I have to say that I'm a little of both. Many years ago I worked in manufacturing, helping to write software that tracked our product. For whatever reason they didn't use any SQL database, so everything was done with flat files. A mess, I would hate to do that today, but hey it was fun at the time.
I did a few other things after that, and then spent the last several years working for a small department at a university, under contract to the City. We provided assessments of clients with substance abuse issues, tracked those clients through the system of treatment, tracked the payment of treatment and progress of the clients. Here's where we got to use SQL Server. Did a lot of development in VB, VB.NET, C#, ASP.NET, SQL Server, WPF and so on. But more importantly, I had a strong sense that I was helping people kick their substance dependence, and that was a great feeling. At least indirectly I helped, by making it possible for the counselors to use the software we wrote for them while they did the assessments, the tracking software we wrote for the agencies which performed the treatment, and so on. Yes, people sometimes abused the system, both the clients and sometimes even the agencies that did the treatment. But I know that at least indirectly, I helped some people end their substance abuse addictions, and that is a great feeling.
However, that field seems to be undergoing shrinkage. The agency I worked at has been experiencing budget cuts for years, resulting in annual layoffs each year, for the last several years. I was one of those who they downsized recently at the end of our fiscal year, due to more budget cuts. At this point in time, I'm willing to take any reasonable job, whether it's helping people or building things for general consumption. So, if you've got an opening, please contact me. 🙂