A mediator is a third party that works to resolve disputes between two disagreeing individuals or organizations. Although there is no formalized training for mediators, many have degrees in their area of specialty plus special training in conflict resolution or a psychological field. There are many different types of mediation jobs available; as long as human nature includes argument and disagreement, mediators will continue to be an extremely useful part of society.
Many mediating jobs focus around family law courts. Divorcing couples are frequently at full-scale war with one another, unable to decide who gets the coffee table, let alone more pressing questions about assets, debt, and custody. Mediating jobs in this field are often an interim step between working it out without legal help and hiring attorneys to handle difficult issues in court. Typically far less expensive than a lengthy divorce or custody trial, mediators in family law work with the parties to reach an equitable settlement that can become legally binding if a judge agrees.
Mediation jobs in the business world are many and varied positions. Some work to resolve internal disputes, such as disputes between employees and management. Mediators in this type of work typically have a background in the business area discussed. For instance, a mediator that works to resolve a conflict between nurses and a hospital will likely have experience or training in hospital administration.
Some mediators with a drive for public service may find regular mediation jobs by aligning with police or sheriff's departments. These organizations often have more complaints and disputes than they can handle, whether arguments about park usage or escalating complaints by unhappy neighbors. If the parties involved are amenable, the police may call in a mediator to help craft a solution by working with all involved parties. Finding mediation jobs in the public sector can help improve the community and keep police and other law enforcement agencies from becoming swamped.
While many mediation jobs are freelance to some degree, some mediators do find full-time employment with corporations or large non-profit organizations. Certain businesses are likely to generate constant controversy and dispute, enough to call for a full time mediator to handle work on a daily basis. It is important in these positions to be able to maintain a reputation as a truly neutral party; often, working full-time for one organization can give the impression that decisions will always tilt toward the organization paying for mediation services. In order to get all parties to the table and willing to compromise, a mediator must be perceived as fair and impartial to all sides.