Why do work? This has been a career question that has perplexed American workers for many years, all the more so while enduring Covid-19. In recent years there has been a shift away from employees just looking at work as a pay check, with many wanting to find more meaning from their work.
These reasons can be family-oriented, such as wanting to build a better future for one’s children. They can be self-oriented, too, and in many cases, inspiration can also be society-oriented: motivated by the desire to help other people in need and make the world a better place to live in.
If you are looking for a career that has meaning below are 5 such career paths.
Those who heed the calling to help others, often look to a career in healthcare, and one of the most accessible careers is that of a nurse. Nurses are known for their self-sacrifice and desire to help others. During the past 3 years, this has been put to the test with many nurses going beyond the call of duty to work in an overstretched healthcare system. Unfortunately, this has led to burnout with more nurses than ever before leaving their employment.
Yet, true to their nature, many nurses are not abandoning helping others and are instead switching to a new nursing career. In Chicago nurses are taking steps to balance their sense of purpose with alternative employment by being a travel nurse. This type of nurse is stationed in temporary placements at different hospitals and has allowed nurses to continue to find meaning in their work without overstretching themselves.
If you want a meaningful career in healthcare but are worried about the current work climate, then a travel nurse will give you the flexibility you need.
Recent data shows that the most common telehealth service provided during the pandemic was psychotherapy, and the top specialty providing these services this past January were social workers. Social workers have a broad scope of practice and legally represent clients in different institutions, as well as connecting them to services that will help with their mental health troubles. On the other hand, licensed clinical social workers (LCSW) carry a Master in Social Work (MSW).
These specialists are particularly essential in places with severe shortages of mental health professionals. LCSWs are currently in high demand in Arizona with reports showing a 40% increase in calls and texts in the first eight months of 2021 compared to the same months in 2020.
Social workers are vital to a community as they can diagnose and treat clients through in-person and virtual sessions. This is a crucial step in destigmatizing mental health, and breaking down the barriers to the inaccessibility of healthcare. Social workers may sacrifice their own stress and time but ultimately find gratification in the rewarding effects their service has on society.
If healthcare doesn’t sound appealing to you, how about a job in the education sector? Setting students up for a lifetime of success can be very fulfilling and there is a high demand for teachers across the country. Alongside the educational aspect, many states are looking for teachers to help with social issues. For example, Nevada is looking for a more diverse set of teachers, so that the school system can counter decades-long misinformation and fear-mongering.
Having the power to teach children to have a wider perspective is one way teachers are helping build a better society that is kinder to others.
When it comes to meaningful work, very few jobs can compete with working for a non-profit. Non-profits work in a variety of sectors from environmental and educational to political and research. This means that the scope of work in a non-profit is huge, with The Balance outlining how they range from coordinator jobs to development roles, which is why it is such an attractive career option. With such a wide availability of roles, there will be a job that suits your skillset.
The only downside is that the job competition for non-profits is fierce, so you will likely need to acquire some experience through volunteering or internships to secure a position.
These are only a few examples of careers where people have found meaning. Look into your own pandemic experience and recognize if any of your values and priorities have changed. Confronting the deeper truths about what we want out of our lives is the first step to working towards what meaning means for us.