Is money really everything?

liberal artsThere’s something to be said for intrinsic reward. Simply doing something for your own interest and satisfaction versus financial gain.

I was about to delve into yet another post on a list of high paying jobs, when I realized that this list of hot jobs from U.S. News & World Report, like so many others, is heavily populated with STEM jobs.

I realized the topic of high paying STEM jobs was getting a bit stale and frankly not a news flash at this point. We all know by now that STEM careers will be lucrative and highly in demand.

But will they make you happy?

Of course they will if you are intrigued and energized by science, technology, engineering, and/or math. I would venture to say that even if you are only remotely interested in these subjects, then this list is worth more than just a cursory glance.

(and really, you should check it out, because there are several non-STEM jobs on the list such as Art Director, Marketing Manager, and Veterinarian)

So, we’ve established now that the list is actually quite good, but it got me thinking about the different factors we consider when choosing a career. I think it’s important not to get lured in by the money and positive job outlook at the expense of your own personal interest, satisfaction, and prosperity.

There are lots of other options out there that can satisfy both intrinsic and extrinsic needs.

I stumbled across this article on Aol jobs this morning, and knew that it was the missing piece in a string of posts that have been leaning heavily in the STEM direction.

The Liberal Arts stream can also lead to a rewarding career. In more ways than one. In fact, this article points to findings that indicate that Liberal Arts students are as satisfied or more satisfied with their lives as their peers who are studying in other areas.

I think the bottom line reinforced in this article as well as another excellent Forbes article is that your first priority should be to choose an academic or training pursuit that you enjoy, trying not to weigh money and opportunity too heavily. The rationale is that your intrinsic satisfaction with the subject matter will be reflected in the content you produce, your grades, and ultimately your performance and success at school or as part of your apprenticeship.

In turn, your effort and achievement in your education or training pursuits will be recognized and appreciated regardless of the career you ultimately choose. For example, many professional schools, such as medical schools, accept students from a variety of different academic disciplines.

In other words, you can’t force it for the money. So it’s much easier to take the natural approach. Study and train in areas that interest you, become an expert in your field, and the money and opportunities will follow…

or will not even matter at all.

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