No. 8: Garbage collector
Yes, there's some heavy lifting involved. Yes, there are jobs that pay more. Yes, there are risks that come with working on a garbage truck. But in general, collectors are very satisfied with their jobs, says Thomas Metzger, communications director for the National Waste and Recycling Association.
"They understand they're providing a vital service to the American people," he says. "It's a service that is essential to keeping Americans healthy and protecting our environment. The people who work for our companies are very proud of that fact."
The work may be smelly, but the perks are nice. Waste collectors rake in median salaries of $32,720 annually, reports the BLS. Metzger adds that company benefits, including health care, are often provided and jobs are stable.
But Metzger says that garbage collectors do face atypical working hours and safety challenges from drivers.
"In trying to quickly get wherever they're going, (American drivers) may make a bad decision and, in doing so, they may not see a collector or helper on the road grabbing a can," he says. "All too often, our folks are struck by such drivers. That's a problem."