Get The Most Satisfying Jobs: Examples And Tips

By Chris Kolmar - Nov. 23, 2020

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Everyone wants to find their dream job, but what does that mean? With all of the jobs out there, everyone can find a job that they find satisfying and fulfilling. While people have different definitions of what the best jobs are, what matters is you find your dream job.

Maybe you want a career that involves helping people and giving back to your community, or you want a good job outlook in a field with lots of opportunities and job security. Sometimes a fulfilling job is just one that pays well, or it could be one that doesn’t have a great salary, but you’re doing something you love.

There’s no single right answer, and the perfect job isn’t one size fits all, but there are a few things that satisfying jobs have in common. The main thing you should look for in a career path is balance. At the end of the day, you want to have a job that isn’t too demanding or too easy, too stressful or too laid-back.

We’re going to take a look at some of the qualities the most satisfying jobs have in common, as well as some common misconceptions about dream job opportunities.

Following Your Passion Doesn’t Necessarily Lead to Job Satisfaction

Many people think that finding your passion and making a career out of it is the best way to land your dream job. While that’s true in some cases, it certainly isn’t the golden rule to live by when it comes to job satisfaction.

Think about it this way; if you have a general interest in an area, it’s easier to find a way to link that to a career than to turn a niche passion into an income source. For example, if you love animals, there are a few ways you can make that a meaningful part of your career. You can become a biologist, zoologist, zookeeper, veterinarian, or even pet sitter. There are more opportunities available for that broad interest in animals than if you were fond of knitting or reading history books on a specific period.

That’s not to say that there aren’t ways of turning those specific passions into careers or that you shouldn’t pursue them, just that there might be more of a trade-off. Again, it’s all about balance.

You also wouldn’t want to ruin one of your passions by turning it into your career. There’s a chance that you might not want to spend all of your time dedicated to something that was an interest or hobby and is now your entire occupation. Sometimes it can be a good idea to separate your interests from your work life, so you don’t get tired of the same topic.

Keeping your hobbies and your professional interests can keep you from feeling burnt out or overwhelmed by constant exposure to something. Think about your hobbies and passions and consider what you’d like to keep as a hobby and what you care about enough to turn into a career. Like we mentioned above, animal lovers might want to turn that passion into a job, but knitting could be a better hobby for when you’re off the clock.

At the end of the day, you know yourself and your opportunities best. Pursuing a passion professionally can be extremely rewarding and make a satisfying career. Just make sure you take a bit of time to reflect on your options and interests before trying to turn your passion into a career.

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Money Alone Won’t Make You Satisfied Either

Everyone knows the saying “money can’t buy you happiness.” It’s even been proven by researchers.

This 2018 study from Purdue University showed that people are happy with money, but only up until a certain point. Once people reach a salary between $60,000 and $75,000 a year, their emotional wellbeing won’t increase just because of money. It’s a fascinating study of how finances aren’t everything.

With this knowledge, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to chase a big salary or not. High paying jobs do offer a lot of financial security, but they usually involve long hours and stressful work.

Again, you should look for balance. You want to find a job that pays well, but you don’t have to shoot for the six-figure positions that demand a lot from you. Looking at the Purdue University study, you can aim somewhere in the salary range of $60,000 and $75,000 and expect to be satisfied.

Most people are happy when they have enough money to support themselves and their families, so think about what you would need to be financially stable. It’s a very personal decision, just like pursuing a passion for a career, so make sure you take time to think through what you want out of life.

That doesn’t mean you should completely take money and financial situations into account when researching job opportunities. It all comes down to finding harmony between your needs and wants to get your dream job.

Finding a satisfying job usually comes from finding a balance between your passions and your income. You might not be happy if you’re getting paid a small amount to do what you love, but you also might not be completely satisfied if your top-paying job is in an industry that you hate.

What Do Satisfying Jobs Have in Common?

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, what’s considered a satisfying job is different for everyone, but balance is always essential. Finding an equilibrium between money, passions, and other needs will lead you to your perfect job.

Balance also applies to the job itself. You want to find a job that strikes a balance between being overbearing and too hard while not being too easy and unchallenging. Finding a happy medium between all of these factors will help you end up in a satisfying career.

There are a few qualities that rewarding jobs have in common, though. Let’s take a look at what the world’s most satisfying jobs all have in common.

  • Interesting work. Even if you don’t pursue your passion professionally, your work should be engaging and interesting. You don’t have to love every aspect of your work, but working in an industry you like or with a product you’re enthusiastic about is a good start. What you don’t want to do is end up with a job that doesn’t interest you at all since you probably won’t be satisfied, no matter how friendly your coworkers are or how good the salary is.

  • Helping others. Many people in jobs that serve other people (like nurses, therapists, or doctors) say that they find their jobs satisfying and rewarding. The element of helping others makes the job gratifying and enriching since the work is meaningful and impacts people other than themselves.

  • Follow your skills. While having an interest in an area is a great start, being skilled in it is even better. People tend to gravitate toward careers where their skills are best put to use, rather than careers in areas they’re passionate about. Knowing that you’re skilled in an area and using that to your advantage for the good of a company can be extremely rewarding- it’s positive reinforcement of your expertise.

  • Good colleagues. You spend a lot of time with your coworkers, so having a good work environment is also key to being happy in your job. You don’t have to love all of your colleagues, but having supportive coworkers is usually an indicator of a satisfying job.

  • No deal-breakers. It can be hard to find a job with everything you love, but minimizing the huge red flags or big “no’s” on your list is important. Think about the work expected of you and other life factors, like commute time, salary, hours expected, and job security. A satisfying job won’t have any significant problems with these considerations either.

  • Lifestyle fit. You want to find a job that fits into your life, not one that you have to make your life fit around. Think about whether a job will change your lifestyle for better or worse and what you don’t want to give up.

Most Satisfying Jobs

Everyone has a different definition of a satisfying job, but these are some popular occupations that people love

  • CEO. As a CEO, you can work in any industry and set the goals of a company. It’s an excellent position for people who want lots of freedom and love to direct or manage things. While the hours can be long and the job is stressful, it’s usually well-compensated as a result.

  • Clergy. Like nurses and doctors, clergy members also help people (spiritually). If you feel connected to a religion, pursuing a career in the clergy is a great way to bring spirituality into your life and help others while you do it.

  • Teacher. No matter what age group you want to teach, teaching can be a rewarding and satisfying job. You get to share your knowledge and expertise with the world while helping people get an education.

  • Dentist. People in the dental field are usually happy with their jobs because they help people maintain their health, work in smaller, tight-knit practices, and have regular hours. This is a great example of finding balance in a job, and dentists (and other people in the dental field) tend to be very satisfied with their jobs.

  • Doctor. Doctors, nurses, therapists, and other medical professionals are often the first people we think of when we think of job satisfaction. Typically these jobs are gratifying because you can help someone with their health and even save their life. You can take many different career paths in medicine, so there’s bound to be a field you’re interested in, no matter what your background is.

  • Software engineer. This one might surprise you, but with all of the flexibility and creativity that comes with software development, people find this job very rewarding. It’s also an indirect way of helping people since most software helps make our lives easier and becomes a necessary tool in our tech-driven world.

  • Human resources. Working in human resources allows you to work with a company’s employees, all the way from the recruiting process to retirement. Not only will you get to know everyone in your organization, but you’ll also be helping them with their employee benefits and the occasional workplace dispute resolution.

  • Firefighter. Firefighters report high levels of job satisfaction since they serve the public. Working to prevent and put out fires saves peoples’ lives and keeps communities safe, so firefighters find their job very rewarding.

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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