I’m not a reporter. I’m a columnist. Technically, we’re both journalists but with some notable differences.
Reporters are hard-working news professionals with a keen interest in keeping the public informed. The First Amendment is their God. I have seen them pray to it.
Columnists are different. We’re more like Hollywood actors or circus freaks, meaning that someone found a way to profit from whatever is seriously wrong with us. Depending on the columnist, it could be (and often is) a lot.
I was a reporter for a while. It was easily one of the worst jobs I ever had. Most of that was my fault, but it didn’t change the facts.
I have a hard time doing stuff I don’t really care about, including reporting most of the news. And informing the public about something I didn’t care about only made me care even less about it. I didn’t think it could, but it did.
Apparently, I’m lucky. Last week, Careercast, a job listing and career advice website, posted the 10 Worst Jobs in America, with No. 10 being the worst. Newspaper reporter was ranked No. 6, directly ahead of oil rig worker (No. 7).
Lumberjack (No. 10) is considered the worst job, narrowly beating out dairy farmer (No. 9). Also mentioned were No. 8, enlisted soldier; No. 3, dishwasher; No. 5, food server; and No. 1 radio/television broadcaster. Newspaper columnist wasn’t anywhere on the list.
A number of factors were taken into account when making the list, including pay, working conditions, number of available jobs and whether the opposite sex found you attractive just because of your job.
Not everyone agreed. I know lots of people (OK, one or two) who love being newspaper reporters. Some people enjoy being dairy farmers. Others are proud of being soldiers, meter readers (No. 4), and butchers (No. 2).
I’ve had a lot of jobs that either I hated from the start (janitor) or came to hate later (cop). The reasons I couldn’t stand doing those jobs had little to do with stuff such as pay and benefits.
Low pay, horrible conditions and poor employment futures are important considerations, but Careercast missed the one factor capable of making any job the worst job in America: bosses.
Most of the really bad jobs I had were only horrible because I didn’t much care for the people in charge of making sure I did it. In fact, I hated them a lot worse than I ever could have hated the job.
Nothing sucks the life out of a job faster than having to work for someone who isn’t half as smart as yourself but doesn’t know it.
I’ve had bosses whose heads were so small they needed microscopes to tie their shoes. Arrogance, indecision, condescension, self-importance and cluelessness in a boss will ruin even a fabulous job.
This has nothing to do with having an easy boss, one who lets you get away with anything. For two years, I worked for a boss who was a total pushover and a slob to boot. I was self-employed then.
You can work for a boss you fear and still like your job. I have and I do.
My editor is a hard-line professional journalist. She’s enormously suspicious of anything I say or do and there are times when it’s clear she’s just one smart-ass comment away from punching me.
Mean as she is, I don’t hate her. It’s a work environment I actually thrive in. I’ve been married for 37 years under exactly the same conditions.
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