Thursday, April 17, 2014

We're not the worst!

It's official – newspaper reporter is no longer the worst job in America. All good things, etc.

Career guidance website CareerCast has released its 26th annual rating of the best and worst jobs to have, and my chosen profession has been bumped from 200th place to 199th by lumberjack, the new worst job in America. There are parallels between the two – increasing mechanization, poor hiring prospects and shrinking pay – though the risk of being crushed by falling timber is somewhat less in a newsroom. Lumberjack is expected to see a 9 percent drop in logging positions by 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared to a 13 percent drop for newspaper reporters.

Some numbers for you – the 10 worst by rank, job and mid-level pay:
  1. Lumberjack, $24,370
  2. Newspaper reporter, $37,090
  3. Enlisted military personnel, $28,840
  4. Taxi driver, $22,820
  5. Broadcaster, $55,380
  6. Head cook, $42,480
  7. Flight attendant, $37,240
  8. Garbage collector, $22,970
  9. Firefighter, $45,250
  10. Corrections officer, $38,970
Can't help but wonder how many of those jobs have lines out the door of people willing to do them practically, if not literally, for free.

As for the best jobs?

  1. Mathematician, $101,360
  2. Tenured university professor, $68,970
  3. Statistician, $75,560
  4. Actuary, $93,680
  5. Audiologist, $69,720
  6. Dental hygienist, $70,210
  7. Software engineer, $93,350
  8. Computer systems analyst, $79,680
  9. Occupational therapist, $75,400
  10. Speech pathologist, $69,870
Boy, did I get into the wrong line of work. I dug as far as 139th place (Publication editor) before I found a job that clearly fit the skills and experience I've amassed thus far. Technical writer (32nd, $65,500) might be a bit of a stretch, especially if I correctly remember the job ads I've seen. Some of the most interesting options – Meteorologist (21st, $89,260), Physicist (22nd, $106,360), Astronomer (36th, $106,360), Historian (54th, $52,480) and Elementary school teacher (117th, $53,090) – would require big changes to my education and/or years of training. The thought of starting a whole new career field in my late 30s or early 40s isn't all that appealing.

Meanwhile, CareerCast says people in these career fields have it better – Hair stylist (58th, $22,770), Janitor (97th, $22,320), Clergy (101st, $43,800), Cashier (107th, $18,920), Dishwasher (124th, $18,618), Retail salesperson (153rd, $21,410) and Waiter (174th, $18,540). Of course, I couldn't even get an interview to be a cashier or retail salesperson during my year of unemployment, so the odds of my landing one of those jobs later in life aren't great, either.

There's always househusbandry, I suppose, but for those pesky intermediate steps between here and there.

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