The Most Depressing Jobs

It can be exciting, but they don't call it "shell shock" for nothing.

First and foremost, happy New Year! After a lot of thinking, I decided that nothing would say "Bring on 2012!" better than a little entry on the most depressing jobs out there. You may think the Jackal has gone completely insane, but there's no better way to start a New Year than on a crappy note, because it only leaves room for improvement.

Some Really Depressing Jobs

As I was doing my relaxing, holiday internet reading I stumbled upon an article on health.com about the most depressing jobs. Fun reading. What are the results? They're not very surprising when you really look at them. Without further ado, health.com's ten most depressing jobs:

  • Nursing home / child-care workers
  • Food service people
  • Social workers
  • Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals
  • Arists, writers and entertainers (yes, that includes Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, and yours truly)
  • Teachers
  • Administrative people like clerks, data entry folk, etc.
  • Maintenance workers
  • Accountants and other people in the financial advising industry (like some of those poor Wall Street guys)
  • And you, salespeople

So, according to health.com, anyone who is thinking about working in a field which involves helping people and working towards the betterment of our society should ask himself one question: is the happiness of others really worth my happiness? I mean, maybe the others are precisely the people working in these fields. So, maybe, if you want to help society so bad, you should persuade them to quit.

Also, the riches of the entertainment industry may be tempting, but the pitfalls of fame and fortune, and the attendant media troubles, as well as the proclivity towards depression among the "creative types" throw that whole thing out the window. 

So what's left? Sales? If you're fine with immense pressure and complete existential disassociation, then go for it. Financial advising is great when the world's not in a global economic depression. Administrative work?  Franz Kafka was a clerk. But then again, so was Albert Einstein. Both had some good ideas.

What would the Jackal add to the list, you ask? Well, regardless of the sector, I'd bet child workers tend to have some bad emotional episodes (and missing digits). So screw you, Nike. Soldiers, naturally. Talk to some vets, and you'll understand. It may be illegal in many places, but the world's oldest profession, prostitution, is down on the list in terms of both boss friendliness, job requirements and job satisfaction. I also tend to feel bad for those guys who wave glowsticks outside of parking lots to get you to park in there. And taxi drivers.

What Jobs Aren't That Depressing

If that isn't enough, and if the health.com article lacked some solid data, charts, graphs and what have you, here's this exciting little government report on the frequency of Major Depressive Episodes (MDEs) in various job sectors. It pretty much confirms everything above, and adds a few other items of its own. Community workers? Forget about it. Lawyers? Might as well end it now, brother. 

But it looks like there's hope for architects, land surveyors, farmers, fishermen, construction workers (probably because physical injuries supersede the mental ones), and social science professionals. 

Me, I'm a little more optimistic and broad-minded. I'd probably put money on anyone who is his or her own boss, has flexible hours, makes decent money and is passionate about what he or she does.

Also, let's not forget that some people absolutely love data entry. Just like some people absolutely love helping others. Just because they get depressed and contemplate crossing the median on the freeway on their way to work doesn't mean that their happy moments aren't more blissful than ours.

Finally, jobs are only a part of our life. If the other part of it is satisfying, then it can make even the shittiest job bearable.

Well, I hope you found this educational. If you don't work in any of these depressing fields, then you can feel at ease: others have it worse. And if you do, know that your daily existential emptiness is completely justified and validated.

There are always alternatives.


  1. I am a webmaster specialising in sales and I can say that being able to do sales work in the same environment all the time means that you do not get the depression of working away from home a lot. Never knowing for sure what your paycheck is going to be can get you down sometimes though. Custom Bumper Stickers

  2. I hear ya Mark. Sounds like even something as fun as the Bumper Sticker business can get you down. Stay tuned for my upcoming entry on how to deal with job depression, and keep your chin up!

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