by Allen J. Sheinman | March 11, 2011

The list

Save this list for perusal the next time you get overwhelmed by attendee demands, hotel mishaps or transportation snafus. These are the worst occupations in the country for 2011, as ranked by, and "meeting planner" is nowhere on the list!

1. Roustabout. Yes, it's the name of a job as well as a mediocre Elvis Presley movie, involving maintenance on oil rigs and pipelines. Working conditions often are hellish, as is the pay, with a median annual salary of $29,000.
2. Iron worker. The job requires working with hot metal at great heights, resulting in the fourth highest occupational fatality rate in the U.S., at 61 deaths per 100,000 workers.
3. Lumberjack. The job is coronary-provoking, requires being outdoors in every kind of weather in isolated areas, and all for a median hourly wage of $13.80.
4. Roofer. It's hot up there, the work is back-breaking, the pay is low. And -- you're working on the roof!
5. Taxi driver. At the get-go, passengers don't trust you to take shortest route and believe you have the meter rigged; traffic in many localities is stroke-inducing; national median hourly wage is $10.62. Now factor in the price of gas.
6. Emergency medical technicians. Imagine being on call 24/7. Imagine your stress levels erupting like Old Faithful. All for an annual salary of about $27,000.
7. Welder. Melting metal joints so they adhere together is a tad more intense than meeting with even the most irascible banquet manager.
8. Painter. No, we're not talking Renoir. We're talking houses and boats and whatever else needs painting. We're talking a lumbar herniated disc, and fumes potent enough to scald your epiglottis. And it might take a chemical peel to clean up at the end of the day.
9. Meter reader. The job entails monitoring public-utility meters and recording the volume of consumption by customers, most of whom don't like you. Offers paradoxical effect of becoming more boring the busier you are. 
10. Construction worker. It's not all whistling at the attractive passersby. It's like being an iron worker -- without the glamour. And didn't that scaffolding company make the front page of the news recently?

Honorable mention: Garbage collector, corrections officer.


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