PayScale’s latest report, The Most and Least Meaningful Jobs, looks at which occupations are described by workers as making the world a better place. The jobs that make the list probably won’t come as a surprise – surgeon is on there, as is English teacher and clergy member – but that doesn’t mean that every high-meaning job looks exactly the same.
(Photo Credit: Gardner Chiropractic/Flickr)
Here’s what the most-meaningful jobs do have in common, in a general sense:
- Helps others. Whether it’s by teaching or performing surgery or shepherding a spiritual flock, these jobs give back to the community, often in concrete ways.
- Involves risk. None of these jobs are easy: have a bad day as a psychiatrist or an anesthesiologist and you could do irreparable harm to a patient. Still, the rewards are great – how many people can say they saved a life at work?
- Requires post-secondary education. All of the jobs on the list require at least some education beyond high school, and often professional licensure to boot.
How do the jobs on the high-meaning list differ? In a variety of ways, ranging from pay (surgeons can pull down over $300,000 a year, while directors of religious activities make around $37,000 annually) to education required (everything from a bachelor’s to an MD, depending). But, perhaps the most important difference between these occupations is one of focus: although healthcare, education, and religion are heavily represented in the top 10, there’s a meaningful job for most interests as you look toward the top of the full list.
In other words, don’t fret if you don’t feel moved to become either a chiropractor or an English teacher. Meaningful work can be yours, if you’re willing to be honest with yourself about your interests, skills, and priorities.
Tell Us What You Think
What does job meaning mean to you? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.