4 Qualities That Make a Good Job Great

What qualities do many of our Best Jobs of 2012 share?

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Miller says helping others is a plus within his profession, too. "I'm in a relationship business," he explains. "I spend a lot of my day dealing with people. You're helping people financially plan for the future, sometimes through unhappy circumstances, like the loss of a job, or the loss of a spouse and [income]."

There's an obvious correlation between therapy and helping others. Asher says: "As an [occupational therapist], you see people with disabling conditions that have interrupted their lives. Every client is someone unique who brings out the creativity of a therapist. It's satisfying to help people live life to the fullest."

Community could also translate into how much you enjoy working with your peers. Many accountants wrote on CareerBliss' site with appreciation for their intelligent co-workers. "It's a misconception that all accountants care about is math," Golledge says. "They also like having competent people around them to bounce ideas off of, to make the work experience better. People like to feel good about the people across the cubicle from them."

Other jobs that involve helping others: Several jobs on our list afford you the chance to help others, including top healthcare posts like registered nurse and physical therapist, as well as social services occupations like social workers and elementary and high school teachers.

Opportunity. Are you slaving away in a dead-end job with no realistic prospects for advancement? Then you probably aren't working as a financial adviser. Miller says "the ability to control your own destiny is ultimately one of the most attractive parts" of his profession. "There's no ceiling to what you can earn, or to your potential to grow," he notes.

Job competition is high for financial advisers, but their profession is still expected to hire considerably in coming years. The BLS predicts employment will swell 32 percent (much faster than the average for all occupations) from 2010 to 2020. The number of occupational therapists should increase by 33 percent by the year 2020. Also, "it's not a bad career in terms of financial rewards," Braveman says, adding that new graduates hired at Houston's MD Anderson Cancer Center have starting salaries in the mid-60s. The BLS reports that the best-compensated OTs earn six-figure salaries, work in home health care services, and live in the metropolitan areas of Elizabethtown, Ky., Las Vegas, and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

The occupations of accountant, human resources specialist, and customer service rep also have good job prospects to the year 2020, even though their respective salaries aren't always as lucrative as other top jobs. Still, "people are less focused on having a BMW and are interested in having true career happiness," says Golledge. "A lot of times that has to do with company culture, with the opportunity to excel within your skill set, and to get the chance to do what you really like to do."

Other jobs with good opportunity: Some of the fastest-growing occupations for the next few years include meeting planners (43.7 percent employment growth by 2020) and physical therapists (39 percent).