The Best and Worst Jobs of 2012

Think your job is on it? :)  I know mine should, but I doubt they’ve included bloggers in the research, haha… we’re not “real” to the outside world ;) But to those who are, perhaps you’ll agree with some of these listings down below?

They come from a company called CareerCast, and here’s how they determined the rankings:

“Our team gathers mounds of data and sorts through all of the factors to break each element into five key categories: Physical Demands, Work Environment, Income, Stress and Hiring Outlook. Jobs receive a score in each individual category, and when these are added together, the career with the best overall score is ranked 1st, while the one with the worst overall score is ranked 200th.”

It looks like they got a lot of haters on their post when they first released it, but either way it’s an interesting benchmark for sure.  When are survey’s 100% accurate anyways? If you’re looking for a new career change, this might be a good place to start.  Here we go…

The 10 Best Jobs of 2012

  1. Software Engineer — I believe it.
  2. Actuary — What are the odds they’d be here? ;)
  3. Human Resources Manager — They make BANK!!  A lot more than I would have guessed.
  4. Dental Hygienist — Sure, I can see that.
  5. Financial Planner — Yeah money niche!
  6. Audiologist — Not sure what that is?  People related, or technology related?
  7. Occupational Therapist — I bet this would be fun :)
  8. Online Advertising Manager — The advertising industry is always represented in these.
  9. Computer Systems Analyst — Computers *are* taking over the world!
  10. Mathematician — Yeah nerds!!  Represent.

The 10 Worst Jobs of 2012

  1. Lumberjack — Awwww, this one sounds awesome!  And I bet you get RIPPED doing it too!
  2. Dairy Farmer — Really?? I always thought they had a good gig going… though crazy hours.
  3. Enlisted Military Soldier — For stress/chance of getting hurt I bet :(
  4. Oil Rig Worker — This one freaks me out… being so far away with only men?  *shiver*
  5. Reporter (Newspaper) — I really hope print doesn’t go away in the end, it’s so nostalgic!  I love my magazines and books!!
  6. Waiter/Waitress— Cuz of stress? And low pay?
  7. Meter Reader — Haha…. have any of you watched Parking Wars??  So good! :)
  8. Dishwasher — Oddly enough this was one of my most favorite Summer jobs back in the day – blaring music and getting all dirty – loved it!
  9. Butcher — Oh man, I sooooo wish we had a local butcher around here. Like back in the old days of villages and what not ;)  Fresh meat is awesome!
  10. Broadcaster — Really?  Would have never guessed.

What do you guys think?  They hit it on the head?  Do any of you HAVE any of these jobs up there?  Tell us which of the lists you’d put it on based on your own experiences!  I love job stuff like crazy, it’s so fun to think about what it’s like to do something else every now and then :)  Blogging’s great, but I’m sure there are a half-dozen other gigs I’d also enjoy too.  It’s a good thing we have tons of years to try things out!

PS: Thanks to Savvy Sugar for originally posting about this which caught my attention – love it!

(Photo by zappowbang)

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  1. Gerard April 25, 2012 at 6:13 AM

    What I noticed is that all the best jobs are in one way or another office jobs, while some of the worst jobs (1 to 4 and 7 and 9) are not.

  2. Kim B. April 25, 2012 at 7:16 AM

    HR Managers certainly don’t make bank in my corner of the world. Also, I am hoping to leave the profession because I don’t enjoy it – having to dismiss people, have discipline meetings, dealing with constant demands for better pay/benefits but not being able to provide it even though you wish you could… Definitely not nearly the positive job I thought it should be. An HR Manager’s role has a big impact on many other personal lives in the company… Not always a positive impact.

  3. Michelle April 25, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    Hmm interesting! I’m a financial analyst, so I’m guessing mine would be near financial planner.

  4. Andrew | FabulousSavings April 25, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    Aw, there’s no way Lumberjack should be on the worst list! You get to wear flannel, carry an axe, grow a beard without being accused of being slovenly…

  5. YFS April 25, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    Actuary at #2??? No way! and how the heck is being a broadcaster worse than being on an oil rig?

