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The Best and Worst Jobs of 2012

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Apparently, being a lumberjack isn’t everything Monty Python had the profession cracked up to be. Fringe benefits aside of going shopping, enjoying afternoon tea, pressing wild flowers, and dressing in womens’ underthings, the laborious demands and dangers of felling and transporting trees -- and for the scanty sum of just over $32,000 a year -- rank it as's single worst job of 2012.

Analyzing data from the Department of Labor and other sources, categorized 200 jobs across all fields into five “Core Criteria” -- work environment, income, outlook, stress, and physical demands -- and determined an occupational hierarchy. At the bottom of the jobs barrel this year are the usual suspects like dairy farmer, enlisted military soldier, oil rig worker, and restaurant server. But a couple of surprises have now come from the white collar sector. My job, for example.

“For the first time ever, two different media jobs made our Worst Jobs list: Newspaper Reporter and Broadcaster,” reads a summation of the report. “As the digital world continues to take over and provide on-demand information, the need for print newspapers and daily newscasts is diminishing. To be sure, both jobs once seemed glamorous, but on-the-job stress, declining job opportunities and income levels are what landed them on our Worst Jobs list.”

On the other hand, if you’ve chosen the career path of software engineer, you’re at the top of the job heap. Where the increasingly digital environment is a detriment to writers, it’s a boon to those who possess this technical skill set. Demand for software engineers is high and, with a salary exceeding $88,000 a year, it’s a nice living.

Financial planners can also give themselves a pat on the back for their job of choice but, oddly enough, the firmer pat belongs to dental hygienists. According to the study, the fourth best job in America belongs to the person who scrapes plaque and tartar off our teeth. Actuary and human resources manager round out the top five.

Now, if you can manage to land one of these gigs at one the top five best companies to work for -- Google (GOOG), Boston Consulting Group, SAS Institute, Wegmans Food Markets, or Edward Jones -- you’re really sitting pretty.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.