12 Factors to Look For in a Job Other than a Paycheck


Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you’ll have more success than you could possibly have imagined.” —Roger Caras

Minimalism has many benefits. It gives freedom, time, and reduces stress. Minimalism also reduces the amount of money required for life.

As a result, it provides opportunity to choose work based on a number of factors—not just the size of the paycheck. Once we learn contentment with less, we are free to weigh any number of factors in choosing work. Embrace minimalism. It opens up countless opportunities in life and work.

To help you enjoy waking up in the morning, consider these 12 factors in a job other than a paycheck.

1. It makes a positive difference. Choose a job that adds value to our world, that leaves it better than you found it, and genuinely helps other people.

2. You enjoy your co-workers. Given the fact that you will spend a large percentage of your day at work, be sure you enjoy the people around you. It is comforting to know that they support you, cheer for you, and work together as a team.

3. You feel appreciated and valued. A paycheck is nice, but that goes straight to the bank. On the other hand, appreciation is something you carry in your soul every day. This appreciation can be communicated through respect, unexpected gifts, or just an old-fashioned “thank-you.”

4. You are trusted. It’s nice to know that somebody isn’t always looking over your shoulder. And when you are given a task, you are given the freedom to complete it.

5. It is something you love to do. The old adage is completely true, “Find a job that you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Look for a job that keeps you motivated by its very nature, not solely by the paycheck – because that wears off real fast.

6. It fits your personality. Anyone who has ever taken a personality test knows we all have unique personalities that thrive in certain environments. Some enjoy working with people, others enjoy completing tasks. Some like making the decisions, others don’t. Find a job that fits your sweet spot. And by the way, if you keep getting this one wrong, there are people who can help you.

7. It challenges you to grow. Look for a job that will make you better. Whether through challenging assignments, educational opportunities, demanding excellence, or informal mentors, a job that forces you to grow beyond your current skill set will make you a better person and it, a better company.

8. The company’s values align with yours. At the end of the day, your integrity is what matters most. Don’t compromise it every time you walk into the workplace. If you are at a job that requires you to suspend your personal convictions, you don’t need to be—nor should you be.

9. A flexible, results-oriented culture. A culture of flexibility suggests a results-driven focus—one that is more interested in you successfully completing your job with excellence than clocking in a set amount of work hours during a specified time of the day.

10. It values family. You value your family. Your job should too.

11. It brings balance to life. Work is not so bad when you love it. But if you are not allowed to explore other endeavors (play/hobbies/family) because of its demands, it is not healthy for your soul, life, or body. Find a job that allows you to enjoy your life outside of work too.

12. It brings you satisfaction. The ability to look back at your day, your year, or your life with satisfaction is more valuable than any number of digits in the bank.

Own less stuff. Do work you love.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    For people like who me have always been entrepreneurs, taking a simpler approach to life allows me to choose the jobs I create for myself based on many of these same factors.

    I’m decreasing my reliance on my used bookselling business to return to a career as a full-time writer. Among the many reasons for my blog is re-honing my writing skills.

    Satisfaction, though, is the ultimate reason for any action in life.

  2. says

    great things to think about….i am a preschool teacher and I think my job fits all of them..and I am proud to say that I absolutely love my job!!

    • Deborah Wright says

      I am a have been teaching kindergarten for 27 years and feel the exact same way! I can honestly agree with each factor.

  3. says

    What a great post. My job as a newborn intensive care nurse meets these points perfectly for me. I could make more money as a travel nurse or in management, but then I would lose the love for the job and I can’t imagine how that would trickle down to affect my family.

  4. says

    I have just found your blog and I am so inspired by it. My hubby is a tutor with at risk youth (13-16yrs) that have been exited out of mainstream education and often have criminal records. We have taken a huge pay decrease but he is so much happier and Im a great budgeter, simple living kind of girl.

  5. says

    I’ve noticed that most of these factors are related to your emotional state and its relation with your personal environment. I completely agree that any job you are willing to do for the long term should have those factors.
    But I think there are also a couple of practical factors (other than the size of your pay-check) that could greatly improve your life. Things like formal or casual dress-code, the ability to take the day off, enough time to develop your personal interest and the commuting distance. If I had to choose between jobs where I would be in traffic a couple of hours every day or having that time to sit at home in your garden enjoying life, I wouldn’t hesitate.

  6. says

    Being able to do work you love (and the 12 factors you include above are good ones) is worth a lot more than a big paycheck.
    Perhaps in these economically hard times, more and more people will start to work for love rather than money and find they are ultimately happier.
    I’m a free lance writer, and I love to get paid for my work, but I volunteer about half of my writing (for newsletters of environmental organizations and the like) and that feels very good.
    Ideally, as Vincent mentioned, I love to work on a project that I think is meaningful AND get paid. But minimal living makes it possible to do both.

