People look for different things in a career; some people want progression and financial rewards, whereas other people search for job roles that offer flexible working hours or remote work opportunities. Whatever you want from a career, it's important that you get satisfaction from your job and enjoy your working life. Many people agree that doing a career that helps others in some way, is a reliable way to get satisfaction from your career. Below are some of the key benefits of helping others, along with ideas of careers where you can help others.
Benefits of a career helping others
Many studies have found that helping others can be beneficial to both your physical and mental health. This is because the act of helping someone releases endorphins in your brain which creates feelings of happiness and effectively boosts your mood, all while reducing feelings of stress and anxiety. This is known as 'Helpers High'; a euphoria that happens when you do charitable deeds or selfless acts of kindness. Helping others is also an effective way to create a sense of purpose, improve your outlook on life, and become more grateful for the things you have. Studies have found that people who help others as part of their career or volunteer work, are less likely to suffer from mental health conditions such as depression, low self-esteem and anxiety disorders.
Helping others and doing good deeds can also have a significant effect on your long term physical health, as it has been shown to effectively reduce negative emotions such as stress and anxiety. This has been linked to a number of physical health benefits such as lower blood pressure and a decreased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Research has even found that helping others can increase your lifespan. According to projecthelpinghands.org, "…helping others on a regular basis can reduce early mortality rates by 22%, compared to mortality rates of people who don't participate in altruistic activities."
Careers where you can help others
Many people automatically think of the charity sector when considering careers that help others. However, there are in fact many different career choices that allow you to help others in some way. To give you some inspiration, here are some rewarding careers that help others:
Nurses help others in a significant way. They are highly trained healthcare professionals who are responsible for treating a wide range of different illnesses and injuries. Nurses often spend a lot of time with their patients and have the unique opportunity to get to know them on a more personal level and develop close relationships. Many nurses report getting a great sense of satisfaction from helping people in their time of need, watching them make a full recovery, and playing a key role in their return to optimal health. The role of a nurse is extremely diverse and qualified nurses can choose to work in a variety of specialisms and settings. For instance, some nurses choose to attend midwifery school to become qualified midwives and support pregnant women and their babies through each stage of antenatal care.
Carers make a huge impact on the lives of others by providing valuable support which allows people to remain living independently in their homes. The role of a carer is diverse and usually involves supporting with a range of daily tasks, such as cooking and cleaning, accompanying patients on appointments, running errands and administering medication. Carers also often provide a great source of comfort and companionship and build close bonds with the person they are caring for. Most carers get a great sense of satisfaction and joy from knowing that they're making a really positive difference to someone's life. Becoming a professional carer can offer a highly rewarding and satisfying career for anyone with a naturally compassionate personality.
Police officers help protect people by taking an active role in fighting crime and creating safer communities. They have the unique opportunity to save lives everyday and act as role models to help encourage people to make better life decisions and lead lawful lives.
The role of a police officer can be exciting and diverse, with no two days being the same. Some key responsibilities may include; responding to emergency calls, administering first aid to victims of crime, interviewing suspects, organizing investigations and giving expert testimony in court cases. To become a police officer you must have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED plus completion of the law enforcement entrance exam. Some police organizations also require or prefer applicants to have a bachelor's degree, so obtaining this is a great way to stand out from the competition and improve your career prospects.
Teachers play an extremely important role in shaping the lives of the next generation. They are responsible for passing on their specialist skills and knowledge and educating the next generation of learners. A teacher should act as a positive role model and encourage students to achieve their best and develop the skills needed to be successful in later life. Teachers have a huge impact on their students and many people consider teaching to be a highly rewarding and fulfilling career choice for many people. Teachers also have the opportunity to work within a wide range of educational settings and teach a subject they're passionate about. To become qualified, teachers usually have to complete a bachelor's degree followed by a specialist teacher preparation program. If you're interested in this rewarding career path, you can find plenty of advice and guidance on the different routes to becoming a teacher.
Dieticians help people lead healthier lives by providing specialist advice on nutrition and healthy eating habits. They work within a wide range of settings and many large institutions such as care homes, hospitals and schools, rely on dieticians to develop meal plans that provide high nutritional value for people with a variety of different needs. Dieticians also get to apply the skills and knowledge they acquire on themselves and benefit personally from improved health.
Women have come a long way in redefining beauty to be more inclusive of different body types, skin colors and hair styles, but society's beauty standards still remain as high as we have always known them to be. In the workplace, professionalism is directly linked to the appearance of both men and women, but for women, the expectations and requirements needed to fit the part are far stricter. Unlike men, there exists a direct correlation between beauty and respect that women are forced to acknowledge, and in turn comply with, in order to succeed.
