Monday, November 10, 2008

Where Do America's Happiest People Work? Guess who are the most joyous people?

I received the following in an email a few minutes ago from an Ethiopian Orthodox list.  It is interested that we priests and our brother clergy are the most satisfied with our jobs.  Perhaps that is because it is not a job, but rather a calling to serve and continue the path Christ set for us.

Where Do America's Happiest People Work?
Kristina Cowan,, Yahoo! HotJobs

Career isn't the only factor in determining someone's overall happiness, but it's certainly a major contributor. So, what kind of jobs do the happiest people in the U.S. have? And, what about these jobs contributes to overall happiness in life? A University of Chicago study, "Job Satisfaction in the United States," offers some insight. The study says the occupations where people report being happy overall, not just in terms of job satisfaction, involve helping others, technical and scientific expertise, or creativity.
Tom W. Smith, director of the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Research Center at UC, elaborates: "Happiness is determined by how much satisfaction you get from all domains of life, and work is an important domain, so it's one of the major components of overall happiness."
According to the study, the top occupations in general happiness are:
1. Clergy
Job Description: Conduct religious worship and perform spiritual functions associated with beliefs and practices of religious faith or denomination.
Very happy: 67.2%
Median salary*: $44,102
2. Firefighters
Job Description: Control and extinguish fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.
Very happy: 57.2%
Median salary: $45,553
3. Transportation, ticket, and reservation agents such as travel agents
Job Description: Travel agents plan and sell transportation and accommodations for travel agency customers.
Very happy: 56.5%
Median hourly rate (travel agents): $14.23
4. Architects <>
Job Description: Plan and design structures, such as private residences, office buildings, theaters, factories, and other structural property.
Very happy: 53.5%
Median salary: $54,079
5. Special education teachers
Job Description: Teach school subjects to educationally and physically handicapped students.
Very happy: 52.6%
Median salary (preschool, kindergarten or elementary school): $41,344
Median salary (secondary school): $43,060
6. Actors and directors
Job Description: Actors play parts in stage, television, radio, video, or motion picture productions for entertainment, information, or instruction.
Very happy: 51.0%
Salary varies greatly
7. Science technicians
Job Description: Use principles and theories of science and mathematics to solve problems in research and development, and to help invent and improve products and processes.
Very happy: 51.0%
Median salary (research scientists): $72,435
8. Miscellaneous mechanical and repairing occupations
Job Description: Automotive service technicians and mechanics diagnose, adjust, repair, or overhaul automotive vehicles.
Very happy: 53.6%**
Median hourly rate (mechanics/auto tune up): $15.26
9. Industrial engineers <>
Job Description: Design, develop, test, and evaluate integrated systems for managing industrial production processes.
Very happy: 48.4%
Median salary: $61,729
10. Airline pilots and navigators
Job Description: Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers pilot and navigate the flight of multi-engine aircraft in regularly scheduled service for transport of passengers and cargo.
Very happy: 49.1%
Median hourly rate (airline pilots, copilots, or flight engineers): $63
The Contentment Sources

So what is it about these occupations that spurs happiness?
The Rev. Dr. Rick Wright says he enjoys helping people and being creative.
"With ministry I get to tie in my fundamental beliefs about God and life with what I do all day. So I get to work with people and assist them. And in ordained ministry I think it's a bit unique in that people will open up to you because you are a priest/pastor and share who they really are inside," explains Wright, senior associate rector at The Falls Church in Virginia.
Stephen Moon, an architect <>  with The Beck Group in Atlanta, says an important part of his happiness is due to his employer expanding his experience, and letting him have access to the construction <>  and development sides of the business.
Melissa Benedict, a research scientist at The Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research in Orangeburg, N.Y., says she likes helping others: "If we can help just one person with the research we're doing, that's really rewarding. Hopefully it will help more people in the long run. ? A lot of times with research you don't get that, so when you can help it really makes a difference."
*All salary data are from and show median salary or hourly rate for each profession for workers with 5-9 years of experience.
**For an explanation of study rankings and percentages, see "Job Satisfaction in the United States <> ," footnote 3, page 1.

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