Careers That Can Make a Positive Difference (and Add Meaning to Your Life)

careers that make a positive difference

If you’re going to find a career that you’re in for the rest of your life, you should try to aim for one that you know is going to make a positive difference to the world. After all, as research shows, one of the key determinants of meaningful (and fulfilling) work is the ability to make a difference in the lives of others. And there are so many careers out there that could help you do just that.

But first of all, you’re going to have to think about what your passion is in life, and what you feel you’d be able to bring to the world. You then might be able to work out what line of work you might want to go down. Pursuing a career that allows you to make a positive difference to the world, as well as your own life, is the perfect line of work to be in. This is one of the most tried-and-tested ways to achieve long-term life satisfaction and happiness.


Healthcare is such a rewarding career to find yourself in. There are so many different pathways with this one as well, and discovering yours could lead you to one of the best futures ever. You’ve got the midwifery side of things, where you most definitely are making a positive difference in expecting mothers’ lives. You could do a masters in midwifery, and go even further with it. But then you’ve got the psychology side of things, and you might like the idea of going into counselling. There are so many people out there suffering from mental health issues, and making a positive difference to the lives of people who are, makes it one of the most rewarding healthcare roles that you could go into. Just have a look into the different qualifications that you need for the different roles, and start your journey towards one.

Politician or Policy Maker/Advisor

Becoming a politician can allow you to make a difference in how the government operates and, in turn, affects people’s lives. It will present you with opportunities to promote positive policies and protect the interests of your constituents. However, you do need to be comfortable with facing public scrutiny and come to terms with the fact that compromises need to be made – and that you have to work in a less-than-ideal system. If working as an MP isn’t for you (perhaps due to the stressful nature of the role), then policymaking or policy advising may be better suited to you. By carrying out important research, you can persuade those in power to adopt the most beneficial sorts of policies.

Humanitarian Aid

Humanitarian aid is just one of those career paths that should scream out to you. If you living giving back to other people, and you have a passion for trying to solve some of the worlds biggest problems, then this is definitely for you. There is so much work to be done to try and protect some of the most vulnerable countries in the world, battling against wars, homelessness, and drug addiction. You could either be someone who goes out to the countries, or you could be running some of the operations back home, but either way, you will definitely be making a positive difference to the world.

Working for an Effective Altruism Organisation 

Effective altruism organisations include 80,000 Hours, Giving What We Can, GiveWell, Rethink Charity, and the Effective Altruism Foundation. They are all determined to help people make rational decisions when it comes to acting in an altruistic way, be that choosing a high-impact career or donating to charity. By working for an effective altruism organisation, you can advance evidence-based altruism, helping others to make a big impact in the world. Some effective altruism organisations focus on specific, pressing issues, such as AI and climate change but they all require a range of roles, including research, marketing, web design, admin, and management.

When choosing a career that can make a positive difference, it’s crucial to pick a line of work that you will genuinely enjoy. This will ensure that you are engaged and committed in your work and thus better equipped to improve people’s lives.

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