If you are dissatisfied with your job because of your low salary compared to other positions in the company, do a little math work. At the time of writing his book, The Happiness Equation, published in 2016, Neil Pasricha pointed out that annual salaries could be misleading. At that time, a Harvard graduate earning $120,000 per year may be no further ahead than a teacher. That is when you consider the number of hours that they must dedicate to work. In his book, he sketched a comparison of Harvard MBA’s, (usually working for consulting companies), retail assistant managers, and teachers.

The salaries were quite different in his example, with MBA’s earning $120,000 per year, retail assistant managers $70,000 per year, and teachers $45,000 per year. But the salary per hour was the same for each job – $28 per hour.

Of course, the hours worked, and vacation time varied considerably. If you want to see a breakdown, pick up a copy of his book. The hours spent working from job to job vary considerably and make a big difference in your lifestyle. Do you have time for the family, travel, or other ventures when you are logging in about 85 hours per week, as many MBA grads evidently do?

I could easily relate to Pasricha’s analysis since I have worked at several jobs in my lifetime. When I moved from a manager’s job at an industrial company to a teaching position at a community college, the hours were so different that I also had time to start up and operate a small business on the side. I was single at the time, and the total hours of these two jobs were about the same as those I had been working at my previous job. The part-time business at one point many times more than my teaching job paid, about 10% of which I could take in salary – which added to my full-time salary, far exceeded the salary of any job I had previously held. And the practical experience better equipped me for teaching in the college’s business division.

Many years later I changed the nature of my business to allow more time for a family, travel, etc., and eventually gave up the teaching job and went full-time in my own business. But I was never again impressed by the large salaries people can earn in senior positions. There is no such thing as a free lunch.  You pay for it in one way or another.

Being happy doing what you do is worth a lot more than an impressive salary. And if it also allows you to be happier in your personal life as well, it’s invaluable.

As the accompanying diagram (which I obviously sketched by hand) indicates, in many instances, you can also improve the way you see your current job by putting effort into improving your current job environment as well as your attitude. It will probably take more time and effort at the start but increase more easily and rapidly as time goes on.

How can you improve your current job? Well, we have already made a few suggestions in the previous segments of this series. But in the next installment, I will summarize some actions you can take to improve the way you view your current job. If it turns out your current job is beyond repair, some of the suggestions might also help you in the next one. You have nothing to lose.