why to turn down a paid job

More money is always better, right?  Not really.  Granted if you don’t have enough money to buy food and other necessities, this doesn’t apply to you.  However if you already have a full time job and enough money to live comfortably, is more money better?

Liking your full time job

One time in the Job Discussion forum of JavaRanch, someone asked about which of two completely disparate things paid better.  In a discussion about which he liked better, I asked a hypothetical question.  The gist of it was – if you got paid a lot of money to get poked with a hot/sharp stick 40 hours a week for the next 10-20 years, would you do it?”  While someone obligingly answered that it depends on how much you get paid, it shows the point.  Making you think about enjoying the large percentage of time you spend at work.

Similarly, a few participants in that forum have expressed a statement that they would rather stay technical even if becoming a manager paid more.  I certainly understand this sentiment.  It shows enjoying a job matters.

What about volunteering?

Some technical people do volunteer work on the side because they enjoy it.  This is a marked contrast to “I’m on a computer all day at work – why would I want to touch one at home.”  On the surface, it would seem like if you enjoy something enough to do it voluntarily, getting paid would be icing on the cake.  I’ve turned down a couple offers to do something on the side for money.  My reason is that I have a full time job and if I get paid to do X, it will be stressful.  Whereas while I’m a volunteer I don’t feel bad if I have to stop for a little while – as long as someone else is covering.

Then I read Ilja Preuss’ tweet about the article “How Rewards can Backfire and Reduce Motivation.”  The article points out rewards remind us of obligations and dull/tedious/painful tasks.  Very interesting and it really resonates with me and why I do things as a volunteer.

Assuming you can pay the bills, fun is a factor!

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