Most studies of income and happiness posit that, after basic needs are met, increased income is a relatively impotent driver of increased happiness. Somewhere around $75,000 a year, making more money loses its power. If you don't love your work, the salary becomes a surrogate for that loss. If you can comfort yourself with a new car and a bigger house, the seduction continues, but the life takes on a hollow character, it seems. On the other hand, if treating the sick or flying glorious airplanes is a sustainable thrill, these pleasures become part of your compensation package. If they don't thrill you, you will be underpaid, no matter how splendid the salary.