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Best and Worst Jobs
January 7, 2010 9:19 PM   Subscribe

Wall Street Journals 200 Best and Worst Jobs
posted by Confess, Fletch (112 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting. I haven't been able to peruse it all that much yet, but located myself and the girlfriend. She's getting scalped a bit with regard to this, but I'm in the median.

I did notice down at 179 were Roofers. I worked as a roofer for awhile. Well, as a tear off guy as putting down shingles in Illinois where I did this was union so the guys putting on the actual roof were all pretty fatly compensated for the time spent. But they were incredibly efficient.

I guess that's "fairly compensated" from a high school perspective though. But we'd slog up there for a couple days and then BANG they'd lay the new one down and take off in their nice new trucks.

Interesting list, thanks for the post.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 9:27 PM on January 7, 2010


It took me awhile to get this list, because I was expecting two lists - a list of Worst Jobs and a list of Best Jobs. Instead I am greeted with one list - aren't there more than 200 jobs in the country? I even skimmed the methodology to try to get it, thinking maybe it's 100 best and 100 worst jobs, but even that didn't seem to fit.

In conclusion, I think the WSJ should've named this "200 Jobs Ordered from Best to Worst." :P
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 9:35 PM on January 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


Goddamn, why did my dad tell me the philosophy factory down the street wasn't hiring.
posted by thejoshu at 9:37 PM on January 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm amazed that "Philosopher" is both on the list and so highly ranked.
posted by clcapps at 9:38 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Those salaries for the biologist (at #4) don't look accurate. Try cutting them in half.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:39 PM on January 7, 2010


Heh. I was at number 200 (although willfully, more or less) at one point. Now number 3. What a world.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:39 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


The biologist numbers look right to me, but almost all of the biologists I know work in environmental consulting.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 9:41 PM on January 7, 2010


Judge is ranked far too low. Mainly because their methodology fails to include god-like power over the lives of others.

Interesting that the 6 of the top ten are pretty high on the mathematical requirements.
Actuary/Statistician/Mathematician are all obviously the standard streams for math.
Accounting requires at least a decent amount of math.
Systems & software engineer need either pure math or the equivalents from computing.
And to think I left math for the law. Whoops.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:44 PM on January 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Kind of odd to rank it on 5 criteria but only list 1.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:45 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also... what about the amount of time it takes to go from 0 to professional? For many of these, that could be years; for others, a few months at a trade school.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:49 PM on January 7, 2010


Yeah, Mitrovarr - in my more bitter moments, I share your opinion, but staring at 31k and a median of 71k?

In my first job in industry, a PhD from Germany without a postdoc was making $90k. There are professors in my program who left $M+ jobs to come back to academia. My current grad student stipend (albeit from a good grant) is $35k.

Me? I'll probably end up just teaching community college or being a street corner preacher.

"EVOluTION! Yeah! Species CHiiiANGE over TIAM-ah! It's the SELecTAtion of FEATures That Are BENEfiCIAL! Oh Yeah, sing with me SEXual SELection for FIT NESS! Oh praise DARWIN!"

Yes, but I still complain about being a poor-assed grad student, based on where I live/study due to the discrepancy in the price of living with the rest of the country.
posted by porpoise at 9:52 PM on January 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


188 FIREFIGHTER

189 PHOTOJOURNALIST


Ha! I'm sending that to my former-firefighter father. Look dad, you're a step ahead of what I went to college to do!
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:54 PM on January 7, 2010


I WILL NEVER AGAIN CRAWL OR BEND OR STOOP OR LIFT OR USE A MACHINE.
posted by generalist at 9:56 PM on January 7, 2010


porpoise: My current grad student stipend (albeit from a good grant) is $35k.

Wow, I had no idea those get that high. Mine is less than half of that.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:58 PM on January 7, 2010


I'm pretty much smack in the middle.

