What would you choose? A high-paying job where you are not happy? Or one that you love but only pays low? Ideals and reality often do not come hand-in-hand, and as a result, many are having a tough time making the right decision.
In a survey conducted by The Filipino Times, through its poll segment “Tanong ng Bayan,” it is found that more Filipinos—especially those working overseas—choose a job with a high-paying salary, even if they are not happy with it.
“Doon ako sa mataas ang sahod kasi walang work na masaya. Ang saya kasi nasa workplace culture lang naman yan,” said Nomar Tambasen, one of the netizens who participated in the poll.
One of the main reasons OFWs prefer high-paying jobs over happiness at work is because for them, the true happiness lies in being able to provide for their families back home.
Netizen Cora Virola Tarcena commented that sadness is something inevitable for OFWs, so better to just opt for more money. “Para sa mga OFW na katulad ko, kailangan ko ay mataas na sahod kahit hindi masaya. Tutal malungkot naman talaga ang buhay ng isang OFW lalo at malayo tayo sa pamilya, tapos sa kabila ng paghihirap mo ay wala kang naipon, at hindi pa makapag-aral ang mga anak mo,” she said.
Rachelle Bahan added that she is happy if she’s able to afford the needs of her family back home, saying “Kapag malaki ang sahod, mabilis makaka-ipon, tapos pwedeng umuwi agad kapag naka-ipon na. Mas masaya kapag masaya ang parents mo.”
Netizen Arnold Salvador added, “Doon tayo sa praktikal, na kahit hindi masaya basta mataas sahod, at least ang pamilya sa Pinas ay sasaya dahil makakapagpadala ng sapat at kung minsan, sobra pa.”
Elmar Espiritu Andales, one of the netizens who commented, said that in a high-paying job that does not make you happy, at least you will only feel miserable for 8 hours. The rest of the day, she said, you can spoil yourself. “Kapag maliit ang sahod ‘di ka din masaya kasi maliit ang naiipon mo. Tandaan natin ang working hours ay 8 hours lang, may natitira ka pang 16 hours para magsaya sa labas ng trabaho ‘di ba? Kaya nga tayo nag-abroad para kumita ng mas malaki,” he said.
In a research conducted by National Academy of Sciences in the USA, it said that having low income can make people miserable, no matter how much they love the work. It added that high income may not bring genuine happiness, but it can provide a certain part of it. “Low income exacerbates the emotional pain associated with misfortunes like divorce, ill health, and being alone,” it said.
In an interview with the New York Times, economics professor and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, said that people who aim to become performing artists are more likely to be unhappy because they have a high chance of failing financially.
“Becoming a wealthy rock star is a common dream when you are young, but when you are in college, you should try to take a longer-term view,” New York Times quoted him as saying.
However, a number of netizens said they would rather be happy in a job, even if it does not pay well—adding that toxicity is bad for the health.
“Doon ako sa masaya kahit mababa ang sahod, kasi malaking bagay para sa ating kalusugan at ang healthy work environment. Health is wealth,” said netizen MharLex Umali Bautista.
Netizen Nylanna Seyer added: “Aanhin mo ang malaking sahod kung sobrang toxic ang trabaho mo. Ang sahod mo sa hospital lang din mapupunta dahil sobrang stressed ka.”
OFW Cezz Gatchalian Urbino said that she used to have a high-paying but demanding job, and it was not a very pleasant experience. “Doon na ako sa masaya ako sa work ko at peaceful ang mind ko, kaysa ‘don sa hindi masaya. I have tried it, mataas nga ang naging sahod ko pero halos wala naman akong tulog,” she said.
Research said that money can only provide happiness to a certain extent. According to University of Southern California’s Applied Psychology program, liking your job contributes to overall success. The program highlighted that being able to enjoy your job creates a positive feedback loop that fuels productivity. One’s passion for work, it said gives a person “more fuel to put towards success.”