Would you rather be rich or fulfilled (Work/school related)

kaybkayb Posts: 5,054Registered Users
I posted a while back about a friend offering to pay for me to do the G.R.E. It's a very nice offer now that I am in the process of realigning my educational/professional and personal goals. I had previously avoided applying to U.S. universities because I did not want to do the G.R.E. My math skills are horrid and I would be nowhere I did not have my fingers to help me count. Anyway, I decided to do the G.R.E. but only if I could attend prep classes. I figured that I did not want anyone to waste their money if I was going to fail and wanted to give myself a chance to actually get a good score. Sadly, G.R.E. classes cost $1,400 USD. There is no way in hell I am paying that.

Another reason I avoided applying to schools in the U.S. is the insane amount that is often charged for application fees, in some instances this applies to Canada as well- I just saw a school charging 100 CD to apply.

This evening I got an email from my friend who advised me to research the area I want to go into because it makes no sense to pursue an area which might leave me fulfilled but in debt and no way of ever paying it back. While he makes an extremely valid point, this is an area I have wanted to go into (even before I understood what it was) since I was 9 years old. I haven't waivered in that; and now being more aware of international policies and laws I am even more certain of what I want to do. For those of you who are wondering what that field is, it's International Development/Conflict Resolution and Peace-Building.

I know that professionals in this field are usually well paid, even if there are few positions; but to be honest, there are few positions in most fields out there. Not everyone can be an IT technican, lawyer or a doctor, I for one am not interested in any of these fields.

Now, if you had to choose, would you want a job where you are rich or one where you actively contribute to "world peace?" :read2:

Why?

~TIA
I ain't thirsty. There's plenty of fish in the sea, but I don't want all of them, can I have some standards? Or do we just have to settle, for someone's who meh and will do.
"
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Comments

  • KikapooKikapoo Posts: 1,087Registered Users
    Well, I've pretty much already made my decision--fulfilled (and not rich). I'm a librarian. However, I did take my potential future income into account when I chose my graduate program. Knowing that librarians don't make much money, and that name/school isn't really a huge deal in the field, I basically chose the cheapest accredited program I could find. It wasn't my first choice, but I got my degree, and I can't imagine how I'd feel if I had even MORE loan debt.

    I guess you just decide what's important to you. In your case, like you said, most people in the field are well-paid--so maybe you can be fulfilled AND well-paid. Nothing wrong with that! Just make sure you weigh what you'll be spending on the degree vs. what you'll be potentially earning, and see if it's worth it.
  • AmnerisAmneris Posts: 15,117Registered Users
    I would say fulfilled over rich, but money does weigh into the decision to an extent. I am (almost) a lawyer, but I've chosen a field of law that I find fulfilling and that contributes to society rather than one that could make me rich. That being said, I am anxious now about my career prospects and may have to compromise on that. When I say "not rich", I still expect and intend to make a decent middle-class living as I am not interested in being poor. I am interested in the same issues you raised (international affairs, peace-building, conflict studies, etc.) but I find those to be prevalent in law - there are lots of different types of law.

    If you choose a field with not very good career prospects or that is very limited and competitive, are you prepared to have to live at home longer because you can't afford to move out and pay off educational debt, or postpone having a family, or have one and not be able to provide for the kids the way you would like, or to have to work in some other unrelated field just to pay bills, and will that make you feel like a failure?

    I'd also look honestly at what it takes to be successful in that field. Do you have those skills/languages/abilities etc? Or can you get them? Besides the dream jobs that a handful of people get, what do most people with that degree from the type of school you're likely to attend end up doing? What do the regular grads who are not superstars or well-connected do? How do you feel about that?

    Finally, I'd be more inclined to say take the risk if it is not going to cost you debt or significant financial sacrifice to be in that program. If it is, I would really think twice because you could end up back where you are today and really resentful.
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  • sleepymekosleepymeko Posts: 1,002Registered Users
    Hmm, I think it is silly to be worried about tuition when it comes to graduate school. Money should not be a problem--that is why TAs exist. Your tuition is covered and then some. I have been told this by both graduate students and advisers. Be more concerned about finding the right faculty--people that inspire you because you are going to be working with these people for a long time. Your interests and your goals are more important.

    Therefore, do not worry about the money. There are TAs and fellowships for a reason. Use them to your advantage. Get to know professors for good recommendations and research deeply into any and all programs.

