The Pros and Cons of Careers that Really Matter

career advice, career tips, job advice

There are two types of jobs: the ones that matter, and the ones that don’t.

The jobs that don’t matter tend to be easy to get and easy to keep. They require no particular area of expertise. The performance of such jobs has no great impact on the world at large, and no lasting effects on people whether or not the job is done well or poorly. You can do the job or not do the job. In short, the job simply doesn’t matter.

That can be a very good type of job for the majority of people. They can be gainfully employed for eight hours a day, draw a living wage, and not worry about who’s life they ruined by what they did or didn’t do that day. Come to think of it, that sound pretty good. Sign me

Conversely, there are the jobs that matter. If you choose that kind of career path, here is just a little of what you have to look forward to:

  • Years of Prep
  • Long Hours
  • Work/Family Balance Issues
  • Sleepless Nights Mulling the Life and Death Decisions You had to Make

You can see how this list plays out by taking a brief look at a few of the jobs that really matter to society. Here are some examples:

Criminal Justice

If you have ever wanted to be a super hero, what you were really dreaming about was a job in criminal justice. That is as close to real-life super heroes as we get. According to their site, studying criminal justice from Gwynedd Mercy University can lead to careers in:

  • Pursuing and apprehending white collar criminals
  • Performing forensic testing in a laboratory setting
  • Investigating crime scenes
  • Guarding our nation’s borders

As you might have already guessed, none of these are 9 to 5 jobs. With something like crime scene investigation, you are on call. Expect to miss a few of your kid’s soccer games. Everything you do in that job really matters. A mistake on your part can release a guilty person back into the world to commit more mayhem. Or you can condemn an innocent person to prison, or worse. If that doesn’t cause you to lose sleep, nothing will. This obviously rewarding career has equally obvious pitfalls. Choose wisely.

Medical Professional

We play games like Operation and Amateur Surgeon because it’s fun to pretend that you can skip the 15 years it takes to become licensed as a doctor, and do complex surgical procedures. Also, it’s downright funny when things go horribly wrong and the buzzers go off. In real life, it’s not at all funny. And the penalty for doing it even a little wrong is a lot more severe than an annoying buzzer.

Even if you never plan to do any surgery, the education requirements are staggering. says,

The requirements for becoming a doctor in the U.S. may vary by specialty. In general, doctors complete a 4-year undergraduate degree program, spend four years in medical school and then complete 3-7 years of residency training, before they are eligible for medical licensing.

There may not be anything more rewarding than directly saving lives. Doctors do this with every judgement they make. The downside is that even the smallest of errors can cost lives.


You might not be inclined to put a career in finance on the same list as being a super hero. But we can’t live without money. When you are handling people’s finances, you are handling their lives. Invest a personal fortune badly, and you have to deliver the news that your client has lost all of his money.

One of the pitfalls in a career like finance is tedium. You have to really love numbers and legal minutia to do the job well long-term. A lot of people find that they are not cut our for it after they have already committed themselves. Before taking any job that matters, one must go through a careful self-evaluation process.

Jobs that matter will cost you years of prep and tens of thousand of dollars, long hours, difficult family life, and sleepless nights. Only the best, brightest, and most committed need apply. However, those are also the jobs that enable you to change the world.

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