Steelhammer: It's a dirty job ...
Any minute now, I expect to see "Dirty Jobs" host Mike Rowe strolling into the newsroom, bringing with him a notebook, a chewed-up ballpoint pen and a production crew.
For the first time ever, newspaper reporter made the "Ten Worst Jobs in America" list, an annual career undesirability ranking compiled by CareerCast.com, a website for job seekers. This year, my chosen profession came in fifth from the bottom, just behind waiter/waitress, possibly because news tips involve questionable information, while food servers' tips involve cash.
Since I am a minor league player in the game of newspaper reporting, my position is even less coveted, increasing the odds of Rowe showing up here to be filmed covering suburban council meetings and rewriting boil water notices from the State Health Department.
According to CareerCast's listing, jobs are ranked according to such criteria as income, working conditions, the level of stress involved, and the availability of jobs now and in the future.
Given those parameters, I don't quibble with the newspaper reporter's cellar-dwelling ranking. Our wages, not a cause for envy to begin with, have been frozen harder than an Antarctic diamond. Competition from Web-based news outlets and a lack of young readers are making our jobs as secure as those held by video store clerks and television antenna installers. Meeting deadlines day after day involves a degree or two of stress, even if the subject matter is sub-Pulitzer.
But some of the "Ten Worst Jobs" rankings are a little puzzling.
For instance, ranked immediately above newspaper reporters and waiters/waitresses were meter readers, dishwashers, butchers and television and radio reporters. I mean, really -- television and radio reporters?
Ranked below us were enlisted military personnel, dairy farmers and loggers, the apparent Mississippi, Alabama and West Virginia of national ratings.
On the other side of the standings, software engineers, actuaries and human resource managers topped CareerCast's "Ten Best Jobs in America" list.
While I would enjoy receiving the income those jobs provide, the work would soon leave me yearning for the opportunity to get up early and saw down trees, get up early and milk cows, or get up early and shoot someone.
All in all, I think I'd rather sleep in a little and continue to live the dream. As the saying goes:
Old newspaper reporters never die.
They just get de-pressed.