Less Money for Less Stress ?


Here’s the proverbial question – would you sacrifice pay for less stress at work? I remember the colleague of mine who resigned abruptly last year because he couldn’t take the stress when his boss went on extended sick leave. Being the back-up hence the acting head, he wasn’t used to the pressure and the after hours and weekend calls when things didn’t go right at the office. I asked him – “why the sudden resignation?” He replied “look, I can lose my job but not my family”. It was a bold decision for a breadwinner to resign rather swiftly. We would normally ask our spouse to bear with the “inconvenience” or make a bit of sacrifice. Some spouses can while others can’t. No need to rationalize here – that’s just fact of life. It is just tragic when stress at work spills right into the center of family life and strains the spousal relationship. My colleague had apparently a job available for him at his uncle’s internet-based business. Clearly he won’t be making as much money with the new job but at least he didn’t have to kill himself with stress and be around when his family needs him.

Getting a bit more personal now, my wife was in the same dilemma last year when she just got sick and tired of the stress – the ever increasing sales quotas, irate customers on the phone, the long 2.5 hours daily commute. She finally decided she had enough and took a 4 month stress leave with pay which gave her the breather she really needed. We both agreed that she need not agonize over the job and she can resign, rest and find a less stressful job elsewhere when she felt like working again.. When the time came for her to go back, she told the boss she can’t do the same job anymore. The short end of the story is the company moved her to a branch 5 minutes drive from our house which is great because she can take our little girl to school and have lunch at home daily. She’s now working 30 hours a week instead of 37.5 – no more aggressive quotas, no more long commutes and expensive train and subway tickets, no more irate customers on the phone. In short, she took a step down with her career and pay to achieve more balance with work and family life. Besides, if we were to put a dollar value on stress and aggravation, it could very well compensate for the paycheck loss. Less money for less stress is a very challenging proposition but in the end, it could be a win situation when you put value on the intangibles and the prospect of preserving and maintaining your sanity. Less money for less stress – how does this grab you if I may ask?



Here’s Josh Groban paying a surprise visit at a Michael Buble concert. Both are great singers but methinks the reason why these guys are hot and famous was because of their boldness to explore untrodden waters. Who would think that a baby faced Buble , a young guy who sings old songs, would want to compete with Tony Bennett or emulate Frank Sinatra , both icons ancient enough to be his great grandfather? And Groban, who created a new genre of opera cum pop music, just a tad lighter compared to the traditional power tenors Luciano Pavarroti and Andrea Bocelli , would evoke respect and mystify people with his hybrid talent ? Is Josh Gorban an opera or pop singer? Buble and Groban defined themselves uniquely and created a niche for their brand of music which methinks is the secret to their success. And yes, it definitely pays to be good looking and great at the same time 😉


36 Responses

  1. I went through the same thing during my corporate years, but I was a lot younger and more energetic then. And I played hard as well. These days though, I’d rather take it easy hence the decision to go freelance after almost twenty years of corporate slavery.

    Funny thing though, the stress is still there and the level is sometimes high. Good thing I work out of my bedroom sometimes and that relieves the stress somewhat, hehe. 😀

  2. I travel quite a bit in my current job. I love the work and I never find it boring. However, the amount of travel I do tends to be quite exhausting at times and not to mention, the times I have to spend away from home.

    It’s been a nice ride but there are moments when I contemplate getting off. Less money for less stress? Surely, as long as I still get to live a comfortable, albeit more austere, life.

  3. I’m young and broke and like to make more money so I go for the high stress job lol 🙂

    OMG, Josh and Michael together is a rare treat 🙂

  4. I’ll echo Irrealis’ first statement hehe

    I don’t know but I don’t like Michael Buble hehehe but maka-Josh Groban ako. I do agree with you….they found their niche. Sa dami ng mga singers and performers ngayon, you really have to have a “unique selling point”.

  5. hmmmm…are you reading my mind? i guess i am headed towards that direction. nagsawa na ako. when you hit middle age and still an employee dposition, status, etcoesn’t matter anymore. it’s tiring. i am going into something new in my life. pagod na ako. bakasyon muna. i want to start my own which is stressful but not quite the same as that of having an employer.

    as for the 2 singers, i like them both.

  6. uhm, the irony is, i have a stressful job but it pays less. i won’t mind doing stressful job as long as i cud accumulate enough money to pay for psychiatrists and physicians. ain’t life grand?

