A common question high school students (and even college students) ask is, “What is a career I can actually help people in?”
First of all, it’s both unfair and unwise to expect young people to already know the precise career path they want to go on. But the intent of that question is good, so we’ll provide some thoughts that may add some perspective and even dispel some myths created by the mass media’s demonization of corporations and capitalism (e.g. the idea that making lots of money makes you evil and excludes you from benefiting society).
While we often think of certain careers as “actually helping people,” such as doctors, firefighters, social workers, etc. (and they certainly are), those are not the only careers where you can help people.
Helping people can take place in many forms, and it’s important to stay open-minded to different experiences to better understand what is and isn’t right for you.
Making people’s lives better can take place in many ways
1) A company with a great product - How much value has the world collectively received from products made by companies like Google and Apple? Many of you are reading this blog on your iPhone.
2) Being a great team leader - In addition to getting paid well, many people want to grow and feel like they’re doing meaningful work. By being a leader that truly invests in his employees, you’re helping people feel more fulfilled in their lives (and you’re also going to get better performance out of them).
3) Creating jobs - Tesla employs nearly 1000 workers at its Gigafactory in Nevada, with 1000 more expected by mid-2017. Imagine how many people have gotten the opportunity to make a living for themselves and their families because of that.
Stay open-minded to better understand what’s for you
Choosing a career is often more an exercise in figuring out what is NOT a good fit for you and learning about yourself along the way, rather than having a specific “aha moment” and choosing one exact thing that you’ll do for the rest of your life.
Try out different things, and that will inform you on what’s important (or not) to you, what you are good at (or not), and what you truly enjoy (or not).