Evaluating a Career's Cost and Benefits

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  • 0:02 Career Paths
  • 1:30 Costs & Benefits
  • 3:55 ROI
  • 6:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Choosing a career takes a lot of thought. One way to consider different careers to to compare the cost and benefits of them. Watch this lesson to figure out how to determine the return on investment for different careers.

Career Paths

Joey is in a pickle. He's not sure what he should focus his career search on. On one hand, he kind of wants to go into sales and marketing; he hears that's a good choice and a way to make pretty good money. On the other hand, he also kind of likes school and thinks he might make a good English professor. What should he do?

Joey's questions are about his career, or occupational field. Think of a career like a staircase: it's a journey up towards the top, and each job is a new step. For example, Joey might get a job as a sales assistant, and then move up to senior sales associate, and then on to head of sales. Each of these positions individually is just a single step, but together, they make up the staircase of Joey's career.

Choosing a career path can be overwhelming. After all, there are many, many choices out there! And even someone like Joey, who has narrowed his options down to two careers, may find it difficult to choose a career.

Of course, Joey could always change his career path in the future if he really feels like he made a bad decision, but it is usually easier if you know which general area you want to get into from the beginning and don't have to change careers.

So, how can Joey make the best decision about which career is right for him? Let's look at how Joey can evaluate a career based on cost, benefits, and return on investment.

Costs & Benefits

So, Joey is caught between a career in business or a career as an academic. Which is the better one for him? And how can he decide?

There are many things that go into deciding which career to choose. One of them is to compare the costs and benefits of careers to see which is better. This works particularly well when you have a few careers you are trying to compare, like Joey does.

The cost of a career is everything that it will take away from you. This includes time and money. For example, Joey can be a salesperson right out of college, but he'll have to go to graduate school to get a master's degree, or even a PhD, in order to become an English professor. A graduate degree can cost money, and Joey will have to spend years getting it. So there seems to be more costs involved in being an English professor than a salesperson.

But cost isn't the only thing that Joey needs to look at. He should also evaluate the benefits of each career, or what the career will give you back. The obvious benefit of any career is the money you'll make. Joey could make a lot more money in a business career, like sales, than in an academic career, like being an English professor.

Based on the costs and pay of each career, it probably seems like Joey's best bet is to become a salesperson. But pay isn't the only benefit to a career. Work-life balance, or being able to have free time while still working, is another major thing that Joey might want to consider. As a salesperson, he'll have to work a lot: He'll work long hours all year long, trying to get a new sale and working with his customers to make sure that they continue to buy from him.

On the other hand, as an English professor, Joey will have more free time. He can take summers off to spend with his family or just relax, and he won't constantly be at the beck and call of customers.

A low-stress environment is another benefit that Joey might want to take into consideration. Any job can be stressful, but there's a lot of pressure to do well in sales. Even if Joey gets a huge sale today, tomorrow his company might be asking, 'How much did you sell today? What's your next big sale, and when is it coming through?' Life as an English professor won't be without its own stresses, but there might be less pressure on him on a day-to-day basis.

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