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February 22, 2023 - 5 minutes

Better Pay v. Better Job: Which to Choose

How to choose between a huge salary and a job you’re passionate about

Ironhack - Changing The Future of Tech Education


“Gratitude is a noble and worthy wage for generous souls.” - William Shakespeare

Where Shakespeare saw the best pay in the appreciation of his work as a playwright, other professionals may be driven by their company's mission, love for their work, or connection to their team. 

The buzz around social engagement and ecological transition jobs in recent years shows that many people want their work to be useful to society first and foremost as these jobs are often less well paid, especially when working for NGOs or similar organizations. 

Yet, don't we say "making a living?" This expression proves that work should also be remunerative. Thanks to that, we can enjoy leisure activities, provide for ourselves and our loved ones, and more. 

So, should you aim for a better job or a better pay? Let's discuss!

Lucky You: You Landed Two Job Offers

That’s it: you've got two job offers from which to choose.

One is quite literally your dream job: you'd be working with the tech you know and on an exciting project. The company is working to fight climate change. Your contribution would be decisive to achieve this noble mission. But since the company is a non-profit and not very profitable, you are offered a lower salary. 

The other offer is much more attractive financially. Of course, you would be in advertising, which is less socially useful. But this job would keep you financially secure and that’s priceless.

In this situation, especially if you have gotten along with the people who interviewed you, it’s normal to hesitate. Which job should you take? Follow our guide here.

Why to Take the Job With the Best Salary

Are you still unsure?  Here are a few good reasons to choose the role with a higher salary:

  • With a better salary, you will have more purchasing power: this doesn't necessarily mean you have to spend it all, but if you're currently struggling to make ends meet, you'll be able to put some extra money in your pocket. Do you want to change apartments or maybe need some money for a new project? You know what to do.

  • More money will help you save some: not everyone has this reflex: however, it is very useful!

    • You will have a financial safety mattress in case of a hard blow 

    • You can back up a loan if you want to buy an apartment or if you have some construction to do

    • You have something to invest in; some investments are very attractive

  • You are less vulnerable to economic fluctuations: with an inflation rate of 5.2% in December 2022, the crisis is here.

  • Other benefits probably came with your attractive salary: this could be health insurance or transportation costs. You should consider the salary as a package: the more generous it is, the more interesting the offer is. If these benefits are a good fit for you, that's another reason to accept this job.

Why Take the Job You Like More 

At the same time, your heart is swinging because the other job is really interesting. Here are some good reasons to accept a lower-paying offer that’s intriguing to you: 

  • You are passionate about the company's mission: according to Confucius, choose a job you like and you’ll never feel like working again. This is your chance!

  • You will see and measure your usefulness to society on a daily basis. If this is one of your main drivers, you should go for it. 

  • You have really clicked with your future colleagues or your future boss. They are great people to work with. That's a strong signal. 

  • Your assignments will allow you to use all your skills acquired in training and go even further. You know that you are going to learn a lot and be properly trained. It is worthwhile to lower your salary a little to grow professionally; besides, this job could be a springboard to another, better-paid job later.

  • You will be eager to explain to your loved ones what you are doing! And they will be proud of you too.

Jordane Lelong chose passion over money when studying with Ironhack. She was an event manager, passionate about music and travel. She didn't like school much, except for computer science and English. To be on the safe side, she chose a master's degree in international business because there were job opportunities in this field.

After a few years, not convinced she liked her job, Jordane enrolled in Ironhack’s UX/UI bootcamp to refocus her skills. Just after finishing her studies, she found a job she liked. 

I didn't think I would find a job so quickly,” she explains. “Ironhack has a very good reputation in the UX world and companies are impressed to see the work we manage to do in 9 weeks. I felt confident talking about my background and I wasn't ashamed at all when I walked out even though I didn't have a specialized profile.

Do you want to follow Jordane’s example? Learn more about our UX/UI Designer Bootcamp, Web Development Bootcamp, Data Analytics Bootcamp, or Cybersecurity Bootcamp.

💡Not too sure which training to choose yet? Try our free Javascript course or our free UX Design modules to help make up your mind!

Better Job or Better Pay: Why Choose?

Ultimately, why should you choose between being well paid and enjoying what you do?

The definition of Ikigai, a Japanese concept, is to find your dream job at the intersection of what you love to do, what you are good at, what society needs, and what you can get paid for. 

To say that you have to be poorly paid to like your job or that all well-paid jobs are detestable is a counter-productive and even dangerous shortcut. A good salary is part of the job recognition: it makes you happy. If you couldn't love your job and be well paid, you would never be truly satisfied!

Maybe you haven't yet managed to combine money, passion and purpose at work... That doesn't mean you won't succeed eventually! So don't give up: someday, you’ll find a job where you will be paid very well for doing what you love. And guess what? Ironhack’s bootcamps were designed to help you do just that.

At the end of Pretty Woman, Richard Gere argues with his crooked henchman Philip. He yells at him, regretting having “paid him a lot of money for years to do precisely what he loved to do.” Cliche? Dubious pop culture reference? Okay, we'll leave this to you. 

But still: at Ironhack, we believe that a loved job with a great pay is within everyone’s reach. It doesn’t just happen in movies.

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