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  • Searching For Career Happiness? Be Motivated By Growth, Not Money
  • Post author
    Stacy Mikulik

Searching For Career Happiness? Be Motivated By Growth, Not Money

Searching For Career Happiness? Be Motivated By Growth, Not Money

Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I am encouraging you to be motivated by authenticity and growth - not money - as you decide upon your career or ponder a career change.

I think the root cause of the rampant career dissatisfaction in our country is that we're taught to be motivated by money. Ask people why they're working at a job they don't like and I guarantee you that they'll all give you an answer relating to money: "I can't afford to quit" or "I can't make this kind of money elsewhere" or "I'll never make money doing what I love." We all know that "money doesn't buy happiness" but many of us make decisions based on money and then wonder why we aren't happy. This is why my biggest piece of advice for you is this: be driven not by money, but by what will grow and evolve you into a better version of yourself.

I can already hear you saying, "Yeah, that's a nice idea, but I've got bills to pay." Paying bills is important. Obviously. But when did financial security become the only goal that matters? It's like, we think if we have financial security, all of a sudden we'll be happy and our life will be perfect. Spoiler alert: that's not true. I had financial security in my job as a lawyer and I was a hot mess. You wouldn't even recognize "old Stacy" as I like to call her. Sure, you can wear nice clothes, drive a nice car, buy a nice house, but if you aren't happy, those things don't make you happy either. So I'm telling you - if the only thing that's driving your career decisions is money, you are in for a big disappointment over the course of your life. Even if you make all the money and get all the promotions, you are going to feel pretty empty at the finish line. And then what?

My father was a real life example of this. He worked hard, saved religiously in a 401(k), budgeted his finances like a pro, bought us a large family house and worked on his beautifully manicured front lawn so that the "outside" picture of his life was nearly perfect. But he was quite unhappy on the inside. And I think it was a big disappointment for him when he "checked off" all the things on the checklist of life, and happiness wasn't waiting for him at the end. I think he strived to "do all the things" and achieve and be perfect, hoping that inner peace and joy would be waiting at the end. Not so. Life isn't about how much money you make, your job title, and how big your house is. Life is much deeper than that. My dad passed away fairly young - he had just turned 65 - and it was a glorious experience to see him soften at the end of his life while he fought a short 10-month battle with cancer. He learned during that time that friendships, your children, quality time, and laughter are priceless and really make up a life. Not the type of house you live in or how green your lawn is each summer. He spent a lot of time obsessing over the "outside" details of life, and not enough on what mattered.

Listen, I don't deny that money has to be a factor in the career decisions you make. But let it be just that: one single factor in the overall decision-making process. Let me encourage you to be driven less by money and more by what is going to grow you and evolve you into the next highest version of yourself. What were you put here on this earth to accomplish? What gifts do you have to share? What do you feel called to do? When you line up with those things and start living YOUR authentic purpose, life has an entirely different flavor. Your life becomes about serving others with the unique gifts that only you have. And when you're in alignment with that, life just flows. I can happily say I live in this space now, after 11 long miserable years as an attorney. I was put on this earth to be the former lawyer turned jewelry maker pursuing a happier life. I was meant to share my gift of jewelry design and to show people that you can make a massive career change that benefits you in ways you never could have imagined. What were YOU meant to do here? What gifts or message or story does your life tell?   

Let me leave you with this idea. It's great if the career path you're on will lead to both more money and personal growth. But when you're given a choice between the two, choose growth. Think of it as a long-term investment. When you become a better version of yourself, the money follows. It won't be immediate, but if you stick with it, it comes. It really, really does. And earning money from something you enjoy even feels a lot better than money earned from doing something you don't particularly like. It's temporary sacrifice for long-term gain.

I hope you're able to learn something valuable from my own experiences. My wish is for everyone to know the feeling of doing work that brings them joy. It truly is an unbelievable gift to not dread Mondays and hope for Friday's fast arrival. If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. 

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I'm in the process of creating a Weekly Journal board on Pinterest so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h over the past couple years and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!


  • Post author
    Stacy Mikulik

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