Payscale surveyed over two million workers about their job satisfaction and whether their work was meaningful, as in, did the work make the world a better place. They plotted the results on a interactive graph, which is confusing both in figuring out the colors and in the job categories (art/design/sports/media together?). See the full list, ranked by meaningfulness here. You have to take the results with a grain of salt, because “meaningfulness” is the subjective report of each worker. There’s also a disconnect between meaningfulness and job satisfaction in quite a few jobs, which probably has to do with the pay. Payscale also made a list of jobs in which workers were most likely to say that their jobs “make the world a worse place.” It’s surprising to see Garbage Truck Driver there, because we know how vital the job is, and how awful the world would be without them. A commenter at Metafilter offered a plausible explanation.
I was surprised at the garbage truck drivers, too, but I guess I can see it now. It's got to be depressing, feeling like you're dumping all that volume of shit in the landfill. You could tell yourself it's not YOU making all that garbage, you're just the delivery person. But I bet that's easier said than done, and it would wear you down when you see it first hand every day.
People who make a living by really making the world a worse place must rationalize their occupations thoroughly. You don’t see categories for dictators, tobacco company executives, bomb manufacturers, heroin dealers, corporate lobbyists, human traffickers, or predatory lenders. Then again, you don’t see bloggers in there anywhere. You can also read an explanation of the top 16 and bottom 16 meaningful jobs. Other jobs are in the pages in between. -via Metafilter
(Image credit: Flickr user Jason Lawrence)