Mathematician is in the top 10 - but for me, it would be in the bottom 10. ; )
posted by SisterHavana at 10:01 PM on January 7, 2010


I'm surprised psychologist and psychiatrist are so far down (69 and 98, respectively). I listen to people bitch at me all day, too, but I'm not making anywhere near their starting salaries!
posted by clorox at 10:02 PM on January 7, 2010


What kind of nonsense is this list? Mind you, I'm listed well below a Nuclear Plant Decontamination Technician.
posted by quarsan at 10:02 PM on January 7, 2010


I'm pretty sure you can be a philosopher for a lot less than $33k.
posted by mike_bling at 10:04 PM on January 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow. Income-wise, I'm doing about as well as could be expected. I thought I was doing something wrong...
posted by ducky l'orange at 10:06 PM on January 7, 2010


#200 is a roustabout. Did they find someone who is a professional roustabout? Odd things on this list.
posted by shinyshiny at 10:07 PM on January 7, 2010


Second best job is Software Engineer? Seriously? Just below Actuary, which sounds boring as hell.

Actor is 163 (with a top salary listed as $69k) and Bank teller is 68.

I don't think they're figuring in boredom at all.

I like that 184 is "REPORTER (NEWSPAPER)" though.
posted by delmoi at 10:14 PM on January 7, 2010


Historians are on the list, but not English professors?

Perhaps we're lower than the roustabouts.
posted by thomas j wise at 10:15 PM on January 7, 2010


Oh to be a roustabout actuary in these heady days.
posted by gordie at 10:15 PM on January 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Where is Metafilter Mod on the list? I call bollocks!
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:16 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I didn't see florists on there anywhere.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:16 PM on January 7, 2010


Well, I'm kinda in the top 50. (I make 2/3rds of what they quote for a job that only requires a high school diploma. Shit.)
posted by sperose at 10:18 PM on January 7, 2010


Roustabout is a job? Where do I go to school to become one? Is there any special training? I'd love to have some roustabout experience on my resume. I think it'd complement my 'layabout' experience.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:21 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm amazed that "Philosopher" is both on the list and so highly ranked.

I'm also amazed it's so highly ranked, but why are you amazed it's on the list? It's a job. Philosophers aren't mythical creatures, you know.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:21 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ridiculous, where is banking executive who gets your tax money by holding poor people with mortgages for ransom, or politician who believes healthcare lobbyists are his constituency. Does anybody else think this thing comes off with an implicit "Here's what you can aspire to, commoner" vibe?

As a software engineer who knows several people involved in actuarial fields, this is also the most depressing list I could possibly see. Nowhere to go but down.
posted by SomeOneElse at 10:22 PM on January 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I wanted to be #25 when I was a kid, got a degree in #11, had my first job as #184 and am currently employed as #74. Man, I'm all over the place.
posted by jscalzi at 10:22 PM on January 7, 2010


I'm amazed that "Philosopher" is both on the list and so highly ranked.

I'd imagine that if you're able to get a job in philosophy, such as by being a university philosophy professor, then it would indeed be a very rewarding profession. Of course, the tough part is actually getting such a job.
posted by gyc at 10:23 PM on January 7, 2010


SNL used to claim that the worst job in America was NOT in fact "crack whore"; actually, the worst job in America is assistant crack whore.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 10:24 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Roustabout is a job? Where do I go to school to become one?

I'm the local union Rep. Those damn layabouts are freelancing scabs stealing our best straightlines and favorites. You wouldn't believe how much work it is to crack down on them. Most of them are Philosophy grad school dropouts, for some reason.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:34 PM on January 7, 2010


I appear to be a midlevel 65 married to a starting 25.
posted by kyrademon at 10:36 PM on January 7, 2010


I'm at #13?!? *Shakes head, accompanied by the appropriate Warner Bros. cartoon sound effect*
posted by pmurray63 at 10:36 PM on January 7, 2010


Teacher's Aide is #81, and Teacher is #116, just above Sewage Plant Operator...I'm confused.
posted by robotot at 10:39 PM on January 7, 2010


Wait, wait, wait.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the 93rd best job in America in 2009 was "Photographic process worker"?!?

