Emotional Equivalent Salary

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

We all know money is relative. A thousand dollars in Montana is going to do you a lot better than a thousand dollars in Manhattan. But here’s a question: is it not just relative location-wise, but emotion-wise as well?

An investment banking analyst at a large firm makes about $83,000 starting and works 100 hours a week. In contrast, a technical sales associate at a tech company makes $75,000 and works 40 hours a week. Now, you can say that the associate makes more than the analyst hourly, and that’s true — it’s roughly $36 versus $16. But I think this is simplifying things. After all, the analyst still makes a larger fixed amount of money, and that money comes with a bigger level of prestige than someone in technical sales. But I think our sales engineer has a lot more benefit than just an hourly advantage.

If you were to take the 100 hour a week, stressful and variable investment banking environment, it likely causes a lot more damage to mental health than working a perhaps similarly demanding yet fixed 40 hour week job. And if you build that out over time, the investment banker is going to deteriorate faster than the salesman. It is, in other words, not emotionally sustainable. 

Now let me bring to the table something else. Say you make $40,000 a year; but it’s on your own. That meaning, you made that $40,000 — you didn’t have a sales manager breathing down your back, or a large investment bank to impress. You simply performed for yourself, using your time as you saw best. 

Now making $40,000 a year all by your lonesome is a lot harder than being an investment banker or a sales engineer — but that’s not my point. My point is that the $40,000 a year as an income generator is emotionally equivalent to the $83,000 as an investment banker. Starting something on your own is a lot better for you in the long run… so why not try it out?

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