakes and learn from them, too. But, it is better than following the crowd.

From Ms Brenda Mascarenhas

Adventure travel curator living in Dubai


If you can afford to, follow your passion

A high salary is part of job satisfaction, too. But if you speak about which is more important, I think it really depends on the situation you are is in and what you want to gain from the job. I quit my job just for the reason that I wanted to pursue a career that was in line with my passion. A job that would give me more opportunities. I could have worked with a non-governmental organisation or could have done social work. I love engaging with communities and interacting with people. To me, this is important as I don’t feel heavy or burdened with the work that I do. When you don’t like things at work, then it becomes difficult for you and you become less productive.

But, if you are struggling to make ends meet, have family commitments or not enough to eat, then of course you take the job that you get and continue working. May be not for the long term, but for the short term for sure, too meet your needs. You probably won’t enjoy it but when you are in a better position you can then make that choice.

The salary burns out at the end of the month but your experience is the thing that lasts. I am working right now in a line I am passionate about and hopefully in may be five or ten years, I can start my own business.

It also depends on how confident you are about your skills and how well you can project your knowledge and experience. That makes a big difference.

From Mr Sultan Al Deen Tamerchi

Social entrepreneur living in Dubai


I have taken preference for job satisfaction to another extreme

I have been going through this debate in my head for the last few weeks. I hate using the word, but I am what you would call an entrepreneur. I’m someone who naturally likes to take my own path and so, I have chosen the path that doesn’t necessarily pay me what I would get if I were doing freelance projects or was contracted with a company. I can earn three times as much if I do live events or corporate work. It can help me pull in a really comfortable living, but it does not give me the same satisfaction that I get doing what I do.

I don’t remember the last time I had a regular job. Because I run my own business, it brings with it that lack of stability of not knowing where your pay check is coming from at the end of the month. So, if you have had a bad month or managed your time badly for a month, you would earn a lot less.

This is the same debate I had when I was first entering the workforce after university: Do I pursue something that I enjoy and possibly earn less from or do it take the security – and the confidence that comes with security – of a traditional job.

It can be rough if you are going to go the other direction and take that less safe route. I chose that and I continue to choose that, even to my detriment. It becomes much more difficult when times are tough because if things are going badly and you can’t work as much, your income decreases, making matters worse.

So, in a way, I have taken this choice of job satisfaction over salary to the extreme. I’ve cut my own pay to the point that I am no longer satisfied. You still have to live a comfortable living and there is a balance that I don’t have right now, but I hope I will in the future.

I have worked for NGOs and did things entirely pro-bono and there is a different reward with that kind of work. However, pay and job satisfaction are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

From Mr Philip Apaza

Owner of a content agency living in Dubai


More young adults are choosing job satisfaction

I would choose job satisfaction over a high salary any day. I have been in a situation where I was studying medicine for three years and was in it because I wanted the social status and the money it would bring me. But it didn’t make me happy, it wasn’t the career for me simply because I wasn’t passionate about it.

I made the decision to leave and now I am pursuing what I want, which is fine arts. I am in my third year and I have never been happier, even though in the future I don’t know what life will throw at me. I might not even have a big salary but I know that I will be happy and content.

Young adults might want to go into a job that will pay them well, but keep in mind whatever makes you happy so that you pursue it in your free time and stay in a job long enough to save money. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you have to choose between your happiness and making ends meet. You have to find the stability and balance between these two, because at the end of the day we owe it to ourselves to be happy. What’s the point of having a big house and not living in it happily?

However, today, more younger people are choosing job satisfaction. I feel like we have more options that probably our parents did. In their time they didn’t have the chance or the privilege to pursue their dreams. I do, and so I am pursuing what makes me happy.

From Ms Fatima Al Ali

Fine arts student living in Sharjah


Gulf News asked: Would you take a pay cut for greater job satisfaction?

Yes 45%

No 55%