The worst job? It’s still ‘newspaper reporter’, survey says

Reporters and broadcasters try to ask questions during White House press briefing. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

The annual list of the worst jobs has been released, and it will get plenty of coverage because again “newspaper reporter” heads the list. Second on this list: broadcaster, which leaped over “logger” from last year’s list.

These things are always dicey because it’s not so much about what the job is like as it is the possibility of losing a job.

Show me a reporter or broadcaster who thought his/her job was “the worst” and I’ll show you (a) a reporter/broadcaster who wasn’t very good at it and (b) a reporter/broadcaster who wasn’t in the business very long.

The survey comes from CareerCast, which rates the jobs based on:

1. Emotional and Physical Environment
2. Income
3. Employment growth, income growth potential, unemployment
4. Stress, which includes travel, deadlines, working in the public eye, competitiveness, physical demands, environmental conditions, hazards, putting your life at risk, and meeting the public.
5. Overall rankings

Unquestionably, the newspaper business is a dead-end job, and maybe broadcasting isn’t far behind. So maybe those factors outweigh the pure thrill a day of working without a net and faithfully telling someone’s story can provide. Sure, neither job is for everyone, though everyone thinks they can do them. But worst job? Nah. Few reporters are doing the job at gunpoint.

Check out, for example, the tweets from all of the people who got laid off at ESPN yesterday. None of them said they’re done with the business.

From afar, others on the list seem like they’d be less than desirable, however: Logger, enlisted military, pest control worker, disc jockey, advertising sales, firefighter, retail sales, and taxi driver.

I’ve had three of those jobs — disc jockey, advertising sales, and taxi driver. I was good at none of them, and enjoyed two of them. I lasted 2 weeks in radio advertising sales when I got out of college, quit to work for my father for a few months until the on-air radio business came calling with the chance to work six days a week for $110 a week.

There are jobs not on the list that I think could be: Miner, TSA agent, cold-call telemarketer.

But it’s quite likely that loggers, for example, don’t think they’ve got the worst job. Maybe TSA agents are in the same boat.

According to CareerCast, the best job is a statistician, a revelation that I’ll bet seems horribly boring to most newspaper reporters, but probably not to a statistician.

Perhaps there’s more to why we do what we do than the amount of money it pays, the risks we take, or odds that someday we’ll be outsourced.

Related: Terri Traen on her ouster from KQRS: ‘It feels like death’ (Star Tribune)

From the archive: The best/worst jobs you ever had (NewsCut, MPR News)