Canada

Working just for the money? You're not alone

Most workplace experts will tell you not to take a job just for the money because you should enjoy your work. But there are situations when this may be OK.

Career experts say it’s OK to take a job just for the money, but have a plan

Taking a job to get your finances under control is OK. Once that happens, you can start looking for a job that gives you more purpose. (Shutterstock)

Most workplace experts will tell you not to take a job just for the money because you have to enjoy what you're doing.

While salary is always one consideration, many job seekers also look at what the job is, how it helps their career growth and if it will make them happy to come to work every day.   

But there are situations when taking a job just for the paycheque may be OK.

"When it's OK to work for money is a question that I have heard—I mean not for years, but—for decades," said Suzy Welch, business journalist and host of the CNBC web series Get to Work: With Suzy Welch.

Welch is the co-author of the book The Real-Life MBA: Your No-BS Guide to Winning the Game, Building a Team, and Growing Your Career with her husband, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch. Both are known as experts in management.

Three circumstances when money trumps everything else

"The first is when you're in a financial crisis and you really have to have some money and you need to have it right away," said Welch.

Taking a job to get your finances under control is OK. Once that happens, you can start looking for a job that gives you more purpose.

It's also acceptable when it's part of a broader career strategy.

"You are saving money to start a business or go back to business school, for instance," said Welch. "These are both investments in your career and, in that case, it makes a lot of sense to take a period of your career where you may not be liking your job, but you are making a financial investment in yourself."  

The last reason is when you're creating income for a good cause. For example, when a person no longer needs the money but is working to to support a charity or organization. She admits this is a small percentage of workers.

Many people are taking jobs to get by

Taking a job to pay bills and improve your financial standing makes sense. But, according to Mark Franklin, practice leader of the career management company CareerCycles, many people are taking jobs to get by.

"Even just today, I saw there was research from Angus Reid that came out that said more than a  quarter of Canadians are facing serious financial hardship," said Franklin. "I was surprised to see how many people are financially struggling and have to focus on the money part of their work."

 I was surprised to see how many people are financially struggling and have to focus on the money part of their work.- Mark Franklin, CareerCycles practice leader

According to the report from the Angus Reid Institute, 21 per cent of respondents said they couldn't afford to go for dental care, while one quarter reported they have recently had to borrow money to buy groceries.

"I found those numbers astonishing," said Franklin.

Think about your career path and have an end goal

In many cases, a job that pays even a few extra dollars an hour more can make a huge difference to a person's quality of life.

For Franklin, his goal is to help people find their dream job: one that pays and also gives them satisfaction.

He says those working just for the money and feeling miserable need to spend more time thinking about their career path.

Most importantly, if you have to take a job just for money, have an end goal and make sure you're always aiming to get there.

​The Angus Reid survey was conducted online between May 28 and June 13, polling a randomized sample of 2,542 Canadian adults who are members of Maru Voice Canada, an online market research panel. The sample plan included a special booster sample of 242 respondents with household incomes below $35,000. A probability sample of this size with this sample plan would carry a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rubina Ahmed-Haq

Business columnist

Rubina is a business columnist who has been covering money matters for more than 10 years. Her career began 20 years ago as a news reporter. After a decade on the news beat she realized her passion was discussing personal finance issues. Now, she weighs in on money and workplace matters on CBC Radio, CBC TV and CBC News Network. Her goal is to get Canadians to take control of their personal finances on their own.

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