When you get a raise at work, you feel like you’re on top of the world and are instantly more satisfied with your job—even if you’re not totally in love with the gig. But the positive vibes don’t last forever, a new study, published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, has found.
Researchers from The University of Basel in Switzerland analyzed 33,500 responses to the German Socio-Economic Panel, an annual household survey, and found that both the possibility of receiving a wage increase and actually getting one—especially when the raise exceeded peers wages—increased job satisfaction. The catch? The happiness spike was only temporary.
Since making more money doesn’t necessarily create long-lasting career satisfaction, why keep doing it?
The study authors found the rise in job satisfaction fades out almost entirely within four years for a couple of different reasons: First, people compare their current income to what they were making before. And second, it doesn’t take long to get used to a new income, making the raise’s allure lose its luster. And, just like that, folks are right back where they started: wanting a raise.
So since making more money doesn’t necessarily create long-lasting career satisfaction, why not switch gears to something that fulfills your soul? It might not mean more (or even as much) money, but you’ll spend every day feeling happy and empowered—and that’s an effect that not even the biggest paycheck can give you in the long run.
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