What if your high-paying job makes you miserable?

On Thursday, I featured a guest post from Free Money Finance that proved to be surprisingly controversial. His five steps to six figures in seven years offered solid common-sense career advice for those looking to boost their incomes. Many readers disliked the post. (Though they didn't hate it as much as FMF's previous guest article.)

Though I don't share all of your complaints, I do think some of you made an excellent point: Just as money is more about mind than it is about math, so too a rewarding career is more about personal fulfillment than it is about raking in big bucks. I agree that I'd rather work at a low-paying job that I loved than make $100,000 a year at a job I hated. I'd rather be happy than rich.

In response to FMF's post on Thursday, Mike wrote to share his predicament. He's hoping GRS readers can help him decide what to do:

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Five steps to six figures in seven years

Historically, "making six figures" has been to income earners what "becoming a millionaire" has been for those tracking their net worths — a lofty goal achieved by only a select few. And while neither a six-figure earner nor a millionaire can bask in the luxury they could a couple decades ago, there's no doubt that earning over $100,000 a year still puts you in a select group.

In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau says that only 5.63% of individual income earners and only 17.8% of households had incomes of $100,000 or more in 2006. So despite the drop in purchasing power from the days of old, if you earn $100k or more each year, you're still in an elite group.

How can you get into the six-figure club? There are many roads to this golden path (lottery, inheritance, take over a family business, etc.), but many, if not all, of these are out of your control. As such, I'm going to focus on what I consider to be the method that will give the most people the greatest chance of earning $100k or more — by developing a career and growing it over time. Specifically, I'm going to tell you how I got to six figures in seven years and how you can use these principles to do the same.

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