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How can I have a luxurious lifestyle and not give up my personal life to my job?


luxuryJoseph from the University of North Florida asked:

I am majoring in International Business and French, and I am just beginning to explore careers. I know  there is a lot of options, and I just want to get as many answers as I can as to which careers will  best suit someone like me.  

I want to travel. I don’t want to be stuck in one place, but I also don’t want to actually move my things. I want a job with opportunity to move up and one that pays a lot. I want a job that will allow me to have a luxurious lifestyle without having to give up my personal life. What do you suggest?

Hello Joseph –

Big question!  In essence, you are asking:  How can you do what you want, get paid a lot of money and not make any sacrifices?

My answer:  Win the lottery, marry well, or get someone to set you up with a trust fund!

I know that answer might sound a bit harsh, but every career decision (every life decision, for that matter) involves some amount of compromise and sacrifice.

You need to determine (for you!) what compromises and sacrifices you are willing to make in your career in order to have a life that is personally and professionally rewarding.

Expensive taste requires a large income – Happiness does not

I’m not being critical here, I am just making a simple observation:  If you want to be able to afford a luxurious lifestyle, you will have to focus your job search on jobs and career paths that pay well.

You are not going to be an international aide workers and make a six- or seven-figure income!  Typically, people do not make a lot of money without a lot of hard work and sacrifice in well paying fields.

People who want to show up, put in their 8 hours of work each day with little or no pressure, and then go home are not usually going to make the big bucks!

If you want to be wealthy, you have to ask yourself – how badly do you want it?  What sacrifices are you willing to make in order to become wealthy.

I know a lot of very wealthy people who are very happy and many who are miserable. I also know a lot of very happy people (and miserable ones, too!) that do not make a lot of money.  The happy and satisfied people are the ones who have made conscious decisions about what is most important to them personally and then based their career decisions around honoring and upholding those decisions.

There is a great book on this topic – The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor.  For a taste of its contents, check out Shawn’s TEDTalk on The Happy Secret of Better Work

Competing priorities make decision-making difficult

In the immortal words of the Rolling Stones “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.”

Really understanding the difference between wants and needs is very important to your career exploration.  You will very likely need to make a minimum amount of money to make ends meet and fulfill your responsibilities and meet your commitments.   You will probably want to make a lot more than that.  The question becomes – how much more?

Be honest with yourself about your wants and needs, and use this information to guide your career decision-making.

If being able to travel a lot is a priority, “not having to move your things” may not be realistic.

If being able to afford a luxurious life style is a priority, “not giving up some of your personal life” may not be realistic.

In both instances, these are competing priorities.

If you truly understand and are honest about your priorities, you will be able to accept the sacrifices you will need to make.

Use what you know about yourself to guide your career exploration

Finally, I am getting to the part about what careers you should consider, right! 🙂

Joseph, your majors are international business and French.  In addition to completing your coursework, you should do something every semester to explore your career options;  Internships, information gathering interviews, involvement in student organizations, study/intern abroad programs, for example.

You should read the Wall Street Journal daily, so that you will understand what is going on in business around the world.  If you want to work in the international business community, you should be paying attention to what is going on in the international business community.

You may end up working in investment banking, import/export, hospitality and travel, international business, foreign service/diplomacy, research, international relations,  . . . I could go on.  Since I don’t  know you personally, I cannot suggest career paths that might uniquely suit you.

So, talk to the career advisors on your campus.  Talk to faculty in your international business and French programs.  Seek their advice and guidance.  Talk to the study abroad counselors at your university.  They may be able to recommend some international programs for you to consider.

Connect the Dots

You will find success – that is, you will find what you are seeking – when you work to connect the dots between what you are doing in your classes and what you are doing outside your classes.  Do this, seeking advice along the way, and you will discover the career paths that best suit your skills, interests, priorities and goals.

Happy hunting!



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