The 12 most satisfying jobs

Salary and work-life balance are two cornerstones of any good job, but the happiest employees leave work with a sense of fulfillment, Jessica Stillman reports for Inc.

The most satisfying careers include one key characteristic: helping others, according to a survey by University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center (NORC).

The NORC researchers surveyed 27,000 people across the U.S. on their job satisfaction level and found the 12 most satisfying professions are:

1. Clergy;
2. Physical Therapists;
3. Firefighters;
4. Education Administrators;
5. Painters, sculptors;
6. Teachers;
7. Authors;
8. Psychologists;
9. Special Education Teachers;
10. Operating engineers;
11. Office supervisors; and
12. Security and financial services salespersons.

While the daily routines of the above occupations obviously differ, each position involves helping others, says Tom Smith, the study's author.

A growing body of research suggests that engaging in behavior that gives back to others can spark a "helper's high" and lead to great happiness, write Melanie Rudd and Jennifer Aaker for Scientific American. And employees who feel that their work has positively impacted another person's life feel more positive at bedtime, the authors note (Stillman, Inc., 10/25; Rudd/Aaker, Scientific American, 10/25/14).

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