What’s More Important to You: Money or Your Career Goals?

As we get older, priorities change. Whether it’s because we start a family, start a business or finally realize that we’re not kids anymore and we aren’t getting any younger. Some of us have a personal path to success in that we know exactly what we want to do and what it will take to achieve that goal. Others have only the dollar signs in front of them.

The ones with their eyes on only the economics sometimes miss out on opportunities that could have helped them in the future if they only would have waited and been patient. Many know that hard work and persistence routinely win out and those decisions eventually will trump any hasty economic ones. Everyone has their minimum financial limit of what it takes to pay the bills. Most of us at some point in our careers have been unhappy, disgruntled or frustrated when we haven’t earned what we thought we deserved. Sometimes we have taken new jobs just for the economic advantage that would give us in our lives. But, were they the most prudent in looking back?

Not everyone has the luxury of sitting and waiting for that promotion, that spot to open up, waiting for someone’s ‘imminent’ retirement or myriad other reasons. Sometimes we need to make our own career goals happen.

There are those who know that they are valuable to their employers; and therefore very valuable to the competition. What people sometimes forget is that few people are indispensable and absolutely cannot be replaced. What happens in these cases where employees have blinders on and interview with other companies, their, how shall we say, cockiness or seeming belligerent attitudes don’t sit well with potential hiring managers. And those can not only backfire now but in the future in our industry.

A recent example of a top manufacturer in our industry looking to fill a Sales Manager for a strong territory was turned off when the candidate, a documented success for his current company, started asking for a much higher wage than published, and a virtual guarantee that he would be the next in line for an upper management promotion. These kinds of demands were out of line; especially when there were other top performers also interviewing for the same position. That person of course was not hired. Had he only looked at the long-term career goals, he should have realized that joining a larger company, with more upwards mobility than his current job, would have been a more economically gratifying job change over the next few years. He’ll never know now.

Hiring Managers and we recruiters see résumés every single day of people that have made different career choices in their lives. It is up to us to determine whether people are habitual job-hoppers, were unlucky due to the recent (and current) economic events or made strategic moves. We all know that more responsibility normally comes with higher wages. With lateral changes, perhaps a nominal or an equal comp package with maybe a brighter future is fair.

Sometimes people can get lucky in achieving both objectives: money and career goals. There are great companies out there who economically reward their team members while other companies place caps on earnings; which can be counter-productive to those willing to do whatever it takes to meet and exceed goals and directives. All companies have different ways of economically motivating their employees. It’s just that some companies are better at it than others; which also plays into the talent pool that they can attract.

We all want a clear path, a good job, and a secure company in which we can enjoy the fruits of our labor and provide to ourselves and families everything that we can. Individually, it’s up to us to make those tough decisions; whether to stay and wait out what will hopefully (and rightfully!) come our way, or go out and make it happen ourselves.

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