The Ten Happiest Jobs — Some Surprises!

From Forbes:

1.  Clergy:  The least worldly are reported to be the happiest of all

2. Firefighters: Eighty percent of firefighters are “very satisfied” with their jobs, which involve helping people.

3. Physical therapists: Social interaction and helping people apparently make this job one of the happiest.

4. Authors: For most authors, the pay is ridiculously low or non-existent, but the autonomy of writing down the contents of your own mind apparently leads to happiness.

5.  Special education teachers: If you don’t care about money, a job as special education teacher might be a happy profession. The annual salary averages just under $50,000.

6. Teachers: Teachers in general report being happy with their jobs, despite the current issues with education funding and classroom conditions. The profession continues to attract young idealists, although 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.

8. Psychologists: Psychologists may or may not be able to solve other people’s problems, but it seems that they have managed to solve their own.

9. Financial services sales agents: Sixty-five percent of financial services sales agents are reported to be happy with their jobs. That could be 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: Playing with giant toys like bulldozers, front-end loaders, backhoes, scrapers, motor graders, shovels, derricks, large pumps, and air compressors can be fun.  With more jobs for operating engineers than qualified applicants, operating engineers report being happy.

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  • First off, I need to tell you that Patheos blog advertising is annoying and atrocious. I view your blog on a mobile device and the popup ads ruin the experience. I have taken to using Pocket to strip out all advertising just to be able to read your blogs.

    Now on topic, I’m surprised that clergy ranks so high after hearing multiple times about it being mentioned as on of the most stressful careers.

  • RobS

    I’ll comment on #9… because we see people working hard all their lives to take wise counsel and make wise decisions. Then, they see the reward that comes from that. They thank and appreciate the assistance over the years in helping them achieve their life goals.

    There’s a lot of freedom to be had in following Biblical principals related to money.

  • As Erik says, I’m a little surprised at the top ranking going to pastors. That’s in light of the stress he mentions and the large number of departures due to burn out, sexual infidelity, inadequate income, etc. So one of my questions is whether the survey gave any weight to turn-over rates, to reports of those having recently left an occupation, perhaps because of problems in it, etc.

    I also DO know many pastors are quite fulfilled and happy as well… It may be that the right person in the right situation is great, but that so often that is not the case.

  • CarScott

    Ironically the Planet Money team at NPR just did a report on college majors that result in the highest and lowest wages. Your list on happiest careers correlates almost perfectly with their list of lowest wages – not sure the correlation here but it seems to suggest those who pursue passion (arts, public service) trade money for happiness. Perhaps not a bad trade. Read more here: