Updated: Jan 4
Teachers are severely underpaid. Nurses don’t actually play cards all day. Chefs never have anyone cook for them and eat alone all the time. These are just a few career-related trends popping up in my social media feeds lately.
It’s easy to feel sympathy for our teachers who educate our children, yet struggle to make ends meet. It’s easy to feel sympathy for our nurses who work long hours caring for our loved ones who are accused of having too much free time on the job. It’s easy to feel sympathy for the chef that cooks for everyone else leaving them little time to enjoy meals with their loved ones. We could keep going.
How about military families experiencing separation and worry due to deployment or law enforcement families having a loved one potentially encountering dangerous, even life-threatening situations daily? How about custodians cleaning up after messes and careless students/employees who do not clean up after themselves? What about the multilevel marketing stay-at-home parent who is judged and the butt of jokes for sharing a product they’re passionate about? And what about everyone else in between?
We're in the Same Boat
Is there anyone in a career that is paid their worth and that everyone else in the world totally understands and fully appreciates? One could argue celebrities have it made, but even they aren’t immune from scrutiny and criticism like the rest of us. We can feel sympathetic and empathetic for workers and industries, but it's time to stop victimizing professionals who have chosen their own career path.
All of us have experienced an underappreciation or misunderstanding of what we do, what we provide, or what we sell. No one is immune. We can’t possibly be an expert in every single product or service that is provided or fully understand the value, passion, and hard work behind them, but we can be cognizant of the fact that we all have felt, and have been, undervalued at one point or another in our chosen careers. It is time to acknowledge that nearly every career can be susceptible to things like low wages, long hours, or disrespect. Countless workers are out there every day busting their buns to support others in living their best lives through the products and services they offer. We can absolutely feel workers in certain industries deserve better and more respect, but that could apply to almost any worker. With that, we can choose to have a respect and appreciation for different types of jobs, but career victimizing is not beneficial and does not improve the situation.
To Stay or to Go
Truthfully, if you are not finding fulfillment in your current career, you are probably not in the right career. Fulfillment isn’t just about money- it also includes enjoying what you do, feeling great more times than you feel discouraged, and waking up most days excited to do it all over again. Don’t ever believe you are stuck in your career. And don’t allow others to make you feel like a victim to your career. If you are dissatisfied with salary or feel miserable physically or emotionally because of your career, you do not have to stay. You do have a choice. You can explore a new career or stick with the same career and find a new employer. I think sometimes we feel such a strong loyalty to an employer or become comfortable being uncomfortable because we know what to expect, that we don’t think exploring another option is even possible. But it is.
Years ago, I attended Eagle U, a leadership academy for high school and college students. They told us college graduates pursuing careers they enjoyed versus careers that had larger salaries ended up being wealthier than their peers in the long run. That may be anecdotal, but here is a fact from Forbes.com: staying with one employer your entire career can greatly lower your potential lifetime earnings. According to Forbes.com contributor Cameron Keng (2014), you can earn less than 50% in your lifetime by staying with the same employer more than two years.
What We've Learned
It seems that doing something you enjoy and that you’re good at and also not committing your entire life to one employer could have greater financial and job satisfaction outcomes for workers. It is important to keep in mind that only following your dreams does not always lead to financial success and leaving jobs every two years can be frowned upon by potential employers and be very stressful for you to transition so frequently. But none of us have to fall victim to our careers. Understanding that you have control over your job satisfaction and financial health is key.
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Source: Keng, Cameron. 2014. Employees who stay in companies longer than two years get paid 50% less. Forbes.com. https://www.forbes.com/sites/cameronkeng/2014/06/22/employees-that-stay-in-companies-longer-than-2-years-get-paid-50-less/#6755bd58e07f
About the Author:
Serena James, MBA is a holistic healer combining her passions of business and energy into one unique and powerful consulting experience to help you take your business to the next level and beyond. Get your copy of her latest book Vibe Higher geared toward self-awareness and personal growth.