Have You Considered Being an Air Traffic Controller Today?

The 13 best-paid non-executive jobs in America have one thing in common: They’re all in health care,” says the Atlantic. The worst-paid jobs, not surprisingly, are mostly in food service or agriculture. 

Some interesting facts: midwives (average salary $92,200, or as the chart puts it, 92.2) get paid less than physician assistants (94.3). Don’t feel bad for podiatrists (135). Despite setbacks during the Reagan years, air traffic controllers rake it in. And actors score hilariously well (87.2), to remind us that in certain fields averages are not useful metrics. In a similar vein, “writers and authors” do better than editors. Er, sure. Anyway, perhaps the chart can help inspire some of the late-blooming adolescents living at home throughout their twenties, as profiled in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine:

Kasinecz admits that she fears that her mom’s house in Downers Grove, Ill., half an hour west of the city, has become a crutch. She has been living in that old bedroom for four years and is nowhere closer to figuring out what she’s going to do with her career. “Everyone tells me to just pick something,” she says, “but I don’t know what to pick.”

Nurse anesthesist (157)! There you go. You’re welcome.

‘The More Your Job Helps Others, the Less You Get Paid’

Last summer David Graeber wrote an essay in Strike! Magazine about the phenomenon of "bullshit jobs"—"the kind of jobs that even those who work them feel do not really need to exist." At Salon, Thomas Frank has an interview with Graeber about why "the more your job helps others, the less you get paid."

Debating the Value of a Public Service Career

B. is a graduate student at a major American university studying humanitarian organizations in the Middle East. (She remains anonymous because she is considering leaving academia, but doesn’t want to tell the whole world yet.) In considering a possible change in professional direction, she wrote to me to ask about my work as a public defender, and a conversation about career choices in the realm of social justice ensued. We thought it might be interesting for other people considering the (never lucrative, sometimes rewarding) world of public interest work, so we are sharing it, lightly edited for clarity, with you:

How Much Do You Pay Someone To Risk Their Life For You on Mt. Everest?

Thirteen Sherpas, or professional specialized mountain guides, died this week in an avalanche on Mount Everest, while another three remain unaccounted for, and the rest of the Nepalese Sherpa community has decided to close out the season early:

The accident underscored the huge risks faced by Sherpas who maintain and prepare the icy slopes for climbers and trek the routes carrying equipment for their clients. In a season, Sherpas can earn from $3,000 to $6,000 (2,171 – 4,342 euros), which is about 10 times the average annual pay in Nepal.

On Tuesday, Nepal’s Tourism Ministry announced an agreement to establish a relief fund for guides killed or injured while climbing the mountain, one of the key concessions demanded by the Sherpas following last week’s disaster. Funding is thought to be well below that requested by the guides.

Minimum insurance cover for Sherpas on the mountain, the government said, would be raised by 50-percent to around $15,000.

Living and Working in the Boom Times

Last week, The Awl‘s Matt Buchanan reported on the New York Times/Upshot infographic How the Recession Reshaped the Economy, in 255 Charts.

As Matt noted:

You could look at one of these charts a day for the next six months and you would still not comprehend the full sweep of its gloom.

But the first thing that jumped out to me was a single line rising and rising, stretching up towards the Boom Times quadrant while the other lines fell away behind it.

What does that line represent? “Internet publishing, broadcasting, and search.”

The first thing you feel, when you realize you are working in one of the few Boom Time industries, is of course survivor’s guilt. Or, more accurately, there but for the grace of God. I mean, I could have studied STEM. Instead, I hitched my star to one of the fastest-growing industries of the New Economy, and I am reaping the financial rewards.

The fact that Boom Time in the New Economy means an approximate $40,000 annual salary in my case and an average $79,872 salary according to the Times/Upshot charts is of course part of that gloom that Matt Buchanan noted; the other booming industries include “electronic shopping and auctions” (average salary $60,902) and “support for oil and gas operations” (average salary $58,739).

But there is a distinct difference between working in an industry that isn’t growing (which I’ve done) and working in an industry that knows it has room to expand, to take risks, to hire on new people and give them opportunities to stretch themselves. For that, at the very least, I am grateful to have worked and lucked my way into this career. I also know, in the New Economy, that the feeling of gratitude is considered part of my benefits package.


Job of the Day: Be Hillary Clinton And Then Do a Speaking Engagement

If any of you readers are considering a career change, or early in your college careers and debating what to major in, Mother Jones has your answer: BE HILLARY CLINTON, GO GIVE A SPEECH. Cast aside your STEM shit, ya'll, this lady gets paid.

Walt Whitman Needed Recommendation Letters, Too

In his case, though, they came from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Rebecca Onion at Slate's history blog, The Vault, God bless her, tells the story of the young poet's rough and tumble search for a day job, eight years after Leaves of Grass was published. Because apparently even if you are Walt Whitman, you are still a poet in need of a day job. TALE AS OLD AS TIME. Whitman was applying for a government clerkship and meeting a lot of resistance thanks to Leaves of Grass' rather enthusiastic discussion of good old American hay-rolling. He was basically, to make the most beautifully inappropriate comparison I can muster, the Monica Lewinsky of his day.

Working as a McDonald’s Party Hostess Changed My Career Path

Like millions of teenagers, I worked at McDonald's in high school. I was mostly tasked with cleaning or working the cash register, but a couple months in, I knew what would be best for me. I wanted to be a birthday party hostess.

On Not Defining Ourselves By What We Are Paid to Do

It’s funny how we self-define, and I suppose some of this has to do with my being 22 and 23. But it is also something cultural, in that we are how we make a living.

Job of the Day: Literary Agent

For The Millions, writer and writing teacher Edan Lepucki interviews her own agent, Erin Hosier, about how she broke into the biz, the state of the marketplace, and what her day-to-day work is like.

Trucking No Longer a “Ticket To The Middle Class”

This piece on The Washington Post's wonkblog has now taught me basically everything I know about truck driving, which before reading it was um, not much! Reporter Lydia DePellis talks to a few different truck drivers about the effects of a diminished labor union, rising toll prices and diesel fuel costs, and the vast increase of truck "owner-operators" who are essentially independent contractors and receive no benefits.

Have Fun With Those ‘Best Jobs’ Rankings

Earlier this week CareerCast, a global job search site, released its 2014 rankings of 200 jobs from best to worst (methodology here) and found mathematicians and tenured professors in the top 1 and 2 slots respectively, while newspaper reporters and lumberjacks hit the bottom of the list at 199 and 200.