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The Worst Jobs of 2013

By Kyle Kensing


Working as a newspaper reporter was a dream job for Rochelle Gilken, but that changed as the years passed and the industry shifted gears. "The pay left a lot to be desired, and the stress - oh boy! I have two kids, and I have to say that I couldn't balance home and work and be happy due to the stress," says Gilken, who spent six years as a crime reporter for the Palm Beach Post.

Of course, low pay and high stress are part of a reporter's job description, but other changes led to Gilken's decision to change industries. "I had aspirations to get bigger and better newspaper jobs, but the opportunity to climb the ladder disappeared as newspapers cut back, which was very discouraging," says Gilken. "I always wanted to travel to cover the big stories, like the Olympics, but the money to allow for that just wasn't there and wasn't coming back," she says.

Ever-shrinking newsrooms, dwindling budgets and competition from Internet businesses have created very difficult conditions for newspaper reporters, which has been ranked as this year's worst job, according to the Jobs Rated report.

Consumers can access online news outlets almost anywhere thanks to technological advancements, which are threatening the existence of traditional print newspapers. As a result, the number of reporter jobs is projected to fall 6% by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while average pay is expected to continue its decline.

And for those still employed as reporters, the job's demands are all-consuming.

"I covered crime, so when breaking news happened, I had to be there. And when editors called at night with questions, I had to take the calls," says Gilken. She adds that while many reporters feed off the stress, once they have families, the stress takes a toll. Gilken now works in media relations for the Florida Water Management District in West Palm Beach, and says the hours and stability are welcome. "They're very supportive of their employees to have a work/life balance, which reporters really never have."

Social media marketer Paul Gillin founded in 2007 when the newspaper industry was at a peak. The website tracks newspaper closures and cutbacks around the U.S.

“We didn’t see newspapers respond [to consumer changes] at all,” says Gillin. “I saw that once [the decline] hit, it would hit very hard and very quickly.”

The Newspaper Association of America, via the Pew Research Center, estimates that the industry earned approximately $49.2 billion in 2006. By 2011, that total had dropped by well over half to $23.9 billion taking many jobs with it, including thousands of newspaper reporter positions.

Editor & Publisher reports a steady decline in the number of daily newspapers since 1985, when there were 1,730 in circulation. The industry held steady near 1,450 in the mid-2000s, but closures in the latter half of the decade left the nation with a low of 1,382 dailies.

Some prominent dailies migrated to online models, such as, The Ann Arbor (Mich.) News, which publishes twice weekly. The New Orleans Times-Picayune transitioned to a three-times-weekly newspaper in 2012. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer became online-exclusive in 2009.

Of course, newspaper reporters have fared poorly in the Jobs Rated report for years due to the job's high stress and tight deadlines, low pay and requirement to work in all conditions to get the story. But journalism is not a dying art, nor is reporting a profession without prospects. Rethinking the industry has made reporters adapt.

Gillin says online reporters – a different job from the newspaper reporter as ranked via Jobs Rated – have better prospects, but unfortunately that profession provides a lower wage and the requirement to produce more content at a much faster rate, which increases stress.

Door-to-Door Bad Jobs

Technological advancements negatively impacted other careers ranked as the worst jobs of 2013. Among them are meter reader and mail carrier. Meter reader is one of the most rapidly shrinking career fields, expected to decline by more than 10% in the next few years. In the utilities industry, power companies are increasingly implementing remote readers, which digitally transmit electrical usage from the consumer’s residence to the provider’s database.

Mail carriers are expected to fare even worse. With consumers relying heavily on email and text messaging, the traditional form of snail mail communication is dwindling. As such, the BLS reports that the number of mail carrier jobs will fall by 26% in the coming years. The government’s plan to cease post office operations on Saturdays isn't helping.

A much different career path ranks second overall in the worst jobs of 2013: lumberjack, one of the most dangerous professions in the entire labor market. Sixty-four lumberjacks reportedly died from work-related injuries in 2011. Having to work with heavy, dangerous machinery contributes to lumberjack fatalities, as does the typically isolated locations in which lumberjacks work.

Distance from hospitals also poses a major risk. The same is true for oil rig worker, another job ranked among the worst jobs of 2013, where physical danger and injury are constant threats.

The complete list of the 10 worst jobs this year:

Worst Jobs of 2013 - 1. Newspaper Reporter

BLS National Salary Median: $36,000
Projected Job Growth: -6%
Jobs Rated Score: 1120

A job that has lost its luster dramatically over the past five years is expected to plummet even further by 2020. Paul Gillin says, “the print model is not sustainable. It will probably be gone within the next 10 years.”

