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Lumberjack earns the ‘worst job’ ranking

The famous Monty Python lyric, “I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK,” isn’t close to being accurate, according to a study of 200 jobs conducted by, a career advice and job-hunting Web site. In fact, the study, which was released in January, rates lumberjack as the worst job in the country.

According to information posted on the Web site, “To quantify the many facets of the 200 jobs included in our report, we determined and reviewed various critical aspects of all of the jobs, categorizing them into five ‘Core Criteria;’ that is, the general categories that are inherent to every job: environment, income, outlook, stress and physical demands.”

Lumberjack, defined as someone who “fells, cuts, and transports timber to be processed into lumber, paper, and other wood products,” ranked poorly in the categories of work environment, physical demands and stress. The average workweek for a lumberjack was listed as 45 hours with an annual income of $32,124. The Web site further explained its ranking lumberjack among 200 careers.

“What makes being a lumberjack so unappealing? Also known as loggers, lumberjacks perform backbreaking physical labor in an unpleasant environment — detriments that also apply to our next-worst job, dairy farmer, which requires employees to rise with the dawn and work hard for a minimum of 50 hours every week. Despite their privations, both positions pay less than the salary earned by an entry-level bookkeeper.”

Rounding out the top 10 worst jobs are taxi driver, seaman, emergency medical technician, roofer, garbage collector, welder, roustabout and ironworker.

What’s the best job? Mathematician, defined as a person that “applies mathematical theories and formulas to teach or solve problems in a business, educational or industrial climate.” The job had an extremely low rating for physical demands, a low rating for stress, and an average annual income of $94,160 for a 45-hour workweek.

The next “best jobs” are actuary, statistician, biologist, software engineer, computer systems analyst, historian, sociologist, industrial designer and accountant.

Other job rankings include architect at 97, construction foreman at 109, furniture upholsterer at 132, drill press operator at 151, machine tool operator at 155 and carpenter at 176.

A complete ranking of the 200 jobs and their respective category ratings is available at

This article originally appeared in the March 2009 issue.

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