The answer, it seems, is not necessarily the best-paid ones. According to the article:
– Americans are reasonably happy workers. About 90% rate their jobs as moderately or very satisfying.
– The highest happiness scorers are firefighters and priests, occupations with incomes around the US average.
I won’t go into the hierarchy of happy vocations diagrammed in TIME because I’d hate to imply that a particular job makes happiness more or less likely. In fact, even though I’ve provided the link I don’t recommend you check out where your job sits on the index – unless you’re already pretty happy and won’t be discouraged if your job ranks low. There are happy and unhappy people in every occupation, so knowing the happiness rank of the average person with your job isn’t all that enlightening.
TIME asks which jobs make people happy, but a better question is which job will make you happy. The kind of work that can bring you happiness will most likely:
- Tap your talents and strengths
- Be enjoyable
- Give you a sense of purpose and meaning.
It’s no wonder, then, that firefighters and clerics top the list – you wouldn’t choose either career path to dodge the family business or make a quick buck – you’d have to feel called to it. It’s also significant that these high happiness scorers are average income earners.
Once again, it seems that meaning matters more than money in making you happy. (Hey – I could have said merry.)
As if we needed more convincing.