The news is out: What's the worst job in America?

News-DemocratApril 28, 2013 

How depressing is it to get a news release trumpeting the worst job in America?

Pretty depressing. It is even worse when that job is newspaper reporter.

CareerCast, an online job service, has been rating the top and bottom jobs for more than 20 years and this year reporter dropped from fifth worst last year to the bottom, dead-last at 200.

I mean, lumberjack, a job where you work in the worst weather, cutting down and hauling trees with dangerous machinery in the middle of nowhere for very little money, at least made it to 199.

The survey cited the poor survival prospects of the newspaper industry for our decline, plus low pay and stress.

To illustrate the gloom surround the news industry it cited the founder of a website called NewspaperDeathWatch as an expert.

The story used the example of a woman who had been a reporter for several years, had a family and couldn't advance. So she went to work for a public relations firm. That does happen a lot but it always has.

We came in even worse than military enlisted personnel at third-worst, actor at fourth-worst and oil rig worker at fifth-worst.

Rounding out the bottom 10 are dairy farmer at six, meter reader at seven, mail carrier at eight, roofer at nine and flight attendant at 10.

The study used four core criteria to rate the jobs: environment, income, outlook; and stress.

The best job? Actuary, again. No one actually knows what an actuary does, but everyone always agrees it is a great job.

Biomedical engineer is second-best, software engineer is third-best, audiologist fourth-best, financial planner fifth-best and for some strange reason, dental hygienist sixth-best.

The ratings cry out for comment and many people have gone online to the website to participate. Quite a few flight attendants disagreed with their rating, most saying they earned nearly $100,000 a year for what actually is a part-time job.

Police officer came in at 166 and firefighter at 167. Military general was 180 while maid was 181. Figure that one out.

Pest control worker was 95, choreographer was 142 and disc jockey was 179.

Like those rankings of party schools, and most livable cities, this list is simply for publicity. And I'm giving it to them even if they downgrade my chosen profession because it is an entertaining list.

But despite their predictions, I'm still here and not going anywhere.

So is the News-Democrat, which is hanging in there with the print edition and becoming stronger and stronger through its Internet reach.

But if I did have to move on, I would be looking at plenty of possibilities, like number 40 on the list, market research analyst at an average of $60,000 a year, number 65, nuclear decontamination technician at $38,000 or number 73, public relations executive at $93,000 a year.

Have a column idea? Call Wally at 618-239-2506 or 800-642-3878; or email:

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