Keeping Up With the Vanderbilts

From the obvious headline department: a piece in today’s New York Times called “Lure of Great Wealth Affects Career Choices.”

It’s an article about people who grew up dreaming of, and attending graduate school with the purpose of, becoming doctors and professors. Once they reached these positions, however, they decided that low six-figure salaries just weren’t high enough. One man went from a $200,000 per year hematology-oncology practice to a seven-figure biotech consulting job at Merrill Lynch. A Dartmouth business professor left academia for multimillion-dollar positions in Wall Street firms.

Everything’s all well and good if these people happen to love consulting and equity firms. But the problem here is that the Times‘ particular subjects don’t especially love their jobs, or at least they don’t say they do. They love medicine and education. The doctor still does hospital rounds on his free weekends and the former professor squeezes in one adjunct class a semester.

What do you think of the trade off? How much does one really need to earn? What would it take to make you quit your career for a more lucrative one?