Granted, it's probably a better career path than "LP record injection molding", but it's a better job than, say, #116 "Teacher", or #136 "Surgeon"?

I call shenanigans.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 10:40 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


i don't see "night auditor at a sleazy, crack infested motel" or "all night convenience store clerk" - both of which, i assure you, truly, really suck
posted by pyramid termite at 10:46 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Philosophers aren't mythical creatures, you know.

Have you ever seen one?
posted by b1tr0t at 10:46 PM on January 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


134 UNDERTAKER 30000 52000 93000
135 FLIGHT ATTENDANT 20000 36000 65000

No offense to any members of the corpse corps out there, but if it were see the world vs see dead people, I'd take the lower pay and the whining passengers.
posted by pracowity at 10:49 PM on January 7, 2010


Being an artist is #104 but being an actuary is #1? Being a paralegal is "better" than being a federal judge?? Janitor > fashion desinger? The hell?

My inner #8 is saying this metric sucks.
posted by aquafortis at 10:52 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Astronomer" tops out at $157,000?

I'm sorry I missed my school's Career Day.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 10:54 PM on January 7, 2010


no pornographers, incomplete list.
posted by Hammond Rye at 10:54 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's not saying being $x is better than $y, it's saying that it scored higher on some set of criteria they chose. I've heard being an actuary is a pretty great job.

My two potential career paths, aerospace engineer and software developer are both in the top 20, so I guess I can't do too bad.
posted by !Jim at 10:59 PM on January 7, 2010


What the- I've been roustabouting all these years for... for FREE?? I'm the shame of my mother.
posted by cheap paper at 11:02 PM on January 7, 2010


I'm amazed that "Philosopher" is both on the list and so highly ranked.

A close friend is a philosophy professor (almost no one is a professional philosopher outside of a university position). He regularly sends mocking emails about how he doesn't know how he'll get through the two hours of office time he scheduled. And now he's on sabbatical, where he's inductively proving the non-existence of pants.

Once you're a tenured academic in the humanities, life can be pretty sweet.
posted by fatbird at 11:06 PM on January 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I want to know how they figure being a receptionist is a better job than being a federal judge, newscaster, psychologist, dentist, architect, or airline pilot, among other things.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:19 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it's surprising how many people seem miffed that being a receptionist or a paralegal ranks more highly than being a federal judge or an airline pilot. There is no universal law that says people making less money - even significantly less money - than those with upwardly mobile professional positions have to be less happy. It's really not all about the money.

According to the criteria - environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands and stress - that list makes perfect sense to me. The environment, employment outlook and stress of being an airline pilot suck. The guy loading the luggage into your plane probably makes more money than the guy flying it, and has better job security. Loads of people need a receptionist, who does not take his work home with him; federal judgeships are exceedingly rare, you always take your work home with you, and as a bonus you sometimes get to go home to death threats.

I'm not saying receptionists and paralegals have it easy but once we exclude money, they're going to do better as a group on three out of four remaining criteria than the people they work for. Maybe an actuary can do the math, but I think that would heavily weight these jobs towards ranking higher.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:34 PM on January 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I want to know how they figure being a receptionist is a better job than being a federal judge, newscaster, psychologist, dentist, architect, or airline pilot, among other things.

I'm sure there's some kind of lesson to be learned from a publication that values money above all else, but it's late and I think the lesson is actively being learned.
posted by lattiboy at 11:37 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I liked my job more, I might be smug about the fact that it compares so favorably to so many others. Instead, I am deeply saddened by this fact.
posted by aubilenon at 11:38 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Philosopher at 11! Whooo! Just below dental hygenist!
posted by painquale at 11:43 PM on January 7, 2010


Professional philosophers aren't mythical. I'm hoping to turn into one, all caterpillar-like, someday.
posted by painquale at 11:50 PM on January 7, 2010


I guess my job is more suppository than actuary.
posted by pracowity at 11:52 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't see no stagehand.
posted by Faux Real at 11:55 PM on January 7, 2010


You're not supposed to.
posted by pracowity at 11:59 PM on January 7, 2010 [19 favorites]


I'm pretty sure you can be buy a philosopher for a lot less than $33k.
posted by Forktine at 12:06 AM on January 8, 2010


Pythagoreanism. Of living things I eat none. All else I eat, except beans.

