What are the Best and Worst Jobs in the World?

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The following is a guest post from Briana at 20 and Engaged.

This post was written as part of a “Yakezie blog swap” where members of the Yakezie Personal Finance Blogging Network pair up and exchange guest postings on a common topic. The topic of this blog swap was to discuss what each of us thinks would be the best AND worst jobs in the world. You can view my guest post live today over at Family Money Values’ site .

Before the days of high unemployment and scarce job openings, you didn’t hear too much about people complaining about their jobs. Sure, you would hear someone say they didn’t like the hours, were annoyed by coworkers, and had a bad experience with customers and clients every now and then, but actually hearing someone loathe their career or job was pretty rare. That’s because if you hated your job, everyone’s suggestion was the same: get a new job. If you had experience, good references, and a legible resume, you could leave your job and find another one pretty quickly. You also heard of people being with their company for 25 years, getting a nice party and maybe even a plaque or pen to take home and show their kids and grandkids what hard work gets you (besides a pension, 3 weeks of vacation, and benefits!). 

We’re living in different times now. If we were still in those times, I could probably list a few professions I would consider the worst jobs ever. Those might include jobs that keep you away from your family for 80 hours out of the week. It would definitely include a list of professions that involved rude customers, lazy supervisors, and anything that went near rodents or fecal matter. The best jobs would of course be the highest paying, the best benefit packages, the longest vacations, flexible start times, and a full stocked kitchen. While this still qualifies as a great job, it also falls into the category of rare jobs you can only get with a Masters and 10 years of relevant, managerial experience. So, it’s time to change the standards a bit.

Worst Jobs in the World

Low paying jobs: Let’s be honest; if money wasn’t a factor, a lot of us would be doing something completely different. However, when desperate times call for desperate measures, you may take on a job that pays crap but somehow contributes to paying the bills. When you’re doing work that calls for double what you’re actually seeing on your paycheck, you don’t have a good job. Minimum wage does not automatically fall into this category either; if you’re working a minimum wage job and getting paid as such, then that’s not a bad job. If you have numerous responsibilities that essentially keep a company afloat, and you’re getting paid like a paper boy, there’s a problem.

Doing something you hate: You would think this has been eliminated, but it’s not. There are still people out there doing a job they absolutely hate. There are sales people out there who have to deal with people one on one, and they’re antisocial. There are kindergarten teachers out there who can’t stand kids. We have aspiring hair dressers styling poodles instead of people. And these misplaced people are miserable because everyday when they get up for work, they would rather sleep on a bed of rusty nails than go in for work. It may be a good job for the right person, but for these people, it’s the worst job in the world.

The bored and overqualified: Some people may say “be happy you even have a job,” and I can agree. But, for the bored and overqualified, it’s like they’re getting paid to do absolutely nothing. Sounds good in theory, but I’ve been in this position before, and it’s annoying. You either get your work done too quick, or you simply have nothing to do. Being bored at work, no matter how much it pays, can truly affect how you feel. You rather call in sick than have to do the same, boring, repetitive work over and over. You rather do something out of the ordinary, but you can’t, and that’s the worst.

Best Jobs in the World

Pays the bills and some: Money isn’t everything, but like I mentioned before, it’s a factor. A job that pays your bills and leaves you with some spending, saving, or investing money afterwards can be considered one of the best jobs in the world. I’m not saying the highest paying jobs are the best in the world, but when you can pay your bills, it’s one less thing for you to worry about. Even if you don’t particularly like your job (note, I didn’t say you hate it), you have money that you can use toward something you do enjoy.

You’re allowed to travel: I love to travel, and a lot more people would if given the opportunity. How amazing would it be to visit a foreign country on the company’s dime? You won’t be in meetings all day, so being able to travel to a new place thanks to your job is a huge perk.

You love what you do: You ask some people why they stay at their job despite low pay or non-existent benefit packages and you’ll hear them say “I love my job”, and nothing’s better than that. Opposite of the people who choose nails over their job, people who love their job look forward to work everyday, complete their tasks with a smile on their face, and can’t wait for what’s in store for them. When you’re passionate about your job and what you do, you can’t beat that.

So, while there’s some positions I probably would scream, cry, and have a tantrum before I do (extermination, trash pickup, selling knives door to door), I wouldn’t call them the worst job ever unless it wasn’t worth the money, I was bored everyday, or I absolutely hated it (although I think the three I named would fall under the hate category). Doctors, lawyers, and advertising executives don’t automatically go into the “best” category either. It’s all about perspective.

