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Those that attend the hallowed halls of Strathclyde University doing an MBA (one of the highest rated in the UK) may rightly feel smug about their prospects in life. Their average starting salary after leaving will be around £60,000 a year; not bad for a starting wage considering the average UK wage currently stands at around £23,000 according the the Office for National Statistics. But in truth you probably make the same money as an MBA graduate.
After graduation some, about a quarter, will move into consultancy. These jobs involve a huge amount of travel, often 7 days a week, every month, forever.
Others will go into private equity, hedge funds or investment banking, where they help large companies merge, create complicated investments and deal with high pressure, large transactions. The hours are usually from 9am until 9pm..or later.
Some end up working for FTSE 100 companies, in technology or other fields. Pressures are again high, with constant demands for growth and success with the shareholders constantly demanding more.
All of these graduates end up working 80-100 hours a week – a huge amount when you consider that there are only 168 hours in a week, in total.
Whatever salary system you are paid on, there is a simple fundamental working across all jobs. That is the division of wage by time or hours worked. We all have so many hours, and how much we work will have a direct effect on this hourly wage. An Oxford MBA graduate may make 3 times as much as a teacher or shop manager, but they most likely work 3 times the hours. Working that many hours leaves little time for playing with your children, spending time with friends, gardening or whatever other hobby you might enjoy. The higher wage will allow for delegation in many aspects of life (getting a gardener or cleaner or nanny) and will also pay for glamorous holidays, fancy restaurants and a nice car; it will allow for more fun, or more expensive fun. But it won’t allow for more time having fun.
Some may thrive on the pressure and reward involved in these well paid jobs. It’s their thing. Which is great. But others might prefer to see their hardy geraniums grow, indulge in a hobby or spend time with their children. So for them the career as a teacher or manager (or anything else with a similar life balance) might make them happier. Identify which one you are, using internal reasoning and discounting external expectation.
Here is what the Oxford MBA graduate makes compared to a shop manager and a teacher.
For the MBA figures we used https://www.emolument.com/salary-reports/universities/strathclyde-university-and-business-school/14127
For the teachers we used http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-27087942 and http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/All_K-12_Teachers/Salary
For the retail manager we used http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Retail_Store_Manager/Salary
Although some may argue that they are a teacher and work way more hours than that outlined above, or a banker who works way less, there is still great meaning in the figures. They all earn around £13 an hour, all told. The key is to know your hourly wage and then balance that against the trade off between work/life balance. Only by doing this can you decide off you are on the right track or if you need a change. Of course the real secret is to have a job that you really love, as this will offset any lifestyle trade off that you have to make. On the negative side, those that work so many hours that they earn less than the minimum wage, regardless of salary should take a long hard look at their life and see what can change. Perhaps it’s time for them to become a teacher?
Average life expectancy is around 75 in the developed world, and you will sleep for 1/3 of that. That’s only 18,000 days left. That’s reduced even more by the dribbling at the start and possibly at the end. So do the maths and really value your time.