Before stepping foot into the workforce, women who choose to opt out of conventional beauty and grooming regiments are immediately at a disadvantage. A recent Forbes article analyzing the attractiveness bias at work cited a comprehensive academic review for its study on the benefits attractive adults receive in the labor market. A summary of the review stated, "'Physically attractive individuals are more likely to be interviewed for jobs and hired, they are more likely to advance rapidly in their careers through frequent promotions, and they earn higher wages than unattractive individuals.'" With attractiveness and success so tightly woven together, women often find themselves adhering to beauty standards they don't agree with in order to secure their careers.
Complying with modern beauty standards may be what gets your foot in the door in the corporate world, but once you're in, you are expected to maintain your appearance or risk being perceived as unprofessional. While it may not seem like a big deal, this double standard has become a hurdle for businesswomen who are forced to fit this mold in order to earn respect that men receive regardless of their grooming habits. Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, is all too familiar with conforming to the beauty culture in order to command respect, and has fought throughout the course of her entrepreneurial journey to override this gender bias.
As an internationally-recognized women's advocate, Elting has made it her mission to help women succeed on their own, but she admits that little progress can be made until women reclaim their power and change the narrative surrounding beauty and success. In 2016, sociologists Jaclyn Wong and Andrew Penner conducted a study on the positive association between physical attractiveness and income. Their results concluded that "attractive individuals earn roughly 20 percent more than people of average attractiveness," not including controlling for grooming. The data also proves that grooming accounts entirely for the attractiveness premium for women as opposed to only half for men. With empirical proof that financial success in directly linked to women's' appearance, Elting's desire to have women regain control and put an end to beauty standards in the workplace is necessary now more than ever.
Although the concepts of beauty and attractiveness are subjective, the consensus as to what is deemed beautiful, for women, is heavily dependent upon how much effort she makes towards looking her best. According to Elting, men do not need to strive to maintain their appearance in order to earn respect like women do, because while we appreciate a sharp-dressed man in an Armani suit who exudes power and influence, that same man can show up to at a casual office in a t-shirt and jeans and still be perceived in the same light, whereas women will not. "Men don't have to demonstrate that they're allowed to be in public the way women do. It's a running joke; show up to work without makeup, and everyone asks if you're sick or have insomnia," says Elting. The pressure to look our best in order to be treated better has also seeped into other areas of women's lives in which we sometimes feel pressured to make ourselves up in situations where it isn't required such as running out to the supermarket.
So, how do women begin the process of overriding this bias? Based on personal experience, Elting believes that women must step up and be forceful. With sexism so rampant in workplace, respect for women is sometimes hard to come across and even harder to earn. "I was frequently assumed to be my co-founder's secretary or assistant instead of the person who owned the other half of the company. And even in business meetings where everyone knew that, I would still be asked to be the one to take notes or get coffee," she recalls. In effort to change this dynamic, Elting was left to claim her authority through self-assertion and powering over her peers when her contributions were being ignored. What she was then faced with was the alternate stereotype of the bitchy executive. She admits that teetering between the caregiver role or the bitch boss on a power trip is frustrating and offensive that these are the two options businesswomen are left with.
Despite the challenges that come with standing your ground, women need to reclaim their power for themselves and each other. "I decided early on that I wanted to focus on being respected rather than being liked. As a boss, as a CEO, and in my personal life, I stuck my feet in the ground, said what I wanted to say, and demanded what I needed – to hell with what people think," said Elting. In order for women to opt out of ridiculous beauty standards, we have to own all the negative responses that come with it and let it make us stronger– and we don't have to do it alone. For men who support our fight, much can be achieved by pushing back and policing themselves and each other when women are being disrespected. It isn't about chivalry, but respecting women's right to advocate for ourselves and take up space.
For Elting, her hope is to see makeup and grooming standards become an optional choice each individual makes rather than a rule imposed on us as a form of control. While she states she would never tell anyone to stop wearing makeup or dressing in a way that makes them feel confident, the slumping shoulders of a woman resigned to being belittled looks far worse than going without under-eye concealer. Her advice to women is, "If you want to navigate beauty culture as an entrepreneur, the best thing you can be is strong in the face of it. It's exactly the thing they don't want you to do. That means not being afraid to be a bossy, bitchy, abrasive, difficult woman – because that's what a leader is."