Monday, July 30, 2012

What Are The 10 Happiest Jobs?

Photo Credit: hubertk
"Todd May writing in the New York Times argues that “A meaningful life must, in some sense then, feel worthwhile.  The person living the life must be engaged by it.  A life of commitment to causes that are generally defined as worthy — like feeding and clothing the poor or ministering to the ill — but that do not move the person participating in them will lack meaningfulness in this sense. However, for a life to be meaningful, it must also be worthwhile. Engagement in a life of tiddlywinks does not rise to the level of a meaningful life, no matter how gripped one might be by the game.” 
This is what underlies the difference between the happiest jobs and the most hated jobs. One set of jobs feels worthwhile, while in the other jobs, people can’t see the point. The problems in the most hated jobs can’t be solved by job redesign or clearer career paths. Instead the organizations must undertake fundamental change to manage themselves in a radically different way with a focus on delighting the customer through continuous innovation and all the consequent changes that are needed to accomplish that. The result of doing this in firms like Amazon, Apple and is happy customers, soaring profits and workers who can see meaning in their work."
So what did the General Social Survey by the National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago find as the ten most meaningful jobs? Here they are:

1. Clergy:  The least worldly are reported to be the happiest of all. 
2. Firefighters: Eighty percent of firefighters are “very satisfied” with their jobs, which involve helping people. 
3. Physical therapists: Social interaction and helping people apparently make this job one of the happiest. 
4. Authors: For most authors, the pay is ridiculously low or non-existent, but the autonomy of writing down the contents of your own mind apparently leads to happiness. 
5.  Special education teachers: If you don’t care about money, a job as special education teacher might be a happy profession. The annual salary averages just under $50,000. 
6. Teachers: Teachers in general report being happy with their jobs, despite the current issues with education funding and classroom conditions. The profession continues to attract young idealists, although fifty percent of new teachers are gone within five years. 
7. Artists: Sculptors and painters report high job satisfaction, despite the great difficulty in making a living from it. 
8. Psychologists: Psychologists may or may not be able to solve other people’s problems, but it seems that they have managed to solve their own. 
9. Financial services sales agents: Sixty-five percent of financial services sales agents are reported to be happy with their jobs. That could be because some of them are clearing more than $90,000 dollars a year on average for a 40-hour work week in a comfortable office environment. 
10. Operating engineers: Playing with giant toys like bulldozers, front-end loaders, backhoes, scrapers, motor graders, shovels, derricks, large pumps, and air compressors can be fun.  With more jobs for operating engineers than qualified applicants, operating engineers report being happy.
The results of this survey may be surprising but it does demonstrate that fulfillment in one's vocation is not simply found in one's salary. Investing in the lives of people and making a lasting difference in the world, even through a job with relatively low pay, brings greater satisfaction than merely bringing home a paycheck from a job you dread.

(h/t to Ed Stetzer for the link.)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

How African Americans & Hispanics View Abortion

Photo Credit: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
"A large majority of black and Hispanic Americans identify as both “pro-life” and “pro-choice” when it comes to abortion, according to a survey released Thursday. The poll finds that both minority groups are more likely than Americans in general to embrace or to reject both labels.
Large majorities of African-Americans identify both as “pro-life” (71%) and “pro-choice” (75%), according to a Public Religion Research Institute survey released Thursday. Hispanic Americans harbor similarly complex views on abortion, with 77% identifying as “pro-life” and 72% calling themselves as “pro-choice.”
The survey found that 52% of black Americans and 47% of Hispanic Americans acknowledge that they embrace or reject both labels, proportions that are higher than those for Americans overall. Thirty seven percent of all Americans embrace both labels or neither label.
The numbers show that most people see the pro-life and pro-choice identifiers through their own unique prisms, says Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute.
“Most people live outside the culture war and policy wonk bubble,” Jones says. “I think for those folks who make our living following these things, these words are brands, they are movement brands, but in the general public, these words function in a much broader way.”
To read the rest of this article please click here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Who Are The 20 Most Influential Americans Ever?

