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Worst jobs in America 2012

Posted by mandyf on June 25, 2012

According to a recent survey, the ten worst jobs in America were identified for 2012. What makes for a job being one of the worst in the nation? It is a combination of physical demands, working environment, hours, pay, hiring outlook, stress, and risk to the worker. The numbers used to formulate scores are tough to argue with as they come from the DHS, workman’s compensation filings, and to a small degree a little common sense. Each specific category is further broken down in sub-categories to get very specific as to why a job is so bad.

Not everyone that is employed in one of these jobs may personally find it bad. In some cases these jobs do have some perks that are difficult to quantify, so that is something to keep in mind. With that in mind, here are the worst jobs in America for 2010 presented in order from just really bad to the worst.

10. Mail Carrier

The good side of being a mail carrier is that it is fairly stable the average income is pretty good, and a federal pension is not a bad thing. Every gray cloud has some silver lining usually. On the down side – the mail never stops. There are no breaks, postal carriers have been known to encounter some surly people on their routes, ad the job is not without its physical demands which only tax the body more with age.

9. Meter Reader

The good thing is that the job isn’t very physically demanding and the pay is fairly decent. The only requirement a person usually needs for the job is a drivers license and a decent ability to navigate. The downside is sometimes uncooperative people – and dogs – and that the job is quickly becoming unnecessary. Automated systems can remote monitor systems more and more now for far less money. Assuming you do take a job as a meter you have to prepared to be bored and understand there is little room to advance and that if your pay escalates too high you are fairly easy to let go of and replace.

8. Construction Worker

The good side is that the pay can be very good and there is always the ability to work independently. The downside is that there is physical risk, the job is no less physically demanding with age, it can be extremely volatile in relation to economic swings, there are often seasonal layoffs, and if you are not specialized in a discipline and are more of a general laborer you are always apt to be the first person out when times get tough.

7. Taxi Driver

The pros are that you can work independently and the hours are very flexible. The education requirements are minimal and depending on location licensing can be little more than paying for the hack permit. On the down side you are working in a cramped environment, at higher risk for hemorrhoids and potentially blood clots. You run a fair risk of being robbed depending on where you are, have to deal with strangers daily that can be demanding and rude, and there is little variety. The pay can be feast or famine in nature which makes it difficult for long range financial planning.

6. Garbage Collector

The good side is that garbage collectors are always in demand as it is unlikely people will stop producing refuse in the next few centuries. The salary can be very high at times, and there is no special training needed. On the downside you work year round regardless of the weather which is not always pleasant, you will constantly be lifting and tossing which opens the possibility for a slew of work related injuries, your efforts will often be unappreciated, and you are fairly easy to replace. Ad in that you can at times handle hazardous or toxic material including medical waste that has been improperly disposed of which adds a whole new level of risk and the pay does not relate to demands and risks.

5. Welder
The good side of the job is that the work is primarily indoors meaning year round stability potential, the pay is pretty good but can be excellent considering the massive potential for overtime to get jobs completed on time. The downside is that it can be very cyclical as it relies primarily on how the construction market is performing. There is potential to sustain serious injury, and should your eyesight degenerate too much – which is a risk of the job – you could be out of work or in very low demand.

4. Dairy Farmer

The good side is milk will almost certainly always be in demand so job security is a plus as is the hiring outlook. The downside is the job is intensely physical, the hours can be extremely long, the environment can be unpleasant and even dangerous, and the pay does not often correlate to the demands. There is little opportunity to work as an independent without significant financial risk, and it is a job that doesn’t become easier with age and offers little change or upward advancement aside from owning a dairy farm.

3. Iron Worker

The pros of being an iron worker are the pay can be great, and when the building industry is booming there is more work than workers and overtime can be very lucrative. The downside is work can become scarce in a weak economy, travel

can be a regular demand, the risk of injury or death is always present and real, and once your concentration and physical conditioning slips you can be in low demand.

2. Lumberjack

The good side of being a lumberjack is you can work outside and the demand for lumber is constant. It’s also great exercise. The down side is working outside in every weather condition, a high risk of injury, enough incidental body damage to keep it  room being a long term career for most, far more people available and willing to do the job than are needed, few opportunities for advancement, and a pay scale that is far under commensurate to the risks, hours, and demands.

1. Roustabout

A roustabout is an entry level job on oil rigs that deals with basic maintenance. The pay is around $50k annually before overtime on the high end. On the down side it is very dangerous, dirty, isolated, requires significant time away from home in what are often very inhospitable locations, and it comes with a very high level of stress. Strong physical conditioning is essential, and when the day comes you can’t spend 12 hour shifts on your feet you’re done. The only advancement opportunity lies in learning a better job on your own time while on location which adds in more stress – at least in most cases.

It is worth keeping in mind that just because a study and series surveys from Career Cast points to these being the worst jobs in America, some people may not only be content with them, they may love them. Job satisfaction is an individual thing and it is up to each person to determine what career is right for them.


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