10 Most Soul-Killing, Dangerous, Underpaid, Going-Nowhere Jobs For 2014

Mammas, don't let your babies grow up to be lumberjacks.

April 16, 2014 -- Lumberjacks aren't cutting it. That's according to CareerCast.com, which says being a tree-feller is the absolute worst, most going-nowhere job of any in the U.S. It's also dangerous and underpaid. The site's annual ranking of 200 different vocations across North America was released today.

CareerCast's publisher, Tony Lee, tells ABC News the next-worst job after lumberjack is being a reporter. (Thanks, Tony).

Other loathsome vocations among the 10-worst include prison guard, military personnel, broadcaster, garbage collector, firefighter and taxi-driver. Between 2013 and 2014, taxi-driving’s rating fell the farthest of any other bad job’s, Lee says, because crimes against drivers rose.

Coming in at sixth-worst, “head cook” is a category new to the list this year, says Lee. He explains it does not refer to chefs (celebrity or otherwise), but to hourly workers “at Denny’s or your high school cafeteria.”


Each vocation on the 10-worst list includes the job’s median annual salary, its projected growth between now and 2022, and a brief blurb explaining why it earned itself a circle in Career Hell. To see the entire list, click here.

Some bad jobs, Lee says, are crucial to society. The reason they rank among CareerCast’s worst is because they expose workers to extraordinary stress or physical risk. He includes, for example, fire-fighters (ninth-worst). A complete explanation of CareerCast’s methodology can be found on its website.

“Broadcaster” ranks fifth-worst. The broadcast industry, says Lee, has seen its job growth “evaporate,” meaning there are fewer opportunities for young, aspiring broadcasters. Competition is high; so is stress. The category refers to traditional broadcasting only, he says, not to hipsters making YouTube videos.

With the U.S. prison population exploding, you might think “corrections officer” would be a promising career. It’s not, says Lee, owing to the ongoing privatization of prisons. “They’re not well paid,” he says of corrections officers, whose median salary CareerCast gives as a little under $40,000. “There aren’t a lot of opportunities,” says Lee. “In terms of danger, it’s a pretty tough.”

What’s the best job in the U.S.?

Mathematician, says Lee.