Sonya Sorich: I have the worst job of 2013

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comApril 30, 2013 

I have the worst job ever.

That's not an opinion. It's a fact, at least according to this year's job rankings from a career website. CareerCast.com "ranked 200 jobs from best to worst based on five criteria: physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook," according to The Wall Street Journal.

My profession, newspaper reporter, ranked No. 200. Translation? From a career standpoint, things can't get worse.

Actuaries have the best job of 2013, according to the report. Lumberjacks (No. 199), enlisted military personnel (No. 198) and actors (No. 197) join me on the opposite end of the spectrum.

Once released, the rankings spread via social media. So now I enjoy not only having the worst job ever, but being reminded that I have the worst job ever. Multiple times.

Generally, the comments fall into one of two camps. Some people offer sympathetic glances and application information about "better" jobs for which I am not qualified. Others seem intent on convincing me that other career paths are much worse than mine.

My responses vary. Sometimes, I adamantly defend my profession's honor, citing countless reasons why CareerCast.com got its rankings wrong. When I don't have that kind of energy, I'll listen to job advice from the many people who are "only trying to help." Then, my thoughts return to a familiar question.

Is this life really that bad?

I learned about the job rankings during the same week that I traveled to Washington, D.C., and visited the Newseum -- or, as the recently released job rankings might call it, a big museum filled with material produced by people who endured what's now the worst job of the year.

The Newseum, which focuses on news and journalism, emphasizes many of the draws that make people become reporters. A potential to expose wrongs. A platform for commentary. A chance to tell stories that could otherwise go unnoticed.

To the best of my knowledge, the museum does not have an exhibit devoted entirely to the limits of an average reporter's paycheck. Or the challenges of covering a parade in the rain. Or advice for handling a barrage of anonymous comments, most of which don't exactly pertain to the investigative story you reported.

The job rankings coincide with college graduation season, a time when 20-somethings are likely torn between careers with practical advantages and those with less tangible draws.

Abiding by lists and logic is wonderful, but it's not a guaranteed path toward fulfillment.

As I navigate life in a lowest-ranked job, I like to think that somewhere, an actuary is waiting for the chance to interview an "American Idol" winner.

Sonya Sorich, reporter, can be reached at ssorich@ledger-enquirer.com or 706-571-8516.

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