The unhappiest jobs in America

And you thought your job was bad. These 6 professions have been ranked the least satisfying -- based on factors such as growth potential and compensation -- by the people who do them.

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Jun 26, 2012 7:47AM
This isn't an article, it's five pictures with one line captions lost in a huge sea of advertising.

Jun 26, 2012 9:03AM
Before you start rating the teachers lets rate the parents first. I am not a teacher but know all to well of parents who defend their child when they are wrong, bring them up as brats, send them off ill prepared, never attend a parent - teacher conference and more. To educate a child is a team effort and frankly that teacher is there to teach not to cover your short comings as a parent . So if you are not up to the task of parenthood either get help in learning to be a parent or skip the having a baby part of life. Remember you are not your kids best friend you are his or hers parent(s) so set the rules and do you job so that a  teacher can do theirs. 
Jun 26, 2012 8:44AM
I've been teaching for 22 years, and it wasn't like this back when I started.  I feel bad for new teachers, and the new workload is impossible to get done.  However, the real stress for  me is the lack of discipline.  I'm amazed when I sit at paren/teacher conferences, and the way children speak to their parents!  No wonder teachers have no control, the parents are not parents!!!  I always step in to correct the child, and the parents are astonished of how I control the situation.  I simply look at them, and kindly tell them they're the parent, and they better start acting that way before it becomes worse.  Amazingly, I've never been in trouble for this, so I'll continue this until I get into trouble. 
Jun 26, 2012 11:24AM
As a teacher facing a RIFF, I can only say that I loved my job for the first 20 years.  Back then we were treated with respect and we used our summers for professional growth.  We used to get 3 months off but now we stay home for two months at most.  We're seasonal employees but we don't get unemployment checks.  They just stretch our checks out over those two months.    Over the past decade, I've watched people bad mouth us, make jokes about older teachers as if we've forgotten how to nurture and encourage children; think that they are supposed to dictate to a robot and intrude into the classroom at all times as if it is some type of test tube.  I've watched every type of experimental program tried on children living in inner cities and desperate administrators sign up for dwindling funds.  I've seen republicans and democrats bash teachers as if they could do a better job. There is no opportunity for 95% of us to have upward mobility.  We can only get a raise if we get another degree or if we get a cost of living raise.  We've had no raises in my state for five years and anywhere from 4 to 10 furlough days.  We are asked to work at least 10-20 hours over the 40 hour week we work without pay and out health insurance just keeps going up.  I've seen too many teachers suffer from stress related illnesses brought on from children cursing us and bad mouthing us because of the media.  IT HAS BECOME A HORRIBLE JOB.  And, if you think you are so great, sign up today.  Even the Teach for America Kids can't hang in there at the worst schools for more than a few years.   America, you've gotten what you've asked for...teachers who are just robots and go through the scripted motions.  And for the idiot who talked about education degrees.  Some of us came from Ivy League Colleges and we actually wanted to make a difference.  You just got jealous and wanted us as miserable as you are.
Jun 26, 2012 11:41AM
That's why I left teaching after 8 years. I couldn't do it anymore. I had NO personal life whatsoever, which is probably a good thing because I taught in Florida where I was making just over 40k with a MASTERS degree. And there is NO accountability on the parents' behalf. They're either helicopter parents who want to know why everything their kid doesn't doesn't deserve an A, or they don't care. I decided that we may only have this one life, and I refused to spend it teaching apathetic kids with ridiculous parents under an umbrella of micromanagement and political figures who blame teachers for everything.

