What is a thankless job?
If you work hard, and your efforts consistently go unnoticed or you never hear a “thank you” for your hard day’s work — you might be have a thankless job.
Thankless jobs become even more thankless when they are underpaid, disrespected, or overworked in hard conditions. In this graphic, we’ve taken the jobs factors of salary, public opinion, stress, and work environment to compared some of the most common U.S. public sector jobs to each other. Which is the most thankless? Here’s what we found, with #1 being the most thankless job.
Disclaimer: The rankings in the graphic above are all scored relative to each other, so for example if you took Firefighter out of the list the spread would look less dramatic.
The most thankless jobs
Dentists were included because the phrase, “I love going to the dentist,” is never said. But they can dry their thankless eyes with their massive paycheck. Dentists make 60% more than the average doctorate degree, and they work in air conditioned offices all day. Still, thankless job or not, would it kill you to say thanks to your dentist? He’s been smelling your breath all morning, after all.
Nurses work long hours, on their feet for much of the time. Though their work is exhausting, public opinion of nurses runs very high (2nd place in our group) and they are paid a little bit better than the average bachelor’s degree, which means we are showing them some love and respect.
Teachers are professional educators with the power to inspire our children. In exchange for their work, they get little thanks, attitude from our kids, and long nights grading homework. On the plus side, they don’t have to work 3 months of the year — so they can use this time to recharge and ramp up for the next thankless school year. Write your favorite teacher a note. This rare token of appreciation will mean a lot.
Most of us don’t deal face to face with farmers anymore, we just go to the grocery store. But have you ever stopped to think about all the hard work that went into that food you’re stuffing into your face? In short, it involves a lot of early mornings and hard labor. Show your thanks for farmers by shopping at a farmer’s market, or if you know a farmer go shake their calloused hand and say “thanks.”
6. IRS Agent
Even though IRS Agents are working for our good, their public opinion is 2nd to last. They are slightly underpaid and their efforts are either feared or seen as a nuisance. If you ever get audited, just remember — they’re just doing their job. Show them some respect.
5. Social Worker
You know what’s thankless about social work? Working for peanuts. Social workers earn 30% less than the typical bachelor’s degree graduate. Employers take too much advantage of those soft, kind hearts. The good news is, the impact of social workers is felt and appreciated by their communities and patients. Show your appreciation for social workers by volunteering for a local charity or service. A few hours in their shoes and you will be grateful for social workers.
Though police are paid well and respected by the community, their working conditions can be stressful. Any routine stop could be a shooting or a high-speed chase. Next time you see an officer, thank him or her for keeping our streets safe.
3. Garbage Collector
The garbage man gets no respect. When was the last time you told your garbage man thank you? Never, you say? Well, remember he’s working hard to keep our city clean, and doing a job none of us has stepped up to do.
Everyone loves a firefighter. They rank #1 in public opinion for their heroic acts in our neighborhoods. Saving cats from trees, putting out fires, bravely rushing into dangerous situations to help those in distress. Most kids have wanted to be a firefighter at some point, until they realize there’s a lot more to it than sliding down poles and driving a cool truck. Fire can be extremely dangerous, and the working conditions of a fireman are highly volatile. Write a letter to your local fire department to express your thanks.
The active men and women of our military spend months at a time away from their family and friends. Like firefighters, they are performing heroic acts to keep us safe — often from a distance. They are at the front lines at great risk to their own safety. If you know anyone in the service, write them a letter. Express your gratitude. Show your support by helping their family, if possible. These men and women who are willing to give all need our love and support.
Which thankless jobs would you add to the list?
Who did we overlook? What do you think are the most thankless jobs? Let us know in the comments below.