Accounting & Auditing | Business Strategy | Leadership / Management

Best and worst jobs? According to who?

I used to love reading the seemingly endless stream of “best jobs in the universe" lists — usually because accounting and finance jobs are almost always pretty high on the food chain. There’s nothing like the independent confirmation of an infographic to reaffirm your choice of a career.

Lately, though, the cynic in me suspects that the click-baiting number-crunchers who churn out these lists don’t have a clue.

The latest example comes from the folks at

Their infographic “Americans at Work: The Best and Worst Jobs,” starts off strong, listing “financial planner” at No. 5 on its list of the 10 best jobs in America. It has an unemployment rate of just 2.4 percent and projected growth of 32 percent. A huge factor driving its growth: “Retiring baby boomers will need help,” the infographic states. So far, so good.

After that, the wheels come off pretty quickly.

The folks close out their infographic with a dubious list titled, “5 Best Jobs for People Who Hate Working With Other People.” The mere idea that knows how other people feel is ridiculous to begin with, but the fact that they list accountant as No. 1 borders on outright lunacy.

Accountants hate other people? Have these list-makers spent any time at all with today’s CPAs? Do they have any idea where this profession is headed?

Apparently not.

The stereotypes are dead. CPAs aren’t mere number-crunchers any longer. They don’t just manage the data — more and more frequently, technology takes care of that. Instead, CPAs interpret the numbers and help their clients solve problems.

Doing that means knowing your clients. Knowing your clients means being social. Being social means working with other people.

And that renders’s infographic misinformed at best, and highly inaccurate at worst.

But hey, the numbers say they may have gotten at least one thing right: They listed my old occupation, “newspaper reporter,” as the worst job in America. Based on the data, it’s hard to argue. The hours, the pay, the negative job growth, the uncertain future — in total, it paints a pretty bleak future for the newspaper industry.

Then again, I know more than a few reporters who love what they do — who, in fact, wouldn’t do anything else.

The numbers, apparently, don’t tell the whole story. Keep that in mind the next time you read a “Best Of” list.


Bill Sheridan