Salary vs Fulfillment in the 21st Century

Walking down memory lane, I remember sitting in a career development class on one of those rare occasions I was in the university on a Friday afternoon. The adviser asked a question that has since stuck with me, ‘How much do you expect to earn post-graduation?’.

She later clarified that she meant the starting salary. Nevertheless, I heard my fellow classmates shout salaries amounting to Ksh 60,000 to Ksh 80,000 a month around the room. The adviser was amused but not surprised. Myself? Well, I was surprised, perhaps, that I was in a classroom on a Friday J.

Not to digress, I was of the assumption that Ksh 30,000 would be a good starting point. Of course I didn’t share this with the class to avoid backlash but to be honest I really hadn’t put much thought on money post-graduation. I also had the ‘luxury ‘of having little financial responsibility (at the time) which allowed me to solely focus on learning and growing myself. My primary goal was to be happy and find fulfillment in anything I put my mind to.

Fast forward 4 years later, the ‘salary’ (and let me not forget ‘benefits’ for those employed) seems to be more of a priority than attaining fulfillment. It’s unfortunate but true. At 26, I am thinking about rent vs mortgage, saving vs spending etc. It has become all about the opportunity cost of living. At the end of the day ‘how much checks into my current account’ matters.

Through the years, I have come to the realization that a person is blessed to earn a living off one or more of their passions. But, for most people this is not the case. Earning a living has become a necessity of life despite the lack of fulfillment.


Fortunately, or unfortunately, money makes the world go round and for what it’s worth, it does ease the psychological burden of having to wonder when your next meal will be.

I tend to think that this may be the reason why gambling has taken a hold of society. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be an instant millionaire? (cough, I hear billionaire is what the millennial and Gen X generation say nowadays). But unfortunately, if it were that easy we all would be – myself included.

That said, I won’t lie or sugar coat it – money is important. However, if you are smart enough you will pursue a decent paying job to pay off the necessities while also pursuing your passions so as to stay fulfilled and driven.

While this may not work for everybody, remember ‘we all can’t have everything but it’s worth a smart try’.

7 thoughts on “Salary vs Fulfillment in the 21st Century

  1. In the process, work towards creating passive income over time as a safety net. Employees are at the mercy of their employers.


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