26 February 2020
Are you addicted to high performance?

The world's toughest jobs

Confucius said: “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Tell that to these guys.

CareerCast recently rated the top 10 best and worst jobs in the world in their 2014 Jobs Rated report. 

In the top five worst, we have:

  • Lumberjack
Lumberjacks do dangerous work for low pay. With the changing construction and newspaper industries, the future for lumberjacks doesn’t look bright.   

  • Newspaper reporter
Print journalists are overworked, underpaid, and always at risk of being replaced by someone cheaper.

  • Enlisted military personnel
Soldiers get paid even less than print journalists, and their lives are always in danger.

  • Taxi driver
According to OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, taxi drivers are most likely to become victims of crime.

  • Broadcaster
Broadcasters struggle with hiring prospects and a stressful work environment. 

In 2012, Global Post revealed their global list of seven terrible jobs. They were:
  • Foxconn factory worker.
  • Emergency Fukushima power plant technician.
  • Print journalist.
  • Personal chef to North Korean dictator.
  • South African platinum miner.
  • UN-Arab League envoy to Syria.
  • Elephant sperm collector.

Buzzfeed, Career Addict, List Top Tens, and Wonderlist did similar surveys.

From these lists a few jobs stood out as consistently being the worst, and resonated within a South African context:

  • Print journalist
Newspaper reporters are a dime a dozen. The hours are long and stressful, and the salaries are not great.

Successful print journalists today have mastered the digital landscape and can incorporate a range of skills in the workplace. Find a niche beat (for example health) and become the go-to journalist on the topic.

  • Miner
It’s tough being a miner in South Africa. Miners since the dawn of industrialisation have put their bodies on the line, and how does one put a price tag on someone’s life?

What can miners do to improve their lives? This has been a contested issue of labour law for a long time, and won’t be answered within the scope of this paragraph. It speaks to a deeper socio-economic issue in South Africa.

  • Traffic constable
When the lights go out, traffic officers contend with dangerous conditions and irate drivers. It’s up to all of us to be patient in these situations, and a smile and a thank you will go a long way.

  • Lumberjack
Lumberjacks are being replaced by mechanisation and a changing construction and newspaper industry. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries sometimes embarks on new projects, for example combating the invader fruit fly, or assessing risks within the forestry sector. Lumberjacks have practical experience, and can use that vital knowledge to assess risks and work towards a sustainable future. Lumberjacks can share their knowledge with government, corporations, or insurance companies to ensure they don’t lose relevance.

  • Senior corporate executive
Forbes named this one of the most stressful jobs of 2014. Corporate executives – the public faces of their companies – answer to shareholders, board members and employees. South Africa’s recent economic downgrade by Standard & Poor’s and increased market volatility placed more stress on senior executives. At a recent panel discussion for the launch of PwC’s sixth edition of the Executive Directors’ Remuneration report, the panellists cited increased regulation as a factor contributing to the stress of senior executives.

This job comes with great pressure, but also great reward. 

What are the best jobs then? Mathematicians are first on the list of the 2014 Jobs Rated report, citing the job as rewarding and well paid. Hot on their heels are university professors, statisticians, actuaries, and audiologists.