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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Would a pay rise may you happier?

Would a pay rise may you happier?

Words by Francis Kahihu: kahihucareers@gmail.com

When I ask people whether they are happy at their jobs, the majority indicate they are not and quote the salary they earn as the main reason for their lack of job satisfaction. They say they would be happier at work if only they were granted a pay rise. The equation of an extra pay to happiness has been a widespread illusion. I refer to it as an illusion since it does not necessarily translate that a higher pay will always lead to a happier moment at work.

Job satisfaction is a result of the interplay of many factors. Some of these could be the match between the person’s career ambitions and the current roles or could be the work environment a person works in. If a person received a huge pay rise but continued to work in a strenuous work environment, or an environment that does not appreciate them as they would desire, such a person would still not acquire happiness from the pay cheque at the end of the month.

Why is it that when a person gets a pay rise, their monthly expenditure follows suit? People change their lifestyles. They start frequenting joints they would otherwise not have afforded and start adorning designer wear suits in an effort to live their newfound status. Little do they know that with the rise in expenditure, the quality of life does not necessarily improve hence would keep on grumbling at how inadequate their salary is.

According to a 2006 Princeton University research, even if you do reach a higher income level, earning more money doesn't necessarily mean more smiles, in fact, it probably means more stress. We overlook the fact that earning more typically means working more. Working more means less time with family, friends, and for yourself. If you could earn double your income by working double the hours, would you?

Due to the desire for more money, we tend to push ourselves beyond our mental imaginations. We deny ourselves the benefits derived from a contented lifestyle. True to nature, we are not discontented by our jobs because of the amount of financial reward it provides but because we are on a rat race with our colleagues and friends. Every so often, we see a colleague driving in a brand new car and we wonder how they would afford such a happy drive when we are still ‘struggling’ with a second hand car or have to push and shove our way into public transportation means.

The desire to impress the world around you robs you the opportunity to enjoy life. You find fault with your employer or with your business since it does not seem to propel you to the heights you want to reach. Ironically, we fail to take time and appreciate the fact that people around us could have varying sources of incomes and may not necessarily be relying on their salaries alone. In addition, it could be that they have had to make certain other compromises in life to be able to project the kind of lifestyle they do.

Wise are the people who have been able to define for themselves what happiness really means and go ahead to live within their means. This contentment leads to improved performance at work and with it, natural satisfaction and occasional promotions.

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