  7. Sharmaine says

    Great ideas to keep us on track. When out walking with my husband about 3 months ago, I told him that there was something lacking in my work life. We were both surprised as I really liked my job, got on really well with everyone, and felt valued at work. We talked at length – and then it came to me! I have always worked part time for large organisations, and had recently started volunteering at a school working with children who need extra help due to autism, aspergers, cerebral palsy or perhaps they just need more help with intellectual stuff. I realised that I wanted to “grow” someone’s quality of life instead of “growing” a corporation’s profit. Within a month, my volunteer position became a permanent paid one – and I have all the school holidays! Now all I need to do is minimalise my home – one item at a time!!!

  8. Kaci says

    Love reading all these benefits! Totally agree. One benefit in my house is more hiding places for hide and go seek!!

  9. Zarathustra says

    Thanks for this wonderfull post. I just graduated from college and I’m in search of a first job. Some of these reasons didn’t spontaneously come to my mind. Ultimately, I think satisfaction and a good work-life balance are the key to finding a good job.

  10. lanny says

    Wonderful post. Very timely for the moment. I am applying for promotion in my job and the first thing I considered was the paycheck, then again i decided to surf for more advice. At least i know what to consider in choosing the right job. Paycheck does matter, but much more does satisfaction.

    Thank you so much for this website.


  11. Michelle says

    I just read “Your Money or Your Life” by Vicki Robin, et al. They talk about how some jobs are “making a dying” not a living, when they drain you of energy, money (clothes, etc), time (commute, unwind), etc.

    It is an interesting look at work from a different perspective.

  12. says

    I work for a small town newspaper and I was able to answer yes to about 3/4’s of the questions. Unfortunately, the last question is a resounding no. I call what I do “disposable creativity”. I have a lot of “non-disposable creativity inside me, but I have to use all my spare time to accomplish it.

  13. Craig says

    Great post. Very timely. In 2 weeks I walk away from my job and into the unknown. A job that literally sucked out the will to live. The pay is great and that’s the only thing that held me there. What allows me to make this decision if the fact I don’t have house or car payments.

    After nearly 8 years of stress, aggravation, and brokenness I finally resolved to put in my 2 week notice. Once that decision was made I began to feel all of that stress, and aggravation start to lift. I will make it. Money ISN’T everything. I cautiously look forward to the adventure ahead.

    • Danielle says

      I was in your position just over two years ago, and leaving my soul-destroying (though very well paid) job was the best thing I ever did. I have since had another child, paid off my mortgage and now work part-time with an amazing group of people in the education sector – so much joy that I deprived myself of for years because of the $$$$. Best wishes on your new journey, Craig. Yes, you will make it!

  14. Christian chinedu says

    Wow…….What a revelation! I trained as a journalist, but I’ve earned a living since graduation as a barber and petty boutique owner. Sixteen years on, family pressure from marriage and three children is making me have no life at all. Am naturally minimalistic, however, i have realised that am now no more than a slave to my business and pursuit of money. With so many bills to offset and money being in so much short supply, am just dying slowly. I live in Nigeria.

  15. Douglas E. Heeren says

    I came to this site after hearing two men being interviewed on Minnesota Public Radio. This is what I have been looking for. The last 3+ yrs I have been working 60-70 hrs a week, every weekend(my day off is monday), every holiday, the company won’t let me take my vacation so I cash it in at the end of the year. I want more out of life. This is the information I need for a new start.

  16. Gwen Wolff says

    O.K., I don’t agree with Roger Caras’s statement: “Never continue a job you don’t enjoy.” If you have bills to pay, there will be times in your life you need to do ANY job available to you to take care of your responsibilities. Half the problem with American’s finances is that they feel “entitled” to a glamorous dream job right out of college (or high school) without having to do their time as the low man on the totem pole. When they can’t do what they love, they just do nothing and expect family or the government to take care of them.

  17. Lisa says

    I wish I had the luxury of taking a job I liked over a job that pays my bills. I live a minimalist life style as it is, but being single and owning a home makes it necessary to make enough to pay the bills…. and saving money up to be able to retire as well. Good post… if you are able to have those options.

  18. says

    Thank you for a great post. I have had the pleasure of working for 12 years at an incredible organization that meets all 12 of your points in spades and even when the work is tough (we are a nonprofit serving high-potential low-income youth), the reality is that I know the work matters, and my contribution is highly valued. I am grateful to get to model this kind of investment in my work for my 5-yr-old daughter- she sees me and her Daddy doing what we love. I witness that when people see their work as part of their life (vs. separate from their lives) they are much more fulfilled.

