I'm a Sociologist and I'm O.K.

January 8, 2009
Posted by Jay Livingston

Being a sociologist may not be the best job in the world. But, hey, eighth out of 200 ain’t bad.
That’s the news from The Wall Street Journal (I’ve always said the WSJ was a wonderful publication). On Tuesday, the Journal released the results of an evaluation by CareerCast.com of two hundred jobs.

(For a larger version, click on the image.)

Oh, sure, you could be a welder down at #194 on the list, or a lumberjack (#200), and you might be O.K. But if you’re playing the percentages, and if you can’t quite do the math, you could do a lot worse that sociology as a career.

Why did we do so well? CareerCast’s criteria were
  • environment
  • income
  • employment
  • outlook
  • physical demands
  • stress
Here's a bit of what a statistician (#3) might call anecdotal evidence.
Mark Nord is a sociologist working for the Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service in Washington, D.C. He studies hunger in American households and writes research reports about his findings. "The best part of the job is the sense that I'm making some contribution to good policy making,” he says. “The kind of stuff that I crank out gets picked up by advocacy organizations, media and policy officials.”

The study estimates sociologists earn $63,195, though Mr. Nord, 62, says his income is about double that amount. He says he isn't surprised by the findings because his job generates little stress and he works a steady 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. schedule. “It's all done at the computer at my desk,” he says. “The main occupational hazard is carpal tunnel syndrome.”

On the opposite end of the career spectrum are lumberjacks. The study shows these workers, also known as timber cutters and loggers, as having the worst occupation, because of the dangerous nature of their work, a poor employment outlook and low annual pay -- just $32,124.

Hat tip: Chris Uggen


Anonymous said...

Is it just me or is that bit of the article about "Mr. Nord says his income is about double that amount" a bit dick? Maybe it's just because my income is nowhere near double that amount.

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