Friday, January 09, 2009

Dream Jobs?

The way the economy is nowadays, the latest status symbol is a job. If you have one, you’re lucky. If you enjoy it, you're doubly lucky.

The Wall Street Journal recently looked at 200 different jobs, and this past Tuesday published it’s list of the best and worst jobs in the U.S. The results were interesting. The top five (best) jobs were:

1. Mathematician;
2. Actuary;
3. Statistician;
4. Biologist; and,
5. Software Engineer.

As jobs go, these aren’t bad. You get to work indoors out of the weather, in offices or laboratories, and none involves grueling physical labor. All require serious mental acuity, and the top three involve the manipulation of numbers (where’s Numeric Life when we need her?).

Not all jobs are quite that good, though. The bottom five (worst) jobs in the survey were:

196. EMT (Emergency Medical Technician);
197. Seaman;
198. Taxi Driver;
199. Dairy Farmer; and,
200. Lumberjack.

In contrast to the “best” jobs, these primarily involve stressful work done outdoors in all sorts of weather, and all involve actual physical danger (though you might argue that dairy farmers have it a bit better than the others).

It could be worse, though. According to The Worst Case Scenario Almanac: History, the worst jobs in medieval England were:

* Leech Collector (walk along riverbeds and collect leeches on your bare legs for later sale to doctors);

* Fuller (treat wool fabric with urine to thicken it);

* Purple Maker (smash mollusks in a vat, add water and ash, and supervise the fermentation, which is said to smell...well...pretty bad); and,

* Arming Squire (keep your knight’s armor clean by polishing it with sand, vinegar, and urine; run into the middle of the battle to replace your knight’s broken armor or weapons).

Moving ahead a few hundred years, here were some of the worst jobs of the 1800’s:

* Chimney Sweep’s Assistant (spend your days jammed in filthy, soot-filled chimneys);

* Mill Scavenger (clean cotton lint and scraps from beneath operating textile machines);

* Pure Collector (gather dog and cat feces from the streets for use by tanners (see "tanner," below));

* Stoker (shovel coal into the roaring fireboxes of steam engines on ships and locomotives); and,

* Tanner (treat animal hides with urine and animal excrement as part of the leather-making process).

Flipping burgers or making all the changes your boss wants to the report you wrote doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?

Have a good day. Cartoon Saturday is coming tomorrow.



Amanda said...

Ew!!! I'm so glad I wasn't born poor in medieval England!!

It looks like jobs are on everyone's minds these days. Even though I don't work at the moment, its been on my mind too.

Here's a page I came across a couple of days ago:

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Apparently when they did worst jobs they forgot working for a lunatic slightly crooked construction company.

Let's just say that would be the worst job.

Though to be honest I don't want any of those.

anOCgirl said...

ummm...i'm noticing a urine theme in the worst jobs of medieval england.

urine + work = yuck!

fiona said...

Ah the good old days, when a load of piss was worth something...* sigh *

Mike said...

How about this for a 'best' old job. Beer drinker/urine supplier.

twinkie said...

Ooooh OOOoooh Ooooh! MIKE!!! I want that job. me ME me!!!!

Bilbo said...

Amanda - you and me both!

Andrea - do I sense a note of sarcasm here?

OCgirl - yep, most of those jobs were real pissers, weren't they?

Fiona - :-)

Mike - If it's all the same to you, I'd rather not see the resume of the applicants.

Twinkie - You sound like you may be overqualified...

bandit said...

Where's the boob job?

bandit said...

I just read your comment on Mike's blog. Cute. I thought my comment about the boob job was clever. My wife Linda tells my that I think I'm hilarious. She rolls her eyes at me all the time. Har de Har Har!