Balancing Money and Happiness

by James & Miel on September 17, 2009 · 0 comments

I read an interesting article on msn.com today about the Five Lowest Paying Majors. Those majors are:
  • Social Work
  • Special Education
  • Elementary Education
  • Home Economics
  • Music and Dance
Home Economics is the only one I don’t understand. I don’t remember any classes like that being offered any place I’ve been, so I can’t really speak to what that’s about, but I did find it interesting that the first three majors listed were professions that require a decent amount of self sacrifice performed in service to others. Music and Dance isn’t much of a surprise, as most of the arts lead to jobs that are in all likelihood very fulfilling on a personal level, but not so much on the bank account level.
An interesting facet of the list of lowest paying majors is that most of them are in areas that are considered “callings” more so than careers (i.e. an actress is more likely to be passionate about her acting than an accountant is about accounting). This is important for anyone interested in one of those professions, because with the money as limited as it is, it’s important to feel like you’re doing what you’re doing for a reason.
The author of this article offers many suggestions for those interested in an area that typically has lower paying jobs, such as minor in something to round out your education, go to graduate school and be selective about the internships you take, but probably the best piece of advice that he gives is to be passionate. He points out that you can be financially successful in those areas, but doing so requires being very passionate, having a high risk tolerance and the ability to get up and work harder every time you get knocked down. Most importantly, you have to love what you do; if you do, then the extra work necessary to be successful (financially or otherwise) will all be worth it – advice fitting for anyone in pretty much any career.
I have a couple friends who have eschewed the opportunity to make money in a traditional career for the opportunity to do what they love for a living, fate be what it may. They may not be able to build a ton of wealth, but if they are frugal and and make wise choices, they will be fine. Although initially hearing those decisions gave me heartburn (health insurance! retirement! money! stability!) I’m not only extremely proud to be friends with such passionate and driven individuals, I also admire their courage and am a little jealous of the strength that they’ve demonstrated in choosing to take the riskier path in the hopes of carving an existence out of doing what they love for a living.
-Michael
Twitter: michael_dink

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