What makes a good job? There are two common answers: doing what you love, or doing what will make you rich.

But according to 80,000 Hours, a non-profit organisation based in San Francisco, neither of these things are as important as you might think. Money does help to make people happy, but only up to a point. And following your passion can also be misleading. For one thing, passions change over time. For another, common passions like music, art and sport often lead to highly competitive careers.

Instead, after reviewing some of the top studies on the subject, 80,000 Hours recommends looking for a job with the following six ingredients:

1. Engaging work that will keep you interested throughout your career. (After all, the name “80,000 hours” comes from the amount of time the average person spends at work — that’s a lot of hours!)

2. Something that helps others.

3. Something that you are good at.

4. Supportive colleagues.

5. A lack of big problems, such as long commutes or very low pay.

6. A job that fits with your personal life.

Do you agree with this list? What do you think are the most important factors when considering a future career? And do you have a job in mind that fits your criteria?

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How can we find fulfilling work? The School of Life reflects on what makes a good career.


  1. Take this simple, online personality test to find out what kind of careers might suit you.
  2. List the 10 most important things that you want from a future career. Swap your list with a partner, and then recommend jobs that you think they might enjoy.
  3. It’s time to test your entrepreneurial skills! Split into groups. Each group will form a new company, with a name, a product and business plan. The plan should include the price of the product, the cost of making it, and a projected profit. Take it in turns to pitch your company to the rest of the class. At the end, vote for the best team!