There's More to a Career Than Money; Professional Secretary: Many People Are Prepared to Take a Huge Pay Cut in Order to Get True Job Satisfaction

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Byline: KAREN HAINSWORTH

MOST people climbing the career ladder enjoy an increase in wages to match their job promotion. But for some people, happiness is not necessarily a large pay cheque. These passionate individuals are prepared to dramatically downshift career-wise in their search for a more fulfilling role in life. And they are even prepared to take a substantial cut in wages to achieve their personal goals.

"I worked for a major bank for more than eight years in a sales and administration role," says Keith Higgins, 35. He swapped his job in the heart of Edinburgh's financial sector for a much lower paid role in the NHS five years ago. "Although I was doing quite well in banking, it got to the point where I felt it wasn't doing anything for me any more. I was making money for an organisation who were making rich people even richer - it just wasn't me."

Endless conversations with friends, many of whom felt the same frustration with their own jobs, encouraged him to have a radical rethink about his career.

He took a job as a support nurse at the Sick Children's Hospital in Edinburgh, later moving to London's Great Ormond Street Hospital to take up the administrative position of orthopaedics admissions officer. "The biggest problem, initially, was the pay cut," he says, further admitting that he mulled the idea over for three years before committing himself.

Some of Keith's friends thought he was crazy to sacrifice all the perks that came with a career in finance; the rest, however, were openly admiring that he had created a viable financial plan and had the determination to make it work. "To begin with, I missed my annual bonuses and I don't have a company car these days, but it's no big deal. I have no regrets. If you're not motivated by money and if you have a strong belief in your goal, then go for it," he advises.

"It's essential to have a passion for the sector you're planning to move into," says Dr Michael Carroll, chartered psychologist and Visiting Industrial Professor at the University of Bristol. "If you want to change jobs simply because you're unhappy where you are, taking a lower paid job elsewhere is not going to help matters."

Try to understand what is really motivating your desire for change.

"Talk things over with somebody you know and trust, look at all the angles and be honest with yourself," Dr Carroll suggests. "Be sure to include others who might be affected by your decision otherwise it could create a lot of bitterness and resentment. And the third stage is to look at the implications of your decision financially. …