What Makes a "Best" Job?

Different rankings insist on different criteria. What do readers think?

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The most popular story at the WSJ right now is about the "best" and "worst" jobs in the U.S. The jobs list covered in the story is from CareerCast.com, a new job search site (from Adicio which is part-owned by the Journal).

It's an interesting list because it favors the office work environment. "According to our empirical data, many of the nation's worst jobs involve physical labor and time outdoors," CareerCast reports. The site finds that the very best job is mathematician and the very worst is lumberjack. Actuaries and statisticians also score among the top jobs, while dairy farmers and taxi drivers are among the lowest.

"Lumberjacks perform backbreaking physical labor in an unpleasant environment," according to CareerCast. While that's probably true, I've known some pretty happy dairy farmers. I do, indeed, also know an actuary and a mathematician who seem to be quite happy with their work. But those are just anecdotes. ...

The U.S.News list of "Best Careers," the one I'm certainly most familiar with, tends to favor jobs that are characterized by a slightly more dynamic work environment, such as physical therapist, fundraiser, veterinarian, clergy, hairstylist, locksmith, and firefighter.

What sort of work environment do you prefer? Why?

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