First D. And why no beans? Do you dislike them?

Py. No. But they are sacred things. Their nature is a mystery. Consider them first in their generative aspect; take a green one and peel it, and you will see what I mean. Again, boil one and expose it to moonlight for a proper number of nights, and you have--blood. What is more, the Athenians use beans to vote with.

First D. Admirable! A very feast of reason. Now just strip, and let me see what you are like. Bless me, here is a creed with a golden thigh! He is no mortal, he is a God. I must have him at any price. What do you start him at?

Her. Forty pounds.

First D. He is mine for forty pounds.

Zeus. Take the gentleman's name and address.
-- Sale of Creeds, Lucian
posted by benzenedream at 12:22 AM on January 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Huh. I stumbled into #2 thirteen years ago quite by mistake, and have been happy there ever since. "Luck" and "Hard Work" are my two greatest career assets, and probably in that order.
posted by Lokheed at 12:37 AM on January 8, 2010


The actual list makes a lot more sense than the WSJ's predictable focus on salary while ignoring other important factors that make a job enjoyable.

I agree that Software Engineer should rank highly. It's well paid, the hiring outlook is very good, we sit in climate-controlled offices (often with a door that closes and a window that opens), and the worst stress we ever typically face is the occasional deadline crunch.
posted by cmonkey at 1:12 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The danger of lists like this is that young people might take notice of them. Looking at people I know, the happiest are those who naively pursued whatever they found they were good at and/or enjoyed, whether or not it seemed to have great prospects at that time.

(My occupation effectively didn't exist until shortly before I started doing it; I'd probably be unemployed or doing something tedious if I'd tried to plan my career)
posted by malevolent at 2:34 AM on January 8, 2010


That my job ranks relatively well on this list confirms my suspicion that there is not, in fact, a metric, save "make a list of 200 jobs off the top of your head, and we'll figure out some kind of ranking system later."
posted by louche mustachio at 2:59 AM on January 8, 2010


Having spent many years toiling away as a house painter (#159) before going back to school so that I could be a software engineer, I can confirm that the latter career is infinitely better. After working my ass off at a dangerous job and been paid terrible wages with no benefits for years, I can't believe how easy sitting in a cube and twiddling bits for four times the salary is. The shit way we treat blue collar workers vs. how royally "knowledge workers" get treated is pretty obscene.
posted by octothorpe at 3:34 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've known a few shoemakers (#174), and they have been, to a man, a serene lot. OK, the money's not great, but it's sole-satisfying in it's own way.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:02 AM on January 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I see All-Being Master of Time, Space and Dimension failed to make the list.
posted by maxwelton at 4:12 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised to see they broke down "university professor" into disciplines. For example, "anthropologist" is #47, and "archaeologist" is #50. Generally, we teach in the same departments, and make the same money, and have about the same job satisfaction. Combine all the academic vocations together from this list and "professor/scholar/researcher" comes out very well indeed.

Lucky me.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:28 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I chuckle every time I hear the lament, "The problem is we don't make anything in the United States anymore." Take a look at this list and you'll see why. Forklift operator #67 vs. Mechanical Engineer #71. All of the skilled trades are at the bottom of the list. What kid in high school would want to be a blue collar worker even if there were jobs to be had? They think they will be able to work in an office in front of a computer not realizing that there are billions of more competent people in the world who have the ability to do the same thing for a fraction of the cost.
posted by digsrus at 4:56 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


This list is weirdly conceived and weighted. It appears to subtract points for interesting and challenging work, and to reward points for jobs that don't require effort. I think George Costanza came up with the methodology.