  6. MainlineMom aka Sarah April 25, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    I’m kind of shocked at the best jobs list. No engineers on that best job list? We make good money in cushy offices. Maybe it’s the stress level but I don’t see how an HR Manager or a Financial Planner would have less stress. Certainly online advertising has got to be stressful, working on commission and how competitive it is?

    An audiologist is someone to fits people with hearing aids, that kinda thing. I would not like that job either.

  7. Jenni April 25, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    I also work as an HR manager and I love it! In my current role I coordinate all our employee events and training. I do my best to make sure our 600+ employees have the best experience possible while working at our property. My compensation is fair and I can enjoy a set schedule after years of working nights, weekends and holidays. I still dream of being an international ice cream taster, though :)

  8. HighOrderGuiltComplex April 25, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    I can tell you right now waitressing deserves to be in the bottom 10. I was paid $2.15/hr regardless of whether or not we had customers (also was paid that rate for set-up & breakdown, cleaning bathrooms, etc when there are no customers in restaurant). Another huge problem is a lot of sexual harassment by coworkers and patrons. A lot of the managers don’t treat you like your human and is way to easy to be let go from job if you have to call in sick to work. No sick time, no vacation time, no mercy. There is a lot of drug and alcohol abuse in the industry as well.

  9. Beth April 25, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Yeah, I work in theater- 3 different jobs for the same field on top of managing rental property. Consequences of working in the arts (something other than fundraising), according to many people’s anecdotal metrics, I don’t have a “real” job at all. :-/

    Have been noticing that the best kind of jobs have been leaning towards desk jobs with some level of personal responsibility and can lead to some responsibility for others and don’t necessarily work with the general consumer day in and day out (some do, it seems).
    Also noticed that the worst jobs are ones that machines haven’t been mass produced to replace or are incredibly time sensitive and high pressure with little reward, and there is very little chance of a work/life balance.

    I’d throw in my jobs in the worst category, but really nowhere near the top 10.
    My field is time sensitive, money strapped, and as high pressure as the personalities that comprise it (but nothing life threatening), little reward, little respect unless you’re in majorly well known and highly funded branches, and little chance of a healthy work/life balance.

    On the other hand- if you’re the creative type and you find a decent niche, you’re good. If you’re a project person who doesn’t like doing the same thing over and over and likes being around many different people all the time, you’re GOLDEN.
    The time, personnel, money, project and resource management skills, communication skills, and flat out craftman’s abilities can ALL be translated to other fields and jobs with only a little additional training or education. The biggest hurdle is simply convincing others of this.

    I also used to be an EMT, and come from a family of paramedics, police, and firefighters. I would easily put those jobs in the top ten. I’m rather surprised none of them are there!

  10. Beth April 25, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    ETA: ugh-
    I meant “bottom/worst 10”, not “top ten”. proofreading fail.

  11. Erin April 25, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    Total crock. I’m a teacher as well as an enlisted member of the Air Force and I love what I do! :) Definitely not a “Worst Job” with all of the opportunities and benefits, not to mention personal satisfaction and sense of pride.

  12. Emmy April 25, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    Huh, some of the worst jobs surprised me. I thought there would be worse jobs than those. OH well. Reporter I think was the most surprising one, because yes, printed newspapers might leave us eventually – but we’ll still need reporters because newspapers are online and such. And from what I know (And this could just be me romanticising it) most reporters go into that because they genuinely like it and have a passion for it. But isn’t that how it is with all jobs? According to the facts, a job might be the worst ever. But if you love what you do – then it’s the best!

  13. taosaur April 25, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    Since when does “best jobs” mean “least debilitating market-optimized career paths”? Want to be a drone without succumbing to suicide or cancer before retirement? This list is for you!

  14. DebtsnTaxes April 25, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    I know this isn’t how my list would go. I would much rather be a lumberjack (I’ve worked in the logging business before) than work a boring office job. Same goes for the military, there were times when I thought it sucked, but we did have a lot of fun and I don’t regret it at all.

  15. Kurt @ Money Counselor April 25, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Hey J. was that photo taken in Minnesota? I think I recognize that spot!

    Jobs–I understand over a half-million people in the US are now working on mobile app development, a position that simply did not exist a decade ago. Pays to keep your skills current and keep up on the cutting edge in innovation.

