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Feel good careers

The only way to do great work is to love what you do...Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. – Steve Jobs

Many people mistakenly believe that their working lives, almost by definition, have to be dull and barren with little or no scope for joy. But this limited thinking doesn't take into account the many career areas available that can lift the spirit and provide a warm, fuzzy glow on a daily basis. Perhaps not surprisingly, most of these jobs involve helping others – sometimes even other species.

If it feels like you're flatlining in your current job and just turning up every day makes you feel heavy-hearted, here are some "feel good" career areas that could bring satisfaction back into your working life. And in the process, help make the world a better place.

Community outreach worker – This is all about connecting with the community, usually with people who are underprivileged or disaffected such as people with addiction problems and the homeless. It's liaising between community programs or services and the people in the community who need them. Cultural sensitivity is essential as this line of work often involves interacting with different ethnic groups.

Personal trainer - Many people engage the services of a personal trainer because they lack either the motivation or the knowledge to achieve their fitness goals on their own. It can be extremely rewarding for a personal trainer to help people reach their fitness goals and see their clients gain confidence as their health and fitness levels improve.

Veterinarian assistant – Does it get any better and fuzzy-wuzzy than working with animals? You'll assist vets during consultations, examinations and treatments. You'll work closely with animals in pre and post-operative care, and your job can often involve comforting and reassuring distressed animals.

Child care worker – For people who love children, supervising, entertaining and educating them has multiple rewards and benefits, most of which usually come from the children themselves. A child care worker is interested in the social, emotional and educational development of their young charges in settings such as child care centres, hospitals and educational centres.

Enrolled nurse – This is a very hands-on and personal role working closely with people who are often at their most vulnerable. An enrolled nurse provides most of a patient's personal care, such as showering, dressing and feeding, as well as the administration of some oral medications. They work in a range of different settings including hospital wards, aged care facilities, operating theatres or in community settings such as Aboriginal Medical Services.

Horticulturalist - Get your hands dirty and make little things grow. Or big things. Whether it's a modest flower bed in a city park or planting a whole forest of Eucalypts, working this closely with nature and natural cycles can often be a deeply satisfying experience. Plus you'll get to learn some cool Latin names. Dianthus caryophyllus anyone?