Pursue a career you love. David Myers’ classic study of happiness found that between 1960 and 1990 Americans’ income, adjusted for inflation, doubled but the percentage rating themselves very happy remained constant at 30%.

Does the relationship hold? Any study is merely a photograph in time, from one perspective. The more photos, the better we understand the picture.

Last year Science magazine (pp. 1829-37) reported on a survey of 42,000 US scientists and their career satisfaction. The scientists included professionals and postdocs in universities, research facilities, medical facilities, and self-employment settings. For all categories between 60% and 75% rated themselves as “very satisfied.”

Average salaries ranged from 51K to 99K and there was no relationship between income and satisfaction. The exception was professionals in the highest paid group (99K)—Pharmaceuticals. Only 22% were satisfied. Overall, those in academic and self-employed settings were happier than those in industry (though industry had higher salaries). As one respondent put it, “I can’t believe they pay me to do what otherwise would be my hobby.”

Retirement ages are getting older and older. Among academics, almost 30% anticipated not retiring until 70 or older.

Would they choose a science career again? 70% said yes. Why? To quote the article:
"A clear message from the respondents is 'love conquers all'… following your bliss is the only sure way to be happy in the job, say many of those surveyed."

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Michael Brickey, America’s preeminent Anti-Aging Psychologist, teaches people to think, feel, look and be more youthful. He is an inspiring keynote speaker and Oprah-featured author. His works include: Defy Aging, 52 baby steps to Grow Young, and Reverse Aging (anti-aging hypnosis CDs. Visit www.DrBrickey.com for a free report on anti-aging secrets and his free Defy Aging Newsletter with practical anti-aging tips. Hear him interview leading anti-aging experts and/or read the interview transcripts with the anti-aging experts.

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