  16. Melinda April 25, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    I’m not sure what type of meter reader they’re referring to but since most power companies are switching to “smart” meters that just transmit the information, the need for an actual person to go around taking reads is going away. I’m sure most utilities are switching to this model.

  17. DB April 25, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    I disagree with the worst jobs list.

    Where is customer service/helpdesk/collections?
    Where are the garbage processing jobs?
    Being an arctic fisherman would be much worst than being a lumberjack I think.

    I am sure there are a lot worse but that is the first thing that came to my head after reading this list. I dont put much stock into it sorry.

  18. m1nts April 25, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    I’m a software engineer as well as my husband and… well yes, it’s a very well paid job, lot’s of pros and little cons.

  19. Angella April 25, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    I handle HR (& accounting) at the company I work for, definitely not making bank over here!! I enjoy it, but wouldn’t mind a decent wage. Of course the difference is I work for a small business (5 employees) and not a large corporation. Completely different pay scale there. Last time I looked into applying with a larger company, the salary was double what I make now, but I’d lose the schedule flexibility, which I need at the moment for my 20 month old. My husband is in retail management and says that should be #1 on the worst list. lol I’m surprised broadcaster is on the worst list, I wonder why?!

  20. m1nts April 25, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    and @taosaur being a sw eng is really stressful !!! I’ve known more than one ex-classmates having heart attacks and they weren’t even 30 and sadly more than one suicide/suicide attempt.
    I don’t think there’s a “least debilitating market-optimized career paths”…

  21. joy April 25, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    This is so subjective. My old career/desk jobs were pretty ‘good’ jobs, but I’m much, much happier waiting tables and freelancing than I ever was behind a desk. Service industry jobs are hard work, but it’s also the kind of on-the-job stress that doesn’t follow you home the way a lot of desk jobs can. It’s very demanding and offers none of the cushy perks my old office jobs had, but that’s a trade I’m happy (and comfortably willing) to make these days. And while a lot of industry-wide things are pretty messed up (no breaks, no sick time, no benefits), the flexibility and earning potential if you’re in at a nice place are very, very nice.

  22. Nicole C. April 25, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    I am not an Actuary, but my girlfriend is. Interestingly, she never buys lottery ( I remember you talked about it the other days) nor go gambling in casino because the odds of wining are so low. Anyway, I think the salary listed in that post is kind of misleading. She earns 6 figures as little as 6 years in the career, and there is plenty of room for her to earn even more.

  23. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager April 25, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Nope, but my little brother is graduating this spring with a math degree!

  24. SavvyFinancialLatina April 25, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    When I was in high school I wanted to be a software engineer. I took three years of computer science, and then decided it was not for me. Now that I think about it…maybe I should have stuck with it….

  25. Kacie April 25, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    I used to be a newspaper reporter. I can see why it made the list. :/

    I’m surprised that “blogger” didn’t make the list of best jobs :)

  26. Jessica April 25, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    I think you have to read these lists with a grain of salt. Some of those top ten jobs are salaried and they are working way more than 40 hours a week. If you are someone that wants any work/life balance its hard to do with those. I made decent money at my last job but hated it and took what looked to everyone else like a step backwards but I make the same money, work less, and no longer spend my off hours worrying about having to go back to work.

  27. Sarah April 25, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    I have lived along the Gulf Coast for over 10 years, and have been in Houston for a little over 7. I have many, many friends who work for the energy industry (direct producer to support companies). Oil rig workers make really good money. Roughneck schedules can be 30 days on/ 30 days off, making $60,000/ yr with no college degree. Yes, there is some danger, but the Jones Act basically guaranties you a huge settlement if you get hurt due to negligence of the owners. Also, the food is really great. They have to do the “little things” to keep you from going crazy out there.
    If I wasn’t a girl, and wanted a laid back, LESS stressful job, this is definitely where I would be headed.
    However, something about being the only girl out there, it doesn’t really work for me….

  28. Jen @ Master the Art of Saving April 25, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    I guess being a waitress isn’t that appealing to most people. I was a waitress back in the day, and I loved it. I made tons of money, well for being a waitress at least. It’s not something I’d care to do now, so I’ll just stick to blogging. :-)

  29. eemusings April 25, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Saw this the other day – when are they going to expand reporter from (newspaper)? Seriously? How old is the wording – a century? Even radio and TV have been around for decades (and those are tougher gigs than print in many cases).

