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Nataliya Schafer Headshot

A Journalism Degree Is Worthless? I Don't Care

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After four years of swimming in the journalism kiddie pool with professors and TAs teaching me how to float, it's finally time for my dive into the deep end with the big fish with nothing but a bachelor of journalism degree, and my education to keep me afloat.
 
Graduating from university is a pretty scary time for anyone, regardless of what you spent the past four or five years studying. But it's pretty disheartening to finish school only to see your field of study on the worst dressed list of the occupational red carpet.
 
CareerCast.com's top 10 worst jobs of 2012, ordered from not-so-great to worst-of-the-worst, are broadcast journalist, butcher, dishwasher, meter reader, waiter, newspaper reporter, oilrig worker, enlisted military personnel, dairy farmer, and lumberjack.
 
Journalism grads, listen up: Even though it's convocation time and friends and families are telling you you're a superhero, you still suck according to CareerCast.com.
 
CareerCast.com's best jobs received a lower scoring number and the worst jobs received higher ones. Newspaper journalists scored 1,594 points and broadcasters scored 1,480. Jobs are scored by five "core criteria" that are part of every job: environment, income, outlook, stress, and physical demands. The greater the number that a job receives based on how they score in the five core criteria determines how "good" or "bad" the job is.
 
It hits pretty close to home when your field of study is the only one on the "worst" list that you can actually spend four years of your life getting a post-secondary degree in.
 
If only I would have known my degree would be worth approximately 1,500 points when I was 18, I could have become something great like a software engineer or an actuary! Then CareerCast.com would have approved of my life decision instead of looking down its nose at me.
 
We can choose who determines what list our job ends up on. CareerCast.com may say my career path is one of the worst you can choose today, but it has been a pretty good fit for me so far, so I've placed journalism in my number one slot on my personal top 10 list.
 
I would die of boredom is I was an audiologist, and I could never be a dental hygienist and spend all day with my hands in other people's mouths. But there are people who love those jobs, and I respect that.
 
I like the fact that my career field is on the worst list. It gives me drive to prove CareerCast.com and the other journalism haters wrong. It motivates me to constantly come up with new ideas, and learn how to be flexible so I can thrive in different work environments that will undergo a lot of changes in the next 50 years.

I honestly don't know what we're supposed to get out of the annual best and worst career surveys. Does anyone working a job on the "worst" list look at the jobs on the "best" list and consequently decide to quit his job as a waiter and become an engineer or a human resources manager?
 
Or did they choose a job on this list because they really liked it? Perhaps there are waiters who enjoy interacting with their regular customers, and maybe there are dairy farmers who have done this job since they were young and knew they wanted to do it for the rest of their lives.
 
There was no way that many of my J-school friends and I were ever going to be software engineers, actuaries, or financial planners. Most of journalists thrive in a mathless, numberless environment, so the majority of these jobs were honestly never in the cards for any of us. And even though CareerCast.com says that's not okay, I say it is.
 
I can't say that I dreamed of being the next Peter Mansbridge for my entire life, but I do know that when I was an infant I would get so excited whenever he came on screen during The National that I would giggle and clap until I spat up all over myself.
 
Perhaps I thought he was my dad because of their similar hairline, but my mother likes to think that it was because I was destined to be a journalist.
 
After she saw I was spending hours upon hours writing stories at home and at school to the point that I would spend my recesses finishing stories for my third and sixth grade testing, she was all the more certain.
 
Even though we may have to report about how our degree is one of the "13 most useless majors" and may even have the number one most useless degree according to some, we will hopefully have a lot of great moments along the way that will remind us why we decided to pursue a career that lots of people wouldn't touch with a 10 foot tape recorder.
 
In 2010 biologists were ranked to have the fourth best job according to CareerCast.com. This year they didn't even make the top 20. Journalism was not one of the 20 worst jobs in 2011, and this year it's ranked somewhere between the fifth and tenth worst.

What is the worst job this year won't necessarily be so bad next year, and what may be the best job today may not be the best job in two years. Success is relative.
 
Maybe in five years journalism could even be at the bottom of the top 10 list, but if it isn't, I'll be okay with that. If this year's CareerCast.com survey has taught me one thing, it's that once you're at the top, there's nowhere to go but to become a lumberjack.