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Job rankings do not dictate career path

I have the worst job in the world.

No, seriously. It's a fact, according to the nice folks over at CareerCast.com, an online job search website I first heard about Wednesday.

Their crack staff ranked newspaper reporter dead last — behind lumberjack and enlisted military personnel — in their listing of best and worst jobs of 2013.

Of 200 careers, my fellow print reporters and I find our ink-stained hands firmly grasping CareerCast.com's bottom rung.

"Newspaper reporters have fared poorly in the Jobs Rated report for years due to the job's high stress and tight deadlines, low pay and requirement to work in all conditions to get the story," wrote CareerCast.com's Kyle Kensing.

Even when you put it that way, I still think a reporter's life is far better than the sacrifices made by enlisted military personnel serving overseas.

The survey graded jobs across four broad categories: environment, income, outlook and stress.

The best job? Actuary.

It was followed by biomedical engineer, software engineer, audiologist and financial planner to round out the top five.

With spring upon us, I know there are a lot of high school seniors out there looking at their future at college and planning a career. What I would say to them is: Yes, it's OK to browse these rankings, but don't define your future by them.

While I'm sure a lot of work went into coming up with this list, picking a career is a deeply personal decision. If you follow cookie-cutter advice, you probably won't find a career that plays to your personal strengths.

I once worked as a purchasing agent — ranked 91 spots better than newspaper reporter — and hated it. It wasn't anything against my employer; I'm just a creative personality who loves to write, and purchasing didn't fit my style.

The best decision of my life was taking a pay cut to work as an entry-level reporter at the local Jackson County paper.

Now I get to interview congressional representatives, business leaders or whoever else is making headlines on a given day. How many lumberjacks can say that?  

***

In other matters, last Friday marked the second anniversary for the opening of bids to renovate Building 3 at the state Capitol Complex.

Six companies submitted bids in 2011 to completely renovate the building, which used to house the Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Health and Human Resources and Division of Natural Resources.  

Massaro Corp. of Pittsburgh submitted the apparent low bid of $33.6 million.

Department of Administration spokeswoman Diane Holley-Brown said Friday a contract still hasn't been awarded as the bids remain under evaluation. Meanwhile, the building's former tenants have moved to new offices.

The DMV is now in leased space at the Kanawha Mall, while the DHHR moved its employees to state-owned offices in the Diamond Building and One Davis Square. DNR employees are now in the state-owned Plaza V building in South Charleston.


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