Monday, April 29, 2013

Being a pastor is a pretty sorry job...

...if you check the latest job rankings. Clergy are ranked number 110 out of 200 job categories by which analyzed data from the U.S. Labor Department, Bureau of Labor Statistics, other government agencies, trade associations and private survey firms.

Depressed on Monday? You chose this rather meager and unsatisfying career path, but take heart:

Your job ranking beats that of attorney (117) perhaps because attorneys slink around courthouses trying to scare up a retainer or two and others are well paid but work brutal hours slaving away reading tedious documents for a couple hundred bucks an hour.

And you are way ahead of military general (180) even if no one takes your orders and staff undermines you sometimes.

You might complain about how many hats you have to wear as you carry out your clergy responsibility but painters (174), meter readers (194), dishwashers (187), and bank tellers (162) likely look with envy at your job with all of its variety rather than the mind numbing tedium they face each day.

But then do you look with envy at the job of bricklayer (53) which ranks far above yours. You do a lot of small scale building up but just don't always finish the day and are able to look back with satisfaction at what you have accomplished.

I hate to share the news, brethren, but your job ranks far below that of sewage plant operator (87), and you thought your job stunk at times. Here a new career path where you could bring some related experience and raw sewage doesn't call you in the middle of the night or whisper about your deficiencies in the hallways.

And you are behind truck drivers (108), automobile mechanics (103), parole officers (27), and even social workers (49).

One might think that clergy, who have some of the same job demands of museum curators (57), psychologists (58), pest control workers (95), recruiters (69), and human resources managers (31), might rank higher than 110th, far below these.

One of the constants in my several decades of pastoral ministry is the presence of a steady supply of my clergy colleagues who are whiners and complainers - not paid enough, always on display, constant job pressures, unappreciated, etc., etc.

My advice is to give some of the brethren an opportunity to blow off a little steam and vent a bit but to stay away from those who are always sitting on ready to share their latest job woes.

And stay away from job ranking articles.

Stick with this:

This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.”
What God calls "noble" let no job ranking survey diminish.

Now, it's Monday, take the rest of the day off.

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