    Anyway, we journos are well aware of how tough the job is – we also always feature on the list of least trusted professions.

  30. Edward Antrobus April 25, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    How about flagger for worst jobs list? My job is one of the most dangerous in America, largely because of inattentive drivers. And base pay hasn’t gone up in the industry in over a decade, meaning that most flaggers are only making $9/hour.

  31. J. Money April 25, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Love the comments guys, always a pleasure learning more about y’all and what you’e getting into over there ;) Our community probably respresents a good 75% of these jobs! Both on the good AND bad list, haha… at least we’re all working towards improving though!

    Some comments back to y’all:

    @Gerard – That is interesting. Guess the comfortable factor is big there?
    @Kim B. – Aww, I’m sorry to hear :( I only knew one HR manager who was making crazy money, but I’m sure it varies across companies for sure. As well as all those cons, that sounds miserable.
    @Michelle – And are you happy there? :)
    @Andrew | FabulousSavings – You don’t need to tell ME twice! I rock flannel and a beard at least once a week ;) I’m sure I can find an axe somewhere too, though it’ll only have to be for looks.
    @YFS – You got me.
    @MainlineMom aka Sarah – Oh yeah!! Engineers are ALWAYS on that list. Good call… wonder what’s up?
    @Jenni – You should be your company’s PR person too – you make them look good w/ all that positive stuff! Haha…. love it :) As well as your ice cream tasting dream – that has hotness written all over it! (Or coldness?).
    @HighOrderGuiltComplex – I was never a waiter before, but I’d def. worked in the restaurant industry a few times (mainly as dishwasher and food prep), and I must admit I loved it. But I suppose it all depends on which places you’re working at/etc, and how much money you need to survive. I was still in high school so totally different circumstances ;)
    @Beth – I love the arts!! I never know what goes on behind the scenes – like in theatres and what not – but man they’re fun for an evening of enjoyment :) I appreciate what you do!! Hehe… also appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us too – very interesting stuff!
    @Erin – Preach on, sista!
    @Emmy – I’d agree :) A lot of those jobs people work their asses for cuz they love what they do! Guess this survey hit a bunch of people that are already jaded from the industry? ;)
    @taosaur – I don’t know how to respond to that, other than it’s a helluva take on it! Haha..
    @DebtsnTaxes – Really??? Very cool!! Did you do it as a side gig, or full-time? Maybe we could do a Side Hustle Series post on it ;) Would love to learn more about that.
    @Kurt @ Money Counselor – HAH! I don’t know where it was taken, let me go look on Flickr real quick (I got it from there)… the tags show New Hampshire :) Maybe it’s based off your place though?
    @Melinda – Oh jeez, computers are taking over everything! Good for lots of stuff, and not so much for others. Guess we just gotta keep on our toes, eh? Always be learning and keeping up w/ the times?
    @DB – I don’t blame ya. I think it’s off a predetermined list they narrowed down, not *all* the jobs in the world – that would be a crazy endeavor to take on, but I’m sure people have! :)
    @m1nts – Yay for you two!
    @Angella – Oh yeah, HUGE difference between small & big companies for sure. I def. love smaller ones though, I must admit :) Even for gigs like customer service or project management/etc – so much flexibility like you mentioned, and you always LEARN so much more cuz of the environment. I’d take small biz hands down every time. Congrats on your 20 mo. old btw, I’m excited to have a 1 mo. old soon! Hehe…
    @joy – AGREED!!! That was the best part of the job for me too – besides meeting new people. Leaving it all at work!! Man that feels good. I’m on like 24/7 now and it messes with your head… and that’s WITH me being the boss! ;)
    @Nicole C. – Cool! And she’s right about the lottery, haha, but someone DOES win! And one day it’ll be me :)
    @Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – Yeah little bro! Smarty.
    @SavvyFinancialLatina – Well, if it’s not for you it’s not for you, but I will say computers are freakin’ where it’s at. On all kinds of levels. But you don’t wanna bore yourself to death if you don’t like what it entails!
    @Kacie – Shooooot, you know blogging isn’t considered a “real” job – yet ;) Let’s revisit this in 10 years, haha…
    @Jessica – Nice! Way to get out of the rat race! :)
    @Sarah – Yikes, I don’t blame ya. Interesting to know about the food though, that’s cool!! And us men LOOOOOVE our food! :)
    @Jen @ Master the Art of Saving – I wanna try out bartending one day :) Probably way different than being a waiter, but still – looks fun! And in both jobs you meet tons of people!
    @eemusings – Wow, really? I’ve never heard of that :( Good thing you love what you do! :)
    @Edward Antrobus – I don’t even know what a flagger is? Like for construction? That sounds dangerous!! Great job on the gig though bro, I didn’t know you found one :)