  7. It’s not worth sacrificing one’s family or health just to get paid more. I suppose the ideal job is one where we can have both. 😀

    Today it’s Buble. In the ’90s, it was Harry Connick, Jr. I don’t think jazz singers or those who sing with orchestras will go out of fashion. And that’s good. 🙂

  8. Sngl – you’re a “been there done that” kind of guy so you very well understand the relationship
    of corporate slavery and employee stress 😦 Stress isn’t bad as long as you don’t have
    too much of it 🙂

  9. Panaderos – travel does give you a little bit of diversion but when it gets too much it can be a drag too. I like what you said – “a comfortable albeit a more austere life “. It is true that making a lot more money requires more stress and if you just want enough, slowing down is necessary and you may have to adjust your lifesytle.

  10. Irrealis – I guess when you’re young and single the world is wide open for you to explore hehe 🙂 Bring the stress on !

    Buble and Groban.. if these guys can guest at each other’s concert and sing at least one song and pre-announce it, I guess it will be a hit 🙂

  11. Verns – can’t blame you . YOu’re still young and want to explore the world too. For sure you would meet stress along the way as you go up the ladder of success 🙂

    Buble and Groban are both ladies men 🙂 Sometimes I wonder at the hordes of women who watch a Groban concert are really there to enjoy his operatic songs which are mostly in Italian or just to watch him 🙂 Buble does seem to have more showmanship than Groban though 🙂

  12. Ipanema – how I wish I can read people’s minds 🙂 I guess what you are going through happens to everyone. YOu can only spend so many years doing the same thing and as it evolves
    over time the stress level might also increase. Titles and prestige are one thing but at the end of the day, life has to be worth living.

  13. Lawstude – it is unfortunate if a high stress job pays less and this is where moving to another company might make sense.

    THe other night I got a call from a relative who
    wanted a career change. She’s a university grad with an Arts degree and teaches in special ed but wants to move to IT because she’s not satisfied with the money she’s making. she’s only in her twenties and I think she can afford the career change but most people can’t 😐

  14. Wil – absolutely – you can’t always have the ideal job. Fortunately for us Pinoys we are a little more forgiving and less demanding and support the breadwinner of the family.

    I wanted to mention Harry Connick Jr in the post hehe 🙂 but Connick is really a one dimensional jazz crooner although he is a great actor and a very accomplished , serious musician – wrote musical scores for Broadway plays.. wooo 🙂 Buble on the other hand is a jazz/pop guy, someone who could sing with Sharon Cuneta in a concert ( he actually did) and you feel like it fits his job description 🙂

  15. i was in the same dilemma recently. the job will give me a fatter paycheck however stress levels would definitely increase. i let go of the offer. it was difficult but having been in the same situation before, i decided that it’s not worth it.

  16. Mari – how true. In my case I was having a relatively stress free and good paying job with a crown ( govt-controlled) corporation here but moved back to my previous employer because they offered me a salary I couldn’t refuse. My stress level went up and I’ve been hanging on for 10 years now, managing stress 🙂 Sometimes I wish I didn’t leave my previous job but again, that’s true with everything in life – you wish for something you don’t have hehe 🙂

  17. I worked like a fool when I was young, made some good money but I was going to die on the job between the four walls of my factory.
    I had to be tough, I had to take decisions my real me didn’t like, corporate life was definitely NOT for me.
    So I sold everything, moved to the Philippines, started something small to keep me busy and which puts enough bread on the table. I don’t regret it.
    I lost my “power”, I lost being “someone” in the corporate world but I am back to the person I want to be. I can smile to myself in the mirror every morning again.
    No stress, a good and happy life, the time to watch the world go by. Simple joys. Life as it should be… 🙂
    Masarap ang buhay ko! 🙂

  18. I’m definitely for less money=less stress. My body just reacts really bad during stressful times. Because it’s true, more money covets more problems…ask Bill Gates he he 😀

    and deyng! those two guys are my favorite. I dig both their styles, though Michael I shall pick if I’d be asked to choose between the two. It’s just that he’s more flexible in style and I like his coolness on stage.

