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These Jobs Make the World a Worse Place (Say the People Who Do Them)

What did you want to be when you grew up? Chances are, it was along the lines of unicorn wrangler or astronaut/basketball player – just the sort of thing that's impossible find a major in, never mind a grownup job. That doesn't mean that all real jobs are boring or unsatisfying; during the compilation of PayScale's latest report, The Most and Least Meaningful Jobs, workers with titles as diverse as English teacher and chiropractor told us that their jobs made the world a better place. And then were the other folks, the ones whose jobs made them long for the days when "vet who specializes only in kittens" seemed like a reasonable career path.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Chances are, it was along the lines of unicorn wrangler or astronaut/basketball player – just the sort of thing that’s impossible find a major in, never mind a grownup job. That doesn’t mean that all real jobs are boring or unsatisfying; during the compilation of PayScale’s latest report, The Most and Least Meaningful Jobs, workers with titles as diverse as English teacher and chiropractor told us that their jobs made the world a better place. And then were the other folks, the ones whose jobs made them long for the days when “vet who specializes only in kittens” seemed like a reasonable career path.

fast food worker 

(Photo Credit: Seattle Municipal Archive/Flickr)

People with these jobs told PayScale that their work makes the world worse:

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1. Fast Food Worker

Median Pay: $16,700

Percent who said, “My job makes the world a worse place.”: 25 percent

2. Picker

Median Pay: $24,800

Percent who said, “My job makes the world a worse place.”: 21 percent

3. Table Games Floor Supervisor

Median Pay: $50,900

Percent who said, “My job makes the world a worse place.”: 20 percent

See more jobs that aren’t helping, here.

jobs that make the world a worse place

What do these jobs have in common? Most are low paid – although by no means all. Merchandise Planning Managers pull down a median annual salary of $94,400, and Table Games Floor Supervisors earn a respectable $50,900.

Even the high-paying jobs on the list, however, share a trait with the lower-paying gigs: they either expose the worker to the impact of the worst aspects of humanity (e.g. Valets and Laundry Attendants), and/or encourage those negative traits (Table Games Floor Supervisors, Search Engine Marketing Specialists). Another issue is that many of the jobs are the hat trick of awful work experiences: boring, tough, and dirty (Fast Food Workers, Warehouse Pickers).

Most importantly, the majority of the jobs on the list don’t provide the features of a good job. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell says that meaningful work has three qualities: complexity, autonomy, and a clear relationship between effort and reward. Whether you’re toiling in a warehouse, packing boxes, or sitting at a computer, managing paid search ads, the world is full of jobs that requires a lot of work for not much in return. The goal, of course, is to pick the ones that do just the opposite.

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Does your job make the world a better place? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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