Most people plan their careers around money, prestige, excitement or security. Some people need a different kind of job satisfaction though. Do you have a deep need to help people or the planet? Deep enough that you want to make it your career? You don’t have to wear a cape to be a hero when you can pursue one of these jobs.
If you have a desire to work closely with people, especially those going through trying times, then you might be interested in being a social worker. The work isn’t easy, you won’t get rich doing it, and your heart will break over and over at what you see, so make sure this is what you really want to do. It will be deeply satisfying if that is what you want because you will have opportunities every day to make a difference.
Perhaps it’s not specifically with people where your heart lies, but the wider context of the planet itself. From rainforests to polar bears, there are many areas that need your help and many ways you can get personally involved. It depends on your skills and interests. You could study environmental science and approach the issues from a scientific point of view, but you could also be a journalist, communication officer, lawyer, marketer or even an entrepreneur.
Stem your skepticism and snide remarks. We all know that the murky world of politics is filled with corrupt, self-serving individuals, but that is only one side of it. This is also where you will find those who genuinely want to make a difference. Changing the world requires changes in policy, and that is where politics come in. We need good people there. If this interests you, try to get involved in a branch of politics you’re interested in, like climate control or education, or perhaps get involved in the community you care about, such as with government jobs in Cape Town.
Like with politics, the realm of law doesn’t immediately bring to mind selfless individuals saving the world, but the fact of the matter is that the world needs lawyers and attorneys to affect change. Some options for you are international law and human rights (like Ms. Amal Clooney) or family law.
It all comes down to what you care about. One person might have an overwhelming desire to help abandoned children, while for another person it could be the ice caps. So ask yourself: Where is your heart? That’s where your career lies.