Personal Finance

A $14,000 pay rise!

A few weeks ago, I presented my friends on Instagram with a dilemma I was having: to take a higher paying role that is aligned to my career path, or to take a lower paying role that is aligned to my purpose and passion?

The question came with the exciting news that I’d received two job offers:

Option 1:

$12,000 pay rise

No WFH that I knew of

Aligned to my career path (financial services industry)


Option 2:

$4000 pay cut

WFH 3 days a week

Aligned to my purpose and passion (humanitarian industry)

Fixed term until January 2022

I then asked in a poll: Would you take a pay cut to do what you truly love, and excites you?

Most people (81%) voted that yes, they would.

I, too, was leaning towards this. It seemed like the intuitive choice: for years, I’d been wanting to break into the humanitarian and non-profit industry. It’s something I yearned for. I recall sharing with them in the interview how thrilled I was to be there and how, after years of volunteering for non-profits, I’d love to take on a paid role and actually work in the industry.

Not to mention, I love this charity! They are an international non-profit organisation (most have heard of) who help to transform vulnerable children’s lives by fighting injustice and poverty. It’s one of the most meaningful companies I could ever imagine working for.

I was out at lunch that day when I received a call from Madison, calling to confirm that I still had the verbal job offer from my other choice – an international financial services company. My recruitment agent reiterated the benefits, and so I asked, ‘Can you please let me know if there’s any WFH flexibility and also, where the office is?’ (Their office location is hidden online)

When she told me she’d find out, I said, ‘Just to be transparent, I’ve received another job offer, so I’m currently weighing up the pros and cons of both and hope to make a decision soon!’

That afternoon, she came back to me with two pieces of good news: there’s 2 days WFH, and the office location is in my favourite North Shore suburb – only 15 minutes drive away! (Compared to a 1 hour drive for the other role!)

But there was more. It seemed she’d told the company that I had another job offer, so they increased their salary offer by $2000 – bringing my potential pay rise up to $14,000.

I was shocked. As if a $12,000 pay rise wasn’t a large enough jump already, it’s now $14,000? I couldn’t believe it!

Meanwhile, the humanitarian charity sent me an email: my official offer of employment.

I spent all of Queen’s Birthday weekend deliberating, plus reflecting on what my friends had said:

‘If you take the job that pays more you can save up and afford to work part time doing your passion later? But otherwise go paycut if that will make you happy imo!

‘Maybe a permanent role? Save up heaps then go for a life time role which you’re more content with.. HOWEVER.. if the 2nd one is what you have been waiting for your whole life… there’s your answer.’

‘Deffo second option. It just makes more sense for you!! Happy, wfh, what’s 4K a year when it comes to your happiness?! either way hun I support you!! Both are great, but more money won’t make you happy and fulfilled in your job day to day!’

‘I voted happiness but tbh I was torn on that. 12000 is such a big jump!’

On Tuesday, I emailed the humanitarian charity back and wrote, Thank you very much for offering me this role. Though it was a difficult decision, I have accepted a position with another company.

I then told the financial services company that I would like to accept their verbal offer. I’d decided to go with them, and to sponsor a child from the humanitarian charity.


A little about how amazing this is: this role is based in Wellington. Halfway through my job hunting journey, I’d hit a wall and decided to widen my search to roles in Wellington. I’d be happy to move back to my second home any time, and my husband’s company has an office in the Wellington CBD – so it would’ve been no problem and in fact, an exciting change to move there together.

When I got the job offer for this, my first thought was, YAY!!!


But not only did the company offer me a generous salary, they offered for me to work from their Auckland office, while being part of a team that’s in Wellington.

What’s more, they offer 4% Kiwisaver employer contributions – instead of the minimum of 3%! To illustrate, on a $65,000 salary, this 1% would make a difference of $650 more per year.

I’m so lucky.

Plot twist: two days later, I received a call from the humanitarian charity – after I’d already thanked them for their offer but said no.

‘Hi Sophia, I’m just calling because we have had the exact same role come up – but this time, it’s permanent,’ they said.

I couldn’t believe it. The fact that the role was supposedly fixed term until January 2022 was a huge deciding factor for me. It had been so exhausting searching, applying, studying for interviews, interviewing (phone, 1st, 2nd interviews) that I knew I didn’t want to go through all of it again in only 7 months time. Doing what I love and helping to save the world, without a time limit? That could’ve been a game-changer.

But I’m off to add even more to my insurance, tax, and banking experience – with a wonderful new company. I’m young, it’s still early days in my career (I have 35+ years left in the work force – but really, about a decade more, as I’m retiring at 40), and there’s still plenty of potential and possibility. I’m passionate about saving the world, but also passionate about helping people improve their financial wellbeing.

I’m THRILLED to be back in the financial industry.


This hasn’t just been a job hunting journey. It’s the story of how I came alive again. I started job hunting because I hated my day to day life and wasn’t feeling fulfilled. Gradually, my world became big again, my heart expanded to life’s possibilities, and I learned to believe again that we as humans are always capable of growing – no matter how much it feels like we can’t.

If you are in the same boat, I hope my job hunting and interview tips give you some helpful guidance & inspiration to land the job of your dreams!

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho




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