According to this article by Barbara Rose in the Chicago Tribune:
"The most satisfying jobs are mostly professions, especially those involving caring for, teaching and protecting others and creative pursuits," said Tom W. Smith, director of NORC's General Social Survey, a poll supported by the National Science Foundation.
The worker satisfaction study, set for release Tuesday, is based on data collected since 1988 on more than 27,500 randomly selected people.
For the most satisfied workers, intrinsic rewards are key, the study suggests.
"They're doing work they're very proud of, helping people," Smith said.
Clergy ranked by far the most satisfied and the most generally happy of 198 occupations.
Eighty-seven percent of clergy said they were "very satisfied" with their work, compared with an average 47 percent for all workers. Sixty-seven percent reported being "very happy," compared with an average 33 percent for all workers.
Jackson Carroll, Williams professor emeritus of religion and society at Duke Divinity School, found similarly high satisfaction when he studied Protestant and Catholic clergy, despite relatively modest salaries and long hours.
"They look at their occupation as a calling," Carroll said. "A pastor does get called on to enter into some of the deepest moments of a person's life, celebrating a birth and sitting with people at times of illness or death. There's a lot of fulfillment."
Makes me glad I am a preacher!