Looking into Careers: Doing What I Like and Liking What I Do

9, 10, 11, 12

This lesson helps learners explore career decision-making based on the importance of job satisfaction, and to consider career options that help them make choices to best use their time and talents.  Learners will identify why people make career decisions and how “being of service,” especially related to animal welfare, might lead to job satisfaction.

PrintOne 45 to 50 minute class period

The learner will:

  • define job satisfaction.
  • identify and explore the concept of job satisfaction and how it relates to employee attitudes.
  • explore myths about choosing a career.
  • discover that a focus on “service,” as exemplified by jobs related to animal welfare, is found in highly satisfying careers.

For additional related topics and materials see: 



  1. Anticipatory Set: As the learners enter the classroom have this quote displayed for all to see: “Never continue in a job you don't enjoy. If you're happy in what you're doing, you'll like yourself, you'll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you'll have more success than you could possibly have imagined.” -Roger Caras, Former President of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Ask the learners to read the quote and think about what Mr. Caras is saying about choosing a job or career. Ask the learners to state whether they agree or disagree with Mr. Caras’s point of view. Allow the learners to share any thoughts or plans they may have about a career choice.

  2. Introduce the term job satisfaction (how satisfied a person is with his or her job) and have the learners define its meaning and relate job satisfaction to Mr. Caras’s quote.

  3. Read this press release aloud: According to a 2005 survey conducted by the Conference Board (an independent, not-for-profit applied research organization) Half of all Americans today say they are satisfied with their jobs, down from nearly 60 percent in 1995. But among the 50 percent who say they are content, only 14 percent say they are “very satisfied… job satisfaction has declined across all income brackets in the last nine years.

  4. Lead a class discussion about what can be concluded from this press release about job satisfaction. Have the learners brainstorm reasons why they think fewer and fewer people are satisfied/highly satisfied with their careers. (some reasons given in the survey are: they don’t like their colleagues; the work is not challenging enough; they don’t feel that what they do helps anyone or provides a needed service, it’s not important or doesn’t seem to make a difference; they feel unappreciated; they feel trapped by financial obligations; they see no opportunity for advancement; they feel that they are falling behind in the technology required to do their job; they fail to see any progress; they live too far away from work; they feel guilty because job requirements require family responsibilities to be set aside; they see their work more as a job than a career; they feel that their career takes up too much of their time prohibiting them from doing “what they really want to do”; etc.)

  5. Download and distribute copies of 11 Myths about Choosing a Career https://www.thebalancecareers.com/career-choice-or-change-4161891 and encourage the learners to defend or expose each myth.

  6. Distribute Handout One: Research Data: Top Occupations in Job Satisfaction and have the learners individually complete a ranking of these occupations. (Be sure the learners understand the nature of each of the careers. The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a good source of information on careers; see the Bibliographical References section of this lesson.) Share with the learners the “actual” research results (Handout Two: Research Data: Top Occupations in Job Satisfaction-Survey Rankings).Have the learners make comparisons and draw conclusions between their rankings and that of the national research rankings. If necessary, help students conclude that the top rated jobs all involve “being of service” in some way.Ask learners to discuss why jobs that involve “service” may be those that are most satisfying.

  7. Remind students of the quote from Mr. Caras that began the lesson Never continue in a job you don't enjoy... Tell the learners: Mr. Caras worked for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Summarize or read this information about the ASPCA for the learners: The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) was the first humane organization established in the Americas, and today has more than one million supporters throughout North America. A 501 [c] [3] not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA provides local and national leadership in animal-assisted therapy, animal behavior, animal poison control, anti-cruelty, humane education, legislative services, and shelter outreach. The New York City headquarters houses a full-service, accredited, animal hospital, adoption center, and mobile clinic outreach program. The Humane Law Enforcement department enforces New York’s animal cruelty laws and is featured on the reality television series “Animal Precinct” on Animal Planet. (For more information, visit www.aspca.org.)

  8. Ask: Do you think Mr. Caras took his own advice? Why might he and others find satisfaction in a job that promotes animal welfare? How do jobs that involve animal welfare benefit everyone (enhance the common good)? Mr. Caras's job with the ASPCA clearly involved animals and animal welfare. Ask the learners to look back at Handout One: Research Data: Top Occupations in Job Satisfaction and brainstorm how each of those careers might involve animals and/or animal welfare

  9. Assign this homework: Challenge the learners to create a list of jobs that are associated with service, particularly promoting humane treatment and animal welfare. Suggest that they consult their peers and family members to brainstorm the list. The list will be used in the next lesson.


Learner involvement in the classroom discussions will form the major portion of the assessment for this lesson.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Discuss and give examples of why some humans will sacrifice for the benefit of unknown others.
      2. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define and give examples of motivations for giving and serving.
    2. Standard PI 02. Careers In The Nonprofit Sector
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify and explain how career options in the civil-society sector benefit communities.