The Job Satisfaction Crisis Part 1: 10 Happiest Jobs


I have written before about taking stock of job satisfaction with the start of the New Year, suggesting that it just might be time to think about making a change.  As one colleague pointed out to me recently – job satisfaction is, after all, a relative thing.

He was right, and so I started to do some research about the BEST and MOST HATED jobs in the hope it may help you think about your “relative happiness.”

I came across two interesting pieces. One is from the Christian Science Monitor, about The 10 Happiest Jobs, and the other in Fortune Magazine called Think Your Job is Bad, Try One of These.

The types of “happy” work outlined in the Christian Science Monitor piece were based on research conducted by University of Chicago’s National Organization for Research.

According to the Deloitte Shift Index study, only 1 in 5 American workers say they are fully engaged in their work.  So, it’s not hard to imagine there are people who don’t like their jobs.

So what were the 10 Happiest Jobs?

1.  Clergy: Experts say that social interaction increases job satisfaction.  That may help explain why Clergy topped the list.

2. Firefighters: Eighty percent of firefighters claimed they are “very satisfied” with their jobs, which also involves helping people in meaningful ways.

3. Physical therapists: Social interaction and helping people apparently make this job one of the happiest.  (Are you starting to see a trend?)

4Authors: This one seems more intriguing. It can’t be due to the pay.  For most authors, the pay is ridiculously low or non-existent, but perhaps it is related to the autonomy they have and the satisfaction of writing down the contents of your own mind?

5.  Special education teachers:  The annual salary of most special education teachers is less than $50K per year.   But if you have the emotional stamina, Special ed teachers I know find a great deal of satisfaction in their work.

6. Teachers: Teachers in general also report being happy with their jobs (I wonder if that applies to college professors as well?).  I suppose that despite the current issues with education funding and classroom conditions, education still attracts many young idealists, although studies show that fifty percent of new teachers are gone within five years.

7. Artists: Sculptors and painters report high job satisfaction, despite the great difficulty in making a living from it. Well suited to those who cherish their autonomy.

8. Psychologists: Seems hard to imagine how listening to other people’s problems all day wouldn’t be trying, but apparently the idea of helping others has its benefits.

9. Financial services sales agents:  This seems unlike the list so far, but sixty-five percent of financial services sales agents are reported to be happy with their jobs.  Perhaps it is because some of them are clearing more than $90,000 dollars a year on average for a 40-hour work week in a comfortable office environment?

 10. Operating engineers: If I could start a new career now, the idea of playing with giant toys like bulldozers and front-end loaders would be both fun, and bring with it a sense of power!    Right, guys?

Are there some themes that seem to tie most of these jobs together?  We will consider this question in Part 2 of this series when we look at the 10 Most Hated Jobs.

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2 Comments

Filed under Leading, Personal Leadership

2 responses to “The Job Satisfaction Crisis Part 1: 10 Happiest Jobs

  1. Pingback: What interests attract you to a career?

  2. Pingback: Job satisfaction in the workplace « GailWrites

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