Today most of us want more than just paychecks from our jobs. We need to feel fulfilled, recognised, and improved in our careers. It is a high bar we’ve set, and it is not surprising that about 50% of people are dissatisfied with their day-to-day work. Money will only take you so far. The now famous study by Daniel Kahneman proves that people’s happiness level does not rise with income levels past $50K.
So what helps one be satisfied with their job? Firstly, it needs to be engaging. People like to be stimulated and challenged, and it helps if they are doing something they are actually better at than some others. There is increasing evidence that doing work that helps others is another key ingredient. The effect of seeing your work directly benefit those in need and contribute to the betterment of humanity is the kind of motivation that cannot be extinguished easily.
Here are three most rewarding careers that will give you such a ‘helper’s high’.
1) Aged Care Nurse
Aged care workers provide daily care to the elderly, whether it be serving meals or helping them exercise. The ageing population is a growing problem in many countries. We want to make sure that we have a societal system where you will be taken care of towards the end of your life expectancy. The elderly are more vulnerable to diseases and illnesses and need to be handled gently as they exercise their physical and mental body muscles. The COVID-19 pandemic hit them the hardest with 15% of fatal cases found in people 80 years or older.
If you are in healthcare, you can specialise in providing critical medical and clinical care to the elderly. Being an aged care nurse is a specialised and admirable path to take. After raising their kids and working for decades, they are often dealing with various illnesses and are often in constant pain. An aged care nurse can help ease the pain they feel each day and empower the patients to live out the rest of their lives in a healthy way.
A teacher has been considered a noble position throughout history. Societies cannot progress without a good education to empower people to push the boundaries and continuously innovate. It is one of the most fulfilling careers with high job satisfaction. There are different levels of students an educator can teach. If you go for primary or secondary school students, you are shaping the minds of the future. You can help the young minds to be on the right path and develop the right habits that’ll set them up for life. If you teach adults, educators help adults who are either trying to start over or find a better path for themselves.
The education sector is changing. There are new methodologies and techniques academics and tenured professionals trial to continuously improve how they help students absorb and retain knowledge. For instance, mindfulness for children is gaining prominence to help kids better regulate their emotions and intake new information. Some educators are starting new-age alternative schools based on extremely different philosophies. These schools are designed to encourage deeper emotional connections, learn in more optimal (and often smaller) settings, and offer courses that stimulate a wider portion of the brain to help students become more well-rounded. Such development indicates that many educators can also be innovators who continuously improve how they engage with their students.
Firefighters save lives. They often have to enter extreme situations where regular emergency handlers such as police or paramedics are not equipped to handle. Fires can quickly spread and firefighters’ intervention can help save the lives and livelihood of so many. Many places get regular bushfires. In 2019, Australia suffered from one of the worst bushfires in history. At least 3,700 firefighters were on the ground fighting the furious flames so helpless animals and homes of devastated communities can be saved. Being a firefighter requires bravery, grit, and wits. You need to be able to make quick decisions under extreme pressure.
If you enjoy fitness and serving your community in crisis, this will be a very fulfilling career path for you. Competition is pretty fierce, so you may want to bump up your chances by pursuing additional training and certifications such as rescue or paramedic training.