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RandomMrAdam's avatar

Which would be better, a job that challenges you and teaches you or a job that pays more and why?

Asked by RandomMrAdam (1655points) March 31st, 2010

I will make this general as I will probably get more responses because it can relate to more people. Would you rather have a skill-demanding job in which you find interesting challenges every day and gain lots of experience and make decent money (enough to pay bills and live comfortably) or would you rather take a job in the same field but is less demanding on you and you probably won’t acquire as much knowledge or experience but the pay is a lot better (in which you can afford to pay for those expensive hobbies that you couldn’t with the other choice) ?

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35 Answers

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

I don’t know about you but I work for money. If you are working for something else it is a hobby. Of course some jobs can be part work part hobby.

deepdivercwa55m's avatar

deffiinetly more money.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Given those two choices and if these are positions that can further my career, I’d choose the one that gives me more responsibility because I can use that to get ahead, eventually. If these are jobs I am not using for my final goal, I’d take more money – I have kids to support.

RandomMrAdam's avatar

Thanks for your opinions so far. I am in a private sector job and I love it! I get a lot of experience but I’m also a recent college grad and have lots of student loans to pay so the only other way I can make more money early on is public sector (i.e. working for State) but I have had friends that have worked for the state and make more money than me that told me they would swap me positions any day (if they could obviously) because their jobs are so mind-numbing. But I agree, money is very important to me too. I sometimes think I would gladly take a public mind-numbing job for a 50% increase in pay.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Aside from doing artwork, I work for money in order to live outside my job so I’d take the one that would give me more freetime first and then the one that pays more.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, more free time, less responsability…if that means less pay, so be it. Once you know that you CAN do something, it then becomes a question of do I WANT to? lol

The answer is no….I prefer space and less money over rigidity and mega-responsability.

susanc's avatar

I always chose interesting jobs or jobs that were clearly temporary, because I was serious about making not-very-commercial art.
But my family had money. It began to filter into my life in my very late 40’s, when some of them died, so I had the useful experience of having to improvise a lot. Before that, I knew I could ask if I was in serious trouble.

Just_Justine's avatar

I want more money less challenge, I’ve been in a challenging highly skilled daily learning job for 15 years. I am exhausted!

jaytkay's avatar

I believe a job is good if it is fun & fulfilling OR you are learning a lot OR you are making a lot of money.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Depends upon how many children you have. : )

Facade's avatar

The one that pays more. I can challenge myself on my own time.

RandomMrAdam's avatar

@CaptainHarley I am 22 – no children yet :)

CaptainHarley's avatar

Then go for the job which challenges and engages you. You’ll be far better off in the long run. : )

RandomMrAdam's avatar

@Facade Well I do feel that I am in a good position right now. My company already helped me with college tuition for my last year of college and they have been paying for the certification tests I am taking. So far I have bettered myself quite a bit since being here. Though I would like more money – I wonder if I would lose the motivation to better myself as it doesn’t seem to be rewarded with more money.

Facade's avatar

@RandomMrAdam If money is your only reason for bettering yourself then… I don’t know.

marinelife's avatar

For me, personally, it is the job that challenges and teaches. Why? Because it keeps me eager to come to work every day.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

I’d rather have the first type of job, something that is interesting and challenging, which gives me great experience, and pays enough to live comfortably. That’s all I really need.

Grisson's avatar

So, like a real job vs. management?

Coloma's avatar

My job is ideal. I work in interior design and home staging.

Of course this is a ‘luxury’ biz. and it has taken a downward turn the last 18 mos. or so…but….I may work on a home from mid-morning till after midnight for several days..then..maybe no work for another month. I prefer bursts of intense high energy and then the same amount of space…I could always use more money but this is a very good fit for my creative and personel lifestyle.

RandomMrAdam's avatar

@Grisson Well neither one is management. If you want to look at it that way (if you think management is more money for less work) then yes. Essentially at one end of the spectrum, I get to address issues that are interesting and challenging and learn a lot from and make decent money. On the other end of the spectrum, I could have a job that limits your job roles and prevents you from handling issues that is someone elses job (such as a union style job) but making a lot more money doing so.

