Obviously you want both a high income and good job stability, but when outside pressure hits—the economy slows down, the industry is in flux, the government is tearing up and rewriting regulations—it’s better to have job stability than a stable income in terms of preserving your workplace happiness.
In a study published in Global Environmental Change, researchers examined the income and opinions of 950 people who saw income eroded in the wake of the financial crisis, and found that the key to maintaining workplace happiness was job security. Subjects responded to a questionnaire that included data on education levels, work status, health, leisure activities, and other variables.
Though respondents saw their monthly income decrease by a couple hundred dollars, they saw decreases in salary (or even in working hours) to be preferable to job losses, or worse: uncertainty.
That isn’t to say that money is unrelated to happiness. According to one study, you can buy it—but in finite amounts.