Much has been made of CareerCast.com’s recent release of its list of best and worst jobs. According to the list, the worst job in America is newspaper reporter.
That’s right. The job that many young Americans aspired to do in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal — which perhaps more than anything else glamorized the profession — now ranks below digging ditches and pumping septic tanks.
I beg to differ.
To be fair, much of CareerCast.com’s consideration is based on the current state of the economy. There is a perception — even if it is a misperception, and in large part it is — that newspapers are a dying breed. (By contrast, CareerCast’s No. 1 job in America was actuary. You’ll hardly find today’s high school students chomping at the bit to be an actuary “when they grow up,” but those jobs are in high demand because of the economy.)
The perceived decline of the newspaper industry, coupled with low pay, tight deadlines and poor working conditions caused the poor ranking, according to CareerCast.com publisher Tony Lee.
Still, I beg to differ.
Yes, the pay pales in comparison to bank executives and nuclear engineers. Yes, the stress level is high. Yes, there are a lot of people wanting a few available jobs. But it could be so much worse.
Few of us prefer to be defined by our jobs, and truthfully, few of us are. Politicians, perhaps. Famous authors or actors, maybe. But for most of us, our job is not what defines us. It isn’t what we’ll be remembered for after we’ve gone toes-up.
Yet, there’s something to be said for job satisfaction, no matter what line of work you make a career of. When you have a job you can wake up and actually look forward to, you’ve achieved far more than a lot of folks around you — whether you’re an actuary or a septic tank pumper or a newspaper reporter.
And while each of us must find that satisfaction in our job for our own reasons, I always figured it was easier to find satisfaction in newspaper work than a lot of other professions, though there are likely some in those professions who would disagree with me. Frankly, I think being an actuary would bore me to tears. But no doubt there are many actuaries who find it riveting work.
Perhaps fellow newspaper man Keith Anderson said it best. In his column penned Monday he said, “Some may actually think being a janitor is a worse job than a reporter. But as a former janitor, I can tell you that there are aspects to that job that are rewarding. Maybe the worst job is the individual who empties Porta Potties, unless that person knows that his/her role is essential to each and every one of us who attends an outdoor activity and depends on clean facilities to prevent the spread of disease.
“So, perhaps the worst job in the world is not a job at all, but a point of view. It is that frame of mind that compels an individual to survey the landscape, point a crooked finger at another, and suggest they have a meaningless job and that their life is being wasted.”
Life is too short to go through it hating your job. If you work 40 hours a week, you spend less than 25 percent of your life at work. Yet working a job we hate can make our entire life miserable. Just for fun, I looked at Jobs4TN.gov, the state’s website that attempts to match job-seekers with employers needing workers. According to a quick search I did on the site, there are 240 available jobs within a 25-mile radius of the 37841 zip code. I’m quite positive that I could find at least one that I was qualified for — even if it were digging ditches or pumping septic tanks. If I felt like my job was the worst job in America, I’d find something else.
But I’m not going anywhere.