    As for myself, I would rather be fulfilled. I'm a physical anthropology major with a minor in art history. I would love to work at a museum or in academia--neither get paid too well. But I know I would be happy and excited. I'm planning to go to graduate school for archaeology concerning the Near East a few years from now.
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  • kaybkayb Posts: 5,054Registered Users
    Thanks Kikapoo.

    When I look at the scale, schools in the U.S. are way more expensive then schools in Europe. The grad school I was supposed to go this year has one of the best Peace Programmes so I was kinda flattered when they accepted me and pissed when I couldn't go.

    I think the school I end up choosing does matter a whole lot, but I had somehow forgotten to remember that. :brushteeth: I have been so focused on schools that will give me a scholarship or schools that I can afford out of pocket that I had disregarded the reputation factor of the search. Thanks for reminding me:hello2:

    @ Amneris: Thank you for always weighing in. I appreciate it so much. I think I am okay with not having a family until later in life (cause it sure as hell ain't happening now but that's another matter altogether), however, I don't want to be at home. To me, being at home is a sign that I have failed. I know that it's not that I have failed at living on my own, it's just that circumstances beyond my control are forcing me to be here, and that could very well happen again.

    Language skills: Funny story on that one. I used to be fluent in Spanish and then I stopped using it- 8 years ago. Now, I can read it but I can't speak it or listen to it. I had started studying again but I was going through some personal (or not so personal issues since the board knows about the,) so I could not bear the idea of studying the language anymore. Since I've started "working" (because I do nothing but nod off each day), I've started learning to drive too and I am ready to start learning again. I called up my high school Spanish teacher and asked her if she would consider tutoring me, but she said she's too busy to do so, so now I am trying to find another Spanish teacher. I guess Japanese would make me a bit more marketable since almost everyone speaks Spanish, but Spanish was my first love, long before History, I.R. or Journalism so am sticking with it.

    Most people end up working for NGO's oddly enough. I have been thinking about choosing a programme with an internship simply because it gets my foot in the door. Teaching is actually of the lower end of scale in terms of what graduates end up doing which is actually quite interesting because it's usually the other way around. I have taught before and I don't know how I feel about it anymore. I would prefer to be on the admin side instead of the teaching side, or maybe a uni job would be nice.

    As for paying for the programmes my mother and I had this argument last week I think it was. I told her that I intended to use my savings to pay for grad school and she asked if I would be using all of it and I said yes. She believes that I should not, what she wants me to do is beyond me. Two years ago I made the decision to save for grad school, not for a house or a car, but for school so I fully intend to use the money saved to achieve this goal.

    @Meko: I have found that most T.A. jobs are for MPhil students and I've really considered an MPhil. Maybe it's time to start :)
    I ain't thirsty. There's plenty of fish in the sea, but I don't want all of them, can I have some standards? Or do we just have to settle, for someone's who meh and will do.
    "
  • BekkaPooBekkaPoo Posts: 3,861Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    kayb wrote: »
    Thanks Kikapoo.

    When I look at the scale, schools in the U.S. are way more expensive then schools in Europe. The grad school I was supposed to go this year has one of the best Peace Programmes so I was kinda flattered when they accepted me and pissed when I couldn't go.

    I think the school I end up choosing does matter a whole lot, but I had somehow forgotten to remember that. :brushteeth: I have been so focused on schools that will give me a scholarship or schools that I can afford out of pocket that I had disregarded the reputation factor of the search. Thanks for reminding me:hello2:

    If you go to school in Europe, go for fulfillment. If you go to school in the US, go for the money because you're really gonna need it.
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  • sleepymekosleepymeko Posts: 1,002Registered Users
    I should add, that I'm going to pick my graduate schools based on the aid I would be receiving, if I can be a TA, etc. If not, I'll wait and try again.
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  • legendslegends Posts: 3,073Registered Users
    Rich, no question. If I could I'd just do undergrad all over again and pick a major that I might not be crazy about but would give me a great income.

    That said, I'm actually pretty easy to please when it comes to work, and I'm frankly not sure I believe in the whole concept of "fulfillment" when it comes to careers, at least for myself. As long as I don't hate what I do and the people I work with don't totally suck, I'm good.
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  • KikapooKikapoo Posts: 1,087Registered Users
    TAs and research assistantships are great, but there is not a position available for every grad student out there. I had a research assistantship when I got my first master's, but when I went back for my master's in information science, there were VERY few assistantships (it's not a money-making field!). I think it's smart of you to choose your school based on the aid package. Of course, narrow your choice down to programs that actually appeal to you first, but then pick the one that throws the most money at you!
  • KikapooKikapoo Posts: 1,087Registered Users
    legends wrote: »
    Rich, no question. If I could I'd just do undergrad all over again and pick a major that I might not be crazy about but would give me a great income.

