Happy Earning $75K?!

Back in the fall, Princeton University’s Center for Health and Wellbeing released research on the salary that optimizes individual’s daily happiness.   At $75,000 we have maximized our happiness. Oh there are other benefits to making more money but it will not impact your daily happy quotient.

This is anecdotal but I think women tend to ask themselves what salary will they be “happy with” instead of what salary the job is worth.  In this case,  “happy with” isn’t about our daily happiness but more about settling.  Kind of like settling for the last donut in the box even though it is squished; settling for the shoes that don’t quite fit but they look great with the outfit; or settling for the guy who doesn’t make the heart sing but he keeps showing up.

Think of it.  When you last looked for a new job or were getting your annual performance review, did you think “I would be happy making $X?”  Did you do the new math of adulthood?

 + car payment + student loan + credit card payments + food + day care + insurance + tax + gas + utilities + clothes + entertainment + 401K

= I can live on $X 

= I’d be happy making $X

Do you think these are the questions professional athletes ask themselves?  I doubt it. Tom Brady, the quarterback for The New England Patriots will make $18 million if they actually play football during 2011. Do you think he could have been happy with $1 million or $2 million or any one of the $17 millions that come before 18?  Probably.  Especially when you think he was a sixth round pick and a backup quarterback who may not have played had Drew Bledsoe not been injured in 2001.  Mr. Brady hasn’t looked back since he got the starting quarterback gig.  He’s negotiated better contracts and now he is considered the highest paid football player.

Salaries are a scorecard for athletes.  If I am a better player than Mr. Y than I better make more money then Mr. Y.  The beautiful thing about athletes is that it is all objective.  There are statistics galore.  Even better than the stats is the fact that both salaries and stats are public knowledge.  There is nothing hidden behind the curtain.  It only makes sense that Tom Brady becomes the highest paid player since he is considered one of the best players and best brands in football.

We working Janes may not have as much information as Tom Brady’s agent when negotiating our salaries but much information is attainable today. Glassdoor.com, Payscale.com, Salary.com and SalaryExpert.com are just some of the many web sites with data that you can use.   So, next time you are thinking about your salary ask yourself a new question.  “What salary is the job I do worth?”  Then start researching to find out.


@ Copyright 2011, Katie Donovan. All rights reserved. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited