“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.
Here’s a career path you might not have considered, buried within this largely depressing piece about how much part-time work sucks, via Bloomberg:
“Does a highly-paid, relatively short-hour, moderately high education, majority-female occupation sound too good to be true? It is true and the field is pharmacy,” write Harvard labor economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz in a paper calling pharmacist “the most egalitarian of all professions.” As big retail chains expanded, replacing independent pharmacist-owned shops, they offered part-time work at relatively high wages. As a result, women flooded into the field. “Because of the extensive work flexibility and low pecuniary penalty to short hours, female pharmacists with currently active licenses take little time off during their careers even when they have children,” the economists write.
But if demanding unpredictable hours from cashiers and clerks is good for business efficiency, why isn’t the same true for pharmacists, who work short hours in similar retail environment? The most likely explanation is that pharmacists, unlike cashiers and clerks, can legally trade money for more predictable hours. Their median wage is $58 an hour, which leaves a lot of wiggle room.
Not bad, right? USNews concurs, scoring the job of a Pharmacist 8.1 out of a possible 10 and ranking it #5 on their list of Top 100 Jobs, period. And yet in my entire life, though I know plenty of folks whose grandparents worked at drug stores, probably making egg creams, I’m not sure I’ve encountered anyone who’s said, “I want to be a pharmacist.” Not sexy enough? Somehow off the radar? Why are we not all behind the counter, dispensing drugs with a smile?
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.