Everyone always assumes that people who make a lot of money* are stressed. I am not so sure.
By a lot, let’s just say over $100,000 as a salary, but upwards to $500,000 a year.
I was talking to a VP the other day, and he said in response to something: Stressed? I’m not stressed…
I’m pretty sure he makes around $250,000 a year, or at least around that benchmark.
I also see Directors, who are pretty calm, not at all stressed, making about $150,000 a year…
…and it made me wonder:
Do people who make a lot of money, enjoy the job more and therefore are happier?
It is not related to ONLY how much money they make, but to the fact that they worked like crazy to get to that level of experience and salary, and as a result, are more relaxed at the top, at higher salaries because it isn’t related to being in the grind.
By the grind, I mean in lower level jobs, you tend to have to deal with a lot of problems that happen. Issues arise, emergencies happen, people panic, people have to stay late or work on weekends to make numbers crunch and so on.
As a VP or a Director, you don’t really have to do any of that grunt work.
You just give directions and get an update.
You may on occasion have to make a decision, take heat from your boss or shareholders, and hold meetings and so on, but the daily minutiae of stress doesn’t really exist.
You don’t need to grind out 50 spreadsheets to finish the books for the year (everyone I know in the Finance department always complains about month-end and year-end closings because of the STRESS that goes around there)…
All of this musing is coming from thinking about retirement and retiring early.
My partner is really keen on retiring early. Like… seriously unable to consider working past a certain age, and he is doing everything in his power to continue working towards NOT working any more.
He would be more than happy if he could stay at home with Little Bun all day and have me pay for everything.
For me however, I don’t really see myself retiring early.
As I said many times before, I just don’t hate my job. I like what I do, it isn’t stressful (95% of the time anyway), it is interesting, challenging and I do make money.
If I were working in customer service however, I’d definitely be dreaming of NEVER WORKING AGAIN because angry people are not fun people, and the stress of that daily grunt and grind doesn’t sound like something I am interested in.
Of course, the actual salary you make also makes a huge difference, but I will say that all the Directors and VPs get in super early in the morning and leave about 10 – 12 hours later.
I don’t really see that as being interesting either (more hours for more money? sounds like I’m working TWO jobs not one), but they seem to enjoy their jobs so much that they don’t mind getting in early and leaving late.
Or maybe, the real key is just to find passion and be interested in your job.
At the higher levels, I suspect it is far more interesting dealing with high-level problems than it is to have to take another call from an irate customer, or to stare at spreadsheets with little tiny numbers well into the night.
I can’t imagine being yelled at on the phone being an interesting job or doing grunt work being interesting either. Using your brain is very interesting, exciting and challenging, and if you aren’t in that mindset, your job can feel like a ball and chain.