10 Happiest Jobs In America

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Want to be happy at work? Find a satisfying job. Human resource executives have known for years that there's a lot more to keeping workers happy than a large paycheck. It might include a feeling of usefulness, flexibility, exciting surroundings, challenges, and an emotional bond with the other people at the office.

What's satisfying, leading to happiness, can vary widely. Job site CareerBliss has pulled together data from tens of thousands of user reviews, according to USA Today. The reviewers ranked their job satisfaction on seven different factors: the boss, coworkers, support, rewards, growth opportunities, corporate culture, and the nature of daily work. CareerBliss put together the top ten positions for satisfaction, making them the official happiest jobs.

CareerBliss tossed the outlying positions -- Fortune 500 CEO and rock stars need not apply, for example -- and looked only at job titles with at least 20 reviews, so some more obscure job types that might be delightful could have been overlooked. Here are the ten winners, from top to bottom:
  1. School principal
  2. Executive chef
  3. Loan officer
  4. Automation engineer
  5. Research assistant
  6. Database administrator
  7. Website developer
  8. Business development executive
  9. Senior software engineer
  10. Systems developer

It's a tech-heavy selection, which may have to do with the mix of users that CareerBliss gets. And there's also some luck of the draw, depending on what data they look at. Here's the CareerBliss happiest jobs for 2014:
  1. Database administrator
  2. QA engineer
  3. Executive recruiter
  4. Underwriter
  5. Executive assistant
  6. Software developer
  7. Designer
  8. Program manager
  9. Engineer
  10. Administrative assistant

Not a lot of consistency. According to a University of Chicago study from 2007, the top positions in job satisfaction leaned toward occupations that largely involved helping others or being creative:
  1. Clergy
  2. Physical therapists
  3. Firefighters
  4. Education administrators
  5. Painters, sculptors, related
  6. Teachers
  7. Authors
  8. Psychologists
  9. Special education teachers
  10. Operating engineers

Apparently timing, and the people you talk to, are important. According to those researchers, "job satisfaction increases with the prestige or social standing of occupations."

But the big factor, according to research in a publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, is the economy:

However, in a statistical model comparing all significant variables, the GDP-measuring a country's overall economic output-was the single best predictor of workers' job satisfaction. The GDP was the top predictor even compared to the strongest individual-level factors: workers' career advancement perspectives and depressive symptom scores.

So if things seem down at work, there's hope. As the economy continues to improve, things might begin to look cheerier.
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