Would you take less pay to have a meaningful job?

Jason Vitug
3 min readJun 2, 2023

This doesn’t surprise me. Does it surprise you?

Former President Obama has been talking to people about working and shared that work is vital to wellbeing. #thisisworking

I can attest through my conversations across the country and research for the book that people are searching for more meaningful work. Against the suggestions of the talking heads in the media, people are willing for a little less pay if they can do work with more meaning.

There’s a lot of fanfare about retiring, but people want to retire from horrible managers and bad jobs. We need to feel productive because that is part of our dimensions of wellness.

It affects our wellbeing.

In Happy Money Happy Life, I wrote a chapter titled Happy Work (occupational wellness), I talked about this. Here’s an excerpt and a conversation with recruiting experts Michelle Phan

“Don’t think of retirement as the end goal.

Let’s talk about retirement as it relates to your work. It’s the one aspect of working lives that people dream about reaching. But most people don’t actually want to retire. They want to do something else with their life. Being financially healthy allows you the freedom to choose to retire.

Retirement isn’t an age but a financial number. I encourage people to get their finances healthy, so work becomes optional. You get to choose the type of work, the people you work with, and the choice to work for yourself.

I actually don’t know many people who want to retire. They want to reclaim their work time for happy time. They want to do meaningful work.

A study found that 9 out of 10 people were willing to forgo 23% of their future lifetime earnings to do more meaningful work. It’s a tell-tale sign that working isn’t the problem considering housing is the biggest expense taking 21% of income.

Michelle states most job seekers are trying to find work that better aligns with their sense of self.

“I see people leave because of lack of fulfillment,” she says, “and they’re looking for work that fulfills them.”

Work gives us a sense of purpose.

So it’s not surprising we don’t just want to quit. We want to do something meaningful. Even people who quit jobs in the Great Resignation didn’t stop working. Some started businesses…



Jason Vitug

Happiness and wellness advocate. Founder phroogal.com, creator Road to Financial Wellness. Preorder Happy Money Happy Life > https://www.phroogal.com/happy