One of the most important factors -- the social status of a job -- is omitted entirely, resulting in, for example, a paralegal being rated as a much better job than a judge (??). Status also does a lot to differentiate jobs that are "stressful" because they just fucking suck, and jobs that are "stressful" because they are important.

A much more accurate and informative list would rely almost entirely on rated job satisfaction, and you'd see jobs like police officer and firefighter, which are rated last on this list because they make heavy physical and emotional demands, shoot up to the very front of the list, for basically the same reasons.
posted by dgaicun at 4:58 AM on January 8, 2010


The one that jumped out at me was physician vs physician assistant vs medical records tech. I doubt their methodology, though when I did MR I did enjoy reading about the STDs of people that I know.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:14 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I see All-Being Master of Time, Space and Dimension failed to make the list.

Oh sure, if you want to include small-time gigs like that...
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:22 AM on January 8, 2010


Awesome! I happen to be both 138 and 139 professionally (bartender and fashion designer). I'm a bit confused by this:
131 MAID 15000 19000 29000
132 TELEPHONE OPERATOR 18000 32000 51000
133 CORPORATE EXECUTIVE (SENIOR) 69000 159000 171000

Really? Maids and telephone operators have better jobs than senior corporate executives?
posted by Jawn at 5:23 AM on January 8, 2010


The methodology is suspect - for Photographers, or any other artist for that matter, they did not account for freelancers. The numbers there are going to be completely different than in-house and other corporate Photographers. Lists are nice for simplification but there are so many other factors to consider.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 5:49 AM on January 8, 2010


I'm probably just an idiot, but I don't understand this list. It's the 200 Best and Worst jobs, and there's a single list of 200 jobs.

Does that mean the first 100 are the 100 best jobs, and the last 100 are the 100 worst, with #1 being the best of the best possible jobs and #200 the worst of all possible jobs, with thousands of "meh" jobs somewhere in between 100 and 101? Is "professional voiceover actor" theoretically somewhere like 100.0023, for instance?
posted by Shepherd at 6:01 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


@ dgaicun I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the methodology, but it wasn't made up by George Costanza. I can see proof in the fact that philantropists aren't mentioned. Nor is being George Costanza mentioned as a full time profession. That, and architects would have ended up at a top 10 position and way ahead of architectural drafters.
posted by ouke at 6:16 AM on January 8, 2010


135 FLIGHT ATTENDANT 20000 36000 65000
136 SURGEON 196000 300000 428000
137 BUS DRIVER 20000 34000 56000


I'm really, really not trying to knock anyone here and their profession but I refuse to believe that job satisfaction was factored into a ranking like this.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:25 AM on January 8, 2010


Also, my friend and I, both unemployed, are meeting this week about a $10/hour job as "online e-tax support counselors" 40 miles away from our apartments. I'll pick up garbage for 50 grand happily compared to that.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:27 AM on January 8, 2010


Their high-end numbers are way too low for a lot of jobs. Even philosophers can earn more than what they're showing.

Senior corporate execs top out at 171K? Bullshit.

Currently I'm getting paid crap, my job security is shit, there's nowhere "up" to go to - but I'm the happiest I've ever been in any job.

Life is whacked.
posted by yesster at 6:32 AM on January 8, 2010


Here we go. I was right. Almost everyone who is a firefighter says they are "very satisfied" with their job; higher for every occupation but clergy. Yet the Wall Street Journal list puts firefighter almost dead last at #188. They are basically as wrong as they can be. Teachers are also at the top of reported job satisfaction, but the Journal list puts teaching on the bad side of 100, near bartenders and waiters, who actually have the lowest reported job satisfaction, along with all the other blue collar/low skill jobs.
posted by dgaicun at 6:34 AM on January 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


For all the aspiring roustabouts.
posted by misha at 6:43 AM on January 8, 2010


Senior corporate execs top out at 171K? Bullshit.

