Rip and I got into a conversation at lunch the other day about salaries in the non-profit world.  I think I may have initiated it with a crack about how the rent I’ll be paying my parents in their house will be less than what I am paying at my apartment, now, and that would "match my non-profit salary."He told me that he is always running up against and irritated by the question, "It’s cute what you are doing, but when’s your payoff?"

Obviously, someone who is externally motivated has to dig deep to find reasons to engage in this difficult work.  Rip has a passion and drive that is downright inspiring.

For me, I’d say working for a non-profit and recognizing financial gains are not mutually exclusive.  My salary actually isn’t as low as I thought it was going to be when I made up, in my mind, that this was where I needed to be.  Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely took a pay cut to work with this group.

I’ve always thought the intangible benefits are EXTREMELY valuable to me right now.  I’ve already made connections with people and groups that I could never have made toiling away working on someone else’s stuff.

The skills and connections I’m building now will set me up way down the line for pursuing other, entrepreneurial goals.

As Rip put it, "This current position is simply another piece in the pie for what it takes to get me where I want to be."

Maybe it doesn’t work to justify my choice financially (even though I think the cost+opportunity cost/benefit analysis works out in my favor in the long run).

I guess, really, it comes down to: I’m enjoying the challenge of this work, I feel like my efforts will lead to satisfying and fulfilling results, and I’m surrounded by extremely smart people who hold me up to a very high standard and expect great things from me- so much so that they won’t let me fail too badly.

For what more can I ask?