You knew it. You chose to be a paralegal instead of a lawyer but until now, no one has officially sanctioned your choice. In fact, many people (including old Aunt Minnie and grouchy Uncle Vinnie) still question why you didn't go on to become a lawyer. Well, my little chickadees, you now have an official survey to point to that substantiates and validates your choice.
This morning, the ABA Journal cited the editors of a new best jobs list who believe it’s better to be a federal judge, and better still to be a paralegal assistant. Lawyers were ranked 82 on the list of best jobs by the new job site CareerCast.com. Federal judges were 69th on the list and paralegal assistants 17th, just below meteorologists and medical laboratory technicians and above computer programmer.
Lawyers and stockbrokers, ranked 84th, both did poorly, and the reason is stress, the editors say. “Attorneys and stockbrokers may earn considerably more than bookbinders or telephone repair technicians [ranked 83rd and 81st respectively], but these high-powered careers are hurt by anxiety, as both rank among the 20 most stressful jobs on our list.”
The list puts annual income at $109, 207 for lawyers, at $152,027 for federal judges and at $46,155 for paralegals. The figures were derived by combining midlevel income with income growth potential. Besides income and stress, the rankings considered job environment, employment outlook and physical demands, according to a Wall Street Journal story profiling the list’s top job: mathematician.
The top 10 jobs on the list are:
- Software engineer
- Computer systems analyst
- Industrial designer
If you are sitting at your desk, contemplating 4 feet of documents, worrying how you're going to prioritize 4 associates work assignments and still make it to pick up your kids on time, lighten up. Things could be worse. The survey lists the worst job as lumberjack, right up there with taxi driver, seaman and dairy farmer. I'll take a stressed-out, grumpy attorney anyday.