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?

by
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!

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

When spying on your staff backfires

As Barclays' recently-scrapped tracking software shows, snooping on your colleagues is never a good idea....

A CEO’s guide to smart decision-making

You spend enough time doing it, but have you ever thought about how you do...

What Tinder can teach you about recruitment

How to make sure top talent swipes right on your business.

An Orwellian nightmare for mice: Pest control in the digital age

Case study: Rentokil’s smart mouse traps use real-time surveillance, transforming the company’s service offer.

Public failure can be the best thing that happens to you

But too often businesses stigmatise it.

Andrew Strauss: Leadership lessons from an international cricket captain

"It's more important to make the decision right than make the right decision."