Photo Credit: History Rewound
TIME Magazine has come up with what it feels are the twenty most influential Americans of all-time.

Here is its list:

1. George Washington
2. Thomas Jefferson
3. Sacagawea, Meriwether Lewis & William Clark
6. Abraham Lincoln
7. Sitting Bull
8. Alexander Graham Bell
9. Thomas Edison
10. Henry Ford
11. Orville & Wilbur Wright
13. Margaret Sanger
14. Albert Einstein
15. Franklin D. Roosevelt
16. Louis Armstrong
17. James Watson
18. Martin Luther King, Jr.
19. Muhammad Ali
20. Steve Jobs

Overall, I think this is a good list (although there are a few entries I might disagree with). From my perspective, some other people that immediately come to mind that could have been included are Benjamin Franklin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Susan B. Anthony, Jackie Robinson, Billy Graham and John F. Kennedy.

What are your thoughts? Who might you have included?

Monday, July 23, 2012

What Are The Top 20 Universities In The World?

Photo Credit: wallyg
According to The Guardian, 14 of the top 20 universities in the world are located in the United States. Here are the world's top 20 most reputable universities:
1. Harvard University, United States
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
3. University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
4. Stanford University, United States
5. University of California, Berkeley, United States
6. University of Oxford, United Kingdom
7. Princeton University, United States
8. University of Tokyo, Japan
9. University of California, Los Angeles, United States
10. Yale University, United States
11. California Institute of Technology, United States
12. University of Michigan, United States
13. Imperial College London, United Kingdom
14. University of Chicago, United States
15. Columbia University, United States
16. Cornell University, United States
17. University of Toronto, Canada
18. Johns Hopkins University, United States
19. University of Pennsylvania, United States
20. Kyoto University, Japan
To see the complete list of the world's top 100 universities please click here.

(h/t to my friend Trae for the link.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

42% Of Asian Americans Identify As Christians

From Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today:
"The first comprehensive look at the religious lives of the nation's 18.2 million Asian Americans finds most are devoted to their faith traditions — but many are disconnected from any affiliation.
Asian Americans are "the fastest-growing race group, and they are bringing with them a diversity of faiths," says Cary Funk, senior researcher for Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, which released the report today.
The survey of 3,511 adults, conducted in English and seven Asian languages, was large enough to establish data about the six largest groups: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese.
Key findings:
•The greatest overall number (42%) are Christians, chiefly Protestant or Roman Catholic. Fourteen percent are Buddhist, and 10% are Hindu. Twenty-six percent are unaffiliated.
•National origin makes a difference. Korean Americans may be politically conservative because 40% are evangelical Protestants. They come from a nation that holds many of the world's largest Protestant churches. Hindu Americans may be among the nation's wealthiest and most educated because about half of them come from India, the nation favored for special U.S. visas for scientists, engineers and other skilled workers.
•All but one group was dominated by a single religion — or lack of religion. Chinese Americans are overwhelmingly unaffiliated (52%), and Catholicism is dominant for Filipino Americans (65%). A majority of Indian Americans are Hindu (51%), and most Korean Americans are Protestant (61%). Buddhists dominate among Vietnamese Americans (43%). Japanese Americans are more diverse: 33% Protestant, 32% unaffiliated and 25% Buddhist."
To read the rest of the article please click here.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