    That said, I'm actually pretty easy to please when it comes to work, and I'm frankly not sure I believe in the whole concept of "fulfillment" when it comes to careers, at least for myself. As long as I don't hate what I do and the people I work with don't totally suck, I'm good.

    Ha ha, that's pretty much how I define "fulfilling" when it comes to careers--if I don't want to kill myself every morning and as I drag myself through the day.
  • goldygoldy Posts: 5,463Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I had to weigh in simply because that's my sisters field! What graduate degree are you looking at? She has her MPA. Her undergraduate degree is conflict resolution.
    What are you hoping to do with the degree? She will be paying back her graduate school loan for many many more years to come. But she's happy where she is now :)
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  • ninja dogninja dog Posts: 23,780Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Gosh, I couldn't disagree more with choosing $ over fulfillment. I worked in a field that paid well for a number of years, and I was not happy at all. I continually had a feeling of pointlessness and wasted time, no matter how well I did on my various tasks. Eventually, it grew worse, as the poor "fit" became more and more apparent.

    I've been far, far happier seeking "fulfillment" in the career path I was both afraid to (and discouraged from) pursue (ing).

    This rule has proven true for me repeatedly: I'm the one who makes the best decisions for myself, no matter how affectionately (or not) unsolicited advice is delivered.
  • kaybkayb Posts: 5,054Registered Users
    goldy wrote: »
    I had to weigh in simply because that's my sisters field! What graduate degree are you looking at? She has her MPA. Her undergraduate degree is conflict resolution.
    What are you hoping to do with the degree? She will be paying back her graduate school loan for many many more years to come. But she's happy where she is now :)

    I looking at an MSc or M.A. My undergrad degree is extremely unrelated (History and Archaeology) but I did a good number of I.R. courses (it was my undeclared minor). I declared it, but good ole University of the West Indies ate it.

    What am I going to do with the degree that's a good question. My original plan was always to come home and try and work in the Ministry of National Security but I have become so disillusioned with politricks and I'm looking at NGO work now.
    I ain't thirsty. There's plenty of fish in the sea, but I don't want all of them, can I have some standards? Or do we just have to settle, for someone's who meh and will do.
    "
  • Who Me?Who Me? Posts: 3,181Registered Users
    sleepymeko wrote: »
    Hmm, I think it is silly to be worried about tuition when it comes to graduate school. Money should not be a problem--that is why TAs exist. Your tuition is covered and then some. I have been told this by both graduate students and advisers. Be more concerned about finding the right faculty--people that inspire you because you are going to be working with these people for a long time. Your interests and your goals are more important.

    Therefore, do not worry about the money. There are TAs and fellowships for a reason. Use them to your advantage. Get to know professors for good recommendations and research deeply into any and all programs.

    As for myself, I would rather be fulfilled. I'm a physical anthropology major with a minor in art history. I would love to work at a museum or in academia--neither get paid too well. But I know I would be happy and excited. I'm planning to go to graduate school for archaeology concerning the Near East a few years from now.

    Wow...that's not how any graduate programs I know of work!!!! I've TA'ed plenty of classes- they came far from covering tuition! Maybe approx. 2 credits?

    Some programs offer a stipend to students, maybe that's what you're thinking of? That's mainly the hard sciences as far as I know, and it's not really enough to live off of.

    There are, of course, a lot of ways to pay for graduate school (fellowships, scholarships, loans, etc.) but do not go into it without thinking about the money!!

    I have quite a bit of loans from my masters degree, but was able to get my PhD with scholarship credits and tuition reimbursement from my job. The classes I TA'd payed for things like books and Xmas shopping. My fulltime job paid the rent.
    "I don't know! I don't know why I did it, I don't know why I enjoyed it, and I don't know why I'll do it again!" -BART SIMPSON
  • Who Me?Who Me? Posts: 3,181Registered Users
    Also, fellowships, stipends, etc. are often a part of doctoral programs, and pretty rare in masters programs, in my experience.
    "I don't know! I don't know why I did it, I don't know why I enjoyed it, and I don't know why I'll do it again!" -BART SIMPSON
  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I'd rather be rich.

