meaningfull careers

9 Meaningful Careers That Give Back

We spend an awful lot of our time at work, and no one likes to feel like they are wasting their precious time on this planet. For some people, feeling like they are making a meaningful careers difference in the world is really important. Research shows that feeling a sense of purpose in life is the leading protective factor against depression and greatly increases overall life satisfaction. 

Perhaps you are already one of the lucky ones, and you get to throw on your scrub tops and head to your job as a nurse or doctor every morning, but you are looking for a change. Or maybe you are stuck at what you feel is a dead-end, meaningless job and are wondering how you could help others instead. 

Meaningful work does not have to be a job where you always deal directly with other people. Creating art, writing books or articles or selling products that help improve others’ lives are also meaningful acts. Finding what works for you is the most important aspect. We will go over some of the top options for finding a new career that gives back.

Healthcare Workers

Work in the healthcare industry is not just about being a nurse or a doctor, though those are great options! There are lots of employment options in healthcare that can have you shopping for men’s and women’s scrubs in no time such as radiology tech, pharmacy tech, physical therapy, laboratory specialist and respiratory therapist. Check out any hospital or healthcare center website and click the “careers” button to see the current list of open positions for ideas. You may be surprised at all the direct patient care options there are out there. 

Careers with Animals

If you love animals, a career in the veterinary world may be for you. Becoming a vet is one way to work with animals, but there are also lots of other jobs in the world of animal healthcare. It can get messy, so make sure to have plenty of cool scrub jackets on hand! Some of the options for working with animals are:

  • Vet tech or animal hospital assistant
  • Staffing an animal shelter
  • Working with an animal rescue organization
  • Training or assisting at a racetrack
  • Therapeutic horse-riding center staff
  • Zoo keeper or assistant
  • Animal health inspector
  • Local animal control officer
  • And more!

Food Services

If you love cooking for others and find great satisfaction in preparing tasty and nutritious meals, there are lots of meaningful careers available to you. Every healthcare facility, nursing home, homeless shelter, senior living facility, school and even cruise ships and resorts need cooks. Lots of these positions are happy to offer entry-level options, or you can take some trainings and get certified in nutrition online to boost your skills and increase your options. 

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Source: Hagen Production/Shutterstock.com

A Career in Law 

Lawyers often get a bad reputation, but there are lots of career options in law that are helpful to those less fortunate or which help the world in other ways. It is really one of the meaningful careers. If becoming a lawyer appeals to you, or if you want to just work in a law office or be a paralegal, consider some of these ideas:

  • Immigration law
  • Environmental protection
  • Human rights law
  • Legal support for non-profit charitable organizations
  • Supporting worker’s rights
  • Legal support of the LGBTQ community

Mental and Behavioral Health Careers

The growing need for mental health and behavioral health support is ongoing. Careers in the field of mental health are often hidden just out of sight, but they are incredibly important and meaningful career. Becoming a therapist or counselor is a great option, as is becoming a psychiatric nurse or practitioner. Most mental health and addiction treatment centers also employ mental health workers or behavioral health techs who work in direct patient care settings. 

This work can be extremely rewarding, as the need for mental healthcare touches just about everyone’s life in one way or another. These jobs can also be found as part of the criminal justice system, support for folks struggling with homelessness, residential programs for troubled youth and more. 

Emergency Responder

If you are the type of person who likes to be prepared for any eventuality and likes unexpected challenges, then a career as a first responder may be for you. Firefighter and emergency medical services (EMS) worker are a couple of the obvious options, but there are others. Some other ideas for work in the realm of emergency responder are:

  • Emergency services dispatcher
  • 911 call responder
  • Emergency room tech
  • Emergency equipment repair and maintenance tech
  • Disaster responder
  • Industrial or offshore medic for oil rigs
  • Medic onsite for television and film sets

Enrichment Coordinator for the Elderly

As our population continues to age and life expectancies increase, there will be more and more need for staff in facilities that house the elderly. One of the best jobs in these settings is enrichment coordinator. Working to develop and carry out programming that supports the interests of the elderly residents is a big part of the job. Making sure to help the residents and clients of elderly support services continue to have meaningful and enriching lives can be a very satisfying career option. 

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Source: Anna Kraynova/Shutterstock.com

After-School Program Careers

Much like the eldery, the youth in our country need to have enriching and meaningful programming available for before- and after-school hours. Working to create and carry out programming for kids in your area may be just the career option you’ve been looking for. 

Early Childhood Specialties

Children can face many kinds of developmental challenges as they grow and learn to navigate the world. Careers in special education are many and varied. Classrooms are always in need of aides and teacher’s assistants, and there are job options available in homecare, parent training, early intervention specialist, tutor, teacher trainer and more. 

This is just a partial list of ideas to help you find a meaningful career to help you find your purpose in life and allow you to be able to give something back to others. The world needs more people like you!

Also Read: 9 Healthy Nutrition and Exercise Plans for Seniors Recovering from Surgery