Well, hell. Here I am, at the age-imposed “twilight” of my years, now being told that my life’s work is “the worst job of 2015” in CareerCast’s Jobs Rated List.
Being a newspaper reporter, CareerCast says, “displaced lumberjack as the worst job of 2015.”
Adds this company that rates what we do for a living:
Newspaper reporter has a negative growth outlook of -13.33 percent and an average salary of $36,267. Broadcaster and photojournalist, with mid-level annual salaries of less than $30,000, also ranked at the bottom of the list.
Since I am both a “newspaper reporter” and a photojournalist, what I do for a living ranks 195th and 200th out of 200 careers.
I might have time to get depressed about all of this if I had time. I’m in the middle of another 50-60 hour week of covering news stories for the paper, photographing sports and other news, shooting documentary footage on the area’s music heritage, writing about politics for a national news web site and staying busy as hell.
Am I making a lot of money? Nope. I used to make a lot more during my foray over to the dark side of life as a political operative but I was miserable. Money is not a driving factor. We make enough to live. Enjoying life is far more important.
I’ve traveled the world as a reporter and photographer, interviewed and photographed heads of states, newsmakers good and bad, actors and actresses famous and not-so famous and people who have made a difference in this world. I interviewed Jimmy Hoffa over dinner in St. Louis just two weeks before he disappeared, debated then Vice President Spiro Agnew on CBS News just before he resigned in disgrace, photographed Richard Nixon in his final days as President.
I photographed actor Paul Newman after he crashed his sports car in a race at Mid-America Raceway in Wentzville, Missouri. I shot news photos of a tornado as it tore a patch of destruction in Illinois. I’ve covered numerous trips to state tournaments for successful state athletic teams as well as professional sports.
Over the last half-century, I’ve eavesdropped on the world as it has happened: Good and bad, happy and sad, depressing and enjoyable, exciting and mundane.
I’m extremely fortunate to start out each day knowing that life will not be the same or routine. Different things will happen. Each day will be varied. Events shape what happens.
In 2012, when an encounter between a cow and my motorcycle hospitalized me for several weeks, I was returning from shooting photos of a high school football game near Staunton.
Many nights I come home exhausted but with a smile on my face. I often fall asleep very late but always snap awake at 0500 — 5 a.m. — and ready to start a new day.
Winston Churchill once said “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”
Maybe being a newspaper reporter is the worst job in the world.
Except for all others.