Now that CareerCast has come out with its list of the 10 best jobs and 10 worst jobs for 2014, I’m happy to report that my occupation is no longer at the bottom of the barrel.
Yes, the category of “newspaper reporter,” which presumably also includes “newspaper columnist,” soared from worst job in America in 2013 to second-worst job in 2014.
Turns out we flipped spots with “lumberjack,” which must be distressing for the folks up at Humboldt State, where every student is, by definition, a Lumberjack.
In addition to reporters and lumberjacks, the bottom three includes “enlisted military personnel.” This led one CNBC commentator to remark that these three were placed where they are because “they tend to be dangerous jobs with low pay.”
While the hazards of lumberjacking or fighting wars is well-known, newspaper reporting is dangerous as well. I mean, sports writers live in mortal fear of being struck by a foul ball, while columnists fear being struck by a foul politician. For sure, I never attend a Davis City Council meeting without wearing my football helmet.
According to CareerCast, we newspaper types ranked near the bottom because “reporters have always had long hours and tight deadlines with low pay, but with the move to digital, the hiring outlook is brutal.”
What does “digital” mean, anyway?
The mid-level income for reporters is listed as $37,090, which means they failed to factor in my six-figure salary with the floating decimal point.
Then again, since I’ve been at this daily grind for nearly 45 years now, that means my writing career has netted me a cool 1.699 million dollars, most of which is still stored under my East Davis mattress. And that doesn’t include the literally hundreds of free hot dogs I helped myself to in the press box from my days as a sports writer.
Other worst jobs include taxi driver, garbage collector, broadcaster and firefighter, with the last pulling down a meager $45,250 a year. Again, those figures can’t possibly include Davis firefighters.
On the flip side, the most popular occupation in Davis, “tenured university professor,” was listed as the second-best job in the country, right behind “mathematician.” Unless, of course, you’re a professor at Humboldt State, having to share your wisdom with all those lowly Lumberjacks.
With a mid-level income of $68,970, the average American tenured university professor makes far less than his or her UC Davis counterpart.
“Actuary” came in at No. 4 because they are “the people who determine how long something is going to last.” Like those soon-to-be-extinct newspaper reporters.
“Typically they work for insurance companies, estimating how long people are going to live or the statistical likelihood that they will get a particular disease.” Such as in-grown fingertips from all that typing.
For reasons I’ll never understand, “dental hygienist” is the sixth-best job around, ranking as the least stressful of all 200 jobs surveyed.
You’re telling me it’s not stressful to have your fingers surrounded all day by 32 teeth belonging to someone else?
Are you kidding?
“Talk to a dental hygienist and they’ll tell you the best part of their job is that they’re in control of the situation.”
I’ll give them that, seeing as how I’m generally strapped to an adjustable gurney with my mouth pried open and the hygienist possessing every weapon in the room. They can even lecture me about what’s wrong with the world as they clean my teeth and fluoridate my molars, secure in the knowledge that at that moment I am incapable of talking back.
The mid-level income for a dental hygienist is $70,210, which is irrelevant. You couldn’t pay me 10 times that much to work all day inside a complete stranger’s mouth.
I’d much rather stay home and count the $1.699 million from my high-stress, no-future job that has kept me fat and happy all these years.
— Reach Bob Dunning at firstname.lastname@example.org