Don't pick a career solely for the money

Your career choice shouldn't be predicated solely on earning potential. While money is important, it means little if you're going to be miserable.

I started college as an accounting major. While few other career paths are nearly as lucrative and stable, I just couldn't see myself crunching numbers for the rest of my life. I switched to marketing, which wound up being a much better fit.

Many factors beyond money merit consideration, like opportunities for growth, number of hours required, stress, and, most important, whether one actually likes the work.

You don't have to be ardently passionate about what you do. After all, you're there to work -- not to have fun.

However, your work should be tolerable; if anything, you should enjoy it at least a little. We spend most of our waking hours in the office. Doing something you detest for 40 or more hours a week translates to pure agony -- at least it would for me.

One other important factor to consider: Do you support the mission of the companies you're considering working for? For example, devout Catholics would never work in adult entertainment, and working for a gun manufacturer is out of the question for those who advocate for strict gun control laws.

The happiness we derive from money is fleeting. What really counts is whether you feel your job serves a purpose -- whether you feel you're making a valuable contribution to society.

Of course, you need to remain pragmatic. If you know that there's a dearth of openings in, say, 18th century philosophy, perhaps you shouldn't major in that. Even if there are ample opportunities in your profession of choice, you'll want to be sure that the jobs pay a salary you can live on.

Money is important, but it isn't everything.

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