Cruiser's avatar

I would never work at a mind numbing job no matter what the pay but I would take and have taken the job I have for the income opportunity over a fun rewarding job at half the income. I did so because I have a family to provide for and wanted a better life for them than I had as a child. The money does allow all of us to pursue our hobbies and interests in life which is such an important part of our lives.

Grisson's avatar

@RandomMrAdam I just could resist a management joke.

I still have one wisdom tooth left, so I don’t have to go into management yet.

slick44's avatar

I want both! but money if i have to choose.

Fenris's avatar

More money, less work. Work is what I use to fuel my hobbies and interests. When I do what I like for a living it just becomes like a job.

Jeruba's avatar

Early in your career, take the job that teaches you and challenges you. Later on you can cut your best bargain for more money when you have more to offer.

A mind-numbing job will never be worth what it costs you to live with it, provided you have a mind that isn’t numb already.

Scooby's avatar

I’m always up for a challenge but the ladder is a little crowded at the moment so I’ll just take the money & enjoy my days off while the rest exhaust themselves being impressive!

zophu's avatar

Experience trumps money, but with a job that gives you more money, you can have more resources of your own to spend on gathering your own choice of experiences.

If you have the the time and diligence to push yourself and use the money well, then go for the higher paying job.

thriftymaid's avatar

The answer would be relative to the choices. Ideally, of course, you want a job you enjoy and one that pays well.

phillis's avatar

@RandomMrAdam You are almost certainly going to feel your motivation and enthusiasm waning the older you get. Before you know it, you’ll have people you love to answer to (wife, children). At that point, you are rarely free to chose what you please, as CaptainHarley pointed out.

My choice would be to do that which makes me happiest. I love a challenge better than anything. The mundane gets me resentful.

Yours is a classic situation that most of us face. Our lives wouldn’t revolve around work, except that we get paid for it. It dictates every aspect of our lives like a bad habit. Do what you want while you still have the chance. If I had it to do over again with the knowledge I now have, I’d have done it the exact opposite. Now, I no longer have a choice. Hindsight and all that, you see…....

mattbrowne's avatar

Long-term you need at least 50–70% of the following mix: challenge, variety, ability to learn and grow, and a capable boss. Money matters too, I’d say 30–50%. Which means you should learn skills for which there’s a demand but those skills might not be your ultimate dream. On the other if money matters more than 50% it’s unlikely the job will contribute to your long-term happiness.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@mattbrowne: A job all about the money will contribute to the long-term happiness of a saver because it will allow him to work less years. Consider two people, one earns 30K/yr doing a job he likes while the other earns 150K/yr in it for the money (after taxes). If they both live off 15K/yr the savings work out to 15K/yr and 135K/yr respectively. It will take the 30K/yr worker 24 years to retire with 1MM banked while the 135K/yr worker will be able to retire after only ~6 years (at 8%) (with the next 18 years to make up for any lost happiness during those six years.)

mattbrowne's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish – Well, some research for example done in the field of

would contradict your thesis. Here’s a book that explains why

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@mattbrowne: In the past I lived in Cambridge on Mass Ave between the Harvard and Central T stops. Back then I can tell you it was the Harvard bar-tending course and not “Positive Psychology” which was the most popular but I suppose times have changed. On a more serious note here is my problem with Positive Psychology: “A systematic study of 22 people who won major lotteries found that they reverted to their baseline level of happiness over time, winding up no happier than 22 matched controls” (p. 48[15]) and “Within a few years, paraplegics wind up only slightly less happy on average than individuals who are not paralyzed” (p. 48[15])
Now I know this is true by one definition of happiness but I wish to also be happy under alternate definitions which do not find paraplegics equally happy to lotto winners.

Nullo's avatar

Right now, I’d go for the higher pay. I can learn and be challenged on my own, and I’m presently staring down bills. When I’m at the point that I can say, “Eh, bills,” I’ll go looking for the other job.

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