Although the general idea of what constitutes the “perfect” profession varies, something that we can all agree on when it comes to selecting a professional career is that it should provide us with personal fulfillment. When individuals find job opportunities that coincide with their values and passions and give them a sense of purpose and stability, they’re more likely to exhibit better performance in their roles, have higher self-esteem, be more productive, and enjoy better health and work/life balance.
Of course, not every person necessarily looks for the same things out of a career. Finding a way to do what you enjoy while simultaneously making enough money to get by isn’t always easy considering the millions of potential career opportunities, but it’s worthwhile. From salary to professional experience and genuine interests, there are various things that factor into what makes a career truly fulfilling and enjoyable.
If you’re in search of employment or you aren’t happy at work and are considering a career change, it may help to consider which aspects would make a new position or role fulfilling and meaningful to you. Hunting for a fulfilling job demands self-awareness, a staunch commitment to research and a willingness to explore numerous options.
Here is a closer look at what makes a career fulfilling, some of the most sought-after jobs in the market that provide personal fulfillment, and tips on how you can choose one.
Characteristics of a satisfying career
Here are some of the most common attributes that fulfilling careers typically possess.
A sense of purpose
According to studies, around 70% of individuals felt more diligent and engaged at work when they got the sense that they had a purpose for being there. Therefore, it is fair to say that individuals want to do work that they feel matters and makes them genuinely excited to wake up in the morning. Some individuals could find this feeling of personal fulfillment by teaching children or working for a non-profit that helps the homeless, for example. Knowing that the career you’ve chosen makes a difference could help provide a sense of reason, motivation, and purpose.
Flexibility (Work/life balance)
Another vital attribute of a fulfilling career is flexibility, especially if you are someone for whom family commitments, personal endeavors, responsibilities, and other interests outside work are the main contributors to overall happiness. Options such as flexible schedules can allow you to create a work schedule that minimizes conflicts and allows you to pursue multiple goals, thereby making the difference between a career that is merely okay and one that feels personally satisfying.
Doing work that aligns with your core values and empowers you to make changes that contribute to your community, or the world is also a factor that contributes to job satisfaction. For example, if you have the desire to make a significant difference in the world, you might enjoy being a teacher or social worker. Opting for a routine job such as factory work may turn out to be profoundly unsatisfying for someone who values new challenges and diversity.
Use of skills
Many times, an individual’s career interests align closely with their skill sets and strengths. Choosing a career that uses your best skills helps prevent circumstances where hard work only leads to feelings of frustration since it is hard to feel satisfied with your work if it is constantly a struggle. When you work with your strengths, you can look forward to coming to work each day.
Fulfilling careers often have well-structured paths for advancement that give you confidence that your hard work can result in promotions and career growth. When professionals are allowed to develop an array of skills or polish their existing ones, they tend to be more personally satisfied with their careers than those who aren’t given such opportunities.
A sufficient salary
For a career to be fulfilling, it is important that it pays you a salary or wage that allows you a substantial degree of financial security. In addition to being able to pay your bills, working in a fulfilling career will enable you to have enough money to prepare for major expenditures and purchases and occasionally treat yourself for your hard work.
Top fulfilling careers
With these characteristics in mind, here is a look at some of the careers that are considered highly satisfying.
Clergy are religious leaders who help members of their communities live their life with their faith in mind by providing practical, spiritual and moral guidance and assistance. They lead religious services and programs meant to assist and support individuals through their personal problems. Clergy can find their sense of drive and purpose in seeing their congregation live optimistic lives.
Generally, teachers working with any age group convey high levels of job satisfaction. They are often ranked among some of the happiest workers because of the sense of meaning they derive from their work. It is a career that is driven by devotion, passion, and commitment. Some people even refer to it as a calling and not a job since it helps shape people’s lives by imparting wisdom and knowledge and preparing today’s youth for the future. Some may also find the work-life balance that comes with the role quite appealing as it gives them the option of taking summers off to rejuvenate their body and mind for the coming school year.
Firefighters provide a direct and necessary service to the public by responding to emergencies to save the lives of citizens every day. Even though this profession can be dangerous, it often proves to be very rewarding considering the sense of purpose one feels after collaborating with their team to contain and stop a potentially destructive and harmful situation.
Often referred to as the heartbeat of the healthcare sector, nursing is a profession that will not only give you a stable financial future and job security but also provide great personal fulfillment if you have a passion for medicine and tending to others.
A registered nurse, or RN, provides patient care by working in different settings such as hospitals, clinics, home healthcare facilities, doctor’s offices and nursing care facilities. Becoming an RN demands fewer educational requirements than a physician and typically requires a bachelor’s or associate degree.
On the other hand, transitioning into nursing practitioner roles from an RN position will require you to pursue a master’s degree from a reputable institution, such as Walsh University. With their online nursing degree programs, you’ll be able to develop the necessary skills, mindset, and credentials that will lead you to become a successful nurse practitioner.
Physical therapists provide direct care to patients who fall under different categories, such as children, the elderly, and athletes, leading them on their journey to recovery. They help people with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses achieve the recovery goals they set for themselves and improve their movement. This professional role is not only satisfying and rewarding but also very dynamic since physical therapists can work in many work settings, such as gyms, sports centers or hospitals.
Using one’s skills and talents is an essential factor in career fulfillment and satisfaction. Therefore, it’s no surprise that writing is considered one of the most fulfilling professions in the world. Authors also have more autonomy and freedom to dictate their working hours and therefore have the liberty to spend more time at home, which allows for a healthy work/life balance.
Often viewed as a demanding and challenging professional role to take on, a psychiatrist’s career fulfillment and satisfaction lies in their ability to help improve people’s lives and their emotional or behavioral well-being by attempting to understand and analyze their mental health and tend to them accordingly. This fulfilling profession comes with substantial responsibilities as clients often come looking for advice to help them cope with sensitive situations and personal problems taking place in their lives
Millions of people in the world consider entrepreneurship to be one of the most fulfilling careers. For many people, there is nothing more satisfying than having your own business and becoming your own boss. A recent survey found that 63% of Millennials and Gen Zers are drawn to the idea of becoming entrepreneurs because it supports healthy work-life balance and provides the freedom that today’s generation looks for in a career.
Tips for choosing a fulfilling career
Here are a few tips that can help you choose a satisfying and rewarding career:
- Look for a professional career that aligns with your work-related values and morals
- Always put passion over money
- Choose a career that you enjoy
- Make sure your job works well with your schedule and provides a healthy work-life balance
- Assess whether you’ll be able to advance within your career
There are many jobs that will check all these boxes, so take a look at your interests and explore how you can use them to build a career.