College Students And Credit Card Debt

Photo Credit: 401(K) 2012
From USA Today:
"The Credit Card Act that took effect 2½ years ago made it much harder for anyone under 21 to get a card. Gone are the days of card issuers racking up scads of new customers on campus by handing out free T-shirts or rewards points for spring break.
"In the old days, if you could fog a mirror you could get a credit card," says Adam Levin, chairman and founder of, a San Francisco-based company that provides information about credit products.
Under-21s can still obtain a credit card if they have a qualified co-signer or proof of sufficient income to repay the debt. And card issuers still market aggressively to college students, targeting them with pre-screened mail offers.
That makes parents, as the likeliest co-signers, more involved in the card-or-no-card decision.  Robyn Kahn Federman of Rochester, N.Y., says there's "no way" she'll let either of her two daughters have a credit card at such a financially tender age. Her daughter Sarah, who's 19 and about to start her second year of college, uses Robyn's PayPal card instead. That lets her mom fund the balance and see how she spends her money.
"I don't think anything related to debt belongs in the hands of a college kid," says Federman, communications director of a marketing agency. "The vast majority are not experienced enough with money or cognizant enough of the risks."
Some students, though, have shown they're disciplined enough to have their own card on campus.  Scott Gamm, 20, a junior at New York University's Stern School of Business, used his income from freelance work and blogging to obtain a Visa card and then an American Express card. He charges $200 to $300 on them monthly and pays every bill in full.
But he has friends who obtained three or four cards within a year and now have big debts.  "The more credit you have access to, especially at that young age, the higher the probability you'll use that card to finance fancy clothes, restaurants and entertainment," says Gamm."
To read the complete article please click here.

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Story Of The Bible Is Not About Us

Photo Credit: Travis Seitler
The Bible is not about us. The Bible tells the story of a loving, merciful and just God who is always at work rescuing lost people and redeeming them for His glory. Yes, we all play a role in God's overarching story but we are not the hero of the story. Jesus is.

The Jesus Storybook Bible, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones, does a tremendous job of illustrating the point that God's story is about God and we humans are simply part of that story. Though written primarily for children, this book can be appreciated by adults as Lloyd-Jones helps the Scriptures come alive while telling the consistent story of the Holy Scriptures, with Jesus at the center.

Sally Lloyd-Jones offers her perspective on the Desiring God blog:
"One Sunday, not long ago, I was reading the story of Daniel and the Scary Sleepover from The Jesus Storybook Bible to some 6 year olds during a Sunday school lesson. One little girl in particular was sitting so close to me she was almost in my lap. Her face was bright and eager as she listened to the story, utterly captivated. She could hardly keep on the ground and kept kneeling up to get closer to the story.
At the end of the story there were no other teachers around and I panicked and went into automatic pilot and heard myself — to my horror — asking, “And so what can we learn from Daniel about how God wants us to live?”
And as I said those words it was as if I had literally laid a huge load on that little girl. Like I broke some spell. She crumpled right in front of me, physically slumping and bowing her head. I will never forget it.
It is a picture of what happens to a child when we turn a story into a moral lesson.
When we drill a Bible story down into a moral lesson, we make it all about us. But the Bible isn’t mainly about us, and what we are supposed to be doing — it’s about God, and what he has done!
When we tie up the story in a nice neat, little package, and answer all the questions, we leave no room for mystery. Or discovery. We leave no room for the child. No room for God.
When we say, “Now what that story is all about is…”, or “The point of that story is…” we are in fact totally missing the point. The power of the story isn’t in summing it up, or drilling it down, or reducing it into an abstract idea.
Because the power of the story isn’t in the lesson. The power of the story is the story.
And that’s why I wrote The Jesus Storybook Bible. So children could know what I didn’t:
That the Bible isn’t mainly about me, and what I should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.
That the Bible is most of all a story — the story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.
That — in spite of everything, no matter what, whatever it cost him — God won’t ever stop loving his children… with a wonderful, Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.
That the Bible, in short, is a Story — not a Rule Book — and there is only one Hero in the Story.
I wrote The Jesus Storybook Bible so children could meet the Hero in its pages. And become part of his Magnificent Story.
Because rules don’t change you. But a Story — God’s Story — can."
While it is good and necessary for us to seek to apply what we learn from the Scriptures to our lives, it can be easy for us to miss the point of God's bigger story when we only look at what applies to us. God's story is bigger than any one of us but He does invite to play a role. Have you discovered your role in God's story?