CNN Money provides an article about the ten “most popular professions” in the U.S.–although I would argue that most of those jobs are more “common” or “available” than popular. They could, perhaps, be characterized as “the only jobs that millions of Americans can actually get.” The reason that you probably don’t want these jobs is that the average wage for 9 out of 10 of them is less than $35,000 a year, and only 3 of them pay more than $30,000. While this may not sound like a bad starting salary, keep in mind that the numbers are not “starting” salaries but the annual mean for all people in the U.S. who have those jobs. Furthermore, this was a national survey and thus included people from all over, including large and small cities, villages and rural areas. Those in the more urban areas are likely paid at rates that raise the average (but which still make affording food, lodging, and health care a struggle), while those in areas with lower costs of living get paid less.
You can see the full list at the end of the article, but the worst paying jobs were food prep worker ($18,720), cashier ($20,370), and waiter ($20,710).
At the opposite end of the spectrum, 9 out of 10 of the Best Paying Jobs in America (according to Forbes) are in the medical field, and the 10th is CEO, so it’s unlikely that anyone reading this blog is going to jump into one of those jobs right away.
But you might want to think about another measure of success: Happiness. Research from careerbliss.com tells us that the “Top 5 Happiest Jobs” are Software Quality Assurance Engineer, Executive Chef, Property Manager, Teller, and Warehouse Manager. While it may take a while to get to a couple of those positions, some of them are more readily attainable. And you can see a lot more “happy jobs” with a quick click on the jobs icon on the careerbliss.com home page. You can also find a list of the “happiest companies” to work for on their site, as well as reviews of many jobs and companies.