Would a salary increase make you happier? Or are there other changes in your job that would be more meaningful to you? Here are the stories of four real people who found more fulfilling work through some surprising decisions.

SEE: Top Job Perks You May Not Have Heard Of


Interacting With People
The people you work with can be a drain - or they can enrich your lives. In some cases, it's the complete absence of coworkers that's the problem. That's what Jaime Catmull, Strategic Partnerships Manager with ConsumerTrack, Inc., learned when she stopped working at home to go back to an office.

"I have been a successful independent contractor for the last four years working from home. So when I received a call from ConsumerTrack to work for them full time in an office, I was reluctant, to say the least," she relates.

"But being part of a team and actually physically working with people every day has surprisingly been a lot of fun. In a world of emails, text messaging, video conferencing and telecommuting, I had forgotten how fun it can be to work in an office with people brainstorming and feeding off each other's energy. Going to work every day in an office and working with a team has helped me to understand the people I'm working with better and to feel a stronger connection to the world around me," she says.

Fulfilling Your Calling
Sometimes leaving your low-paying job for a higher-paying one doesn't bring the rewards you expected. Danny Kofke, a Georgia-based special education teacher and author of "A Simple Book of Financial Wisdom," had this experience.

"A few years ago, I left the teaching profession to make more money selling flooring. I had the potential to triple my teaching salary in this new position, but after about 3 months, realized that I belonged in the classroom. I came to the conclusion that even if I made a six-figure income selling flooring, I was much happier being a teacher," says Kofke. "Teaching is my passion and I am so fortunate that I was able to realize that," he adds.

SEE: Jobs With Great Pay, But Huge Stress

Making a Difference
Jim Dailakis, a 42-year-old Aussie standup comedian living in New York, was going to get into commercial art. He went to college for three years to earn a degree in that field, but he always felt something was missing.

By chance, Dailakis started DJing at weddings, parties and other events and discovered that he enjoyed making people happy. He later got into acting and then, again by accident, slipped into standup comedy.

"The more I got into it, the more I realized the happier I made everybody else, the happier I was," he says. "I am the catalyst for a roomful of happy people."

Achieving Work-Life Balance
When most people think of work-life balance, they think about things like having weekends off, being able to leave the office in time to make their favorite class at the gym, and having a social life that revolves around family and friends, not co-workers and bosses.

For Daniel A. Epstein, changing jobs meant having the freedom and flexibility to care for an ailing family member.

"My father has been battling illness and in-and-out of the hospital since 2008. In order to be there for him, I started TheDialogueCo.com," he says. His video chat mentorship counseling for teens and young adults allows him to be location-independent and take care of his dad.

The Bottom Line
As these four stories show, many factors play into job satisfaction besides pay. Work-life balance, the people you interact with, the sense that you're in the right place and making people happy can all be far more rewarding than cashing the highest possible paycheck. The next time you're looking for a new job or a promotion, make sure to look beyond the bottom line.

SEE: 6 Ways To Find Your Dream Job

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