  19. Sara says

    A really good post and the comments are really interesting. I work hard. I always have. But, I am yet to find a job I actually enjoy.

  20. says

    Synchronicity appears to be in play here. I’ve been throwing out at least one thing a day for the past few weeks on route to becoming minimalist (although the espresso machine will never go) …
    This morning I was thinking about how I could leave my second job to concentrate on my work helping people to reduce stress in their lives. This afternoon the woman I work for put me on the spot to ‘discuss’ personality issues between us, and I raised my concern about not having incentive to be there (covering both points 2 &3).
    This evening as I am working out whether or not to leave for good when I go in on Monday I am presented with this post on Facebook.
    I think I know which direction I’m headed in now.

  21. tc says

    I have been with the same employer for 14 years now and I don’t see myself leaving anytime soon. I am supported in one way or another every day. Professional development is encouraged, my CEO knows almost every employee (600+) by their first name, free parking, onsite bistro, generous leave entitlements, a brilliant employee culture, close to home, enviable work life balance policies, and some great managers.

  22. DC says

    I love this post! A few years I was in a job I partially loved. I agree very much with the above, feeling appreciated and trusted is huge. Now I am in job where I feel appreciated and trusted! I feel like I am making a difference in the lives of young ones and there are constantly opportunities for growth, and also there is the desire to grow and do better. At my last job, I had great benefits, but in my opinion it wasn’t work the emotional misery I went through every day. I felt like no matter how hard I worked, it was never good enough. I still struggle today because of it, but glad for those who remind me of the importance of my job and appreciative they are for what I do. My paycheck may not be huge, but I have enough to survive and I am happy! That’s all that matters!

  23. Bea says

    Thank you so much for creating this post! this really helped me in deciding whether to leave my present job over another which offers higher salary. After reading this, i have finally decided–im keeping my present job. In here, i am more comfortable and free spirited as my co-employees are most of the time happy. My bosses are very kind and considerate as well. Again, thank you.

  24. city says

    I feel like I’ve been stuck at dead end jobs were employers treat their employee like they should be lucky to have a job, I have responsibility to take care of so I deal with it as long as I can because of my criminal background it’s a challenge to find gainful employment I believe once I serve my time that my punishment is over the majority of people has broken the law in some way people that are in position to employee others I would like to say that because u don’t hire people that have criminal background don’t make your business any safer from things happening

  25. Tracy says

    In Singapore, no job ever meets all the above criteria. It seems the only possible way is to be your own boss, and even then not all entrepreneurs seem to be happy, maybe because it’s hard to run businesses here for several reasons.

  26. says

    Very Interesting post! I’ve been working a job for 20yrs. now. I’ve changed alot since being hired. I’ve quit several times but never told anyone. I’ve had the freedom to grow alot in the years, however, it doesn’t meet alot of the criteria that you posted. Like others, I’ve created debt that has me in need of the position, but since finding your blog, feel this urging to free myself from things. Just some thoughts to share with you. Jim

  27. Gill says

    At 65 now, and having had cancer three ties, I wish I had read the above when I was 18! But I ended up very cynical because when I did work for charities for a lower salary, I found that other employees could be very unkind and not at all nice to work with, so I ended up thinking I might as well just go for the jobs that pay the most. On reflection, I think working with good people who you really get on with, and who you can have a laugh with, is very important. You can get in to work having rowed with your husband and been disrespected by your children, and within half an hour someone’s got you laughing and seeing it’s not as terrible as you thought. But if that job can also be for the good of people rather than large corporations, definitely so much the better. And had I lived minimally, rather than throwing money at silly things I’d seen in magazines – life would have been nearly perfect! I would just like to say … don’t stick in a horrible job – however well paid – it could make you very ill later!

  28. Shadi says

    Love your blog and have been on the minimalism path for a few years now. Am curious as to why you chose a picture of San Francisco for this post.

  29. Mike Hamer says

    #13 could also be added to find that job in a place you want to live based on your priorities and preferences. That I believe sets the tone for a lot of how our day begins, including how we spend that valued time off. Waking up to a foot of snow every day, may drive some people into depression, while others pull out the skies or jump on the snowmobile at every opportunity. Some folks enjoy the closeness of being around the family and friends they grew up with and can’t imagine a moment away. On the other hand, there are those that enjoy the holiday visits, and still others that love to explore the planet, especially when their job provides for that ability!

