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First Year On the Job – Five Toughest Careers

By on August 5, 2013
He's a lumberjack and he's grossly underpaid.

He's a lumberjack and he's grossly underpaid.

Actors, on average, are highly underpaid because there is always someone waiting to be discovered.

Oil rig workers do not make as much as you think for a death defying career.

Flight attendants get to travel at the cost of being on their feet all the time and working the oddest of hours. Roofers, masons, ditch diggers, and other outdoor workers are at the mercy of the elements for modest wages, while military personnel, police, and fireman all carry huge responsibilities for wages that require them to work overtime.

Just take Rookie Blue, the TV series monitoring first year policeman, as an example. When you watch Rookie Blue, you see the struggles of young people for respect of the public, their peers, and their superiors. Well, the same goes for teachers, nurses, and other public servants.

Rookies Beware!

Other reports list other worst jobs. Statistics show there are plenty of tough careers out there. (Okay, motherhood is the toughest job year in and year out but the benefits are non-monetary.)

1.  Lumberjack heads the list – low paid, high risk, and exhaustive. They are not OK. There is little training; tree fellers are pretty much left to struggle with ever-changing challenges. The high risk to personal safety increases the stress level exponentially, and the rewards (median income under $30k/year) are hardly worth the demands and risk.

2.  Broadcast reporters work harder and make less than you might think. They work odd hours on demand and spend a lot of time in the field. They conduct interviews and investigative stories under high pressure on performance, appearance, and accuracy. It is a deadline-driven position working towards a median income of $36k/year.

Likewise, newspaper reporters start low at $35k/year. Despite the romance of print journalism, new hires now enter an obsolete career, as more and more newspapers close their doors in deference to the loss of advertising income and success of largely recycled internet news. Electronic and print media are big city occupations with long hours, odd schedules, and night work for morning news. Newly minted journalists will find themselves chasing obituaries and filling the go-for chores in the office.

3.  Dairy farmers who own their own farms often have to work another job to make ends meet. If they work a dairy for an absentee owner, they might make $62k annually. But the work is exhaustive, dirty, and demanding on many levels. The hours (dawn to dark including weekends) are endless throughout the year, and unless the cows are grazing, they have to be cleaned, fed, watered, and milked. A farmer’s work can be very hard. They need the education to care for the animals’ health and reproduction as well as dairy processing and sanitation. They work in all kinds of heat, rain and mud without relief, and they are responsible for barn and equipment repairs.

4.  Butchers, with their median hourly wage of $13.68, work in and out of the freezer. They work on their feet all day at risk to their personal safety. Training is largely on the job and advancement slow. Opportunities in retail stores do offer some variety to the task, but butchers in industrial situations use dangerous tools in a speed driven environment under sanitation rules.

5.  Dishwashers are lucky to make $9 an hour in a restaurant (although they might make more in healthcare institutions). They work in stressful environments: hot moist kitchens along with the noise of machines, cook and wait staff. There is no creativity in the repetitive job. There is no training required and little training provided, so positions are often filled by those who are language marginalized.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever taken on?