The Surprising Career Move That Pays Off

Taking the "riskier" job could make you more successful in the end.

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When it comes to choosing a practical, more stable career over one with a meager salary that you're more passionate about, there's now a case for going with your heart instead of your head.

A new study from Tel Aviv University, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, examined the success and happiness of individuals who followed a "riskier" career path that they were passionate about. Researchers found that, in certain fields, young people with a strong passion or drive eventually got their dream jobs, and were ultimately more satisfied both professionally and personally.

Researchers, who surveyed 450 high school music students at two elite summer programs over 11 years, found that "participants with stronger callings toward music in adolescence were likely to assess their musical abilities more favorably and were more likely to pursue music professionally as adults regardless of actual musical abilities," explained researcher Dr. Daniel Heller of TAU's Recanati School of Business in a release. Even though participants who were able to "break into" a musical profession were paid less than people who pursued music in their spare time, they reported similar or greater happiness and fulfillment.

There are many factors to consider before choosing a career path, but these findings might hold weight in the decision-making process. "If you experience a strong calling, you need to be cognizant of your relative preferences for intrinsic versus extrinsic rewards and potential trade-offs between the two, then decide accordingly," Dr. Heller said in the release. "However, we found that, in certain fields, one's drive or passion afforded a competitive advantage over others, even when unrelated to objective ability or talent."