  32. Slackerjo April 25, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    Call centres.Low paying and the work requires you to use multiple computers/tools at once, speak to the customers and write notes simultaneously. And you have people freak out at you all day, every day.
    Stressful is an understatement.
    Where I used to work, there was a defibrillator in the call centre. Need I say more?

  33. Lindy Mint April 25, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    Whenever I took those career/personality tests in college, they always came up with audiologist. I guess I should have listened to them.

  34. TeacHer April 25, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    I think my job is AWESOME, even though it gets a bad rap sometimes :)

  35. Gerard April 25, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    What can also be observed is that some of the worst jobs are jobs that many students take in college. I am referring to jobs 6 and 8, and a lesser degree 7.

  36. J. Money April 26, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    @Slackerjo – Woahhhh really?? Haha… that’s crazy! I used to work in a tiny call center, and that wasn’t too bad (though you always had to notify them every time you got up and went pee or whatever), but I can’t imagine huge ones. Freaks me out ;)
    @Lindy Mint – Bah dum ching!
    @TeacHer – Your main one or side one? Both are cool in my books! :)
    @Gerard – Very true! Cuz you don’t need higher education for them and a lot more convenient with flexibility/scheduling/etc. Good observation :)

  37. Gerard April 26, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    @J.Money, it does indeed seem that the best jobs are more comfortable. At least physically. The mental stress can be great and demanding.

    I do not fit the profile for any of the jobs. I am a controller/CFO. And can tell you from experience that being a CFO while the company is going under is extremely stressful. Even if you come in when it is already sinking (my case).

  38. Melissa April 26, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    I work as a reporter (magazines and online news) and I have a lot of friends in broadcasting, and while i wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a bad job, because it is really fun most of the time, it’s exhausting and all-consuming, extremely stressful and very poorly paid. Plus, there’s a bit of an expectation that you have to know everything about everything that’s going on in the world, read everything that everyone else is reading, be able to speak intelligently about everything and everything, so it gets pretty overwhelming sometimes, because you never really get to turn “off.” I love my work, but I can definitely see how it made the list.

  39. Christa April 26, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    I really thought jobs like sanitation worker would make the list for the worst, but I think that’s only because I wouldn’t want to do any “dirty” jobs. Mike Rowe is an awesome host on Discovery’s “Dirty Jobs,” but I cringe every time I see him doing a job I’d hate.

    My husband works in computers, and he loves it. Definitely wouldn’t be my cup of tea, though. I think the best and worst is somewhat personal as well!

  40. J. Money April 27, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    @Gerard – Yikes! Good for you on taking up the challenge though! That’s gonna be exciting/ballsy too ;) And even better if you can help turn it around! Work it!!
    @Melissa – Ahhhh, never even thought about that but you’re right – I automatically assume journalists and news reporters/etc know a ton :) It’s a good thing y’all have great perks at least!
    @Christa – I’m pretty sure sanitation workers make a lot more money than people think too – I bet that may be a reason they’re not on the list as well. I could have sworn an old friend told me he made like $80-$90k a year picking up garbage. I’d actually LOVE to try it out for a day or two :)

  41. femmefrugality April 27, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    I’ve worked closely with audiologists in the past as an interpreter. My best guess for the rise of the prominence of the profession is probably cochlear implants. They may not be the surgeons implanting them, but they are the people who service them…in addition to fitting and programming hearing aids and testing and diagnosing hearing loss.

  42. J. Money April 27, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Very interesting! That makes more sense, esp as technology gets better every year too. Thanks for the info!