Would You Endure Misery For A Six Figure Job?

Six Figure Job MiseryHave you ever thought life would be perfect if you just made more money?

If you have, I have an interesting scenario for you to consider.

What would you do if someone offered you a six figure job starting tomorrow?

If you already make six figures, pretend the new job is two or four times your current salary.

The only catch is, the job would be absolutely miserable.

Would you take it?

Define Misery

A six figure job sounds awesome, but first we must determine what misery is in order to properly answer the question. For the purposes of this article, misery is whatever would drive you completely insane.

It could be sitting in an empty office with nothing but a single button that you must press every five minutes. It could be having to talk to annoying customers all day long.

Whatever it is, you would dread going to work and you wouldn’t even enjoy one second of your day while you’re at work.

Misery wouldn’t involve any type of physical pain or moral dilemmas. It wouldn’t involve spending a minute over 40 hour at work each week.

Misery would only be defined by whatever drives you crazy. So, now that we’ve defined misery, let’s explore the question on whether or not you’d take the job.

Why You Might Take The High Paying Job Despite The Misery

Misery at work is a very depressing thing, but luckily, the misery described in this question would only occur at work. Whenever you aren’t at work, you’d have more money to do whatever you wish.

I can think of a few cases in which putting up with this misery would be worth it, but it really depends on the individual.

For someone in a major amount of debt, I could see using the six figure job opportunity as a temporary way to use the extra money to pay down consumer debt.

I even believe there is a certain crowd of people that would be willing to endure the misery to pay down their mortgage debt in addition to any consumer debt.

I could see a highly goal driven person may even take a miserable six figure job to reach some short term goals. It might be saving for the perfect wedding or building up a large emergency fund.

Others might be saving to take a couple of years off of work to explore the world and travel. Regardless of the goal, I could see some people taking the six figure job to quickly earn some money for a short term goal.

Why You Wouldn’t Take The Miserable Job For The Money

If you’re in a sound financial position, then I’m guessing you’d be less likely to take the miserable job just for the money.

Whether you already have enough income to cover all of your needs or you have a ton of money in the bank, chances are you’ve realized that after your basic needs are met, a ton of extra money doesn’t really increase your happiness that much.

Even if you aren’t in good financial shape, there is a good chance you value your sanity more than you’d value a six figure job. Spending 40 hours a week at a job is a huge amount of time to be miserable every week.

While the offer sounds enticing on the surface, once you really consider how miserable the job would be you might not want to take it.

When you’re that miserable in your job, chances are it will slowly take over your time off the job, too. You’ll begin dreading Sundays because that means the work week is right around the corner.

You might even dread the late evening because after you sleep you have to go to work! Who wants to live life like that?

I think this decision is highly personal, so I’m curious whether or not you’d take the six figure, miserable job for the money or not. What led you to your decision? Let me know in the comments below!

Image by: quinn.anya Text added by: Lance Cothern

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. At this point I would take the job, but only because we’re trying to get to a specific financial threshold, and we’re putting every penny toward getting there. So I would be miserable, but it’d be a short-term misery, with a real light at the end of the tunnel.

    That assumes, of course, that I’m not so miserable that I spend every extra penny – I have a tendency to spend more when I’m upset.

    • It is definitely difficult to control your emotions if work is tearing you apart. If you’re an emotional spender it’d definitely be a difficult combination.

  2. Great post and thought-provoking question.

    The WORST job I can think of is one that would involve working a lot of overtime (80-100) hours. Since this hypothetical still assumes a 40-hour week, it doesn’t seem all THAT bad. Aside from using the income to pay off debt, I could see myself doing something miserable for 1-2 years for the sole purpose of having more freedom in the years that follow, when I go back to doing something I like. The scenario you laid out here is also a potential path to retiring at an early age, say 40. Suck it up now and reap the rewards later. It’s easier said than done I’m sure.

  3. I’m sure there are some people who would be motivated by the money and take the job. I can’t see myself doing it.

  4. I gave up that job….it didn’t suck, but it had long hours and the painful part was that I never saw my family much….and when I did I was always still at work.

  5. I had a fairly miserable job at one point and made nowhere near 100K. I would do it if I needed the money to support my family. Other than that, no. Life is too short to be miserable all the time.

  6. Great post. I think that is such a hard question. I think that it probably depends on your motivation, in that it would have to be strong enough to actually feel good about enduring misery. It is also likely to only work for a finite period, if it is indeed misery. Working hard or long hours would likely be worth it, but if that meant sarificing what you were motivated by, say your family, then it might not be worth it.

  7. Absolutely….. for a little while anyway. I currently make over six figures in a job that I don’t enjoy, which at times is miserable. But that’s not even close to the scenario you laid out; mine is manageable. I’m using it as a means to and end.

    I’d love to see a follow up post from you with the inverse question: would you take a job that produces pure happiness, but pays squat (below poverty line numbers). I actually think that’s a tougher question to answer.

    • That is an interesting question. I think the difference is you can find a job that provides pure happiness that pays more than the poverty line in most cases if you put a bit of work into it.

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