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Pay is insulting

I'm at a 18,000-circulation paper in the Midwest. Pay is insulting, ever-present stress of deadlines, have to do a lot of fluff pieces, much of my job depends on cooperation of people over whom I have little or no control, no pay raises in years and receive more criticism from the public than praise. In the course of my work I regularly have to talk to police chiefs, school superintendents, lawyers, etc., who make three, four, five times what I do. But I get to make a difference, right? Perhaps once every few years does a story come along with which I can make a limited, local difference; that's not enough to make up for all the other negatives. I've been at this work for a good 15 years, but would walk away from it right now, if I had a place to walk to.

Journalism_Power of no use

Yes, I might be wrong with my statement. I left Journalism in the year 2006. I should not say I left, I should say I Quit or I should say necessity kicked me from the profession. I was being paid RS 1700 per month in the state of Orissa. Saving was a nightmare for me. Even it was not quite enough for my bread and butter. Now I am working in a Multinational company with some XXX Position in Mumbai. I am happy with my current job. At least I am capable enough to fulfil my family requirements.


There was always a passion in me to dig the truth and to be with it till the light reaches everyone. But I vanished in darkness. The job always seems to me a Power. The power to serve, the power to light, the power to change. But later on I realized the power is there for no use. All what I can say RIP journalism till your next birth.

I work as a reporter

I currently work as one of two reporters for a group of local weekly newspapers. The company is independently owned. I do enjoy the flexibility and the variety of experiences and people you met is a plus. The downside is there is no potential of advancement, no real increases in pay, and there is stress in trying to find stories week after week. In some ways you never really leave the job becuase even when on vacation you have to make sure you have stories for the next week's paper.Also the average pay listed is a joke. There are no benefits and no retirement plan. I make about 23,000 a year before taxes. So that equals about 15,000 a year take home.I see friends growing older and getting married, buying houses and starting families...Is a career where you can't even make a living wage, save money or move forward in life worth the "positives" of being a reporter?

Call Center

Auto Europe Call Center Agent.

Need Oil Rig Job

Hi,I am a 22 year old who is looking to work in Alberta or Saskachuwan or BC Canada in an Oil Rig company. I want to work on a camp and have potential for over time. I live in Ontario and it is really tough to get a oil rig job from here. If anyone at all knows someone that can get me in or anything, PLEASE let me know. I am willing to get my H2S alive and Standard first aid CPR right away if there is a position available for me. I can live 100lb without a problem and I can work very long hours. PLEASE HELP ME GET A JOB THERE, I WANT TO START A CAREER WITH AN OIL RIG COMPANY.  

worst one is " stock broker"

worst one is " stock broker" ....endless nightmares

Is that why they are all

Is that why they are all crybabys Whaaaa Whaaaa

Where is a lawyer mentioned on this list?

As above title.

the worst job is looking for

the worst job is looking for a job you idiots..

substitute teacher is even worse, with less pay than all of them

substitute teacher

Yes, It's Terrible

I did that for awhile. You get sprayed in viruses. You are used as a babysitter. You are often a scapegoat and have to watch your back for defamation. The only silver lining is that the students for the most part really appreciate you because you are the one who is there for them.

laboratory technologist

Inhaling biohazardous powers from media prepartion for biological cultures. 

Public School Teacher in Fla

There cannot be a worse job than being a teacher in the public schools of Florida, a state where business runs education and greased palms are the norm in deciding corporate connections. We would rather scrub toilets at Macy's:(

Your right, fighting and

Your right, fighting and dying for your country is not nearly as bad as sitting in the air conditioning and pretending to teach America's youth.

public school teacher, FL

then why don't you?

public school teacher, FL

How sad for the children (and parents) that you teach. I am sure there are many intelligent and zealous candidates who would take your place in a flash. Perhaps it is time callous, cynical you stepped aside to give someone more deserving of a career opportunity in teaching. If not for the protection your techer's union, I'm sure your attitude alone would get you canned.  As a parent, but not a teacher, I find you disgusting. Learn to work within the system instead of throughing your hands up. I suggest you get that application in to Macy's asap might make you a happier person.

