Welcome to Bloomberg Work Wise, a series of reports aimed at helping young professionals navigate their way to financial and career success. To learn how your salary stacks up and how much your dream job might pay, try our career calculator.

The U.S. has long identified itself as the shining beacon of capitalism, where working hard was always in the pursuit of money. So one might presume that the happiest people would be the richest, right? Guess again.

Bloomberg’s Work Wise, our special report on how young professionals can get ahead, make money and give back, shows that some of the most contented workers don’t rake in big bucks at all.

Firefighters have the highest level of job satisfaction, even though their median annual income is just under $50,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Just one of the top five happiest professions—pediatricians—comes in at the high end of the annual salary range.

Embedded Image

Then there are those jobs where lunch hour is a soul-saver. Who should you be extra nice to because they’re having a bad day every day?

Let’s just say that the next time you head to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew your license, crack a good joke. You may also want to hold back the invective when you hear from a telemarketer. Here are the jobs for which quitting time is truly a delight.

Embedded Image