money or career
Career & Money

Money or career? You can have BOTH!

From as early as the American Dream, there has been an obsession with success. The problematic question often comes up: money or career? The 21st century thrives on flaunting wealth and attainting the best profession. Now more than ever, this mantra of success deriving from a person’s wealth or career is reiterated in every slogan, lyric or movie.

The conflict between choosing to prioritise money or furthering one’s career is a complex situation. 

Millennials are often conditioned to believe in achieving successful careers at their own pace, often starting out in jobs they hate and for very little money.

Contrastingly, the ideals of ‘Gen – Z ‘ ( a cohort succeeding millennials) prioritise making money quickly and abundantly. However, it is essential to recognise this vision is somewhat complex when gender is involved.

Being a woman in the 21st century is empowering and liberating. There is so much opportunity for one to thrive in all aspects. As women, we are allowed to be successful in wealth or profession, but quite often cannot coexist with both. 

Women are often confined to the gender roles placed on them by society. This ranges from taking care of the house and focusing and raising children. Meanwhile, men are looked at as the breadwinners and providers. 

Although women have entered into male-dominated roles within politics and leadership roles, there Is still significant room for improvement.

Women are still being pressured into deciding between their careers and earning money.

This is crystallised with inequality within the workplace. With only 38% of women being in managerial positions, and a 15.9% gender pay gap as men are in higher-paid industries, equality is not as established as much as one would think. 

This realisation results in women obtaining jobs to make a stable income rather than excel in a career that they are passionate about. 

The current unemployment rate of 4.9% also pushes for the demand to obtain money rather than pursuing their ideal careers. People are prioritising livelihood over their dreams and aspirations.

However, the recent pandemic has led to revelations and wonders into how women can have both money AND a career. 

Rather than choosing between ‘or’ and ‘either’, you can have ‘too’ and ‘both’.

Looking up to one of the many successful women like Anna Wintour, who has broken the glass ceiling regarding women in the workplace and is the long-time editor in chief to American Vogue magazine. 

Wintour is a true inspiration and innovator within her field of work. 

Inspiration can be found in women like Michelle Obama, who served as the First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. 

Once again, looking to such triumphant women and visualising yourself within their position can perhaps seem like a fantasy or something out of reach for ordinary women.

Nonetheless, looking closer to home, women like Hannana Ahmed, a student and business owner from East London, showcase that women can have both and no longer have to choose.

With the recent pandemic and an unemployment rate of 4.9%, Hannana took matters into her own hands and focused her creative passions on a small business, ‘Femme Phat’. This venture has allowed Hannana to make money whilst completing her degree.

If you are struggling to choose, choose your way!

This pandemic also saw many binge-watching shows on Netflix, re-visiting childhood nostalgia with Disney +, and baking brownies and focaccia bread at least once a week.  

Many may have come across the show ‘Ugly Betty’ that also pays homage to have the best of both worlds. 

The series follows a young woman, Betty Suarez, an assistant and an aspiring writer from New York. Despite originating from Queens, Betty gains a job in Manhattan working as the assistant to ‘Daniel Meade’, the editor in chief to the prestigious fictional magazine “Mode” (a mimic and take on Vogue and Elle magazines ). 

Although only an assistant at first, Betty uses it to her advantage as an opportunity of impressing others around her by taking on tasks, duties and making prestigious contacts. 

Eventually, this leads to her occasional writing pieces within the magazine and having regular segments. Over four years and four seasons, Betty manages to work her way up to an editor. She ultimately leaves for London for a great new job opportunity.  

To summarise, Betty initially remains an assistant to make money, yet simultaneously writes for blogs and other publications to further her career of starting a magazine.

Conclusively, Betty depicts ambition and dedication. Betty doesn’t conform to choosing between earning money or advancing in her career. Instead, she uses her initiative contacts and available resources to be successful within both fields. Ultimately she ends up in a prestigious position in London.

The solution to obtaining ‘both’ is manageable for all. 

Find a passion and excel in it whenever you can. 

If you want to start your own business, start slow. Work and invest whenever you are financially stable enough to. 

Make use of current apps like Depop and Vinted, both fashion marketplace apps, where people can discover and sell unique or used items. The apps make selling and connecting to fashion more inclusive and less wasteful. Rather than throwing something away, sell it and make money from it or invest in profitable items. The apps are easy to use and great for making extra money whilst working or studying in the hopes of furthering your career.

Build strength and stability around your profile, and confidence will exude from within you. 

Pace yourself. Getting to wherever you want won’t always be easy nor swift. 

Don’t compare your journey to somebody else’s, as everybody is different. You are exactly where you are meant to be. 

If you are looking for a sign to excel in your career and obtain wealth, take this as your sign and don’t prioritise one over the other.

Choose BOTH!


  • Maryam is an undergraduate with a passion for writing and inspiring others. She celebrates and empowers women from all backgrounds and walks of life.