How about you all? What do you feel would be the best and worst jobs in the world? What characteristics of those jobs are most important in deciding if they would be good or bad for you? 

Share your experiences by commenting below!

Jacob’s Thoughts – Listed below are my random thoughts as I was reading this article.

  • Great post here Briana! Thanks for participating in the blog swap. I especially like how you took the approach of describing the traits you’d look for in the best and worst jobs in the world, instead of just focusing on describing one specific job. 
  • For me personally, I think that one of the important traits in the best job in the world would be to have enough flexibility to suggest new ideas or ways of doing things. In other words, I’d like to feel like I could apply some of my own flavor/creativity to the job. In addition, it’d also be important for me to not feel too rushed all of the time that I feel like I can barely do a good job. 
  • @ High paying jobs with tons of hours –
    • You make a great point with your description of how a high-paying job might not be the best job in the world, especially if earning that high income involves working 80-100 hours a week. The work schedule definitely must be taken in to consideration. 
  • @ People being bored and overqualified for their job –
    • Unfortunately, I saw the “being bored” aspect of this all to often when I worked for 2 years after my undergraduate studies. 
    • Quite often, new college graduates would get hired in to the company, be paid a very comfortable salary for a young professional, but then would have very little to do day-to-day in their job. And, when they were given tasks, they would get them done in a very short period of time. Of course, this work arrangement made these young professionals feel fairly not very useful (not the best situation for anyone to be in). 
    • I especially saw this boredom/not-enough-work situation happening with internships of college students working over the summer at the company. Quite often, these students would have to resort to playing around on Facebook and the instant messenger all day, since they weren’t given any work to do. 
  • @ How good or bad a job is all depends on perspective – 
    • I definitely agree with this statement, as one job that would seem ideal to one person (such as being a doctor or lawyer with good pay, etc) can be hated by another person that is already doing that role. It all comes down to perspective. 
    • I am also certain that having different perspectives on what constitutes a good and bad job is absolutely critical for the world to work effectively. For example, I may think that being an engineer would be an interesting job and being a salesperson would be terrible, but the truth is that we need both roles to make the world go round!
    • Because of this, I’m personally grateful that everyone has different opinions and is not the same!

***Photo courtesy of http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2120/2144933705_20517bedab.jpg

About the Author Jacob A Irwin

Hi folks! My name is Jacob. I am the owner and operator of My Personal Finance Journey. I started this blog in January of 2010 and have enjoyed the journey ever since. Since finishing up graduate school in Virginia in 2014, I have been working in biopharmaceutical development in Colorado. You can read more about me and this site here​. Please contact me if you have any questions!

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Leave a Comment:

Krantcents says October 14, 2011

Generally speaking, the worst job is one you do not enjoy and the best is the one you enjoy. I think it is as simple as that.

    MyPerFinJourney says October 17, 2011

    Well said Krantcents. Thanks for reading!
    My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Roundup – # 2 – October 16th, 2011

Briana @ 20&Engaged says October 15, 2011

Thanks for organizing and posting my post Jacob. I also really appreciate your feedback! What may seem like a great job to one could be awful to another. In my opinion, being an entrepreneur is the best job in the world 🙂
My recent post Finance Friday: The Most Awesome Job in the World and the Worst Job in the World

    MyPerFinJourney says October 17, 2011

    Thanks again for contributing the post Briana! Being an entrepreneur is very nice, given the flexibility it allows. However, I guess one of the downfalls it that the pay can be a little less consistent! haha
    My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Roundup – # 2 – October 16th, 2011

Investment Insight says October 20, 2011

This post reminds me a lot of the show Dirty Jobs.

I agree with @krantcents as well. You can’t define the job based on what you’re required to do on a daily basis. It’s what you get out of it that matters. Do you love to clean up other peoples garbage? I don’t. But someone who finds joy in that may think it’s the best job in the world. The same person might think that working at a Fortune 500 company is hell on earth. To each his own, I suppose.

    MyPerFinJourney says December 20, 2011

    You make some good points Investment Insight. For me, a lot of what factors in to whether or not I truly like a job if what the organization stands for. I like to be able to get behind the cause as well as the specific job I do.
    My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

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