Special Report

The Most (and Least) Meaningful Jobs

5. Fabric and apparel patternmakers
> Pct. job meaning:
> Employment: 5,140
> Annual median wage: $43,900
> Job satisfaction: 50%

Only one in four pattern makers for fabric and apparel feel that their work makes the world a better place. Most people in the field design fabric patterns and layouts, often using design software. Many jobs in the field are highly repetitive and procedure based. Over the next decade, the number of people employed as fabric and apparel pattern makers is expected to decline by 26%, while employment across all industries is projected to increase by 7%.

4. Prepress technicians and workers
> Pct. job meaning:
> Employment: 35,330
> Annual median wage: $38,270
> Job satisfaction: 51%

Prepress technicians format and proof text and images that designers submit before creating a finished product. Many workers in the field also clean and maintain printing equipment. Most prepress technicians report repetitive day to day tasks and daily deadline pressures. Only one in four prepress technicians find their work fulfilling, one of the smallest shares of any occupation in the country.

3. Title examiners, abstractors, and searchers
> Pct. job meaning:
> Employment: 54,620
> Annual median wage: $44,370
> Job satisfaction: 70%

Title examiners, abstractors, and searchers are responsible for examining documents such as liens, mortgages, and contracts in order to identify and summarize any restrictions or legal provisions that might affect involved parties. Such jobs are repetitive in nature and require attention to detail. Most examiners and searchers have only a high school diploma or the equivalent and work for law firms, title insurance companies, or real estate agencies. Only a quarter of the roughly 54,620 employed in the occupation find meaning in their jobs.

2. Gaming supervisors
> Pct. job meaning:
> Employment: 22,640
> Annual median wage: $49,730
> Job satisfaction: 77%

Gaming supervisors, often referred to as pit bosses or casino supervisors, circulate around gaming floors to ensure smooth operation at gaming tables and to field questions and complaints from patrons. They are also often charged with analyzing gamblers’ behavior in order to spot cheaters and card counters. Like many jobs on this list, gaming supervisors are client facing, and often face difficult situations. Only one in every five gaming supervisors say that their job has meaning.

1. Parking lot attendants
> Pct. job meaning:
> Employment: 144,150
> Annual median wage: $20,630
> Job satisfaction: 41%

Only 5% of parking lot attendants believe that their work is meaningful, by far the smallest share of any occupation surveyed. Like many of the least meaningful jobs, parking lot attendants are paid relatively little, earning a median of just $20,630 annually. Workers in the field are often employed as valet parkers at restaurants or booth attendants in parking garages. Parking lot attendants’ duties are service oriented and often repetitive.