Although the business world might seem cutthroat and self-centered, there are actually a lot of compassionate people who make money by giving to others, rather than merely focusing on earning for themselves. While there are hundreds of ways to incorporate the virtue of compassion into your working life, in this article I present three of my favorites.
Compassionate Money Maker #1: Charity jobs. In the United States there are thousands of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charities. When we donate to a charity we hope that all the money we give will go straight to worthy recipients, but the reality is that there is always going to be some necessary overhead in any organization’s operations. Even charities need people to answer the phone, manage bank accounts, handle public relations, and fulfill other jobs that make money. By working for a charity, you are earning by giving, although the money you give comes primarily from donors rather than your own pocket. It still takes compassion to work for a charity, though, because you will frequently have to accept a salary lower than you could earn elsewhere (i.e., for a for-profit corporation). You can feel good about your work, though, knowing that you are advancing a cause that you believe in.
Compassionate Money Maker #2: Healthcare jobs. Most healthcare organizations (e.g., hospitals, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, etc.) are set up as for-profit entities. In my experience, though, many of the employees of such organizations entered their field of work out of a strong sense of compassion for others. Doctors are an example of a type of profession who accepts the “earning by giving” philosophy, and still manages to earn big. People in the medical field can make money equivalent to the top salaries in most other industries, yet feel that they are giving of themselves to others.
Compassionate Money Maker #3: Counseling jobs. From high school counselors to psychotherapists, those in the counseling profession are also earning by giving. It is difficult to imagine a career more emotionally exhausting than counseling, but if you really want to help others it could be the right career for you. In terms of ability to make money, different types of counselors vary widely. High-level psychiatrists can make doctor-like salaries, while counselors in public organizations make very little. Regardless of the salary size, though, all counselors have an opportunity to positively influence others.
It is encouraging to know that many people are devoting their lives to earning by giving, and it is wonderful that compassionate people can make money in our free-market world.