Workers With Best, Worst Jobs Compare Notes

CareerCast compiled a list of the 200 best and worst jobs of 2010 based on environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands and stress. The best job of actuary pays well and sounds like interesting enough work; but the worst job on the list — roustabout — at least has a nice ring to it, although the pay is poor. Karen DeToro is an actuary, and Adam Henry works offshore as a roustabout. They chat about the merits of their own jobs.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

A survey about jobs was released earlier this month. It rated the best and the worst among 200 jobs.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

The survey was conducted by the job search company, CareerCast. It looked at five factors: stress, work environment, physical demands, income and hiring outlook.

SIEGEL: The results: actuaries were at the top. At the bottom, roustabouts, the people with the dirtiest jobs in the oil business, operating and cleaning oil rigs.

BLOCK: Well, that's what the numbers showed. But then there is subjective experience. Karen DeToro is a consulting actuary in Chicago. She advises life insurance companies about risk. Adam Henry is a roustabout in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana. And we got these two strangers to talk to each other.

Ms. KAREN DETORO (Consulting Actuary, Chicago): So, Adam, when did you first decide that this was what you wanted to pursue?

Mr. ADAM HENRY (Roustabout, Gulf of Mexico): Well, it's been something I've - even in grade school I did book reports and such on.

Ms. DETORO: Wow, that's great.

Mr. HENRY: Yeah. How did you end up in your present occupation, Karen?

Ms. DETORO: Well, when I was in college, I actually just decided to major in math, didn't necessarily have a plan for what I was going to do with it. And frankly, I had some student loans I needed to pay back and I needed to get a job, found out about this career, applied for and got a job. And I thought it would be a short term thing until I could get those loans paid off. But it turned out to be something I really enjoyed. I've worked at a few different employers in the field and so I've gotten to see some different aspects of it. I love what I do for a living. And so, it was very gratifying to see that this survey reflected a lot of the same positives that I see in my job.

Mr. HENRY: In my situation, you want to escape, you know, if you're a roustabout in a drill camp or on a drill ship you're in an area where you're in seclusion. To me, that's an exciting adventure.

Ms. DETORO: Right, and that's very different.

Mr. HENRY: And it's dirty work, you know. You wear coveralls, all kinds of safety equipment.

Ms. DETORO: There are certainly some things about my job that people wouldn't find appealing. You know, we do a lot of work with numbers. Certainly that's not something that everyone is interested in.

Mr. HENRY: I'm always thinking in my own mind that it's work always indoors and I've never been very good at that.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. DETORO: Well, I will tell you I get to travel a lot for my job. And so, when I get to where I'm going, I'm going into a client's office and working indoors again. But I like the days where I'm running to the airport or I'm driving from my office to a client in the middle of the day. I do like having that opportunity to get out of the office during the day. But I would say, I don't think I would take it to the extreme that you do. I don't think it's something that I would be capable of doing. So, I'm happy that there are guys like you who do do it.

Mr. HENRY: Yeah. Two nights ago, we had dolphins all around the ship. It was a nice quiet night. The water was like glass. And the dolphins were just swimming around, feeding in the lights around the ship.

Ms. DETORO: Well, Adam, it was a pleasure talking with you. Best of luck.

Mr. HENRY: Thank you, Karen.

Ms. DETORO: Okay, thank you very much.

Mr. HENRY: All right.

Ms. DETORO: Bye.

Mr. HENRY: Bye.

SIEGEL: That was roustabout Adam Henry taking with actuary Karen DeToro about their personal experiences with what one survey found to be the best job and the worst job.

(Soundbite of song, "Roustabout")

Mr. ELVIS PRESLEY (Singer): (Singing) I'm just a roustabout shiftin' from town to town. No job can hold me down, I'm just a knock-around guy. There's a lot of space beneath that sky till I find my place there's no doubt, I'll be a roving roustabout. Call me the carefree kind�

BLOCK: The King on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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