Were there any surprises in there?
The top 25 included restaurant owner/operator and realtor. I guess feeding and housing people makes you feel good even if they’re the ones footing the bill.
And are the people who fall into that sweet spot happier overall?
It’s hard to measure happiness, but the average satisfaction for the top 25 jobs is 85%, which is high compared to the national average of 72%.
Who’s paid the best but the least satisfied?
Well, “Senior Counsel”—basically a lawyer—has a median pay of $177,000. But satisfaction is just 59%—well below the national average—and only 31% report the job as meaningful.
What about jobs that don’t pay so well but have a higher satisfaction score?
Some lower-paying jobs that are highly meaningful include: Sign language interpreter, soldier, worship coordinator, and social worker. It goes without saying that those workers are reaping rewards that go far beyond a paycheck.
How about the saddest of the sad—the lowest paying, least meaningful jobs?
I don’t want to ruin anyone’s day!
So if we want to be well paid and feel good, we should forget lawschool and get into the police academy?
I know lots of happy lawyers and have met my share of grouchy traffic cops, so take all of this with a grain of salt.
Mellody is President of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts. Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS News.