The 10 Unhappiest Jobs in America
Even if you aren’t one of the millions of Americans currently unemployed, chances are good that you’re not completely satisfied with your current job. According to a 2015 Gallup poll, only 32.9% of American employees feel engaged in their work. However, some jobs are generally happier, more satisfying, or more engaging than others. Online jobs website CareerBliss recently analyzed more than 25,000 independent company reviews posted on CareerBliss.com to determine the happiest and unhappiest jobs for 2015.
Respondents were asked to rate their job satisfaction on a scale of one to five in seven categories: person one works for, people one works with, support one receives, rewards one receives, growth opportunities available, company culture, and the way one works and handles daily tasks. Each category was weighed equally to determine a job’s overall rank. Low-level jobs commonly associated with extreme unhappiness, such as poultry factory worker, weren’t considered in the analysis. According to CareerBliss CEO Heidi Golledge, the jobs evaluated were generally “middle-market” positions.
Separate research published in 2007 by NORC at the University of Chicago measured both job satisfaction and overall happiness. Only roofers scored in the bottom ranks for both categories. The least satisfying jobs overall included low-skill, manual, and service occupations, often involving customer service and food/beverage preparation or serving. Roofers, bartenders, and freight handlers, ranked among the least satisfying jobs on NORC’s list, aren’t found on the CareerBliss report.
Of course, not every individual with a so-called unhappy job is going to be 100% dissatisfied. However, Golledge is optimistic that the CareerBliss list can help job seekers consider the challenges of certain jobs. The information could also be useful to supervisors looking to understand their potentially unhappy employees and improve their working conditions. Previously, we discussed the 10 happiest jobs based on the CareerBliss report. Now let’s look at America’s unhappiest jobs.
10. Customer service specialist
A customer service specialist is responsible for explaining the company’s policies, providing information about products and services, and frequently, handling customer complaints. Whether the job is done in person, over the phone, or via the Internet, it’s not easy talking to unhappy customers for hours on end. This job was ranked No. 4 on CareerBliss’s unhappiest jobs list last year.
9. Truck driver
Between the long hours and taxing physical demands, truck drivers have one of the toughest jobs out there. Studies suggest that rates of drug use are particularly high among commercial truck drivers, who sometimes take stimulants or other drugs to get through long shifts on the road.
8. Technical support agent
Like customer service workers, tech support agents frequently work with dissatisfied customers. Many tech support positions are exclusively online or via phone at a call center. And if the employer is like Comcast, customer service and tech support workers can be expected to meet sales quotas as well, or fear losing their jobs.
7. Legal assistant
Legal assistants perform a wide variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research for court cases, and drafting documents. They hold a great deal of responsibility and typically work overtime to meet deadlines.
6. Research analyst
Research analysts cover a variety of sectors, but market research analysts are responsible for studying market conditions, measuring potential sales of a product or service, and preparing reports on their findings. In other words, they help companies determine what products people want, who will buy them, and what price they will pay.
Clerks work in a variety of settings, but in almost every case a clerk is a relatively low-paying, low-skilled position. A retail clerk, for instance, might stock merchandise, arrange advertising displays, clean shelves, and even work as a cashier. Office clerks perform basic bookkeeping, filing, data entry, answering phones, and overall organizational duties.
Both emergency and non-emergency dispatchers have a median annual pay below $40,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but they often work late shifts and long hours under a lot of stress. Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers have enormous responsibility on their shoulders, feeling pressure to stay clam throughout the most alarming situations.
While they can be fairly well-paid, sales positions, whether in retail or other sectors, are among the most susceptible to burnout or fatigue. Salespeople are called upon to stay upbeat in the face of uninterested or rude potential customers, and they feel the constant pressure of quotas and commissions. Two different sales positions made it on last year’s list of unhappy jobs as well.
Merchandisers are normally responsible for deciding which products will be featured in stores and how they will be displayed. Some typical daily duties include analyzing sales information, negotiating prices with suppliers, helping with promotions and advertising campaigns, and producing sales projections. A merchandiser’s work can range from high-level strategizing to simply organizing the shelves at a department store.
1. Security guard
Security guard was the least happy job on CareerBliss’s 2014 list as well. Security guards patrol company property and are sometimes responsible for dealing with dangerous people and complex situations. This is another job where late shifts are common, and security guards are also burdened with boredom during long bouts of downtime. Rarely is there room for advancement in this position, and the median annual wage is only $24,070, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.