We want to have our cake and eat it too—but in this day and age, it seems that women are always being told to choose. For those of us not interested in that narrative, how do you find a career that can satisfy your personal and professional needs—while pursuing your passion?
WHAT DOES “LIVING WAGE” MEAN TO YOU?
I kept thinking about what the idea of a “living wage” was, and how that differed depending on who you were. Sure, I made enough money to afford the basics and I had plenty of fun, but how was that different from what a “living wage” meant to someone else—someone who had kids, was hoping to buy a house, or was paying off loans, etc.?
BUT WHAT ABOUT MY PASSION?
So I was worried about finding work that I believed was important and being compensated enough. I didn’t want to work for what I thought to myself was “some random company” where I’d be toiling away on behalf of something I didn’t care about, only for a higher salary. But I also knew that money was going to help ensure that I would be prepared for the life I wanted in the future.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE?
I asked lots of friends and family how they felt about their own jobs and income, and how that contributed to their happiness. Their answers ran the gamut from general responses like: “I don’t care much for what I do, but I love my life,” to “I like my job because of x,y, and z and that’s enough for now.”
Everyone understood the predicament I was in because most people had seemed to make peace with similar questions long ago. But I still felt like I had to choose between work I loved for less money, or work I didn’t love for more money. And I didn’t know how.
What I chose was both. And no, it’s not because I found the perfect job with the perfect salary. Those jobs do exist—if you have one, you’re lucky!—but I still haven’t found mine yet. I did, however, come to peace with the fact that I was going to have to choose one over the other sometimes, but not forever.
Once I realized that “having it all” didn’t necessarily have to mean having it all at once, I felt the freedom to act on what I wanted, as opposed to what I needed, and then understood that those two things had been more closely aligned than I thought all along.