Nathan's column: My job is worse than your job
Plenty of people think they have a lousy job. They daydream about winning the lottery or about writing the Great American Novel or, if the research I did for last week's column is any indication, about finding a generous sugar daddy to keep them in the manner to which they would like to become accustomed.
For most, though, it's all idle complaints. Maybe their job is bad. Maybe it's just a lousy day. For the most part, it's all just a matter of opinion.
I, on the other hand, have proof. According to something called CareerCast.com, newspaper reporter is officially the worst job an American can have in 2013.
Take that, guy who cleans up after the elephants in a circus parade!
The reasons given for the ranking aren't particularly surprising. The pay isn't good when you work in newspapers. According to the list, you can make more reading meters than you can reporting the news in print.
Meter reader, by the way, is seventh on the list of jobs you probably don't want to have this year.
Reporters also suffer from a certain lack of job security. According to the site, job growth in the industry is a negative 6 percent. So, even if you wanted a job as a reporter you probably couldn't get one.
But, of course, you probably don't want one. Because it's the worst job in America. Finally some good news.
I'll admit I'm surprised at some of the undesirable jobs my colleagues and I beat out. Lumberjack, for example, is the second least-desirable job this year. Apparently the opportunity to wear flannel and a socially acceptable reason to carry an axe year round are not enough of an enticement.
I bet lumberjacks eat a lot of pancakes. That has to count for something, doesn't it?
Enlisted soldier is third on the list. Being part of our nation's military pays better than being a reporter, but there is also at least a 75 percent better chance you will be shot.
Although, to be fair, you probably don't have to go to as many school board meetings.
Oil rig worker is on the list. So are mail carrier and roofer. Surprisingly absent from the list: Hunger Games contestant.
Look, I'll admit my job isn't perfect. There are lots of deadlines, and there's pressure to come up with stories. Every time you make a mistake you send it out to a few thousand people.
By contrast, if an actuary -- the list's best job for the year -- makes a mistake it's not a really big deal. Because nobody really knows what an actuary is. They train dolphins or something, right?
There are good things about my job. I get to write, which I enjoy. I learn lots of new things. And I can call up complete strangers, invite myself to their houses and ask them lots of questions about their lives. I did that before I became a reporter, but it involved a lot more interaction with police then.
What I'm saying, I guess, is that being a reporter isn't all bad. Maybe it's not the best job in the world. But it's not the worst, either. Not as long as there are telemarketers.
I still reserve the right to complain from time to time, and to daydream about the lottery as long as I don't actually have to buy a ticket. I'm not looking for a sugar daddy, thank you very much.
For the time being, I think you're stuck with me.
Unless a spot opens up on an oil rig.