A good friend, Kaler Bole, a businessman who also happens to be a hell of a news hound, called to my attention yesterday a Web site that rates the “best” and “worst” jobs from one year to the next.
Knowing what you do about me and this blog, can you predict what’s coming?
Yes…”newspaper reporter” is rated the worst by CareerCast.com, which claims to be “the Internet’s premier career site for finding targeted job opportunities by industry, function and location.”
With a median, annual salary of $36,000 and a projected 6 percent loss of jobs across the country in 2013, newspaper reporting is far from the promising, adventurous job that it used to be — except for those who have reached the top of the ladder, such as reporters at The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Naturally, the CareerCast report is disappointing to me, particularly since I never envisioned myself doing anything other than being a reporter for about the first 10 years of my working life. Thereafter, I would get a wild hair every once in a while and think about going into P.R., but nothing ever materialized. Besides, once my salary started getting pretty good, I was less interested in changing course.
Today, it’s a lot different. From the outside, newspaper reporting appears to be less interesting, less appreciated and more stressful than it used to be. And the prospects of working up to a high five-figure or low six-figure salary are low, indeed, for the average newspaper reporter. When I got out in 2006, salary suppression was well underway.
As disappointing as the CareerCast report is in regard to newspaper reporting, however, the other side of the ledger — the best job of 2013 — still looks no better, at least to me.
You’d never guess what’s No. 1…Actuary. Yeah, the people who analyze insurance risks and premiums. The median annual salary there, CareerCost.com says, is $87,650. Moreover, CareerCrest forecasts a 27-percent increase in the number of actuary jobs this year.
Follow me on a short side trip now…The worst job I ever had was working at the downtown Sears store in Louisville, KY, for about a week one summer during college. Along with two or three other young people, I sat on the edge of a huge wheel (I’m talking several feet in diameter) of index cards, bearing the handwritten names and addresses of customers who owned Sears appliances. I don’t recall exactly what we did with those cards, but I think it was basically putting them in alphabetical order.
I only made it a week, even though one of my co-workers was a really good-looking girl, who I was interested in getting to know better. Lust was no match for excruciating boredom, and away I flew.
I have no idea what I was getting paid, but I wouldn’t have stayed if it had been $500 a week — a veritable fortune back then. Same thing goes for being an actuary now: I couldn’t and wouldn’t do it for a salary twice as large as what I made at The Star.
(I’m going to keep that actuarial info handy, though, for our 23-year-old son Charlie, who is tutoring kids in math in Tulsa. The $87,000 figure probably would get his attention.)
Anyway, back to the “best” and “worst” jobs…
These things always fascinate me for some reason, maybe because I like to think, “What if…?” What if I had gone into something else? How might that have gone?
For what it’s worth, then, here are the rest of “the best” jobs of 2013.
2. Biomedical engineer ($81,540 median salary; 62 percent increase in such jobs projected this year)
3. Software engineer ($90,530; 30 percent job growth)
4. Audiologist ($66,660; 37 percent job growth)
5. Financial planner ($64,750; 32 percent job growth)
6. Dental hygienist ($68,250; 38 percent job growth)
7. Occupational therapist ($72,320; 33 percent job growth)
8. Optometrist ($94,990; 33 percent job growth)
9. Physical therapist ($76,310; 39 percent job growth)
10. Computer systems analyst ($77,740; 22 percent job growth)
And here are the rest of “the worst.”
2. Lumberjack, ($32,870; 4 percent job growth)
3. Enlisted military personnel ($41,998 for employees ranked E-7 with 8+ years experience; job growth not predicted)
4. Actor ($17.44 per hour; 4 percent job growth)
5. Oil rig worker ($37,640; 8 percent job growth)
6. Dairy farmer ($60,750; 8 percent job loss)
7. Meter reader ($36,400; 10 percent job loss)
8. Letter carrier ($53,090; 26 percent job loss)
9. Roofer ($34, 220; 18 percent job growth)
10 Flight attendant ($37,740; no growth or loss predicted)
Armed with all the above information, if I were graduating from college next month, I think I’d still choose writing as a career. Probably not newspaper reporting, but some sort of writing. As you can tell, it agrees with me.
What about you…What would you do?