    Even if your rich-making field isn't fulfilling, you can find jobs within it that aren't soul-destroying, and get your fulfillment through an avocation.

    Money doesn't buy happiness, but it sure is easier being unhappy with money than without it.
  • journotravelerjournotraveler Posts: 2,816Registered Users
    I've always gone for fulfillment in my career choices--first a career in dance and then in journalism. I really believed in doing what you love and that the money would follow. And that philosophy worked for me. I ended up being well paid in my second career--until my industry crashed and the economy went under at the same time.

    Now, after a couple of years struggling as a freelancer, I still love journalism and writing. But financial security is much more important to me now. Much, much, much more important to me. I figure, if I'm rich, then I can find fulfillment in other ways.

    BUT I have good friends whose industries haven't been hit hard by the economy. They are all very well paid and they have no lives because they're working all.the.damn.time. They'd love to be doing something else but they're used to their big salaries and they have big expenses to go along with it.
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  • PoPo Posts: 2,607Registered Users
    I love my job, but...um. $. No doubt.

    I'm going back to school to get a graduate degree in my current field which pays horribly, especially working for a non-profit like I do. If I wasn't so lazy, I would get an MBA instead of staying in social work. My brother has an undergraduate degree in business administration and just got promoted. He'll be making close to six-figures. And he's 25.
    3c/4a
  • SariaSaria Posts: 15,963Registered Users
    legends wrote: »
    Rich, no question. If I could I'd just do undergrad all over again and pick a major that I might not be crazy about but would give me a great income.

    That said, I'm actually pretty easy to please when it comes to work, and I'm frankly not sure I believe in the whole concept of "fulfillment" when it comes to careers, at least for myself. As long as I don't hate what I do and the people I work with don't totally suck, I'm good.

    Pretty much this. I'd take money, no question. I could do then do whatever I found fulfilling.
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  • JosephineJosephine Posts: 14,408Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Definitely rich. I can't imagine being more fulfilled with very little money. My career is not to fulfill me but support me financially. I would not however choose a career that would go against my moral beliefs or something that would make me miserable.
  • SCGSCG Posts: 5,416Registered Users
    Fulfilled... I figure I can always marry rich. ;)

    Just kidding, of course. Well, sort of!

    No but seriously, in reality, I do kind of agree with what your friend said - it's important to be smart about where you go to school! I never quite understood the people around me who went to expensive private schools for majors like social work, teaching, etc. But to each their own, I guess.

    Anywho, like I said before, I think I'd prefer to be fulfilled. I think it partially has to do with the fact that the field I want to go into is one of the only things that I'm GOOD at and that I enjoy. Even if I were to go into a field where one traditionally makes a good amount of money, I doubt that I would be especially successful, because it wouldn't be something that I'm good at, and therefore, wouldn't be something I'm interested in. If that makes sense...? Maybe not. I can't think of a better way to word it right now, though. Essentially, there are very few things that I'm good at, and I'd like to take advantage of them!

    Of course, I'm not out in the real world yet. Maybe things will change once I am, but for the time being, I don't see that happening!

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  • HropkeyHropkey Posts: 572Registered Users
    I'm a junior in high school and right in the middle of my college search so I've been thinking about my major a lot. (Obviously won't have to choose for a while, but I'm looking at schools that have both good scholarships and good science programs.) My passion is education but my parents are encouraging me to go with science, so that I have more options later in life. I'm inclined to agree with them, especially because a lot of the schools I like are out of state and private. I'm very blessed that my family can kind of afford it, but at the same time I do want to think ahead; my sister finished paying off her college loans right before her 25th birthday and I'm hoping to follow suit.
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  • OBBOBB Posts: 4,174Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    given a choice i would want to be a rich philanthropist. its the best of both worlds.
  • WileE-DeadWileE-Dead Banned Posts: 24,963Banned Users Curl Neophyte
    Def fulfilled...I don't believe dough is everything :dontknow:
    Wouldn't it be nice if we could get the best of both worlds?
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  • CurlyHairedFarmerCurlyHairedFarmer Posts: 3,079Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I suppose I am a fulfillment sort of gal. I went to school for veterinary technology to get my degree so I could become a licensed vet technician. I can perform dentals, take xrays, induce and monitor anesthesia, draw blood, place catheters, medicate, and be involved with the general public. Clearly you need many skills in my field. However, LVTs are paid crap. The starting paying is about $12/hour and most will never make more than $20. Compare this to other medical fields, or even the blue collar "man" fields and the pay is pathetic.

