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Is It Possible To Have A ‘Meaningful' Job And Also Make Money?

A good job pays the bills, but it's also meaningful, right? Apparently, it's tough to find a job that does both.

There's no better day of the week than Monday to ponder the meaningfulness of your work. It's something that often gets overlooked while searching for a job, too.

When I first graduated from college, I definitely wasn't thinking about how rewarding the work would be. I was just focused on getting my foot in the door of the entertainment industry.

But to be honest, the work was pretty soul-sucking. I looked at the lives of my supervisors who had many more years of experience in the entertainment industry than I did. They were all pretty miserable, so I got out.

Money is definitely important to me, as it is to many people. In fact, just about everyone I know cares about making money. Do they care more about making money than making a difference? I don't know, but it all depends on the job.

Here's a graph of the most meaningful jobs in 2016 and their average salaries, according to recent data from Forbes.

This should definitely make you think about what you do all day:

meaningful jobs infographic

Robert Rodriguez

Jobs that involve working with elderly people are of the most meaningful.

Nursing home directors, hospice nurses and assistant directors of nursing homes were in the top 10 meaningful jobs.

For these jobs, the average salary is $69,700. That might sound like a lot if you're 22 years old, but when you also have to support a family, it's tight.

People who have jobs helping the elderly get to enjoy the satisfaction of directly making someone's life much better. Money can't buy that feeling.


You can get more meaning from a job if you're helping people be healthy.

Clinical psychologists, volunteer coordinators and clinical supervisors have meaningful work, but their jobs aren't going to give them the ability to retire early, that's for sure.

People in these jobs are making $54,000 on average. Seeing the immediacy of how you help people live healthier lives is probably more meaningful compared to the immediate results from other jobs.


Connecting with others on an emotional level probably makes your job more meaningful.

Pastors, development officers, school counselors and marriage and family therapists help people have better relationships and a better understanding of themselves. Careers in mental health, development and relationship health put you front and center with your clients. These jobs force you to communicate and prevent you from hiding behind a screen all the time.

People in these roles make $48,400 on average. You can't buy the rewarding feeling of knowing you've helped improve marriages or guided a high school student through finding the best college. But, that rewarding feeling can't exactly pay rent, either.

OK, so none of this means you can't find work that's both meaningful and allows you to be financially independent. But, you might not be able to find a job that's both meaningful and makes a lot of money based on the roles that exist.

Having a rewarding job and becoming wealthy might mean adopting an entrepreneurial spirit and creating your own position. It might not be about finding the job, but creating one based on what would be most meaningful to you.

Citations: The 10 Most And Least Meaningful Jobs In 2016 (Forbes)

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Talia Koren

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Talia Koren is a Staff Writer at Elite Daily who genuinely wants to help twenty-somethings get their sh*t together. She graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in cinema studies and formerly worked in showbiz.
Talia Koren is a Staff Writer at Elite Daily who genuinely wants to help twenty-somethings get their sh*t together. She graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in cinema studies and formerly worked in showbiz.

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