It is incredibly difficult to get a job these days. Everyone is looking, feels like few are hiring. College graduates coming out in the next few years are the children of the recession, who know full well that no job is guaranteed and no job is forever. So these graduates are likely to work at at approximately 15-20 companies, rather than just one, over the course of the years.

According to James Citrin (senior director of Spencer Stuart, Leader of the North American CEO Practice, and author of seven books), there are three main points to look at while job hunting – and they’re all in reference to which place would make you happier.

The first thing to consider is the job quality. Is this the kind of job that will be creative, active, meaningful, and does it have room to grow? The work you do could actually lead to a more fulfilling life. Or it could not, instead leading to that last-thought-before-bed panic, dreading the carbon copy torture that you’ll re-live all over again tomorrow.

The second thing to consider is the job’s pay. This kind of thing can sometimes be at odds with whether or not the job is fulfilling. Sometimes meaningful work doesn’t pay well, and conversely soul sucking positions come with a nice salary. That’s a line every person needs to draw for themselves – what is good for their lifestyle versus what is good for their sense of purpose.

Finally, a person needs to consider what kind of lifestyle they want to live. Do you want to drop everything at 5:30pm and go home, or would you be okay working a 90-hour week? Do you get vacation, benefits, sick leave, time with your family or friends? Can you deal with constant stress? Maybe you thrive under that kind of mission? Someone may be willing to perform less idealistic work with better pay to have the lifestyle they want. Others, if they want a more fulfilling job that aligns with their worldview are willing to forego the fancy vacations.

Citrin calls it the career triangle, and throughout your career and all your various jobs, you can probably have one of those things – satisfaction, money, lifestyle – you can maybe even have two, but three is a big and rare dream to pull off. That’s not to say it’s not possible, reach for the stars, of coure, but according to Citrin the key to achieving balance and happiness is awareness of your situation, and knowing that perhaps not much money is okay now, but your priorities and needs with shift later, and you may have to forgo meaningful work for money. You can have it all, he says, but you can’t have it all at once.

James Citrin’s book isThe Career Playbook.