Michaels: The bright side of being among the worst

"For example: Sure, I practically live in a cubicle and I get the odd creepy hate-letter, but it’s no Chilean mine. Get my drift?"

Two news stories dominated my social media feeds this morning when I snapped-to and did my obligatory headline scan: Canuck bashing and an article called Top 10 worst jobs of 2012.

Being as my interest in the Canucks is limited to avoiding the annoyance that arises when I’m forced to listen to people talk about hockey during the play-offs, my attention turned to the latter where I expected to delight in a healthy serving of schadenfreude. After all, everyone likes a good chin wag about the lesser attributes of their career path, but there’s something even more gratifying about knowing you’re not the worst-off.

For example: Sure, I practically live in a cubicle and I get the odd creepy hate-letter, but it’s no Chilean mine. Get my drift?

Turns out, however, my morning pick me up was less cause for personal celebration than I expected.

The hubbub causing news story among my social media “friends” was created by the American site CareerCast, which ranked the worst jobs by physical demands, work environment,  income, stress and hiring outlook.

The list, from worst to best, is as follows: Lumberjack, Dairy Farmer, Enlisted Military Soldier, Oil Rig Worker, Newspaper Reporter, Waiter/Waitress, Meter Reader, Dishwasher, Butcher and Broadcaster

Newspaper jobs made the list, according to CareerCast, because “the digital world continues to take over and provide on-demand information, the need for print newspapers and daily newscasts is diminishing. To be sure, both jobs once seemed glamorous, but on-the-job stress, declining job opportunities and income levels are what landed them on our Worst Jobs list.”

Less than inspiring, if you’re on the keyboard end of a newspaper job.

After a moment of reflection and a morning shot of caffeine, however,  I turned my frown upside down.

Thing is, regardless of industry worries I wouldn’t lump my career path in with the likes of dishwasher or waitress, having subjected myself to both of those miseries. And you don’t even want me to get started on my days as a lumberjack. Above all else, however,  I don’t put much stock in their analysis of print.

So much has been made about the changing face of the media landscape, but to think of a print product as paper-alone, is short-sighted and unfortunate.

You’d be hard pressed to find a newspaper that’s not started to transcend pulp and enter pixels. But there’s something more to the medium that wasn’t acknowledged in the list. The ability to tell a story is something that will matter in any economic climate— at least that’s what I tell myself when I’m rocking myself to sleep.

Last but not least, to call it “glamourous,” goes to show there’s something dramatically wrong with the analysis. I can think of a dozen downright humiliating and weird experiences that come from choosing this career path, but that’s part of the appeal.

Reporters get a front row seat to both the macabre and marvellous moments in a community, and that’s part of what makes it one of the best jobs…especially in print.

Kathy Michaels is a reporter with the Capital News.


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