  30. David says

    The job I am currently in is sucking the life out of me. It was handed off to me with no direction and is a dumping ground for all the tasks no one else wants to do. It is consuming me and affecting my private life and relationships. It pays well over 6 figures and puts me in a DROP program which banks 60 k extra in a 501, has 4weeks paid vacation and a schedule of 3 12 hour days one week and 4 12 hour days the next. Are family obligations (married with 3 children) justification for martyrdom? I could leave now with an annual pension of 60k and 300k in a 457. Or I could die for five more years for half a million extra dollars. Is it not about the money?

    • kris says

      Depending in where you live, you can live on $60,000. Perhaps you have done this long enough to make that jump.

  31. says

    Great post! It actually opened my eyes and saw life on a different perspective. I am currently hired in one of the well-known college here in my country, but sadly, the paycheck (thought very high and satisfying) doesn’t really gave me JOY in life. I am an IT graduate but I wanted to do MUSIC. So apparently, I am not enjoying my job and it feels like my skills as an IT gradute are not beeing tapped properly too. I enjoy the people around me, I love the company’s values, but there is this feeling that keeps on burning in my heart that I have to leave my job just because I am not satisfied with what I am doing. Plus, it affects my spiritual life.

    I hope someone would tell me if I am doing the right thing by quiting my job. God bless!

  32. Cat says

    I lost my business at the first of the year due to a zoning dispute with the City of Denver. It was so traumatic that I’ve been hesitant to jump back in and open another location. After reading this post, I just don’t know what else I would do with my time that would be as fulfilling. All but #11… It did take so much time and energy that I felt a little lopsided with family time, although my husband couldn’t have been more wonderful and supportive. Maybe I will give it another go, with an effort to restructure in a way that doesn’t require as many hours on site.

  33. kris says

    Let’s not forget the satisfaction that can be had by doing a necessary thing, even when it’s difficult. I applaud people who sludge to work to support their family. I do not support anyone who would neglect their family’s needs because their job wasn’t fulfilling. Or someone who won’t take a second job because it’s too demeaning and then sponge off someone else. Not everyone should, can, or will find a job that does anything more than bring a paycheck. That’s alright.

  34. says

    This entire post hit one of my “sweet spots” – I’m an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) parent of a young man who’s been working since he graduated from hs in 2005. I SO wish that numbers 3,4 and 8 would reveal themselves early on when folks on the spectrum are researching job opportunities. These 3 “things” reveal a company’s culture and make such a world of difference. For ALL of us.

  35. Kristin says

    We cannot all freely “choose” a better job. I have been apply for two years to get out of my first job after college. It’s an important job, but as low as they come in a business setting, and I know I am capable or doing so much more. I WANT to do more! Unfortunately, thereb isn’t much room for advancement, as it is a small company. That’s why I thought I should look outside the company. Still no luck. I suppose it’s something I’m doing improperly, for I know no one else is to blame, but feeling like I make a difference, and knowing that my skills would be missed if I left, would make all the difference.

  36. Bev S says

    After working at a job for 9 years where I was disrespected and stayed only for the paycheck I walked away. I found out that paycheck can’t buy back my self respect. As I look for new work I will keep all of these points close to mind and never sell myself for money again. The people I work for and with next will have to be aligned with my values or I will keep looking until I find a company that does.

    • says

      I have worked for a company for seven years; Then gave my two week notice and got hired on to a better paying job with benefits at another company, for two years. Then I lost my job, when they closed down the shop at the new job; I have Been out of work since than and now I’m still searching for stable work environment it is even harder when they close the doors believe me, keep your present job if you can. You will lose your future job references and your job status, it is not fun your blessed…

      Sincerely; Tamera.

  37. says

    Wow….amazing post; so inspiring and all is true [two thumbs up]. I graduated as a pharmacist; decided to teach in university for 9 years…then moved to K-12 institution for about 5 years….all were somewhat great moments for me…until recently, I have 3 offers; they are all offering about similar paycheck (high salary; easy money) but been confused which one to choose….then found your post…this is really helping me to make a better decision….now considering only 2 ….thanks a heap. It’s now the time for a real life. God bless :)

  38. Roger says

    When the economy crashed I decided to go back to college again. In order to support our family I took a job as a substitute teacher. I enjoyed the time teaching so much that I was planning on changing careers again, but that is another story.
    Now I am spoiled. I am in the job market now, and want to have a job as rewarding as teaching, but it will be difficult since all I can find is jobs that are mundane, office type, financial positions. My degree is in accounting.
    Ifeel that my time and money was wasted in getting my second degree. It is a terrible thing having a great job then by necessity for more money, having to take a lesser satisfying job.
    I am looking for a job working for a non-profit, maybe that will give me the good feelings I am looking for.

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