Oh Please

Dear Disgusted Parent,Please know that a Florida teacher would be penalized and subject to being labeled as "ineffective" due to your poor spelling, should you have been in their class. You might be sure that there are many intelligent and zealous candidates willing to take these positions, but you would be WRONG. Florida has, and has had, pronounced difficulties in attracting highly qualified applicants for vacant teaching positions. Please research prior to posting - shortage areas are routinely published and many, if not most, Florida districts find it difficult to attract qualified applicants in many fields. Beginning teachers leave as soon as possible and move to other states which compensate them better and provide better working conditions.Shame on you for not knowing the working conditions of the inviduals to whom you have entrusted so much in terms of your children's education. Maybe you should home skool.

You Want Teachers to Babysit for You?

I suggest that you stop procreating ASAP. I find you disgusting.


Your sarcasm is unwarranted. Disgusting? You don't even know this person. The "system" is flawed -- and it sounds like this frustrated teacher has tried and failed to resolve the issues.  Teachers are notoriously underpaid for the responsibilities they hold, and while not all teachers are great, they do a lot of the work that parents and communities used to do. They are one of the most important and least respected workers in the American system.


You've obviously never looked at teachers' salaries in California. It's not uncommon for elementary school teachers to bring down (I'm not going to say "earn") six figures for 8-9 months of so-called "work", with retirement benefits that rival congress'.I'm sooooo tired of hearing teachers whine about their work situaton and salary. Try life in the "dreaded private sector" if you really want to see what working in the real world is all about.

Someone who likely was a drop-out and hates teachers

First of all, considerable searching resulted in ZERO teachers making six figures in California, and revealed that the typical median income is in the $50K to $60K range, with many below $30K. Your concept of the work done by teachers is uneducated to say the least.  There is no such thing as an 8-hour day (less lunch and breaks enjoyed by other professions), and you seem to forget that a teacher with a full load of classes has hundreds of tests and papers to grade and report, mostly on their own time, not to mention conferences, PTA, and after-school activities (required!). The hours expended far exceed anything in your "dreaded private sector", plus there are further costly education requirements (courses & seminars) to maintain credentials that often occupy the summer break (even if the individual is teaching in summer school session to keep the malcontents in school and hopefully graduate!). You don't know ANYTHING about teaching in public schools.  Teachers are the most underpaid college-education-required profession in this country, and get the least respect and least benefits of their educational peers.  This is a major reason why public education is going down the drain, why the best teachers are so hard to keep in the system since they can double their incomes elsewhere,  and why better-educated immigrants are needed to fill the gap in qualified people for technical professions.  We don't have to worry about the "Red Menace" because we are destroying this country by not respecting education and "dumbing-down" the population by lowering standards.


Mr. Ross, I agree that NO teacher...unless they're a college professor is paid six figures. However, as a person working in HR with a college degree...I can tell you that I am paid FAR less than my family members, who are public school teachers...and I DO work more hours (roughly 50 a week...50 weeks a year) with a pay of 38k...oh and NO pension/ retirement plan. OH YES THEY DO have it easier...and I'm not the only college educated person that would agree. My best friend is a Social Worker and puts her life on the line to help the mentally disturbed.She works about the same amount of time as I do and her pay is not much more. So, NO I do NOT feel sorry for teachers. I WISH I was one...looks like both my friend and I selected the wrong profession. Pension plans, great benefits, same to less hours, extended vacation...not just in the summer, but on holidays as well...oh and BETTER pay. I apologize...but from my point of definitely looks like work life is pretty easy in comparison to many. How many salary workers do you think actually ONLY work 40 hours a week? How many salary workers get 2 1/2 months off at one time...not excluding Winter and Spring Break? Sorry...I respectfully disagree.


Where on the list is ordinary medical doctor placed? 


Go work in a coal mine.

Technology the Culprit

I like the idea that technology has come to be the culprit in eliminating jobs.  For so many decades it was unions, class action & produuct liability lawsuits and taxation.  But actually those three still eliminate thousands of jobs .. and no technology ADDS to it.  Soon the unemployment rate will be 50% or more and the one that are employed have to pay for out housing, food, medical care, roads, water supply, energy, pharmacy .. it's quite a burden for them.  I hope they are able to be very well educated and extremely successfuil ..even reedy .. because somebody has to pay for it.  Right?  Reporters .. well I am glad the job is worse than lumber jack or soldier.  At least we respect soldiers and need lumber jack.  Reporters have no genuine value and they exist because of misery and violence. 

I agree with you!

I agree with you!


It is sad that Anonymous regards reporters with no "genuine value."The real reason reporters exist is to provide accountability to the powers that be and to provide information to real human being on things that happen in their communities.Misery and violence are covered indeed but to say that is why reporters exist is simply absurd and an example of how twisted the reasoning behind the decline of the willingness of communities to support their news sources.

