NEW YORK (MainStreet) – There are definitely some tough jobs in this country, but it’s hard to argue that “senior corporate executive” is one of them. After all, consider the facts: 25 of the top 100 highest-paid CEOs actually made more money last year than their companies paid in taxes. And when they get canned, the top CEOs get tens of millions in severance payouts. Yes, being an executive in this country is a nice gig if you can get it.
That’s why we were a bit surprised when we saw that job site CareerCast.com had listed it as the most overrated job in America. According to the site, the high stress of the job, as well as the long hours and the poor job security, all make this an overrated occupation, despite an average salary of more than $160,000. The site used its own jobs rating data on stress levels and job outlook to determine the quality of each profession, and used more subjective measures to determine which jobs are perceived by the general public as being among the best.
Now, a few caveats: First, we don’t know what the day-to-day life of a senior executive is like, and we have no doubt that the hours are indeed long and the stress is indeed high. Second, the very idea of something being “overrated” is tricky, as it simply means that something isn’t as good as people perceive it to be. We’ll concede that headlines about the lavish lifestyles and fat severance packages of top CEOs may indeed drive the perception that being a corporate executive is all about sailing on yachts and sleeping on piles of money; and we’ll further concede that the reality is probably more hard work than people appreciate. So calling it an overrated job doesn’t mean that it’s a bad job – simply that it’s harder and more stressful than people appreciate.
Still, we won’t shed any tears for top executives. There are a lot of tough jobs in this country, and most of them don’t come with six- or seven-figure salaries. And while it’s true that an executive’s high degree of responsibility means less job security than your average office drone, keep in mind that executives who don’t perform can still expect a golden parachute when they get the boot. Eight-figure severance packages are obviously the exception rather than the rule in the corporate world, but CEOs usually don’t need to worry about making ends meet if they lose their job.
The medical professions are also considered overrated, with surgeons (“The stress of being responsible for the lives of others”), physicians (“Increased regulations, lower compensation and the required need to stay abreast of medical developments”) and psychiatrists (“The responsibility of managing the mental health of others”) rounding out the top four.
Interestingly, many of the overrated professions listed here have very high salaries, which suggests that glowing perceptions of these jobs may be based solely on pay. The most glaring exceptions are real estate brokers and photojournalists, both of whom have relatively low pay and are affected by the housing market and unsafe working conditions, respectively.
Here’s the full list of the most overrated jobs:
1. Corporate Executive (Senior)
5. Airplane Pilot (Commercial)
9. Real Estate Agent
11. Flight Attendant
12. Advertising Account Executive
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