Not necessarily. There can be a pretty big gap between the CEO (even assuming a million dollar salary) and "mere" directors. Then too there is the question of company size. Not every corporation is a fortune five hundred entity. The staggeringly big paydays you read about you read about because they are so staggering, not because they are commonplace.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:58 AM on January 8, 2010


Ha! I knew my nondescript white-collar position wasn't a real job.

If nothing else though, this list has taught me that I should dig my claws into that physicist I just met and let him carry me to banktown. Thanks, WSJ!
posted by kittyprecious at 7:04 AM on January 8, 2010


I'll chime in that these people might as well be making shit up. I made a conscious decision to go from #32 to #171. I had four jobs as a Geologist that paid well below the listed starting salary. To make anywhere the mid- to high-end money, I'd have to move to Houston and work for big oil. I'd rather get paid to stick forks in my eye.

As a Carpenter though, I'm pretty much at the top of their scale money-wise, and I average working about 15 days a month. I chose where I wanted to live, and the part about working outside, moving around, and lifting things? It's called exercise, and it's actually a job benefit.
posted by lost_cause at 7:12 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Having been one for many years, I was mildly amused by the "paralegal assistant" being ranked 7 (and attorney ranked 80), given the demands of the job. Paralegals can actually make pretty good money, all things considered (top level salary at $73,000 does not sound out of line, if you're stellar at what you do, competitive as hell, and work at a top corporate and/or civil litigation firm).

Loads of people need a receptionist, who does not take his work home with him; federal judgeships are exceedingly rare, you always take your work home with you, and as a bonus you sometimes get to go home to death threats.

I can't vouch for legal receptionists, but paralegals definitely take work home with them (or, more accurately, the office often becomes home). If they don't, either they're not working for firms that care about winning, or else they don't care about getting ahead at the firms they work for, because lawyers absolutely notice it if you are a paralegal and you clock out at 5. This is not at all to suggest that being a paralegal is more stressful than being a lawyer or a federal judge, but the demands and stress in the field don't stop at the desks of those with JDs.
posted by blucevalo at 7:21 AM on January 8, 2010


Roustabout is just the starting point, you can move up to Roughneck, Derrickman (on the monkeyboards!), Assistant Driller, Driller and then Toolpusher.
Downside is, it's tough work and you run the risk of physical injury or fatality if someone isn't paying attention. Used to work with a German Toolpusher with only half the usual complement of fingers, of course his name was Hans. Also, there's the higher chance of being on your 2nd or 3rd spouse since it's tough to find someone who'll cope with the long periods of time you're away in the oil patch.

I also call BS on this list. Takes no account of job satisfaction, benefits (which can be as much as the salary if you're lucky) or any of the other factors that make a job fun/stressful.

lost_cause - you're my hero. Must say though that Houston isn't as bad as it's made out to be.
posted by arcticseal at 7:42 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised to see they broke down "university professor" into disciplines.


KV: That isn’t anthropology. That’s sociology.

TROUT: What’s the difference? I’ve often wondered.

KV: A sociologist is paid by the Sociology Department. An anthropologist is paid by the Anthropology Department.

TROUT: Glad to have that cleared up.

KV: Knowledge is power.
posted by naoko at 7:48 AM on January 8, 2010


I'm pretty sure you can be a philosopher for a lot less than $33k.
posted by mike_bling


Bob: What did you study?
Charlotte: Philosophy.
Bob: Yeah, there's a good buck in that racket.
Charlotte: Well, so far it's pro bono.
Bob: Well, I'm sure you'll figure out the angles.
posted by Babblesort at 7:53 AM on January 8, 2010


Hey there sexy ladies. I don't know if you knew this, but I'm an ACTUARY. Yea, that's right.
posted by solmyjuice at 8:15 AM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here we go. I was right. Almost everyone who is a firefighter says they are "very satisfied" with their job; higher for every occupation but clergy.

