I came across this quote by American writer, Linda Henley, and thought it appropriate as we head towards Christmas and the accumulation of more ‘things’.

“So many of us define ourselves by what we have, what we wear, what kind of house we live in and what kind of car we drive … If you think of yourself as the woman in the Cartier watch and the Hermes scarf, a house fire will destroy not only your possessions, but your self.”

This is worth thinking about in the context of exploring a career move or change. How much money do you actually need to earn? How much is enough? By getting very clear about what you actually need to earn to live reasonably, and then examining the lifestyle you want to create or maintain, you can begin to make some specific choices about what kind of work you need to meet those demands.

I considered a couple of full-time jobs a few months ago. The salary packages were quite appealing (particularly as I was a full-time student). I realised however that quite a sizeable chunk of those salaries would be spent on beefing up the wardrobe with suits, shoes, and all the paraphenalia that goes with corporate life. I would also be spending a considerable amount of time travelling all over the place and staying in hotels away from home. I got that particular tee-shirt in my twenties and thirties, so for me, the decision was clear. The money would not have bought me much happiness in the long term.

This is worth bearing in mind when you’re perhaps looking at a more creative career. On paper, it doesn’t seem to make much sense financially, compared with a full-time ‘corporate’ role. In terms of happiness however and getting off the hamster wheel of having to make more money to buy more stuff, it might just add up.


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