Every year, U.S. News and World Report ranks the best jobs in America and this year Dentists top the list:
Dentists have the best job in the U.S., according to U.S. News and World Report’s rankings, which were released on Tuesday.
The jobs selected are based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ predictions on which 100 jobs will grow the most between 2012 and 2022, the report said. “Those top 100 jobs, from the industries of business, creative, construction, health care, social services and technology, are then ranked based on projected openings, rate of growth, job prospects, unemployment rates, salary and job satisfaction,” the report said.
Dentists have the best job in the U.S. for four reasons, the report said. “One, a low unemployment rate of 0.9 percent. Two, decent work-life balance, especially compared to other health-care jobs. Three, the take-home pay is simply phenomenal,” according to the report. Dentists earned an average wage of $168,870 and a median hourly wage of $72.74 in 2013, according to the BLS.
Somehow, I am skeptical that sticking your hands in people’s mouths all day is the best job in America. And if it is so good, why the high suicide rate? Dentists are 5.45 times more likely to commit suicide than average, according to this article. In another article on the stresses of dentistry, a dentist looks at the reasons for the high suicide rate:
CAUSES OF STRESS
Why is our profession so prone to stress-related physical, mental and social problems? Since it is unfortunately too late for most of us to switch into law or engineering, at least we can examine some of the causes of stress in dental practice and then see if we can find some solutions to them and hopefully live a little longer and happier.
The average dentist spends most of his or her life confined to a small, sometimes windowless, 7ft. by 9ft. operatory, which is smaller than the cells in our penal institutions. The work is intricate and meticulous and is performed in a small, restricted oral space. The procedures are both physically and mentally taxing and as a result, strain, back troubles, circulatory disorders and fatigue are common. It is relatively easy, over a period of time, for a dentist to become both physically and emotionally “burned-out.”
Most dentists practice alone. Consequently they do not have the opportunity to share and solve problems with their colleagues the way other professional groups do through peer support.
The problem of isolation is compounded by the fact that dentists tend to be competitive with one another. This trait is unfortunately a bi-product of our competitive dental school training. It is then reinforced after graduation by the intense competition created by the surplus of dentists that now exists in many cities and large metropolitan areas.
* Stress of perfection
The relentless pursuit of perfection and permanence in an inhospitable oral environment is a major cause of stress and frustration for dentists. The stress of perfection is instilled in dental school. However, it must be tempered with the realization that the most perfect restoration will ultimately be rendered imperfect by time and patient neglect, despite the efforts of the dentist.
* Economic pressure
The list goes on from there and looks bleak. I have noticed that many dentists in my area take off on Fridays and have a three day weekend. Given the high stress rate, sounds like they need the time off. Lack of exercise seems to be the main reason they have problems. Maybe they would benefit from following some of Mark Rippetoe’s advice.