Recruiting 101: Choosing Between Money and Time: A Career Decision That Impacts Your Life

Sep 19 / Thomas Bartelsen
Making a career decision can be daunting, especially when choosing between money and time. While cash offers financial stability, time allows us to pursue our passions and find true fulfillment. Or at least, that might be the first thought coming to your mind.

My personal story on chasing money

While pursuing an extra-occupational degree, my main focus was on making money. I should have paid more attention to my interests and abilities and taken my father's advice to follow my passions and talents. I couldn't see how achieving both financial success and fulfillment was possible.

But one significant moment during my studies was particularly memorable to me. A fellow student, who was pursuing a different degree but had taken some courses with me, delivered an impromptu career coaching session that left a lasting impact. My colleague emphasized prioritizing my life and goals first and then structuring my job around them. My job was merely a means to an end, not the defining factor of my identity.

Initially, this idea was foreign, as I was career-focused then. However, over time, I realized that it was a paradigm shift I needed. It changed my mindset and approach to life, and I learned to prioritize my well-being and happiness over financial gain. Now, I'm pursuing a career that aligns with my passions and talents, and I couldn't be happier.

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Understanding Your Career Goals 

Understanding your career goals is crucial in deciding between money and time. It's essential to take the time to reflect on what you truly want out of your career and what will make you happy eventually; yourself questions such as,

"What are my passions and interests?" and

"What kind of work environment do I thrive in?"

Analyzing your career goals will help you determine whether a high-paying job that demands long hours is worth sacrificing your time and well-being. On the other hand, if you value a work-life balance and prioritize personal time, consider a career that pays less but allows for more flexibility. Remember, there is no right or wrong answer when choosing between money and time. It's all about finding the best balance and aligning with your career goals. You can create a fulfilling career that brings financial stability and personal satisfaction by achieving those goals.

Let us use an amazing real-life example.

During my travels, I came across two lawyers. One of them loved her job but would work 100 hours a week. The first lawyer, let's call her Sarah, loved her job because she was an environmentalist and worked for a solar energy company. The other was a corporate lawyer and worked 45 weekly hours for one of the biggest banks in the world. Although she - let´s call her Maria - worked less, she hated her job because she did not identify with their corporate culture of micromanagement(i.e., she had to write a mail when leaving the desk). Remember that it's not only money or time but also about whether you like what you and your company do.

Analyzing the Pros and Cons of Money and Time 

One of the most important factors when making career decisions is the trade-off between money and time. On the one hand, a high-paying job can provide financial security and stability, allowing you to live a comfortable lifestyle. On the other hand, a position that offers more flexibility and free time can provide a better work-life balance, allowing you to pursue personal interests and spend time with loved ones. It's crucial to analyze the pros and cons of both options and determine what's most important to you. Consider your long-term career goals and what you value most in life. Finding a balance between money and time may be the key to achieving professional success and personal fulfillment. Ultimately, the decision is yours, but with careful consideration and a clear understanding of your priorities, you can choose what's right for you.

Making a Decision That's Right for You 

Deciding for you is crucial when choosing between money and time in your career. Understanding your career goals and what you want to achieve eventually is essential. The pros and cons of cash and time are necessary to make an informed decision. While money can provide financial stability and security, time can give you the freedom to pursue your passions and spend quality time with your loved ones. Ultimately, the decision should be based on your values and priorities.

Taking action to achieve your career goals is the next step after making a decision. Staying motivated and focused on your goals while being open to new opportunities and experiences is essential. In conclusion, choosing between money and time is an important life decision that impacts your happiness and well-being. By making the right decision for you and finding a balance between the two, you can achieve career success and a fulfilling life.

Finding a Balance Between Money and Time 

Balancing the two is essential once you've decided between money and time. It's no secret that having more money can lead to a better quality of life, but it's equally important to have time to enjoy that quality of life. Finding a balance between money and time means prioritizing your career goals and ensuring that your job allows you enough time outside work to pursue your passions and spend time with loved ones. It may mean sacrificing salary or job title, but a balanced life is ultimately happier and more fulfilling. It's important to remember that finding a balance is a continuous process that may require adjustments. You can perform a fulfilling and balanced life by taking action towards achieving your career goals while also making time for the things that matter most to you.

Once you have made the right decision, it's time to take action to achieve your career goals. This means setting specific and measurable goals, creating a plan of action, and taking steps toward achieving those goals. Staying motivated and focused is essential, even when faced with obstacles or setbacks. Completing your career goals may require sacrifices, but the result will be worth it. Don't be afraid to seek resources and support, such as mentors or career coaches, to help you. And always be open to learning and growing as your career goals may evolve. You can create a fulfilling and successful career that balances money and time by acting toward your career goals.

