Research indicates that many employees, in particular millennials, are seeking meaningful work as much as they are chasing money or promotions, but finding work that suits those needs can be challenging.
Careers that most often fulfill this desire involve helping others. The satisfaction that comes from performing work that contributes something valuable to society, reflects a person’s values and provides opportunities for development is rarely paired with high wages, but there are careers that when pursued, can lead to both success and fulfillment.
Here are some jobs altruists can pursue knowing they will be helping others while never being in need of help when it comes to money.
Careers Helping Others
Nonprofit Executive Director
Not surprisingly, devoting a career to working with organizations that are dedicated to good causes will be a fulfilling path for someone looking for meaningful work. As a leader of these organizations, executives are charged with overseeing the strategic vision and its execution. They also lead initiatives related to fundraising, community outreach and marketing efforts. The job often involves being thrifty with funds, as it falls on this person’s shoulders to keep the organization afloat primarily using grants and donations. Both a bachelor’s degree and an MBA may be required for people in this role. According to a 2016 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on nonprofit pay, at the management level professionals working in the nonprofit sector earn an average of $34.14 per hour, which roughly translates to an annual wage of $71,011.
As an organizational leader, a police chief or commissioner plan and implement law enforcement programs for municipalities, developing a culture that promotes efficient operations. The list of duties is long, ranging from presentation of the department’s annual budget to meeting with elected officials and public entities to keep local government and the community abreast of departmental events. Law enforcement professionals must have integrity, solid communication skills and other essential soft skills. While it is a lot of work, there is arguably no better place for someone looking to make a positive impact in their community through law enforcement. Many police chief positions require a bachelor's degree. Police and sheriff’s patrol officers earned an average annual wage of $61,270 according to 2015 BLS data 2015 BLS data, with the highest 10% earning 96,110.
In looking at behavioral problems and the environmental factors that influence them, behavior analysts often devise and implement plans to address behavioral issues. They often work for government agencies, schools, hospitals and community organizations treating mental health issues, brain injuries and developmental disabilities. Anyone looking to enter the behavior analyst field must complete a bachelor’s degree program in a relevant field. Many candidates also possess a master’s degree or a professional certification. Behavioral disorder counselors earned an average annual wage of $42,920 according to 2015 BLS data, with the highest 10% earning $63,030.
Whether working in the private sector or as a resident at mental health facilities, rehabilitation centers and hospitals, clinical psychologists deal with the mentally ill, drug addicted, trauma survivors and severely depressed. The psychologist’s job is to create treatment plans that help these people cope with their troubles by listening, empathizing and using strong communication skills to ask the right questions to target a person’s bigger issues. A bachelor’s degree in this field is a good start, but ultimately a graduate degree will also be required to become a clinical psychologist. The BLS reports that the average annual wage for clinical psychologists in 2015 was $76,040, with the highest 10% earning $116,960.
Sometimes referred to as guidance counselors, these professionals often play a key role in students’ educational and even personal development. Working with teachers, school administrators, parents and other players in student success, the counselor’s job is to assist students in their academic decision making and provide emotional support when needed. Counselors may be called upon to moderate conflicts, help special needs students and work with children of all ages. A bachelor’s degree is required for this type of work, and many school counselor positions also require a master’s degree. The average annual wage for school psychologists in 2015 according to the BLS was $56,490, with the highest 10% earning $87,640.
These professionals use a background in psychology to help businesses improve the work environment for employees, thus ensuring smooth operations and targeted revenue. The ability to listen and communicate effectively will come in handy as organizational consultants are often used to help address difficult situations that lack clear solutions, implement new training, advise management and create reports. An ability to analyze research and data is important, but people skills and the ability to evaluate workers plays an equally important role in this person’s success. This job typically requires a master’s degree. The category in the BLS that includes organizational consultants, management analysts, earned an average annual wage of $91,770 in 2015. The highest 10% earned $150,220.
Finding a Meaningful Career
The vast array of job sites on the internet does not always lend itself to those seeking jobs that are about more than money and benefits packages. Some sites dedicated specifically to helping aspiring do-gooders find their dream job include:
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