Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

113 Jobs That Are Worse Than Practicing Law

Law PracticeIf you’re having one of those days when you wonder what in the world possessed you to consider law school in the first place, at least be glad you’re not a lumberjack.

That’s because lumberjacking is the absolute worst job in the world, according to the Jobs Rated 2012 survey by CareerCast. Chopping down trees is stressful, low-paying and comes with a high risk of losing your arm, leg or life.

In comparison, practicing law – where the greatest physical dangers are paper cuts – is a relative cakewalk. Lawyers ranked near the middle of the 200 jobs covered by the study, behind audiologists, architects and aerospace engineers but ahead of security guards, sewage plant managers and sheet metal workers.

CareerCast took numbers from the Department of Labor and crunched them into five areas: work environment, income, hiring prospects, physical demands and stress.

Software engineers came out on top, scoring superior marks for income (high), stress (low), and future prospects (rosy). The next most desirable gigs: actuary, human resource manager, dental hygienist and financial planner.

Lawyers came in at number 87, one spot ahead of vending machine repairmen and two ahead of funeral home directors. Negative factors: high stress (no surprise) and a shaky hiring forecast.

On the plus side, attorneys scored well in work environment (comfy digs) and physical demands (no heavy lifting required).

Both judges (62) and paralegals/legal assistants (49) bested attorneys, as did physicians (40), chiropractors (19) and podiatrists (24).

But it is better to represent people who get sent to prison than to watch over them when they get there (corrections officer – 129). And it is even worse to have to catch them in the first place (highway patrol officer - 157; police officer – 163).

All of this is well and good. But what really matters is not whether some website thinks being a librarian is better than operating a forklift (it is, incidentally, by a long shot) but how you feel about your own job.

How would you rate your personal job satisfaction? What can you do to boost your scores in the five grading categories?

New furniture, an aquarium in the lobby, or a fresh coat of paint might make the office environment more pleasing for you, your employees and your clients. Lunchtime strolls and casual workdays might reduce stress. Better client care and selection might boost your bottom line.

And when you’re really feeling blue, just be thankful you’re not a day care worker (159), roofer (176), meter reader (194) or one of the true unfortunates in a plaid shirt and spiked boots with a chain saw dangling from your belt (200).

About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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