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

Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    How Hard Is a Career Selling Life Insurance?

    Learn why selling life insurance is a difficult way to make a living, but also how agents who persevere are rewarded down the road with a strong passive income.
  2. Fundamental Analysis

    The Basics Of Corporate Structure

    CEOs, CFOs, presidents and vice presidents: learn how to tell the difference.
  3. Professionals

    What Accounts for One-Third of the Wage Gap

    Women who work full time still make less than men who have the same qualifications. One third of the pay gap may be due to gender bias and discrimination.
  4. Personal Finance

    Top Factors Preventing Workers From Being Promoted

    Many employees blame office politics when they fail to get promoted, but they may be sabotaging their own careers with these behaviors.
  5. Professionals

    Career Advice: Investment Banking Vs. Corporate Finance

    Read an in-depth review and comparison of a career in investment banking and a career in corporate finance, with advice about which one to choose.
  6. Entrepreneurship

    START-UP NY: How a Tax-Free Zone Would Work

    START-UP NY is an initiative designed to attract companies to New York State by giving them 10 years of tax breaks. Sounds good, but is it a success?
  7. Economics

    Explaining Silo Mentality

    A silo mentality occurs when certain departments in an organization do not share information or knowledge with other departments.
  8. Taxes

    Payroll Taxes: Picking Apart Your Paycheck

    Here's what gets deducted from your pay, what your employer pays and where your payroll taxes actually end up.
  9. Investing

    Measuring Job Satisfaction in the Millennial Age?

    Generation Y embodies the trend towards meshing office life with play, and is creating a new and unique work/life balance.
  10. Professionals

    Career Advice: Investment Banking Vs. Law

    Learn some of the most important differences between a career in investment banking and law, and figure out which career suits you better.
  1. Does working capital include salaries?

    A company accrues unpaid salaries on its balance sheet as part of accounts payable, which is a current liability account, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Do financial advisors need to meet quotas?

    Most financial advisors are required to meet quotas, particularly if they work for firms that pay base salaries or draws ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between AGI (adjusted gross income) and gross income?

    In the United States, individuals pay taxes based on their adjusted gross income, or AGI, rather than their gross income. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How is marginal propensity to save calculated?

    Marginal propensity to save is used in Keynesian macroeconomics to quantify the relationship between changes in income and ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How can minimum wages contribute to a market failure?

    The minimum wage acts like a price floor on labor, reducing the supply of jobs available to a level below the market-clearing ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does the always be closing (ABC) strategy benefit a salesperson's sales funnel?

    It is good practice in sales to always be closing, because it's common for a salesperson's sales funnel to be leaky. When ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Ex Works (EXW)

    An international trade term requiring the seller to make goods ready for pickup at his or her own place of business. All ...
  2. Letter of Intent - LOI

    A document outlining the terms of an agreement before it is finalized. LOIs are usually not legally binding in their entirety. ...
  3. Purchasing Power

    The value of a currency expressed in terms of the amount of goods or services that one unit of money can buy. Purchasing ...
  4. Real Estate Investment Trust - REIT

    A REIT is a type of security that invests in real estate through property or mortgages and often trades on major exchanges ...
  5. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  6. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!