The 10 Most Honorable Professions

There’s honor in any job someone does well and with enthusiasm, but there are some professions that simply deserve our appreciation and respect.  These are professions that individuals choose because of their desire to serve and protect others. Some of the professions on the list may be ones that you don’t think of as particularly honorable; until the day that person is helping you. Some of these careers simply don’t get the credit they deserve, but they are full of real-life heroes.  They may not be the highest paid or the most recognized, but the world wouldn’t be the same without them.

Here are the 10 Most Honorable Professions in no order of importance:

1.         Military Personnel
I’m partial in this area because I had the opportunity to serve in the U.S. Army and it was one of the most honorable experiences of my life. There’s nothing like knowing you could be called up anytime to go to battle and that your life could be on the line. In many cases, soldiers spend months, if not years, away from their loved ones. So while many of us complain about missing our favorite TV show or the Big Game, there are soldiers missing the birth of their newborn or the moment their toddler took his first steps. These are sacrifices that our armed forces make for a larger cause. Some make the ultimate sacrifice for a cause greater than their life; the cause of liberty, humanity or the defeat of evil.

2.         Teachers
Most of us know that teachers are not the highest paid professionals out there, but the job is rewarding in other ways. If you think about some of the people who influenced you the most in life, odds are you would remember a teacher. It could’ve been 20 years ago but you still remember the teacher who inspired you, believed in you, or challenged you. I had a teacher of mine named Mrs. Sinclair from Glendale High School that made a big impact on my life.  She was a little shy of 5 feet tall and 110 pounds, but she walked around as if she was 6’5 and 240 pounds. She commanded the entire class with a word. She believed in her students and encouraged us, but she also pushed us to be better and reach higher.  She was a Major in the Army Reserve and a big part of the reason that I eventually joined the Army 101st Airborne division.

Later in life, when I was invited to speak at my alma mater, I spent the first 15 minutes of my hour telling the students about Mrs. Sinclair and the impact she had on my life. I still see her as an angel that God put in my life.

3.         Police Officers
When we see a cop in our rear view mirror, we don’t get a warm, fuzzy, feeling of appreciation for this professional. In fact, we can get pretty argumentative and rude about police – that is until someone breaks into your home or office, and they are there at 5:00 in the morning to make sure everyone is okay. How often do we hear stories about a police officer getting shot or injured on the job? That’s someone’s husband, daughter or brother who just took a bullet for their community. Most police officers have a strong desire to see justice and protect the innocent. Sure, you can find the occasional example of a cop who abuses their power; but we should focus on the thousands who do their job with honor and a desire “to serve and protect.”

Next time you get pulled over by a cop, tell them you appreciate them and give them a link to this blog.  (-;

4.         Firefighters
Unlike Police Officers, Firefighters actually get quite a bit of respect and recognition for what they do. 9/11 was a vivid reminder for all of us that firefighters run towards danger when any sane person would run away. I live in Southern California and the wild fires here can get pretty ferocious. Thousands here know that they owe their homes, possessions and sometimes their very lives to the brave men and women that stand between the flames and their world. Firefighters don’t do it for the money or glory; they do it because they are driven to save the lives and livelihoods of other people.

5.         Nurses
Other than the birth of a new baby, we rarely go to the hospital for a happy reason. Nurses see people at their most difficult, painful and stressful moments. Sick and hurting people look to their nurse to comfort them, listen to them and take of them. Nurses work long and demanding hours, sometimes dealing with tragedy and unavoidable death. Their reward is found in the moments where they see a patient get well and go home, in no small part because of the tireless efforts of their dedicated nurse. We may not always like that nurse poking us with a needle, but many of us will have days in our lives where a nurse will be the one getting us through.

6.         Life Insurance Agents
This choice may be a surprise to many of you because we don’t often think of a life insurance agent as a hero. When I left the military, I had a decision to make about a career. A mentor suggested life insurance. My mentor was ex-Navy Seal, living in a mansion in Newport Beach, so I valued his guidance. He told me that working in life insurance was one of the most rewarding jobs that you can choose. I didn’t understand what he meant by that until I started working in the field. The stories of those whose life insurance policies provided financial stability during a time of sorrow eventually showed me the honor in helping others to be prepared.

A few weeks ago I was giving a talk to a few hundred people on this topic of honorable professions. Afterwards, a lady approached me with tears in her eyes and told me that she agreed that being a soldier and life insurance advisor were both honorable and important. She then told me the story of her son, a soldier who had been killed in battle in Iraq. Her son had always wanted to be a soldier. He knew that it was dangerous. Before he died, her son had secretly purchased an additional life insurance policy for his family on top of what the military provides. This mom, who had lost so much, carried with her the pride in her son’s sacrifice for his country and in his effort to ensure that his family would be assisted in the event of his death.

7.         Parents
It’s a difficult task today to be a parent. There are more things to guard your kids from than there were 20 years ago. The Internet has become an amazing education tool and a dangerous rabbit hole for children. We also live in a culture today where kids are not taught to respect their parents, and parents are afraid to discipline their children. The good parents aren’t afraid to give the love, guidance and discipline that children and teenagers need. Moms and dads are responsible for raising the next generation of leaders and thinkers.

Being a parent is perhaps the most underappreciated job because it is often not even recognized as a job. As a society, we need to keep the standard of parenting high, and that starts by recognizing that being a parent is the most important job that we will ever do. Parents get a lot of criticism for what they do and at the end of the day they are responsible to answer for their children’s actions.  For every bad parent there are hundreds that are day to day heroes. Give them a break at times and tell them what a great job they are doing.

8.         Pilots
When is the last time you were on a flight where afterwards you thanked your pilot for doing a great job flying? For the time you were on that plane your life was literally in that pilot’s hands. The pilot’s job is one where perfect performance is required every single time. We don’t get off of the plane “high-fiving” our pilot for a successful flight, but maybe we should. Watch what happens the next time you give a thank you note to your pilot. It may be the first one he’s ever gotten in 20 years of flying!

9.         Doctors
With the current controversial health care debate, many health providers have been criticized for making too much money or charging too much for services. I think if you’re willing to be in school for 20 years and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for an education, you have earned the right to get compensated for it. Even though medicine is a decently compensated profession, most doctors do not get into it for the money. Most doctors I have met wanted to be a doctor since they were little. They have a powerful drive to help people, save lives and make a difference. When a tenacious doctor works to save your loved one, you realize that is what they do every day for so many families.

10.     Clergy
Talk about a “full time job” — being a pastor is a 24/7 job.  Pastors never truly have time off because they are always responsible for their congregation. The pastor must console and pray for the wife whose husband just left her and their three kids; or the church member who just lost their home and has nowhere to live. When the church is short on funds for charitable work, it is the pastor who must deliver the unpopular message to the congregation on the importance of tithing.

Perhaps most importantly, a clergyman or woman is the face of God’s love to so many people. Sure, there have been clergy that have not lived up to that responsibility. But one bad example can overshadow the good work of thousands of other pastors serving God and their communities with honor and grace. Don’t judge a church based on a prior bad experience. I was once very critical of churches and not at all open to the idea of anything to do with religion. It was only after several collisions with rock bottom that I realized that I couldn’t do it by myself and started seeking the truth.  Whether you belong to a small church or a large church, let your Pastor know how much you appreciate them.  Believe it or not, you could be the first person to do that.

In closing, I want you to know that there are many professions out there to choose from that have played a very important role in society. I chose these because of the lack of recognition they receive while serving their local communities. I would love to hear your feedback and comments about this blog.  If you believe there’s a profession that’s also inherently honorable, please share it.


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