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Five Best Career Options Aimed At Addressing Social & Cultural Issues

At some level, we want to see positive changes in the world we inhabit. Whether directly through our own efforts, by voting people into positions of power, or through the companies we work for, we try our best to make this come to pass. 

However, there seems to be a mismatch between this desire and the realities of the modern workplace. 

The Harvard Business Review says that while nearly three-fourths of employees and investors valued companies who made a difference, only 1 in 2 executives believed that their companies did so. 

Working for the common good has emerged as a generational priority for millennials, who now dominate the workforce. 

Horizon Media found that over 4 in 5 Millennials expected their employers to have clearly-defined goals to impact their communities. In fact, as much as $1 trillion generated in the American economy is the direct result of Millennial labor. If you find yourself in this boat, it may be time to look at direct ways to shape the world into a more hospitable place. 

Maybe one day, your current employers will see the error of their ways and step up to make an impact. Until then, take a look at these careers that tackle social and cultural problems head-on:

1. Marriage Counselor

The American family is in turmoil. With nearly 1 in 2 marriages falling apart in the first five years, there is an epidemic of broken homes, former spouses with trauma and mental health issues, and emotionally malnourished children. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, all of this points to the need for marriage counseling – a field expected to grow by a fifth by 2029. 

You don’t have to worry too much about how to become a marriage counselor, as it is a reasonably straightforward process. 

Start by looking at your state’s licensure laws to figure out what education you need. Then, find an accredited degree program and dive in headfirst. 

You will also have to complete a set number of clinical hours to qualify for the license to practice. It may be challenging to get going initially, but your efforts will be worth it, so follow your calling.

2. Impact Investor

People in the investment field are often viewed negatively. Still, some of them decide to use their talents, impressive work ethic, and extensive connections for the greater good. 

These people are impact investors, and they cater to a wide variety of clientele. From high-net-worth individuals to venture capitalist firms, impact investors help locate socially-charged organizations to invest in and get funding to them. 

As an impact investor, you will find companies that meet your clients’ philanthropic ideals and facilitate investment in them. You will typically do this by developing extensive market connections, combing the web for crowdfunding ads, attending fairs and conferences, and spotting trustworthy companies with admirable goals. 

You may also work in large social-good organizations and funds and help them evaluate the efficacy of their efforts. 

This field will typically require graduate-level studies in mathematics, finance, or accounting, with stellar people skills and an eye for innovation.

3. Epidemiologist

According to, 9 in 10 epidemiologists say that they feel incredibly content with their professional lives and derive a strong sense of purpose from it. Given how pivotal their role has been in curtailing the COVID-19 pandemic, this makes a lot of sense. 

Epidemiologists work in the public health sector, specializing in the study of infectious diseases. They serve a wide variety of purposes, from mapping disease outbreaks to dissecting samples in the lab and assisting in vaccine development. 

In this way, epidemiologists combine extensive lab research with communication. They help communities recover from infectious diseases and demystify them for policymakers, helping decide the best way forward. 

You will typically need a medical background with graduate education in Public Health or related fields to work as an epidemiologist. 

Doctoral degrees in infectious diseases or epidemiology may also be required if you aspire to leadership positions in this field. 

4. Rehabilitation Counselor

Addiction can impact almost anyone at any point in their lives and derail their sanity, joy, and balance. Though very few addicts ever get help – less than 9% of all Americans by some estimates – the ones that need rehab counselors to get back on their feet. 

You need to have a psychology background, graduate education in addiction and trauma counseling, and a caring and empathetic personality. 

Addicts often arrive in rehabs wholly shattered and broken and need someone to believe in them like no one ever has before. Therefore, you need to be sure that you can take on this immense burden before you jump in. 

Volunteering with a recovery program like NA or AA can help you get a first-hand account of addiction and put names and faces to what you learn in your classes. 

Your state may also require you to have some certificate or license, so make sure you have those before you set out to impact others’ lives positively. 

5. Open-Source Code Developer

Although the spread of the internet has brought about an information revolution, the knowledge most people need to better their lives remains largely inaccessible. 

Some of it is hidden behind paywalls, while the rest is squared away in prohibitively expensive proprietary software. 

You can majorly democratize information and make these tools available for the common good as an open-source developer. 

Open-source developers are programmers with a social justice bent. By developing apps, working together with people from all over the world, and contributing to public research, these intrepid techies try to change the world one byte at a time. 

Open-source projects like North App help people keep track of the climate impact of their daily lives. On the other hand, Cloud software solutions like LibreOffice make powerful word-processing software available to people in underserved communities. 

Typically, you will need strong coding skills, graduate or post-graduate education in computer science or software engineering, and deep grassroots activism to join this field. Once you do, your skills will be highly in demand, transferable, and open to remote work. 

Final Thoughts

The world needs people to put their best selves out there and make a change. If you find your workplace isn’t up to the task, branch out and work directly in careers where you can positively impact. 

Whether you help save marriages or lives, stop diseases, bring funds to social-change agents, or use your coding knowledge to make information available to those who need it, there is a lot you can do. So take that first step today.