I have a hard time believing that clergy have the highest job satisfaction. Depression and burnout are huge problems among ministers. It's a constant battle to meet unrealistic expectations, be everyone's best friend but also set them straight when you need to. The pay is lower than almost any other profession that requires 90 hours of graduate school. Relationships can be weird when your friends are also your congregants and there are some things you have to keep in the vault to maintain a little professional distance. And then there's the whole "life in a fishbowl" thing where you get judged by not just your actions but those of your spouse and children.

I do believe that 87% of clergy would feel like they ought to say they are very satisfied with their jobs, though. Everything is always wonderful with us. We're always fine. We're always blessed. After all, how could it be otherwise? We have Jesus.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:18 AM on January 8, 2010


81 - Teacher's Aide
116 - Teacher

Hmmmm.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:40 AM on January 8, 2010


Drywaller is not at the bottom of the list? Unpossible, and proof positive that this list is a lie.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:45 AM on January 8, 2010


I dig the juxtapositions. Actor falls between Automobile Assembler and Drywall Applicator.
posted by drileynyc at 9:47 AM on January 8, 2010


I knew my roustabout major was worthless.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 9:50 AM on January 8, 2010


Second best job is Software Engineer? Seriously?

Why not? Google's free food alone bumps this up a few notches. The real question is why "Software Engineer" and "Computer Programmer" get separate entries. I can grudgingly justify a slight difference for "Computer Systems Analyst" but relative to "Chauffeur" or "Plumber" these three are all basically the same job.
posted by GuyZero at 9:58 AM on January 8, 2010


Drywaller is not at the bottom of the list? Unpossible, and proof positive that this list is a lie.

If you had no education and did not speak English - which describes every full-time drywaller I've ever met - it's probably a pretty good job.
posted by GuyZero at 9:59 AM on January 8, 2010


Hmm. Biologist is #4, but police officer is #180. That puts forensic scientist right near the middle, which seems reasonable, as it is both interesting and stressful as all hell. If only I could aspire to the salary level of biologists in the private sector.
posted by Flannery Culp at 10:03 AM on January 8, 2010


My job, apartment manager, is nowhere to be found on the list. so, it's neither great or horrible.
posted by vespabelle at 11:01 AM on January 8, 2010


13 is my lucky number! And to think, I was an aspiring #74 (suck it, scalzi!). Now I know that I was correct to aspire to an 11 or 6.
posted by Eideteker at 11:03 AM on January 8, 2010


I knew I shouldn't have given up my actuarial job to become a roughneck.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:20 AM on January 8, 2010


[...] the worst stress [software engineers] ever typically face is the occasional deadline crunch.

Oh, no no no no. I used to be a software developer until I quit and went back to school for a couple of drama degrees. (Because that's where the money is HAMBURGER.) I used to describe it like this:

Imagine your job involves creating machines for the food industry. One day, someone commissions you to design and build a machine that will take a freshly-killed chicken and turn it into a tasty and nutritious series of sandwiches, fillets, chickens Kiev, and a delicious soup.

You labor for weeks and months, sweating and toiling long hours, going down blind alleys and starting over at several points, until finally, at long last, your machine is done. It's not perfect, but it does exactly what was asked for and it does it well.

Then the person who originally asked you to do the job comes to you to see the result of your labor. He stands looking at the machine for long moments, silent, arms folded, chin in hand. Then he opens his mouth and says...

"...well, this is nice and all, but say--could you make it work with lobster instead?"
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:36 PM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I notice that the Philosopher is rated as having "very good" hiring outlook (24.18, whatever that means). If you then click on "Find This Job", you will be surprised (that is, if you have any knowledge of what the actual job situation is in the humanities) to find a huge number of jobs show up. Only two are actually philosophy related teaching jobs, the rest are various ads where the word "philosophy" shows up (as in "our philosophy of job growth and career advancement..."). Can't really comment on the stress and job satisfaction, but I must say that philosophy graduate students I knew surely were the most neurotic and stressed out collection of humans I have ever had contact with.
posted by bumpkin at 12:37 PM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I used to be a software developer until I quit and went back to school for a couple of drama degrees.
 posted by Mr. Bad Example