Jun 22, 2012 12:56PM
This would have been a more interesting article if there had actually been some information in it.  I would love to know the specific reasons why these particular jobs were so disliked.  Heck, I don't even know what the job description would look like on some of these positions.  Some background info for each job would have made this a much better, more informative article.
Jun 26, 2012 10:19AM
I'm not saying all the public is disrespectful, but all of these loudmouths, who bash teachers & talk about "how easy it is," wouldn't do it (teach) for a second.  Some of these critics are sitting here, making $60-$70-$80K or more, & they talk about "how well paid teachers are."  Depends on the state actually.  And teachers work 9 months out of the year, not 8.  If you factor in the weeks off, the days off, & other things.  Lack of administrative support is a "pain in the butt."  Many parents don't raise and/or discipline their kids.  They simply "dump them off" at the school & expect the teachers to teach, raise them, be caring & compassionate, take whatever junk they throw & be happy.  Amazing stuff!  Some kids are fine.  But some are brats & teachers have to put with them, regardless.  Put a smile on your face & move along.  Unfortunately, you can't pass legislation which will require parents to give them "some raising."  Too bad, too sad.
Jun 26, 2012 9:33AM
Most people don't realize that most teachers leave the profession within 5 years of graduating from college.  Many don't even seek teaching jobs, but give up after student teaching.   The #1 reason people leave or don't even start teaching careers isn't the money, because they know the pay is pathetic, but it's because they get no respect and support from the principals and school administrators.   Parents and kids have way too much power now and teachers are treated like servants instead of professionals.  
Jun 26, 2012 8:24AM
@ Someone,  Ok, I agree that it is sad that teachers are unhappy with their jobs, and that does create an issue.  And part of that is because of unruly kids.  I am a teacher.  And I will tell you laziness isn't the issue, it's work overload.  We have ALOT of paperwork that cannot be done when the students are present, so it goes home.  SO basically we put in a full day, and then we have to take work home with us too.  I have two small children.   I do not like grading papers while cooking dinner, or trying to spend some of that quality time with my girls.  I love teaching in itself, but there are alot of things other than teaching that has piled on us, for a salary smaller than most professionals.  WE ARE PRofessionals.  We have to at least have a Bachelor's, most have at least have a Master's Degree at our school.  Teachers are very dedicated,  They have to be to stick with it.  And I have to admit, I have shown a few movies, all related to the curriculum.  THe students had assignments related to each one.  Have you ever observed in a classroom?  Before you knock us, please go see for yourself.  I do agree that our country has issues because it is hard to raise a FAMILY on one income.  I myself deal with frustration and guilt that I have to put my child in daycare while I have to teach (and in some cases, raise) other people's children.  I do agree that we need to find happiness in our lives, and I am happy.  I can just see why teachers would be unhappy.  I see why daily in my own workplace. 
Aug 24, 2012 10:15AM

Working sucks period. That's why it's called work.


Could the reason why teachers are unhappy possibly be that kids are disrespectful brats today, raised by even more disrespectful, immature and iresponsible parents??? Just a thought based on what lives next door to me...

Jun 26, 2012 11:05AM
Psych 101: Pay does not increase job satisfaction or happiness. I have been a teacher for nearly 20 years and have always found the pay to be adequate. Unhappiness in teaching comes from a nation of people who are not qualified to do our job, continually telling us how we are doing it wrong, while not having a clue how to do it right. The biggest farce in education is standardized testing and data collection. You cannot neatly package people into nice neat categories using statistics, no matter how much politicians and school administrators want to make it so. Everyone outside of the classroom seems obsessed with test scores and grades, but cannot be bothered to do any studies that show a correlation between the grades/scores and success as an adult. The problem? everyone has a different idea of what success is. Final thing for all of you "education reformers" out there, education does not come from the teacher, but from the student. Keep telling your kids how bad school and teachers are, and they will believe it.
Jun 22, 2012 10:04AM
Being a registered nurse for 10 years now, I am not surprised at all to find that it is number 2 on the list. It is probably one of the hardest jobs a person can do. In one 12-16 hour day we are waitresses, secretaries, case managers, and counselors. We see some of the worst that humanity has to offer on a daily basis. I'm not just talking about patients either. I'm talking about physicians, administrations, and insurance companies too. We deal with some of the most cut-throat managers and administrators that I know. They will do anything to keep from giving their employees a raise. We also are safety nets from physicians and residents for our patients. They don't always make the wisest decisions.  The only thing that a person has to show for being a nurse is broken down backs/knees/feet and a thick skin. RN's do NOT get paid what these articles say online. In some very high cost of living places or if they are travelers, maybe. The latest research shows that within 1 year of entering the nursing profession 50% opt for a career change. This is startling because number 1: nursing school is one of the hardest programs that a person can complete, so why go through that hell just to throw it away? Number 2: five years ago the research said that within 3 years of enter the nursing profession 30% opt for a career change. That is a HUGE increase in such a short period of time. The thing that scares me the most is that people with business degrees are making the decisions on how care should be rendered to our patients. They don't have a clue. Nurse to patient ratio is determined on the number of patients on any given floor. Not the acuity or how sick the patients are. It's because bringing in more staff is not cost effective. A nurse can have 6 patients to take care of and 2 of them take up their entire time during the shift. The other 4 the nurse barely sees. If you have a family member in the hospital, my advice is do not leave them alone. If your family member is left alone, they will not get the care that they need and deserve. Be prepared to be your family member's nurse. It's not because nurses don't want to take care of their patients, it's because they simply can't do everything that is required in the time frame allotted.
Jun 26, 2012 8:18AM
It would have been nice if there were some explanations as to why they are the unhappiest job instead of just listing them off. I've come to expect more from MSN.
Jun 26, 2012 10:59AM

Steelerman, I graduated summa cum laude, in education, taking hard classes that weren't required just to push myself. I did all that while working, being a mom and wife, and an active community member. Don't you dare say that most teachers took the easy way out!


