The internet is riddled these days with doomsday “10 most hated” lists. Of everything: ten most hated celebrities, ten most hated movies, ten most hated baby names, and now (most recently) ten most hated jobs. Of course I (just like everyone else) can’t stop looking. So of course I clicked on it. To perplexing results.
The list consisted, in no particular order, of the following:
1. Director of Information Technology
2. Director of Sales and Marketing
3. Product Manager
4. Senior Web Developer
5. Technical Specialist
6. Electronics Technician
7. Law Clerk***
8. Technical Support Analyst
9. CNC Machinist
10. Marketing Manager
Do you remember that “one of these things is not like the other” game on Sesame Street? That’s how I felt reading this list. Most of these jobs (9, to be specific) I have never had, never known anyone that held, don’t know anything about. The article contained brief descriptions, but the names of the jobs themselves were too boring to even force myself to read on. I don’t need to know exactly what a Technical Support Analyst does to know that I would probably rather have a fork jammed in my eye.
Most of them seem to be “techie”-type jobs, and none of that appeals to me at all. My first (and last) step along the computer career track was almost failing “Intro to Programming” in college (C++ is like Japanese, only meaner).
But the “law clerk” shocked me. For its description, the article proclaimed:
7. Law Clerk
Clerkships are among the most highly sought-after positions in the legal profession. A law clerk assists judges as they write opinions, and the ones who get the job are almost always near the top of their class at law school. Six justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, including Elena Kagan and current Chief Justice John Roberts, were all law clerks early in their careers.
The job clearly beefs up a resume. Yet law clerks still report high levels of dissatisfaction. The hours are long and grueling, and the clerk is subject to the whims of sometimes mercurial personalities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported the job brings in a median salary of $39,780 a year—not exactly striking it rich—and those looking for advancement within the position simply will not find it.
I was a law clerk. Have known several law clerks. Completely agree with the first whole paragraph, and the first sentence of the second. And the salary mentioned in the last sentence in the last paragraph is in the same ballpark that it was 5 years ago. What I really don’t get is what people are complaining about.
Sometimes the hours are long, but other times they are very much not. You get to work closely with judges that are some of the brightest legal minds in the country. If you work on an appellate court (as I did), you create your own deadlines. Your co-clerks are young and bright and fun, and will probably be your friends for life. No billable hours. Intellectual stimulation. You get paid to write. What’s not to like?
Now, granted, if you went to law school to make millions, this is probably not the best route. But so what? Money can’t buy you happiness, especially if you’re chained to your desk 80+ hours a week. Oh, and P.S., it is an intensely small number of attorneys that make great money. INTENSELY small. I know this makes no sense to anyone outside the field, and flies in the face of everything you think you know about lawyers and their salaries. For now you’ll just have to trust me (that is, until I publish my tell-all exposé letting the world know what it’s really like. It’s coming!)
I just don’t get it. I mean, I’ve seen “Dirty Jobs” on Discovery Channel. How could any job that involves constantly picking up animal feces, processing fish guts, or handling toxic waste not knock a great job like law clerk hundreds of spots off this list?
As far as I can tell, being a law clerk is actually one of the best jobs in the profession. I know I loved it. I guess it doesn’t really matter what this list says; I’m not sure where these lists come from or how they come up with their figures anyway. Still, there is something very concerning about seeing what is probably the best job in your field on a list of most-hated jobs. Very concerning.