PhotoPicking which career you want to pursue is a big decision with a many different variables to consider. While some people may consider how much money they can earn to be an overriding factor, a new study shows that you shouldn’t eliminate non-work factors from the equation.

A team of psychologists from the University of Bern in Switzerland have found that people who consider family, personal interests, and civic engagements when picking a career are more satisfied in the long run. Additionally, they say that taking these factors into account did not negatively affect how much a person could earn.

Family and personal interests matter

These conclusions fly in the face of many long-held beliefs that professionals have about a person’s dedication to their job.

“In many organisations, there is still a prevailing image that an ideal employee completely and totally lives for work. On the other hand, people who are strongly involved in nonwork activities are often told that they do not have enough ambition for their career and that it could have negative consequences on their career success,” explains senior researcher Andreas Hirschi.

However, the results of the study indicate that this simply isn’t the case. Hirschi and his colleagues followed roughly over 500 German employees over the course of six months to see how their career choices affected their overall satisfaction. They found that participants who had an increased attention towards family, personal interests, and civic engagement had higher general satisfaction with their lives.

Perhaps most importantly, the researchers found that focusing on non-work factors when picking a career did not affect how much a person was likely to earn. This held true across participants of different ages and gender.

“The results suggest that, in general, it is worth [it] to actively include nonwork aspects like family or personal interests in career planning,” said Hirschi.

The full study has been published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior

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