E-pony-whatever-you-know.
posted by GuyZero at 12:43 PM on January 8, 2010


Ha! I worked on the original Jobs Rated Almanac (there's a reason philosopher's on the list!), from which this, or at least the methodology, appears to be derived. The jobs were mostly taken directly from the government's Dictionary of Occupational Titles, which in itself is a pretty good read (favorite job titles: Bunghole Borer, Chicken Fancier, Rabbit Dresser). One of the editors went on to produce a more interesting job book.
posted by stargell at 2:08 PM on January 8, 2010


This would be much more useful with two columns detailing # of job seekers/graduates in a field per year vs. # of open positions.

I imagine there is a several orders of magnitude difference between the number of police vs. philosophy professor jobs.
posted by benzenedream at 2:23 PM on January 8, 2010


Ann Althouse (a.k.a. my mom) says:
Actuary is #1, so... shouldn't there be more factors? Like something about how interesting it is... especially to do over the long haul? Is whatever gets categorized as "physical demands and stress" always necessarily bad? Shouldn't there also be deductions for lethargy and ennui?

Last place, #200, is roustabout. Yeah, but Elvis Presley never made a movie called "Actuary!"
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:56 PM on January 8, 2010


You know why Actuary is #1? Take a guess at who compiles lists like this.
posted by GuyZero at 2:57 PM on January 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


philosophy graduate students I knew surely were the most neurotic and stressed out collection of humans I have ever had contact with

Probably comes from having the void stare back at you.
posted by weston at 3:02 PM on January 8, 2010


You know why Actuary is #1? Take a guess at who compiles lists like this.

People who want to be actuaries? I can't imagine that actuaries would create a list that says "Hey! Come compete for my job!"
posted by breath at 5:57 PM on January 8, 2010


Teacher's Aide is #81, and Teacher is #116 ... I'm confused.

I'm not.
posted by mwark at 6:22 PM on January 8, 2010


How can you call into question the validity of a list which includes:

2 SOFTWARE ENGINEER
[...]
34 COMPUTER PROGRAMMER


So what's weird is this: at the bottom of the article, they say "Source: Careercast.com". And going there I found the original 200 jobs list, which is identical to the WSJ list. So they don't mean "Here's where we got our raw data", they mean "here's where we copied this list from".

But CareerCast titles it Jobs Rated 2010: A Ranking of 200 Jobs From Best to Worst, which makes a lot more sense. 200 jobs chosen arbitrarily and ranked. They also link to their methodology and let you click on "View Ratings" to see all of the specific numbers for each job.

For instance, actuary:

Overall Ranking: 1
Overall Score: 46
Work Environment: 179.440
Physical Demands: 3.97
Stress: 20.187
Income: $85,229
Hiring Outlook: 24.79 (Very Good)

vs firefighter:

Overall Ranking: 188
Overall Score: 768
Work Environment: 3314.030
Physical Demands: 43.23
Stress: 110.936
Income: $44,227
Hiring Outlook: 13.77 (Good)

So job satisfaction isn't in there at all. (And I suspect "work environment" takes into account the odds of being injured or killed at work, too.)
posted by mendel at 8:48 PM on January 8, 2010


(Oops, now I see that cmonkey linked to the careercast list waaay up there. Sorry about that.)
posted by mendel at 8:49 PM on January 8, 2010


Bung Hole Borers is going to be the name of my next punk rock band.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:52 PM on January 8, 2010


People who want to be actuaries? I can't imagine that actuaries would create a list that says "Hey! Come compete for my job!"

First, it's really hard to become an actuary. There are specialized programs and lots of exams.

But I expect the only benefits are getting to say you have the #1 job in America and getting to give your friends a hard look-over and telling them when they're going to die.
posted by GuyZero at 9:02 PM on January 8, 2010


Hey, it makes it easier to plan one's day. Can't be taking off to attend funerals at random. Gotta plan ahead.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:34 PM on January 8, 2010


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