EVER since Monty Python’s Lumberjack Song there’s been something ‘nudge-nudge, wink-wink’ about chopping down trees for a living.

Conversely, being a journalist used to be a career that carried kudos (think Woodward and Bernstein of Watergate fame) and raised an interested eyebrow at cocktail parties in the way it never did if you were a maths teacher.

Alas, in today’s Digital Age when casual bloggers are calling themselves ‘professional writers’, no longer…

News reporting ranks second-to-bottom in 2014’s Best & Worst Jobs list – an analysis of 200 professions based on salary, prospects, work environment and stress levels published annually by US website CareerCast. To add insult to injury, journalism comes only one place above lumberjacking!

I suppose ‘blogging’ and ‘logging’ sound pretty similar …. But who would have thought our noble profession would one day be put on a par with timber harvesting, the career choice of incontinent cross-dressers who press wild flowers for a hobby!

Sure, anyone in the newsprint business has chopped down a few trees in their time by default. And quite a lot of them used to hang around in bars in my day. But if any of my former male colleagues liked to ‘wear high heels, suspendies and a bra’, they never shared their guilty pleasure with me!

Unbelievably, broadcasting has also lost its cachet, ranked fourth from bottom in the list (eat your heart out Jeremy Clarkson)! Which seems a bit odd as Jeremy Paxman did alright and most people would give their right foot to step into one of Sir David Attenborough’s shoes (even if a tarantula might be lurking there).

But CareerCast stands by its stats, stating: “As the digital world continues to take over, the need for print newspapers and daily newscasts is diminishing. Both jobs once seemed glamorous but stress, declining job opportunities and income levels are what landed them on our Worst Jobs list.”

That’s not the worst of it. Dishwashing, undertaking and operating a sewage plant are all regarded as better career prospects than news reporting these days!

Boffins rule

Today, ‘numbers geeks’ are the new career heroes and dry old mathematicians will be in big demand at that hypothetical cocktail party, as they top the Best Jobs list. “‘Math is experiencing something of a renaissance period,’ reports CareerCast. “Analytics is the driving force, with analyses of trends now being used to gauge everything from internet-user tendencies to airport traffic control.”

As for the other jobs we should all be slitting each other’s throats to get hold of, what the hell’s an ‘Audi-ologist’? Someone who studies luxury German cars for a living, perhaps (in which case, a promising new career opportunity for Jeremy Clarkson)? According to the dictionary it’s someone who ‘diagnoses and treats hearing problems by attempting to discover the range, nature and degree of hearing function’ … or what we redundant journalists would simply call ‘an ear doctor’…

5 Worst Jobs (with average US salary)
1. Lumberjack: $24,340
2. Newspaper Reporter $37,090
3. Enlisted Soldier: $28,840
4. Broadcaster: $27,750
5. Head Chef $42,840

5 Best Jobs
1. Mathematician: $101,360
2. University Professor: $68,970
3. Statistician: $75,560
4. Actuary: $93,680
5. Audiologist: $69,720

For the full list see www.careercast.com

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