The website Payscale.com released an interactive chart on the most meaningful jobs in the country. They define meaningful as "Does your job make the world a better place?" Not surprisingly, Clergy came in as the most meaningful occupation one can attain. A full 97% of clergy reported that their work is meaningful, with 88% saying they have high job satisfaction. On the other hand, fast food cooks came in last, with only 22% saying they have a meaningful job and 45% reporting a high satisfaction.
While it's important to have a job that makes the world a better place like Clergy, maybe some of us prefer to have a high income AND a meaningful job--have our cake and eat it too. For that, you need to get your butt into medical school. Healthcare workers report the highest income and the highest meaningful numbers according to Payscale. On their chart, all the little yellow circles that are far to the right on the meaningful scale and trail up towards the top of the income scale are all healthcare providers. They include OB/GYN, Internal Medicine, Psychiatry, and Family Practice.
How do anesthesiologists compare on this chart? We come in at a very respectable number two. The reported median income is $291,300. Ninety-one percent of anesthesiologists say their jobs make the world a better place. Seventy-eight percent say they are highly satisfied with their jobs. Like surgeons, 79% of anesthesiologists report having a high level of stress at work.
So if you want to be poor and change the world, get yourself to theology school. If you want to be poor and inconsequential, apply to your local burger joint. If you want to be rich but unfulfilled, get yourself into law school (40% meaningful). If you want to have it all, be a doctor. But your mother already knew that didn't she when she made you apply to med school.