Ultimately, you decide what´s more valuable: your time or money received. For some, spending nights at the office might be suitable to get the (financial) rewards or to come home early to your family, whether you opt for a maximization of time, money, or something in between. That´s up to you.

Taking Action to Achieve Your Career Goals 

Balancing the two is essential once you've decided between money and time. It's no secret that having more money can lead to a better quality of life, but it's equally important to have time to enjoy that quality of life. Finding a balance between money and time means prioritizing your career goals and ensuring that your job allows you enough time outside work to pursue your passions and spend time with loved ones. It may mean sacrificing salary or job title, but a balanced life is ultimately happier and more fulfilling. It's important to remember that finding a balance is a continuous process that may require adjustments. You can perform a fulfilling and balanced life by taking action towards achieving your career goals while also making time for the things that matter most to you.

Once you have made the right decision, it's time to take action to achieve your career goals. This means setting specific and measurable goals, creating a plan of action, and taking steps toward achieving those goals. Staying motivated and focused is essential, even when faced with obstacles or setbacks. Completing your career goals may require sacrifices, but the result will be worth it. Don't be afraid to seek resources and support, such as mentors or career coaches, to help you. And always be open to learning and growing as your career goals may evolve. You can create a fulfilling and successful career that balances money and time by acting toward your career goals.

Ultimately, you decide what´s more valuable: your time or money received. For some, spending nights at the office might be suitable to get the (financial) rewards or to come home early to your family, whether you opt for a maximization of time, money, or something in between. That´s up to you.  There is no doubt that there is both the extreme focus on money or on your private life.
In Germany, there is a colloquial statement: I prefer to go to the beach with my bike instead of going to the office with a Porsche. Whether this applies to you is upon your preferences.
Let´s say you get three offers on the table.

All other factors are the same, and it´s just about these points now. Which door would you choose and why?

Door I:

- Money: Base salary 80k + 5k variable bonus per year
- Time: 40 weekly hours + 15% overtime is included in your pay (so no overtime is paid)
- Paid time off 27 days a year
- Hybrid: 1 day a week remote from home, four days office (45 min commute/way)

Door II

- Money: Base salary 65k
- Time: 37,5 weekly hours + overtime is tracked and can either get paid out or taken as paid time off
- Paid time off: 30 ****days a year
- Hybrid: 2 days a week remote from home, three days office (30 min commute/way)

Door III

- Money: Base salary 57k
Time: 35 weekly hours + overtime is tracked and can only be taken as paid time off
- Paid time off 30 days a year
- Remote: This position is fully remote and can be executed within Germany; per year, every employee can work outside of Germany for 20 days a year as a workstation (as long as it´s within 3hrs of the Berlin time zone)

If you have an accountability partner, show them that and ask for their feedback where they see you. If you have a partner, ask them what they would want you to pick and why if you wish. Agree on something that suits both of you and look for the best option.

One might argue that additional money is needed after you´ve surpassed a specific salary (article). The study mentioned in this article focuses on the correlation between money and happiness. Higher income generally leads to increased happiness, with the happiest individuals continuing to experience growth in well-being even past an income of $100,000. However, a group of participants experienced a happiness plateau beyond that income level, highlighting the importance of prioritizing personal goals over money.

Choosing Between Money and Time Is an Important Life Decision

Making a career decision can be challenging, especially when choosing between money and time. Understanding your career goals and what you truly want out of your career is essential. Analyzing the pros and cons of cash and time is necessary to make an informed decision. Finding a balance between the two is crucial to achieving career satisfaction and a fulfilling life. Once you have made the right decision, it's time to take action toward achieving your career goals. Remember, the choice between money and time is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and what works for someone else may not work for you. Ultimately, you are responsible for making the best career and life decisions. This could involve focusing on career and finances, balancing both with personal life or prioritizing one's private life.

 If you find yourself at a crossroads between prioritizing money or time in your career, here are three suggestions that may aid in your decision-making process:

1. Reflect on your career aspirations: Take some time to contemplate what you hope to achieve in your career and what brings you happiness. Ask yourself questions such as "What are my passions?" and "What type of work environment do I thrive in?" This can assist in determining if a well-paying job that demands long hours is worth sacrificing your time and well-being.

2. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of money and time: A high-paying job can provide financial stability, but a job that offers more flexibility and leisure time can aid in balancing work and personal life. It's essential to contemplate both options and determine what is most important to you. Consider your long-term career goals and what you value most in life.

3. Strike a balance between money and time: Once you have determined whether money or time is of higher priority, finding a balance between the two is crucial. Ensure that your job allows you enough time outside work to pursue your interests and spend quality time with loved ones. Remember that finding this equilibrium is an ongoing process that may require adjustments, and it's perfectly acceptable to make changes as needed to achieve your career goals and a satisfying life.

So, what is? Are you driving an amazing car to your office?
Or a bike to the beach?
I´ll wave from the beach. 
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