What do mathematicians and lumberjacks have in common? According to an article in the The Wall Street Journal, they represent the two extremes in a recent study of the best and the worst jobs. The study evaluates 200 professions against five criteria: environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands and stress. According to WSJ:

“The findings were compiled by Les Krantz, author of “Jobs Rated Almanac,” and are based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, as well as studies from trade associations and Mr. Krantz’s own expertise.”

You can find a complete listing of the 200 jobs that were analyzed at careercast.com, a new job site. We did not find human resources manager on the list but thought that maybe the role could be extrapolated from some that are on the list: Personnel Recruiter (58), Parole Officer (14), Sociologist (8), Corporate Executive (88), and Psychiatrist (100).
It’s fun to look at the various jobs and where they fall on the list, but the real interest and potential usefulness lies in the methodology that was used to assess and rate the jobs. You might think about measuring the most common jobs in your organization against this matrix to see how they stack up, and think about ways to narrow the gap between the best and the worst in your own organizations. At the very least, the employees who hold the “worst” jobs in your organization might merit a referral to an EAP – we found the 21 factors that comprise the stress ratings particularly interesting because many of these stress factors are cited by employees that we counsel.


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