Is money really everything?

liberal artsThere’s something to be said for intrinsic reward. Simply doing something for your own interest and satisfaction versus financial gain.

I was about to delve into yet another post on a list of high paying jobs, when I realized that this list of hot jobs from U.S. News & World Report, like so many others, is heavily populated with STEM jobs.

I realized the topic of high paying STEM jobs was getting a bit stale and frankly not a news flash at this point. We all know by now that STEM careers will be lucrative and highly in demand.

But will they make you happy?

Of course they will if you are intrigued and energized by science, technology, engineering, and/or math. I would venture to say that even if you are only remotely interested in these subjects, then this list is worth more than just a cursory glance.

(and really, you should check it out, because there are several non-STEM jobs on the list such as Art Director, Marketing Manager, and Veterinarian)

So, we’ve established now that the list is actually quite good, but it got me thinking about the different factors we consider when choosing a career. I think it’s important not to get lured in by the money and positive job outlook at the expense of your own personal interest, satisfaction, and prosperity.

There are lots of other options out there that can satisfy both intrinsic and extrinsic needs.

I stumbled across this article on Aol jobs this morning, and knew that it was the missing piece in a string of posts that have been leaning heavily in the STEM direction.

The Liberal Arts stream can also lead to a rewarding career. In more ways than one. In fact, this article points to findings that indicate that Liberal Arts students are as satisfied or more satisfied with their lives as their peers who are studying in other areas.

I think the bottom line reinforced in this article as well as another excellent Forbes article is that your first priority should be to choose an academic or training pursuit that you enjoy, trying not to weigh money and opportunity too heavily. The rationale is that your intrinsic satisfaction with the subject matter will be reflected in the content you produce, your grades, and ultimately your performance and success at school or as part of your apprenticeship.

In turn, your effort and achievement in your education or training pursuits will be recognized and appreciated regardless of the career you ultimately choose. For example, many professional schools, such as medical schools, accept students from a variety of different academic disciplines.

In other words, you can’t force it for the money. So it’s much easier to take the natural approach. Study and train in areas that interest you, become an expert in your field, and the money and opportunities will follow…

or will not even matter at all.

Hot Job: Physical Therapist

Why should you consider becoming a Physical Therapist, you ask?


The allied health field is big right now. Think about it: baby boomers are aging and they’re going to need healthcare providers to take care of their needs. It makes sense to consider fields like this that are going to be growing in the future…

An allied health profession that is rapidly growing and can be both personally and financially rewarding is that of Physical Therapist.

Job tasks involve meeting with patients for an initial exam, planning and executing individually designed physical treatment programs to maintain, improve, or restore physical functioning and/or alleviate pan, and administering manual therapy, including exercises, massage, or traction.

A big part of your job would be working with people, so you would have to be effective at listening, explaining things, solving problems, making decisions, and clearly conveying information to others. You would also have to be comfortable working in very close physical proximity with people.

O*NET lists the average annual salary as $78,270. Furthermore, the projected growth for this job is much faster than average with projected job openings of 100,600 between 2010 and 2020 (O*NET).

If this job is for you, seek out associations in your region, such as the American Physical Therapy Association ( for more information.

Happy Job Searching!

Hot Job: Audiologist


Say what? The field of Audiology is rapidly growing? That’s right. In 2010, there were 13,000 Audiologists in the U.S. That number is expected to grow at a rate that is faster than average, with projected job openings over the next few years estimated at 5,600 (O*NET).

Audiologists test and treat people with hearing aids and hearing-related disorders. People working in this job could be expected to perform the following types of tasks on a day-to-day basis:

  • Counsel patients and their family members on how they can improve their hearing and communication
  • Give hearing tests and examine patients
  • Diagnose hearing loss and balance disorders and find ways to treat these problems
  • Fit hearing aids and program / monitor cochlear implants
  • Train and supervise others
  • Conduct research on hearing problems

On average, as an Audiologist, you could expect to make about $68,390 (O*NET).

Now that’s a hot job.