Money Or Happiness After Graduation: That Is The Question

By Francine Fluetsch on February 10, 2015

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After the caps have been thrown and the goodbyes have been said, it’s time for the new college grads to get their first job with a degree. This is a scary process, actually having to join the real world and all, and will most likely be a long and tedious journey.

As we all know, jobs are hard to score in today’s world. As grads are applying to jobs in their field, they have many factors to consider, two main ones being money and their happiness with the job. Which one usually wins when it comes down to it?

Of course, an ideal situation to students would be to have both. A nice job that they wouldn’t mind waking up for, that they wouldn’t mind putting long hours into, that they could actually have fun with, and one that gives them enough money for them to live comfortably. That’s the dream right? But if grads were asked to only pick one option, there will be mixed answers across the board.

Some will choose money, because money allows for security and in its own way is a source of fulfillment. They can have a nice house, a car, things to make them comfortable. Making money definitely can be a driving force for some people, and can make them happy.

I mean, some students don’t even study what they would actually love because they would rather have a degree in something that has more jobs out there (or at least what they are told has more jobs at the ready) and that is more likely to be a realistic future. The ones who choose money are usually thinking on the rational side, that even if they were to hate their job, they could be happy in other ways.

When looking up the question of what is more important, money or happiness, on Quora, a question/answer website, a user by the name of Arifa Suleman said “Personally I believe that happiness is a result of overall fulfillment and satisfaction. Therefore, money is a key aspect of this. This is because no one would be happy if they were completely broke.”

I was talking to my roommate about this question, and while she and I are more on the happiness train, she said her brother loves making money, and therefore likes his job because it gives him a good paycheck. If money is your driving factor, then by all means go for the job that will give you the bigger salary.

Some will choose money and realize that it was the wrong choice for them. Sometimes, chasing money isn’t what it’s about. Another user on Quora, Yann Girard, said “ I hated my job. It’s not that I didn’t like the people there. I actually had a really good time. It’s just that I didn’t see any point in what I was doing.”

Some jobs that are just about the money may not get students where they thought they wanted to go. Being so young when we graduate, we have to make many decisions in a short amount of time, and under pressure, more money might seem like the right thing at the time, but if students hate it, then they are likely to change it.

Then you have the people who will choose happiness from the start, the ones that studied things like theater and writing and art even though they were told it was a bad idea, that only 1 percent of them would actually make it.

These are the risk takers, the ones that hope they can make it with their passions, and will desperately cling to the notion of “do what you love and the money follows.” I’d much rather be writing books for a living than doing some job where I make a lot of money but I hate it.

The problem with following your passion is having no money at all can definitely be stressful. The going will be tough for these students in the beginning, but if they are prepared to battle it, then nothing can stand in their way.

What I found by surveying the answers on Quora was that many people started out by going for the money, and then realized that it wasn’t for them and dropped it for something they actually wanted to do. Of course, doing the job they didn’t like allowed them to save up some money, so it helped them go after their passion; sometimes doing both might not be that bad of an idea.

Melissa Kyeyune said in her answer that “I’m 25 and doing what I love which is fiction writing. No it does not pay. Not right now at least. Yet I studied Computer Engineering at a prestigious university in England. You can fill in the blanks of my life story and how everyone around me reacted to my strange decision to forget about working for Microsoft or Google (funny thing is I have attended more Google conferences as a writer than as an engineer) – and delve into the world of novel writing.”

Everyone will have a different way of finding a path that is right for them. There is no right or wrong way to go about getting a job after graduation, as long as students are making the decision on their own accord.

Some grads will go for the money and start saving up for their life while others will take a risk and go after something they love, putting it all out there and achieving great things. Would you rather hire a grad with the passion for their job or the grad just doing it for money?

By Francine Fluetsch

Uloop Writer
UC Santa Cruz
Hi! I'm Francine and I'm a fourth year Creative Writing major at UC Santa Cruz. I am one of the Campus life columnists on Uloop's National Team and also the campus editor for UCSC. I enjoy reading, writing, and taking selfies with my cat.

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