I'm stuck right now. I have no idea what I want to do with my life. What, in your opinion, are the careers that do the most good in the world? Becoming a doctor and then joining MSF or a similar organization is obvious, anyone have other ideas?
You could always join the peace corps. They have all sorts of opportunities for you to decrease world suck all over the world. You can use training you have already received (like college or whatever) or get trained in a variety of areas to help make the world a better place. You might just find that whatever you do in the peace corps makes you passionate and you find a way to create a career path for yourself with that experience with the peace corps on your resume. www.peacecorps.gov
Well I believe it very much depends on what you would define as "good".
there are many things that do good in the world. When most people think of doing good they picture peace corps, doctors, volunteers, etc. However going good is not in the least limited to these few things.
If you are of the entrepreneur type, you could start a company with an emphasis on helping the customer. Find a niche in the market, solve a problem (something which may also help many people), do whatever. In Western countries we have too many very large companies which seem to have little care for their customers. If you are successful you would even be able to funnel some money to charities.
If you are a creative type (writer, artist, etc) then do what you love. Create. Books, music, and other forms of art have the power to inspire others, and to start movements.
If you are more of an intellectual then pursue a field in science or engineering. You can do tremendous good in each of these fields. Imagine how much you could do if you assisted in the development of new medical technologies. Or how much good you could do if you were able to work on cures for diseases and viruses which plague the world.
Even politics can put you in the position to do plenty of good. That is if you can make it into politics without being corrupted by the political game which so many seem to play.
Teachers and educators are always in need. what better way to help decrease wordsuck than to help educate the next generation and give them the tools to do accomplish great things (a process which is currently somewhat lacking).
You don't have to be a doctor or a volunteer to do good and to decrease worldsuck. You simply have to be a good person, and do good things.
Law? either go into actual law and keep law and order, or use it to go into politics and attempt to change the world
Personally, my goal to descrease worldsuck is to work in NGOs and nonprofits.
I eventually want to go to grad school for Peace Studies (which I realize isn't something everyone agrees with). But for now, I volunteer-- which feeds my need to decrease worldsuck in the present, and I'm working on getting my degree which will help me decrease worldsuck longterm. :)
Personally, I feel like it doesn't necessarily have to be something huge, like becoming a doctor. The world always needs awesome doctors, sure, but medical school is a huge commitment. (sorry if I sound like a Debbie Downer)
I work in a elder care facility. I work in the kitchen, but I also have contact with the patients. A lot of our patients are alone, or have Alzheimer's. Just doing something like remembering their name, or making sure they get ice cream at dinner is reducing the suck in their world. I can't help everyone, everywhere, but I can take a walk with Miss Lily today.
I wouldn't trade my job for anything. I love it. I'm a licensed veterinary technician and I work at a high volume clinic but, my clinic also works with the community. For instance, on the 26th of February, we will be participating in annual spay day where we do free cat spays/neuters for low incomes individuals. It's all about reaching out and helping the community while keeping the pet population down. So there ya go. I suggest volunteering for the local shelters or rescue groups.
You'll be able to decrease world suck in pretty much any career you choose. Anytime you treat others with respect, or go out of your way to help someone, you're decreasing worldsuck. Plus, lots of people do activism or volunteer work in addition to their paid job.
So, what do you like and what are you good at? Make a Venn Diagram. The stuff in the middle could lead to a great career.
Peace corps, doctor, scientist, blogger, dancer, anything really. We are expected to have a shortage of oncologist by 2020, so I'd look into that.
Become a physical therapist's assistant (highest paying two year degree, without all the absurd hours and debt involved in medical school), then come help me keep kids in Ukraine with special needs from having to spend their whole life laying in a bed bored and waiting to die! (I am hoping to start PTA school next Fall, I've been on two mission trips to Ukraine and will be going on my third in about a month, and there is nowhere I'd rather be than in Ukraine giving the kids as much love and attention (and eventually physical therapy) as possible!)
Education. I think the number one solution to decreasing world suck would be to educate the suckerz. By "suckerz" I mean those folks who do and act stupid things or say stupid opinions which are clearly not helpful. By being a devoted teacher and helping these suckers have a more intellectual and humanely view of themselves and other people, it would help decrease the suck in this world. Health care. Health care workers are a needed companion in any community. They can influence the suckers to be live a healthy life to be useful in the society. I believe that we feel better and think better when we live with a healthier body. I think any career will help in decreasing world suck though. By being an advocate to thinking intellectually and humanely no matter what field or what job you are doing, you can influence the suckers to ending the suck they give to the world.
I'm a doctor, and I can tell you that the people who most decrease suck for my patients are the recreation therapists and child life specialists. They're freaking amazing. Anything in the medical profession, obviously: speech, occupational, or physical therapy. Nurse/CNA/MA. Research. Psychologist/counselor/social worker. All that.
Non-medical ideas are politics (push for change where it's needed). Pretty much anything in the non-profit sector. Anything that helps kids: teacher, camp counselor, after-school programs, etc. Something with the environment with renewable energy and stuff. Linguist or anthropologist or even photographer that helps preserve the culture of some indigenous people somewhere.
There is SO much suck in this world and a lot to do to reduce it. Figure out what matters to you most: helping people with a specific disease or disorder (cancer, autism, cerebral palsy, etc, etc), the environment, gay rights, womens rights, babies not dying from SIDS...whatever it is that matters most to you. Then go from there and reduce suck in that area.
Decreasing world suck in relation to a career doesn't mean you have to have a high profile, high paying job.
You know who decreases world suck? Lolly pop men and women. They volunteer their time to do a very small but vital job: get kids across the road safely. Surely that decreases the amount of suck in the world. Similarly, a teacher imparts wisdom (well, they should!) through patience and and talking and understanding.
Now, you said a career, so, I'm guessing you're not leaning towards the whole lolly-pop man idea!
A career that really decreases world suck, in my opinion, is being an author. You create a story, something that makes us cry, makes us laugh, whatever it may be. A book is a world we can escape to, no matter how shitty your life is. So really authors do decrease world suck. They make us believe in an idea, they provoke our thoughts, or they just give us someone to make us feel not alone. Try taking a creative writing class, go to a poetry reading; you never know what realisation you might stumble across.
You don't have to be a doctor or a lawyer to feel like you're making a difference.
Good luck :)