TGIF: At Least You Aren’t a Roustabout


With equal parts curiosity, shame, and schadenfreude, we’ve been poring over the Wall Street Journal‘s list of best and worst jobs in 2010. The rankings — based on “environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands and stress” — are fairly straightforward, with a few seeming outliers thrown in for good measure. (Philosophers clock in at the 11th best career choice; whoulda thunk?) Peep all 200 professions on the full list, and find out whether you’re suffering in one of the 20 worst after the jump.

Annotated with footnotes, below.

1. Roustabout* 2. Lumberjack** 3. Ironworker 4. Dairy Farmer*** 5. Welder 6. Garbage Collector 7. Taxi Driver**** 8. Construction Worker 9. Meter Reader 10. Mail Carrier 11. Butcher***** 12. Photojournalist 13. Firefighter 14. Sheet Metal Worker 15. EMT 16. Stevedore****** 17. Newspaper Reporter******* 18. Seaman 19. Machinist 20. Choreographer********

And if you were wondering who to hit up for a hot meal, we hear actuaries, software engineers, computer system analysts, biologists, historians, mathematicians, paralegals, statisticians, accountants, and dental hygienists have got it made. Lesson learned: stay in school, kids! Read the methodology behind the report here.

* The nomads of the career world, typically referring to traveling-circus or oil rig workers. ** True enough, since there aren’t many trees left to cut down in Williamsburg. *** As attested last weekend by cheese maker Laini Fondiller to the New York Times Magazine. **** Oddly enough, more than a few professional twentysomethings we know have admitted their curiosity about driving a cab “for just one day.” ***** Someone tell the hipster butchers. ****** A longshoreman or other waterfront-related laborer. ******* Tragic. ********There goes our dream of emulating Twyla Tharp.