How Much Should we Value Meaningful Work?

I’ve seen this kind of question go around a few times on LinkedIn in recent days, and have had this response sort of noodling around in my brain of late, but alas, now I can’t find any of the exact posts to link this to anymore. Still, I’m sure you’ve all seen some version of this:

“Would you rather make $100k at a boring, meaningless job, or $50k doing something meaningful?”

Apparently, the correct answer to this question is the latter, according to most of my LinkedIn connections.

I disagree. I think people who take $50k might just be suckers.

You are getting paid half of what you could be making elsewhere, which means your employer is simply underpaying you, by taking advantage of your need to find meaning in your work.

Remember, most organizations will hit you over the head with how “important” their work is, in the hopes that you’ll get engaged in the work, find meaning in it, and then accept less money for more work because it’s now part of you. They count on it. The fact that many of the people I see sharing their responses to this question work in the eDiscovery industry just makes it worse. Nothing we do is THAT meaningful. Certainly nothing we do is worth taking a 50% pay cut in order to keep doing it. We aren’t curing cancer or ending poverty over here.If that’s what you want to do, so be it. Just know that you might get taken advantage of with that kind of attitude.

Give me the boring job, twice the income, little job stress, and I’ll find my own meaningful way to spend the rest of my time, and extra money. Thank you.



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