Friday, March 12, 2010

Ryan Pyle Blog: The 126th Best Job


This news came out a long while ago, but it's taken me a few weeks to reflect on it. When the list of the Best and Worst Jobs for 2010 appeared I was traveling at the time and just book marked the list and forgot about it. When I had a chance to re-read I was motivated to write down a few notes. And below are some interesting observations.

In January the Wall Street Journal published a list of Best and Worst Jobs 2010, which was compiled by a website named I'm not sure on the methodology of the study, or survey, but I found it hilarious that "Photographer" was ranked at the #126th best job to have in the USA, and "Photojournalist" was the #189th best job to have.

The list ranked 200 jobs in the order of best to worst and they were based on criteria like: environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands and stress. All very important factors.

Now I consider myself to be a photographer, not just a photojournalist. Many of the images I take of no journalism merit at all. So, apparently I've dedicated my life to the #126th best job in the US, or the #74 worst job. According to the study if I am starting out in my career I can expect an income of USD 17,000 per year; if I am in the middle of my career I can expect an income of USD 29,000 per year; and if I'm experienced I can expect around USD 62,000 per year.

All of this seems fine and dandy. I'm glad photographer showed up on the list at all. I know I would never steer any of my friends, relatives or children in to the career unless they had a real stomach for the up and downs of the journalism, photography and art industries. My career progression has never been easy and at times it's been downright exhausting. My brother lives in Canada and works in the finance industry and we often joke about switching jobs, he keen on travel and adventure; and I'm interested in a mildly stable income.

But all that joking aside. I'm really not interested in changing professions and I'm not surprised at the job of "Photographer" being listed at #126. Maybe back in the 1970s and 1980s when there were less photographers, more magazines, more advertising revenue and longer, juicier higher paying assignments the job of "Photographer" could have cracked the top 50. But these days, since the digital revolution, competition has intensified and as Canon likes to say in their advertisements, anyone can be a professional photographer with their new EOS digital cameras.

What interests me most about the list is what jobs appear as "better" or "more appealing" than my job. The job of "Photographer" is #126. But lets take a quick look at what jobs appear higher, or nearby, in ranking:

#2 - Software Engineer (Understandable - Stock Options!)
#9 - Accountant (Really?)
#29 - Parole Officer (Dealing with criminals?)
#46 - Librarian (Do libraries still exist?)
#58 - Receptionist (Seriously?)
#62 - Musical Instrument Repair Person (For the adventurist inside you!)
#65 - Publication Editor (Some of my editors may find that funny)
#81 - Teachers Aid (Really, a TA is better than being a photographer?)
#83 - Janitor (Unbelievable!!!!!!!!!!!)
#108 - Security Guard (Nothing is better than working nights)
#109 - Piano Tuner (Always the life of the party)
#125 - Waitress (Working on tips?)
#126 - Photographer (Poor Little Me)
#131 - A Maid (Cleaning Homes?)

Well, the waitress and the maid being that close to Photographer leaves me feeling a bit uncomfortable. But alas that is the basis of the list compiled. Wacky, wild stuff.

Ryan Pyle

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Ryan Pyle