hot-jobs-in-high-demand-2013CareerCast, a job search portal website, recently released its 26th annual ranking of the best and worst jobs in the country. But while the site says it uses things “environment, income, outlook and stress” to rank 200 jobs, it also misses out on a lot of what makes a job good – or bad.

According to CareerCast, the top ten best jobs rank like this:

  1. Actuary
  2. Biomedical Engineer
  3. Software Engineer
  4. Audiologist
  5. Financial Planner
  6. Dental Hygienist
  7. Occupational Therapist
  8. Optometrist
  9. Physical Therapist
  10. Computer Systems Analyst

And the top ten worst jobs are in the following order:

  1. Reporter (Newspaper)
  2. Lumberjack
  3. Enlisted Military Personnel
  4. Actor
  5. Oil Rig Worker
  6. Dairy Farmer
  7. Meter Reader
  8. Mail Carrier
  9. Roofer
  10. Flight Attendant

Of course, putting newspaper reporter as the worst job in the country, outranking even professions like dishwasher (#187) as well as garbage collector (#160) and janitor (#153), all but ensured that CareerCast’s list would get written about in print publications like the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. Sneaky.

Problems with the list

There are several problems with the criteria used for the list. First of all, looking at merely income is an outdated way to look at ranking a profession. For example, look at mail carriers, a profession ranked among the 10 worst.  (The site inaccurately writes that “the government’s plan to cease post office operations on Saturdays isn’t helping,” although the plan is dead now, and it was actually the federal government who overruled the Post Office’s plan to cancel Saturday delivery.)

Granted, being a mail carrier is not a growing profession, but merely looking at the $53,000 median salary does not tell the whole story. Not only does being part of the United States Postal Service offer more job security than many private sector jobs, but the benefits are extremely generous. Employees get 13 days off in their very first year, a number that can increase to over five weeks of vacation after 15 years on the job. In addition, mail carriers have a great health insurance policy as well as a good retirement plan. Those types of perks are hard to come by these days, and should certainly count for something when rating professions.

The other thing missing from the CareerCast list is employee satisfaction – the joy they may have doing their jobs. While being an actuary or a dental hygienist (both in the top 10 best) may be growing, lucrative professions, are they really as enjoyable as writing or acting for a living. Or what about being a member of the clergy (No. 110 on the list.) Surely being on a mission from God should count for something. And in a profession like enlisted military personnel, feelings like patriotism also factor in.

What a career coach might say about all this is this: if you love your job, it’s the best job for you, but if you can’t stand it, it’s the worst, no matter what it is you are doing. To learn more about how to talk to a career coach to find employee satisfaction in your job, click here.