The Garden City Telegram
4/18/2014
SOUTHWEST LIFE

Never mind the rankings, your heart will tell you if your job is No. 1

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At least I'm not a lumberjack.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, being a lumberjack is the worst job in America.

It is 200th out of the 200 jobs ranked.

Being a reporter is 199th. The hiring outlook is not good, pay is not great and it can be dangerous since some reporters travel to war zones.

I stay in northern Platte County, Neb., so I'm pretty safe.

The list is put together by a group of doctoral students at the University of Wisconsin, who use formulas that take into account things such as competitiveness, physical demands, work conditions, income and the chance of growth. They also look at stress factors, travel, deadline and physical risks.

Lumberjacks work outdoors, operate heavy machinery and there's a risk of injury, and all that for a median salary of $24,000, the report says.

On the other end is the best job: mathematician.

It's a growing field with a median salary of $101,360 a year.

I should have listened more during math class.

No. 2 on the list of best jobs is tenured college professor. They make $68,970 annually, and there is a need for them.

Other best jobs include statistician, actuary, dental hygienist and of course computer-related jobs. Audiologists and speech pathologists also made the top 10.

On the end of the job list, the bottom 10 sadly includes enlisted military personnel, who earned just $28,840 annually.

Taxi drivers, broadcasters, head cooks, flight attendants, garbage collectors, firefighters and corrections officers also are on the wrong end of the list.

There are some interesting jobs on the list.

Coming in at No. 36 was astronomer, and librarians were at No. 38.

Skin care specialists came in at No. 47, making more than $28,000 a year, and it's a growth profession. Obviously, not only are there people with a lot of bad skin, but bad skin is going to be an ongoing problem.

Loan officer was at No. 50. That makes sense, we all need money.

Hair stylist is at No. 58. We do care about our hair. I get mine cut three or four times a year whether I need it or not.

My wife's profession, respiratory therapist, is at No. 68. It's a good thing someone in the family has a job that pays well.

Surgeon is ranked No. 92, after jeweler (81) and zoologist (91).

Does that mean people value jewelry and a knowledge of animals more than we need a good surgeon?

Clergy came in at No. 101, still ahead of bartenders at 121. I guess both take confessions, but one serves liquor while doing it.

Elementary school teacher is at No. 117. I'd rather have a good elementary teacher than a tenured professor.

Funeral director came in at No. 137, one spot ahead of event coordinator. That makes sense. If you're making a visit to the funeral director, that's the last event being planned for you.

Some other interesting ones were photographer at No. 162, dairy farmer at No. 172, farmer at No. 182 and police officer at No. 187.

I'm not sure these rankings mean anything other than something to talk about.

If you enjoy your job, then it's at the top of your list.

I thought it was funny reporters were ranked so low. It never felt like a low-ranking job to me.

Every one of these jobs is important. They may not be the right job for everyone, but they are for somebody.

Patrick Murphy, of Humphrey, Neb., is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.