The Worst Jobs of 2011

This Year's Worst Jobs

Next time you feel like complaining about your job, just be thankful you don’t work one of the jobs on this list. CareerCast, a job search engine and research tool, recently surveyed and ranked 200 different professions to find the best and worst jobs of 2011. These rankings are based on five criteria, including the quality of the work environment, average income and stress, as well as the physical demands of the position and the career’s overall outlook, as determined by government data. Each of these factors was then weighed and averaged to give the position an overall score, which determined its rank. The higher the score, the worse the job. By and large, the positions that ranked among the best overall were those that relied on computer skills or involved a heavy degree of number crunching. On the other hand, the jobs that ended up being the worst overall were those that required a greater amount of manual labor, and generally required less specialized skills. Photo Credit: John Picken


10. Construction Worker

Like many positions on this list, construction work requires a significant amount of physical labor and comes with a number of workplace stresses. This, coupled with a salary that is far below most of the positions on this list, makes it one of the least desirable jobs this year, despite the fact that it has a solid hiring outlook for the near future. Overall Score: 798 Income: $29,211 Photo Credit: gregor_y


9. Meter Reader

Meter readers may not seem to have physically demanding jobs, but they do spend most of the day on their feet. Yet the real reason this profession is on this list is that it has dismal prospects for the future, presumably because many of the tasks performed by meter readers can be done by machines instead. Overall Score: 798 Income:  $34,171 Photo Credit: af.mil


8. Painter

No, this list is not trying to disrespect artists like Van Gogh. Painters, in this case, refers to those who polish up your houses and offices. It’s important work, to be sure, but it also comes with a number of workplace health risks, including inhaling toxic fumes. Overall Score: 798 Income: $34,152 Photo Credit: af.mil


7. Welder

Welders often work with potentially dangerous equipment, which may be part of the reason this job ranks toward the bottom of this list. Overall Score: 811 Income: $35,126 Photo Credit: USACE Europe District


6. Emergency Medical Technician

Unlike many of the professions on the bottom half of CareerCast’s list, Emergency Medical Technicians do require a fair amount of technical training. However, being an EMT is also one of the toughest jobs to have as it’s a high stress position that often requires extensive hours and physical labor. Overall Score: 814 Income: $30,168 Photo Credit: WikiCommons.org


5. Taxi Driver

Taxi drivers may not work with their hands as much as some of the other workers on this list, but they often have to suffer through a tough work environment, confined to their cars and dealing with moody clients. To make matters worse, taxi drivers have the worst salary of any job on this list. Overall Score: 821 Income: $21,127 Photo Credit: Adam Jones, Ph.D.


4. Roofer

Not only is there a good amount of physical labor involved with this position, there is always the risk these professionals might fall from great heights. Overall Score: 863 Income: $34,168 Photo Credit: Editor B


3. Lumberjack

The life of a lumberjack isn’t an easy one. Lumberjacks have to do heavy lifting, work with sharp objects and deal with other workplace stresses. Meanwhile, they earn a low salary in the process. Overall Score: 868 Income: $32,109 Photo Credit: danehav


2. Ironworker

These professionals may build our workplaces, but their own jobs are filled with more physical demands than almost any other position, making it among the least desirable professions this year. Overall Score: 887 Income: $34,127 Photo Credit: MamboZ


1. Roustabout

If America learned nothing else from the BP disaster, it’s that working on an oil rig is a tough and dangerous job, something roustabouts know all too well. These men and women do the maintenance work that keeps these rigs running, and as a result, they endure an incredible amount of stress and physical labor. Add to that some dismal hiring prospects and you have the worst job in America, for the second year in a row. Overall Score: 892 Income: $32,143 Photo Credit: sorford


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