Jobs That Make a Difference in the World
Most of us are familiar with “A Christmas Carol,” which is one of Charles Dickens’ most popular pieces of fiction, if not the most popular. Its timeless message of hope and redemption never fails to resonate with anyone who comes across the story – whether in literature or the countless adaptations through theatre or cinema. However, while the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future are entirely a work of fiction, Dickens’ empathy toward the less privileged was all fact. Although he used a different platform to bring to light the deplorable conditions of the less fortunate, his efforts are in no way less noble. After all, he believed that “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
If you’re thinking of a career that’s focused on being of service to the disadvantaged – or as Dickens said, easing the burdens of others– there are a multitude of humbling options to do so. While some of these may not be financially rewarding, most who work in the field believe that making a difference in people’s lives is reward enough. Let’s take a quick look at what awaits you.
Teachers are such a permanent fixture in our lives that we often take them for granted. However, the effect of a teacher on an individual is often life-changing, and it’s only fitting that we now have Teacher Appreciation Week to remind ourselves of their importance to our lives. They help people directly, and they can witness the fruits of their labour first-hand as they see their students develop over the course of a school year, maybe even longer for teachers who teach multiple levels. Teachers can also work in institutions specializing in providing education for pupils with special needs or disabilities.
A career in psychology involves many different job aspects. A psychologist’s primary goal is to study how people think, feel, and behave from a scientific perspective, applying the knowledge to help people understand and eventually adjust their behaviour as needed. Psychologists work with individuals with mental health problems (depression, anxiety, etc.), as well as those with neurological, genetic, psychological, and social determinants of behaviour; marital or familial problems; terminal illnesses such as cancer; developmental problems; addictions and substance use and abuse; and others. Psychologists help enlighten those afflicted with mental or behavioural issues, which hopefully will lead them to the right path.
Being involved in social work means being involved in a vast discipline that encompasses several modalities, which means that if you’re treading this path, be ready to wear a lot of hats: case manager, counsellor, program manager, client relations manager, and administrative professional. Social workers must be adept in assessments and intakes and be able to establish client rapport through finely tuned interpersonal and communication skills. Since social workers mostly work with the vulnerable members of society who need government support, they must have a compassionate demeanour and must have a high tolerance for change and flexibility to adapt to new challenges.
It’s often said that the true test of one’s character is during times of crisis. This is the reason emergency responders are among the most challenging jobs there is. Not only do they have to be skilled at responding promptly to emergency situations to serve the community, they also must be focused on safeguarding the wellbeing of others, often with threat or risk to their own lives. Emergency workers can work in a wide range of areas: firefighting, natural disaster rescue, and others.
Most people think that speech pathologists only work with individuals with a lisp or stutter, but they actually have a broader range of responsibilities. While they do work primarily with those with speech impediments, they also work with people with difficulties in swallowing, such as those who suffered from a stroke or injury. In addition, they can also help individuals improve their phonological awareness, decoding, reading comprehension, and writing.
The above are a few options for those of you who are looking into entering a field that focuses on helping people, albeit more low-profile than say the ones in the health care field (doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist, etc.). Know this, however, whatever career path you choose to help those in need, it will surely be a fulfilling one.