Sunday, April 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Bob Dunning: What’s the worst job in America?

BobDunning2W

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From page A2 | July 28, 2013 | 4 Comments

In the last few years in California, and indeed most of the nation, many of those who remained gainfully employed considered themselves lucky just to have a job. People were afraid to complain about working conditions or low pay or any other job-related dissatisfaction, because they knew they could be gone in the blink of an eye.

So along comes a chap named Dan Fastenberg whose job, apparently, is to write about jobs at aol.com. Which sounds like all kinds of fun. He’s also worked for Time and Reuters and other reputable folks, so you know his journalistic credentials are solid.

The other day a kind reader sent me Dan’s latest piece on jobs filed under “Top 10 Lists, Employment News and Trends.”

So far, I’m bored. But then I read the first seven words of Dan’s work and I knew I had to finish the entire article. The first seven words asked: “What is the worst job in America?”

Other than mayor of Woodland, I’m not sure.

“In a troubled economy, where unemployment is high and the employed are overworked and underpaid, the competition is surely stiff,” Dan writes. “But each year CareerCast.com, the employment website, ranks 200 professions in America to come up with the answer.”

Now I don’t know if Dan is working for aol.com, CareerCast.com, Time, Reuters or is maybe just a glorified freelancer. No matter, he threw out the bait and I bit down hard.

“The list is based on five factors: physical demands, work environment, income, stress and hiring outlook.”

Let’s see, when I started my journalism career as a sports writer 44 years ago, you had to be able to lift a heavy “portable” manual typewriter in its carrying case and haul it up 84 steps to the press box if you were covering a football game in a real stadium.

The work environment couldn’t have been too bad, since everyone else in the stadium was attending the same game voluntarily and had even paid good money to do so.

Income didn’t really matter once the game started because the action on the field was generally compelling enough to make you forget whatever bills you had left at home.

Stress levels were high only for night games on a Saturday when a deadline loomed as stadium personnel were turning off the lights and locking up the exits. If you didn’t finish before they did, you were then faced with the task of climbing a fence to get out, all the while lugging that enormously heavy portable typewriter.

As far as hiring outlook went, hey, I had the job. What difference did hiring outlook make to me?

So I’m figuring if they evaluated 200 professions using those five criteria, being a journalist would rank very near the top of the list.

But here’s where it gets interesting. Given that this is a “Top Ten” list, the 10 jobs that Dan Fastenberg lists are therefore the 10 worst out of the 200 considered, meaning No. 10 on the list is actually No. 191 if you were ranking best to worst.

Turns out flight attendant is the 10th worst job in America, followed by a roofer at No. 9. Again, that means roofer is worse than flight attendant, not better.

So far, all we know is that people who work at high altitudes are deemed to have bad jobs.

No. 8 is a mail carrier, followed by meter reader at No. 7. Now we know that working in the air and visiting people’s homes on a regular basis are not desirable occupations.

No. 6 is a dairy farmer and No. 5 is an oil rig worker. Again, drawing conclusions two at a time, we can assume that extracting liquids is also undesirable.

No. 4 is listed as “actor,” with an average income of $17.44 an hour. Presumably, if you move the decimal point several places to the right, “actor” will quickly move to the other end on the list.

No. 3 is “enlisted military personnel,” and No. 2 is “lumberjack,” which means everyone at Humboldt State University.

Which brings us, with a major drumroll, to the worst job in America. Yes, you guessed it: “newspaper reporter.”

This guy Fastenberg has obviously never walked a mile in my shoes. Without a doubt, given the excellent material the city of Davis presents to me every day of the year, I have the best job in America.

The worst job, clearly, is creating Top Ten lists.

— Entries in the “Replace the Above-Pictured Columnist” contest should be between 400 and 800 words in length and must be emailed by midnight Tuesday, Sept. 3, to bdunning@davisenterprise.net. Please include a brief biography and mug shot of the author suitable for publication.

— Reach Bob Dunning at bdunning@davisenterprise.net

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 4 comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Lyle GerrietsJuly 28, 2013 - 9:12 am

    Hi Bob, Did you see the article from "Our View" in the paper today? It is about the water rate initiative. There is a statement that says, "we believe the consumption-based fixed rate model - ALBEIT DIFFICULT TO EXPLAIN AND TO UNDERSTAND - fairly apportions the fixed costs of the expensive new water project among all users and fairly bills users for their monthly consumption." It's BIG RED FLAG when a billing procedure is deemed difficult to explain and to understand. Do you think this could be because the poor citizens of Davis are so undereducated (too dumb)? Lyle

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • LorenzoJuly 28, 2013 - 1:35 pm

    ...and I thought the hardest job was keeping a straight face while telling high school students that a college education is the road to success.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • William HamzaJuly 28, 2013 - 2:26 pm

    Voluntarily - It is not when the managers, cow-workers are 24/7 wiretapping and scanning your phone and e-mail and GPSn your car and board members walk by and make threats that they'll take you behind the woodshed if you leave...til x date then eternity became quicker that rick 'prison gaurd' russell had thought...The city may provide you with content but people (private citizens) private lives are then private are protected againts your theft for profit of their private lives and I don't care if you are making up "avatar people" who based on actual private citizens: Bette Midler vs Ford Motor Co.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Christine RichJuly 28, 2013 - 10:42 pm

    Surprised hotel maid, chief bottle washer or recycling sorter aren't in the top ten. It's as if he had nothing to write about and just submitted an opinion piece

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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