Dear Career Angel: Should I follow my heart - or the money?

MT's Career Angel Penny Davenport answers that age-old question: to do what you love, or do what pays?

Last Updated: 28 Jun 2013

Dear Career Angel,

I am torn between two offers: a one-year lucrative contracting deal and a permanent role. I can see the pros and cons of both but really don’t know how to make a decision. Help?

David, Cardiff

Dear David,

I can see the dilemma and your decision, as you say, will not be straightforward. In any careers discussions, I try and find out as much about a client’s life overall as possible. It is usually possible to write a simple list of pros and cons for most decisions but context is everything. For example, if you are trying to save as much money as possible for a particular aim, contracting can seem like a really great idea. However, if you want to get on the property ladder, your bank manager will be looking for more longevity in your earnings.

If you, or your family, are very risk averse contracting may give you sleepless nights but others just love the freedom and variety it can bring. Contracting is the norm in some industries and a key factor for the individual to think about is whether they have transferable skills which will be valuable to the next employer.

In your case, start by drawing up a table of your career and personal objectives over the next one year, three years and five years and then analyse whether the contract or permanent role will give you the best chance of hitting your goals. Using a highlighter pen will give you extra clarity. Talk to your trusted advisors in your network and listen to what they think with an unbiased ear.

Of course, for most of us, ultimately our career decisions come down to gut instinct so when you’ve done enough analysis, combine this with an honest assessment of how you personally feel about this decision.

Good luck!

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