My summers "off" are spent working on our curriculum programs such as reading and math, attending workshops (out of my own pocket) and taking classes (also out of my own pocket) to keep current with new teaching methods and best practice. During the school year I teach all day, with about 20 minutes for lunch, and then go home and grade papers for 2-3 hours a night. That's in addition to the regular mom/wife duties I have (laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, chauffering)


I have kids who come to school without having had breakfast--how can I possibly expect them to learn when they are so damn hungry? I keep granola bars and other food items, paid for by me, on hand so I can feed these children and give them a better chance of making it through the day. I have parents who can't be bothered to spend 20 minutes a night reading with their child, or checking their homework, or even reading the notes I send home.


The teachers I know are dedicated, educated, and the hardest-working people I know. We are shaping  your future through your children, but we are less-valued every day. No wonder some of the teachers I work with have seriously thought about a career change. "Welcome to WalMart" is a lot less stressful than "We are going to work on writing a three paragraph essay."  

Jun 26, 2012 10:37AM

Let's talk about teacher pay.... it differ's greatly depending on where you live. My state requires a masters degree but gives no aid in getting that degree. As a teacher I bring home less with my master's degree than a friend that work's a a local McDonald's .... that said it's a good thing I LOVE my job or I would NOT do it.....  Our insurance is good for the teacher but horribly expensive it we want to add our family. Yes we do get the summer off but we do NOT get paid for that time off so how is that a great thing? I essentially am a contracted employee that works 183 day's a year, 12-14 hour days in you include the time I spend grading papers and working extra-curricular activities such as ball games and academic meets. I tutor students after school on my own time and do everything necessary to see that my class succeeds because I am judged on their success or failure on state standardized tests and I only have them for a few months. Then I get roughly 6-8 weeks off in the summer and I go do it again with a different group of students again the next year. I am a teacher. I am not stupid, I did not flunk out of college , I did not choose this profession because I could not "hack" it at another one. For the record most of you could not even be on this website complaining, reading and posting if not for someone like me. I am not unsatisfied with my job although it would be nice once in a while to be acknowledged for the good things I do instead of bashed for the bad. At one time teaching was a profession that was looked up to and now people look at you and say "oh you are a teacher" like it is a shame, like they pity you.... my how time has changed our view of what was once a noble profession. For the record all the "noble" professions, the ones we look up to because they bring home the  big bucks, and buy the big houses... all of them required the support of some lowly teacher at some point along the way!

Jun 26, 2012 11:43AM

It is easy to say "If you don't like your job, find a different one", but realistically, no matter what you do for a living, you will probably take a pay cut when you change careers. Luckily, I went from the military into teaching and immediately started earning more money. I can honestly say that most of the dissatisfied teachers are in mid to late career and have found that they have become an easy target for politicians, pundits and parents. Everything that is wrong with education is somehow the fault of the teacher. How many of you know that there is a legal precedent that makes teachers legally obligated to teach the materials they are given, and teach it the way they are told to by their administrators? Ever notice that there is a new wonderful "fix-all" program every four years? Take a look past the catchy title and you find it has been copied by an older program that didn't work for another administration.

So keep telling us to find other careers. The best of us, the ones who might have the ability and courage to make public education better, will take your advice (or retire at the earliest possible moment) and who will that leave in the classroom?

It is time to wake up and start firing the people who are really responsible for the problems in education. Remember that in November.


Jun 26, 2012 6:06PM
Considering teaching? Don't unless you can give back 5 to 10 percent of your income for supplies, food, and clothing; work 55-60 hours a week; eat in 15 minute lunches, and get blamed for every everthing wrong in the American society. The kids are great, but administrators have no clue as to how to manage adults. Most have been in education their entire lives and have no idea that teachers are adults and need to be treated as adults and professionals. There is far too little parental support and to much blaming rather than accepting responsibility. Why do teachers leave, because it is limited in career development and because you can never master anything before something new or ten things new are added to your daily workload. Compare what a teacher does to a dentist. If a dentist has a patient and gives the patient a toothbrush and tooth paste and the patient refuses to do the daily maintenance, does the dentist get sued?  No, but the the teacher does! No Thanks...Leaving after 13 years. Should have left after 1.
Jun 22, 2012 11:55AM

If the federal government would get out of the teacher's way....we may get back to teaching our children with the kinda of sucess America enjoyed in the 1960"s & 70's.


Federal Regulation is much to blame to many of our countries woe's....It's choking America.

Jun 22, 2012 3:53PM
The employers of our nation suck the living day lights out of us. The new management stile is manage by fear. Europe has a better humane plan for employees. 80%+ retirement at 50 years of age. Our country works us to death then kicks us in the teeth with very low retirement benefits. Just remember people you will all get old one day and some snot nosed kid will take your job at one third your pay. Bottom line there's no loyalty between employer and employee. Just watch the office door at 5PM everyday everyone runs out the door. 
Jun 26, 2012 11:08AM
I find it very amusing that except for Security Guard, that these are all white collar jobs. Did any of the idiots who came up with survey ask a sewer worker how great his/her job is? How about a fast food worker or an assembly line operator at a small non-union plastics plant? This article is nothing but complete snobbery coupled with whining from the over $50,000 a year crowd.
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