    My second job is working on my family dairy farm which I love and would like to take over someday. Definitely won't be rich doing that.
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  • NetGNetG Posts: 8,116Registered Users
    Ultimately, it's a balance to me.

    I was lucky that I was pretty much born an engineer, which is a field which pays reasonably well. However, life outside a job matters a lot to me as well. I could have moved around and switched companies some and been making about 50% more than I am now by being a job shopper, but I like that I could develop a life and have huge amount of flexibility in my life by being where I am. I have also considered taking pretty big pay cuts (to 50% of where I am) for some dream jobs, but the balance comes in there - and I love being able to afford my horses.

    If I could only have one or the other, it would be fulfillment. I've been super poor, and had some of my happiest times then. It really stinks to have to worry about money day-to-day like you do when living in poverty, and it wears on you. At the same time, though, it doesn't quite feel as if your soul is being sucked out of you like a terrible job does.
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  • WileE-DeadWileE-Dead Banned Posts: 24,963Banned Users Curl Neophyte
    At the same time, though, it doesn't quite feel as if your soul is being sucked out of you like a terrible job does.
    Bingo!
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  • JosephineJosephine Posts: 14,408Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    SCG wrote: »
    Fulfilled... I figure I can always marry rich. ;)

    Just kidding, of course. Well, sort of!


    Not sure if you are really kidding or not, but I believe many women think this way. And I know quite a few women who have married men that make much much more than them and have better lifestyles or in reality lifestyles that they really want but had before because of rich parents.

    To the OP, I suggest you ask other graduates in similar fields (or those who are 'fulfilled' and poor, poor as in paycheck to paycheck and no help from rich parents or man) and ask if it's worth it. Personally I would advise you to go where the money is at.
  • webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
    Try not to confuse career with income. There are lots of ways to have an income besides a career.
    Investing in real estate
    Other investments (stocks, bonds etc.)
    Side hustles and "consulting".

    If you diversify your income streams, you don't become a slave to your job - especially if you don't like it.

    This does involve tough financial decisions, delayed instant gratification early on and lots of self learning/entreprenurial spirit/go-get-em attitude but it can pay out well in the long run.

    One thing I've learned is that really rich people don't work for a living - their money works for them. And your tax bill looks a bit rosier.

    So maybe the question is what type of investment are you willing to make in yourself today, and what types of financial gains does it offer for the future.
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  • LAwomanLAwoman Posts: 2,949Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Little from column A, little from column B.

    But, like legends below me says, my idea of "fulfilled" isn't changing the world. And my idea of rich isn't yachts and mansions. It's having enough $$ to pay my bills, travel a little bit, save a little and enjoy life.
    legends wrote: »
    That said, I'm actually pretty easy to please when it comes to work, and I'm frankly not sure I believe in the whole concept of "fulfillment" when it comes to careers, at least for myself. As long as I don't hate what I do and the people I work with don't totally suck, I'm good.

    QFT!

    In 2007, I was thrilled to land a job with the American Red Cross thinking I'd FINALLY found a job that would pay me decently AND fulfill my need to "help the world." I quit my "corporate" job, and left behind a wonderful boss, a sweet commute, and TONS of autonomy and flexibility because I thought that I really needed to "make a difference."

    It turned out to be a truly miserable experience.

    I honestly think I was unhappier in my last year at that job than anywhere I've ever worked due to a deranged manager (who was a bully and an egomaniac) and the riduculous amount of red tape/bureaucracy that permeated the whole place.

    Now I'm back working for a (small) corporation with lots of autonomy and a sweet commute, and I could not be happier. Truly.
  • PoPo Posts: 2,607Registered Users
    webjockey wrote: »
    Try not to confuse career with income. There are lots of ways to have an income besides a career.
    Investing in real estate
    Other investments (stocks, bonds etc.)
    Side hustles and "consulting".

    If you diversify your income streams, you don't become a slave to your job - especially if you don't like it.

    This does involve tough financial decisions, delayed instant gratification early on and lots of self learning/entreprenurial spirit/go-get-em attitude but it can pay out well in the long run.

    One thing I've learned is that really rich people don't work for a living - their money works for them. And your tax bill looks a bit rosier.

    So maybe the question is what type of investment are you willing to make in yourself today, and what types of financial gains does it offer for the future.

    Good point. I definitely want to get to that position.
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