I have started my career in the last year and in many ways landed my dream job. I have a solid salary, great boss and great work environment. That being said my salary is much less than many of my close friends who who have been working longer or are in more lucrative fields.
I know success and happiness are measured in many other ways than income, but it can be difficult to avoid the traps of comparison. Curious if you guys have any thoughts on the topic.
Mind your business, let them mind theirs.
Keeping up with the Joneses doesn't work anyway ... it is difficult to tell how well the Joneses are doing from the outside. Nice car, nice clothes, nice house, lots of education, etc. are often evidence of a high car payment, high credit card debt, high mortgage and high student loan debt and barely-making-ends-meet rather than high income. People often look more comfortable than they are.
If you're happy where you are, what difference does it make, anyway?
I think you're better off not knowing what they make. This happens to me at times, where I see the guys I work with and what they have, and I know exactly what they make. We have a pay scale based on title and years of experience that is posted. If I see them drive up in a brand new truck or talk about the new house they are building I wonder how they afford it because I know I sure couldn't, and I don't really have anything nice as it is or much debt. The envy bug can bite and bite deep. I forget that they could have a wife that makes a lot or their second job could pay the main bills, or they are barely scraping by with payment after payment.
For me, I value my time more than a brand new shiny vehicle in the driveway that is $500 plus a month. I don't want my posessions to force me to have to work all the time just so I can have them and try to impress people that don't give a crap anyway. Me and my wife really like to travel, so we spend our extra money on that. If we owned a huge house I'm sure I wouldn't be able to go anywhere but that house. If you find what is valuable to you, you will put your effort in to that.
You've only been in the field ONE year, and you're already jealous of friends who make more money. Friends who are either in different lines of work or who've been working in your line longer than you have.
Knock it off, and don't try to equal their material goods. Usually the differences amount to stuff like drinking blended Scotch instead of Single-Malts, or Budweiser instead of Anchor Steam for a couple of years.
I know more than a few fellows who invested their earnings in "man toys"...and found themselves living in apartments instead of the house they lost in the current downturn. Some of them went from steak to Ramen noodles as well. But for a few years there, those same guys looked realy good.
I calculated how much I could "Make" if I went freelance at one point. It make me realize how much my benefits where.
What question are you asking? Am I good enough? Am I successful enough?
Which Enough are you asking?
What I read was
1. You have a Solid (dependable) Salary.
2. You have a great boss.
3. You have a great work environment.
Damn dude what more do you want? Really we can all ask for more income.
I read somewhere that after about $60k the amount of happiness that comes from more money drops off because beyond that point the basics are covered. Once you have a place to live, food, clothing, etc; a little more money is nice but not as nice as before.
If you have your basics covered and future needs addressed (retirement) focus on enjoying what you have and doing well at what you do. The rest is seeking miserly and unhappiness.
"That being said my salary is much less than many of my close friends who who have been working longer or are in more lucrative fields."
"working longer" - You will get there over time. You can't change the past, so why worry about it?
"more lucrative fields" - If what you want is money, why aren't you already in that more lucrative field?
As stated before, you've got a good job, good boss and a good environment, sounds pretty good to me? You didn't state this, but it sounds like you are paying your bills? That's pretty good for this economy. If you judge yourself by others, you will always be wanting in some area.
"If you judge yourself by others, you will always be wanting in some area." - very true, thanks for the reminder.
Sorry guys, my intent was not to come across as whining at all. Like I said I am quite content, and these thoughts are few and far between. I was just curious how some of you guys keep things that really matter in perspective. I know what I value in life, but every once those jealous thoughts creep in. Appreciate the feedback.
Time = money, the more time you spend in a field the more money you make, usually. Lucrative fields, self explanatory. I am assuming your chosen field won't pay as much as some of theirs.
Even with equal incomes what you're able to afford can be radically different. For example if you have a high student loan debt then you won't be able to afford something someone without that debt could afford. Life is different for everyone so there is no comparison to be made.
Very true about the student loan debt. Occasionally, I will keep my self up at night wishing I did not have a large amount of student loans to pay back. However, I realize that college with student loans is better than no college. I also agree that no two people are alike, what is a lot of money for someone may be considered poor by another.
Income doesn't matter so much. If you spend wisely and invest, you'll be in a better position than people on double your salary who are saddled with credit card debt, multiple mortgages and new cars that make them look prosperous to their friends but are actually unaffordable.