Stress in work

The worst job of all is the job you do not like.  If you enjoy the work, stress is less of an issue.

carried mail for ten years

carried mail for ten years the worst part was when you came in from the route and seeing the mail for the next day stacked up beside your case the preview of the next day never got use to that one  

Some of them make sense but Actor and Newspaper Reporter?!

If you want the worst job of 2013 and of all time, I KNOW IT!!! I work it... RETAIL!!! It's nothing but evil customers yelling at you for no reason, crappy minimum wage and almost no hours so that at the end of the week you're barely paid 100 dollars, giving you about 400 a'll be out on the street in no time!    

Oil rig workers pay

I live in the middle of oil country and I promise you a rough neck on an oil rig is pulling in $ 80,000 a year NOT 37,000 

Have you actually worked on a rig?

I have, and have 12 years experience working on land rigs and offshore rigs, and very few make anywhere close to 80K. That is what a driller or toolpusher might make. Your average floorhand, roustabout, galley-hand, service personnel are more in line with the 37,000.

Worst Job!

Animal Control Euthanasia Technician!




Reading the opinions of people lamenting the demise of the printed newspaper... which they are reading about online. 


Probably ok for people who like the printed newspaper to read stuff online as well. You notion of irony seems a little shakey. 

It is sad really

Low pay, inadequate machines and programs, no 401k, no raise, horribly high priced insurance, no way to move up, no training to better equip some of the older employees to handle the internet/social media, no credibility anymore thanks to said social media, dealing with an increasingly hostile and opinionated (and sometimes threatening) public, one person doing the job of 3 and not always being qualified to efficiently do everything that particular position requires...Need I go on? But possibly the worst: knowing the job you studied for & actually got a degree for - the job you dreamed of - turned out not to be everything it was cracked up to be, and, as it turns out, may not even exist in a few years, forcing you, now well into middle age, to start over. Yes, it's sad.

no talent or ethics=low pay

From what I see in the paper and on the news these days, the job is just too easy to pay well. Most "reporters" merely repeat what the administration puts out or what their editors tell them to write. They can all go away for all I care if they can't come up with anything that even meets the "logic" test.

You're an idiot.

Tell that to Woodward and Berstein.

Sad that you have to go back,

Sad that you have to go back, what, 30 years to find reporters worth talking about!

Love it.

Chance to meet new people, tell wonderful stories, change the community for the better.  I Love my job. At least the possibility of a tree falling on me is rare.

Can't buy gas or a beer

Thirty-plus years as a photographer, reporter, and editor, and I've yet to come even close to the median national salary listed. No pension, lousy benefits that I pay too much for, and corporate guidelines that get more unrealistic every day. I would drown my sorrows in a beer,  but I can't afford the gas to get to the bar, nor the beer once I'm there!

My job sucks even more. These

My job sucks even more. These jobs pay more than mine

To me, the most romantic sentence in the world was ...

... "I am a newspaper reporter." Ironic that this story should start with the Palm Beach Post. I was a business reporter on that paper from 1981 to 1983 and it was the happiest experience so far of my whole career. I absolutely loved being a newspaper reporter. I'm sad to see this. 

From a fellow reporter

"To me, the most romantic sentence in the world was, 'I am a newspaper reporter.'" I feel this way too.


I have been doing this job since the early 80s and there is no pension, no job security. I do have good insurance, that I pay for, but it's very reasonable. I have a boss who is exgtremely flexible and hands off, yet knows all. I have gone from working in a newsroom with early Macs, yet the Lin-O-Type was used to print up funeral cards. From half tones to digital--to web sites? what a ride to see how our industry has changed. Many good things have come. Those of us who have survived all the cuts are thankful for a job, pray for a raise that hasn't come in six years, but like you, hoping to hang on untnil retirement. But for me, no pension, so I will work until they pry the mouse from my cold stiff hand! 

And this is why I don't want

And this is why I don't want to be a reporter anymore after a succession of job rejections, once I got the job, redundancies, and unpaid work experience with soul-destroying, unconstructive, mocking criticisms from power-tripping editors.This is why SOMETHING else is more fun. And freelancing is a great transition to find that something. :)


I've been a reporter since the late 1970s, and the job just keeps getting worse. Longer hours, no pay raises (but pay cuts are everywhere), foolish management and no job security. I just hope I can keep doing what I do until my pension kicks in. Of course, having a pension does make the future a little bit brighter!

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