This is long, but I swear there is a point.
For 5 years I had a job I loved. It was my second job after graduate school which I started in 1998 and I was grossly underpaid. In those 5 years I never got a raise, and eventually the company closed the office so all the staff but one went into the unemployment line. While I enjoyed the job, had nothing changed I would have needed to work it forever. it would have not allowed an early retirement and probably would have ultimately resulted in reliance on social security.
After I got the boot from that job I was up for two jobs ,and while I got the nod for one, I came in second for the other. I took the one which made the offer and absolutely hated it from day 1. By day 3 the second job came calling as the number one guy demanded too much pay. I took the position he declined and left the job I hated after 6 days. The new job was as a sales engineer and I was great at it. It was stressful at times, but enjoyable. I moved up in the company and was on track to eventually be a VP. That's when we got bought out. I kept my salary, but was basically demoted until they eliminated my position after another year. So 4 years after I started, I hit the unemployment line.
My next sales gig was for 9 years. It was stressful after year one, and ridiculously stressful at the end. Unnecessarily stressful! The benefits were great. I was able to sock away money into 401k and their match was tremendous. I never failed to make a sales target, but was never really recognized for my efforts. At times the opposite was the case. Eventually they called me to a meeting where I pushed back and we decided to separate. Best day ever!
After the severance ended, I hit the unemployment line again. The next gig was very educational and financially rewarding. I managed 1/3 of the country and sold like there was no tomorrow. Unfortunately we didn't have project managers, so that duty fell on me. The stress of that situation was extremely tiring. I was fielding over 50 calls per day, every day, and working nights, weekends, and during vacation. I got a call by an HR manager and eventually we arrived at a suitable number, so I put in my notice after 4 years. I'm still on great terms with everyone there.
The new/current position, managing 1/4 of the country, started just before Covid hit and we were pulled off the road for 20 months. In the meantime they have decided we don't need to travel as much. So the position isn't overly stressful most of the time.
The point to it all is had I chose to stay where the job was the most enjoyable I'd get to be there forever. I would have had to work forever. By taking a lucrative position I set myself up for retirement. I've decided I'm out as soon as I can access my 401k funds without penalty at 59 1/2. I'll take SS as early as possible. If I work somewhere between 59 1/2 and 62 it will either be because I want to, or because I want to cover medical insurance costs.
My advice to a young person would be to take the money and the position which would allow the biggest contribution to retirement funds. There are three pillars to a successful job. They are to earn, learn, and enjoy. If you have all three you have the perfect job. Sometimes one can outpace the others and the job still be a good fit, at least for a while. So if you earn a ridiculous amount you won't care so much about enjoyment. Same for learning, sometimes what you learn at a lower paying position will set you up for future success. Ultimately enjoyment is where it is at, but it's hard to enjoy a job when you are having problems paying the bills and can see no means to retire. So if you're young, go for the cash!!!