Published Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 1:00 am / Updated at 1:37 pm
George Ayoub: Ink-stained wretch notably absent from best-jobs list

Newspaper columnist must have been number 101.

That’s 100 spots from software developer, 72 from esthetician, 44 from bill collector and 30 from exterminator.

U.S. News and World Report has published its list of the 100 Best Jobs of 2014. We ink-stained wretches are nowhere to be found. No mention of writers of any kind.

Public relations specialists led the creative types parade, checking in at a comparatively sketchy 85, art directors at 91 and architects at 92.

The top five? The aforementioned coding kings and queens, computer systems analysts, dentists, nurse practitioners and pharmacists.

The magazine decided the “best” using seven measures: number of new jobs in the next 10 years (10 percent of the weight used to calculate the total); percentage of growth in the next 10 years (10 percent); median salary (30 percent); the ease of landing a job in the future (20 percent); percentage of people in that occupation who are currently employed (20 percent); stress level (5 percent); impact on lifestyle and family (5 percent).

Check it all out at U.S. News and World Report’s website, but you’ll find no writers, bloggers or newspaper columnists there.

Missing, too, are the dream jobs of millions: sports and movie stars.

Why researchers failed to list professional athletes is curious. If 30 percent of the ranking checked in at $10 million a year for seasonal work, I would have to believe sports stars merited a look.

Throw in league expansions, trades and a pathway to management and come on. Where’s the BMOCs of pro sports?

Hollywood’s rich and the famous, although not necessarily an occupation, are also missing from the best jobs list. This could be because matinee idol scored a perfect zero on the criteria calculations as did the ability to get the good seat at a restaurant.

Speaking of which, I would quibble with stress and work/life issues only weighted at 5 percent. Paycheck math fuels plenty of job satisfaction, but “best” may not always translate to “happy,” as in “You couldn’t pay me enough to do that.”

Certainly finding and keeping a well-paying top 100 gig can make for smiling blue skies and offset the afflictions of a lousy boss, a toxic workplace or mind-numbing monotony. But not all of it.

So, as with any “best” list, salt grains all around, particularly when we consider and compare our own 9-to-5.

When I read about growth percentages, current occupation volumes and the next 10 years, I wondered where I would put the inordinate flexibility that my job affords me. Not that I can come and go as I please, but — well — it’s close.

And while there is deadline stress, covering night events and far too many Saturdays and Sundays at the keyboard, I rather dig the blank screen in the morning. When it’s filled (after rewrites, tweaks and considerable fussing), I have a satisfying sense of completion — and progress.

The words, phrases and ideas measure the distance I’ve come that day, what I’ve created, the flesh and blood and bones of my accomplishment. I find that far superior to a time clock or whistle or bell.

I also find that for me, having a job that gives me a “voice” is a game changer.

None of which means I particularly like coming to work, and at my age the R-word has made the to-do list. Of course, massage therapists (27), middle school teachers (50) and taxi drivers and chauffeurs (74) may feel exactly the same way.

Too, like most of us at work (where we should be happy to have a job), some days our situation is easily among the 100 Best.

And other days, well, the numbers don’t go that high.

And still others, I’ll never get off 101.

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