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Would you take a serious pay cut for this valuable reason?


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Photo: @crystalmariesing via Twenty20

Even if a job’s salary and benefits are great, there’s (at least) one thing many people would be willing to give it all up for: finding something that feels more fulfilling—even if doing so requires a pay cut, says a new study.

Making enough money to not worry about loans, rent, your Netflix bill—you name it—feels great, but if you’ve been passing the minutes in your cubicle by daydreaming about doing something that feels more meaningful, you’re not alone: Plenty of folks who are on the edge of burnout have admitted they would be willing to make less money in order gain more on a deeper level.

The typically lower-paid jobs (like teacher, artist, and nurse) were marked as meaningful while higher-paid jobs (like banker and accountant) weren’t.

When researchers asked 245 participants questions about which jobs would provide a sense of meaning, the typically lower-paid jobs (like teacher, artist, and nurse) were marked as meaningful, while higher-paid jobs (like banker and accountant) weren’t.

In fact, on average, most people in the study claimed they would take a 32 percent salary cut to do something they really care about—and, there are plenty of perks to making that switch.

“People who are able to derive a sense of meaning from their work enjoy many benefits, including enhanced motivation, productivity, and well-being,” wrote the study authors.

“People who are able to derive a sense of meaning from their work enjoy many benefits, including enhanced motivation, productivity, and well-being,” co-authors Jing Hu and Jacob B. Hirsh, PhD, wrote in the study. “In contrast, a lack of meaningful work has long been recognized as a primary source of alienation, anxiety, emotional exhaustion, and boredom in the modern era.”

So think twice before writing off your dream job as financially impractical, because taking the leap of faith might improve your quality of life. If you’re feeling unhappy in your current position, scan the job boards for something that might provide you a greater sense of purpose—even if that means making a lower salary in the process.

Here’s exactly how to turn your passion into your day job. Or, think about using your passion to change the world—because you totally can.