  19. i’m glad to hear your wife’s doing much better, she’s indeed achieved balance. wish ko lang that i can go on a stress leave, but with gazillions of responsibilites we have on our platter we tend to get out of balance. sigh, sad but true.

    funny cause when i was fresh out of the university, my goal was to get to the top. and now that i’m almost close, it feels dumb and totally worthless. wala ng happiness and i feel like a robot sometimes. but i can’t be whining all the time, cause regardless it’s still a blessing!

    which reminds me, i need a freaking break. and maybe listen to some buble’ and groban music while at it. hahahaha 😉

  20. Sidney – nakakainggit ka – good for you pal :). You bailed out at the right time and avoided stress gradually eating you up. The simple pleasures of and joys of life – minus the stress – are indeed the things that make us really happy 🙂 No use to go on a great vacation and thinking about work 😦

  21. Thess – very true. When you are stressed at work, you can’t concentrate on other things. Well, the more money one makes, the more things he does with it to make more and it will complicate his life 😯

    I think Michael Buble has more charisma and is the more outgoing type. In one of his concerts he stopped for 15 minutes and went down to the crowd and everyone was free to hug him, esp women. I thought it was a bit dangerous 🙂

  22. Nell – yep, thankfully she’s done with the stress now, Her job is much lighter, a teller and customer service asst at a bank branch at a strip mall near our house. All she needs to do is smarten up with her dress daily which she likes hehe 🙂

    We do our daily grind and try to achieve our goals and it feels good but there’s comes a time when you feel like – is the aggravation really worth it. In my case I’ve been managing stress for the last 10 years , holding it like a hot stone juggling it in the air with either hand 🙂

    Groban’s opera type songs in Italian will definitely calm you down hehe 🙂

  23. I would also take less money than be stressed at work. There are already so many life stressors and adding more stress at work, where you spend most of your time, it just too much, I think. I also happen to know a few people who gave up promotions because of the stress associated with the positions. My mother, for one, was once offered a supervisory position in the garment factory where she was working. But she had seen how demanding and stressful that position can be, so she declined. Well, I don’t blame her.

  24. i think i’ll do it. less pay for less stress. just that the work should be something i believe in.

    and i love michael buble!!!

    and i love the video. thanks for sharing it 🙂

  25. In these so hectic modern working environment, the question is so worth wondering. Does the modern worker aimed for worked alone, and no family time?

  26. That is a very interesting topic. I had my share of that before on my previous job, thinking whether it was worth all the stress I’m getting. I did quit that job and found a nice one right now that’s paying double but on a more relaxed environment.

  27. Niceheart – can’t blame those people who avoid that responsibilities carry more stress. The amount of money you make is proportional to the responsibility you take but when you put a value on stress and aggravation, it can negate your financial gain. 😦

  28. Tin- agree. You just had a new job – did you change because of stress reasons too ? I bet you did hehe 🙂

    Don’t mention it. I have the concert DVD of Michael Buble where the captioned video clip was taken. Let me know if you want one 🙂

  29. Major Tom – unfortunately, this go-go, hectic work pace is a practice common in North America where productivity is measured by less people doing more work. 😦 Europeans are more relaxed and work less hours than their North American counterparts.

  30. Ferdz – good for you bro:) It is smart to leave when the warning signs of stress manifest itself. It’s bad when you prolong it and you can’t leave because they pay you so much. Sounds ironic no ? 😦

  31. I get your point here, BW. But somehow I find this funny: I have more work now (think hard labor), but where is the money (salary)? Hahaha.

    I kind of miss my heydays as a career woman in Manila. 🙂 Being a sometimes-desperate Hausfrau can be so uncool. LOL

  32. Jayred – sometimes it is quite difficult for career women to stop working because they need to be challenged with the right amount of stress 🙂

    My wife now is pretty content with her job – no stress, pa bandying bandying and getting paid at the same time. Pa beauty-beauty sa bihis , no sales quotas tapos no waking up early in the morning pa 🙂 She’s a teller/customer service assistant at a bank branch right now. Sooner or later she will get fed up with it – I know this for a fact 🙂

  33. […] my Jan 30, 2008 post : LESS MONEY FOR LESS […]

  34. Thank God for this site. I hv two children and a stressful job that is killing me slowly but is the highest paying I hv ever had..hte to feel like a failure but my body cant take anymore and I hate depression/anxiety pills I just need to be free. I know i may nt find this salary for a while but i love my kids and myself and dont want to die at 35 of a heart attack or b doped on SSRI’s

  35. What to Do – it’s a tough call but sometimes we have to make a sacrifice with our lifestyle so we can get rid of a stressful job that will likely kill us 😦 Our health and family are more important things than the big house. Good luck 🙂

  36. Thanks BW I know what needs to be done I just have to do it.

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