In yesterday’s post, I introduced the Money magazine interview of Clayton Christensen, the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration with the Harvard Business School (“How Should You Measure Success?: Clayton Christensen Says to Total Up Your Relationships, Not Your Paychecks” Money October 2012, pp. 96–100).  His areas of expertise include disruptive technology, emerging markets, innovation, strategy, and technological change.  Additionally, Christensen has spoken to the deeper truths of personal and professional happiness in life and in business.

When asked about taking a new job, and how important salary should be, Christensen reminds us the more substantive contributor to job satisfaction is not pay, but growth opportunities.  To the degree a job will enable you to grow personally and professionally, to the degree a job will enable you to be a contributor to the team, to the degree a job will enable you to assume increasing responsibilities, to that same degree you will experience satisfaction.  The money itself tends to be secondary.  Christensen cuts right to the heart of the matter when he insightfully reminds us:

“You would always prefer more money to less money, but there is no evidence that more money makes you happier.” (p. 98)

He is correct.  In fact, all the latest studies I have come across indicate once you have enough money for your basic needs and comfort, additional money quickly produces diminishing returns of happiness.

Here’s my takeaway—Aim for the position you were made for.  Aim for the position in which you can be a tremendous contributor.  That is when your happiness will increase the most.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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