Earlier this month I blogged about 5 recession-resistant careers that were each part of CareerCast’s Most Underrated Jobs of 2011. When CareerCast caught wind of my blog, they offered the chance to interview Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast when they released their newest list, The Most Overrated Jobs of 2011.  The Top 5 Most Overrated Jobs, and their average incomes, are:

  1. Senior Corporate Executive ($161K avg. income)
  2. Surgeon ($365K avg. income)
  3. Physician ($192K avg. income)
  4. Psychiatrist ($160K avg. income)
  5. Airline Pilot ($106K avg. income)

50% of The Most Overrated Jobs pay $100K+/year, why are they overrated?
Lee points out that the focus is on perception with over-rated jobs such as Physician or Surgeon. Looking at the level of stress and the work-family balance. “These folks are working longer hours than they ever have, traveling more and spending less time at home.” Lee says. With these over-rated jobs, it’s the opposite of the under-rated jobs.

What advice do you have for those looking to change careers?
“Job satisfaction among attorneys (one of the most overrated jobs) is among the lowest, it’s #1 for job dissatisfaction. If you’re looking to make a change, look at the underrated jobs.” Lee went on to say to look at the education investment there as well.

With recent college grads struggling to find jobs, how does this apply to them?
Realize the downside and that the professions glamorize on TV (doctors, lawyers, senior executives) have many components you find less desirable.

The #1 overrated job was a Senior Corporate Executive, given how many perks and golden parachutes they have and how professionals have lost their jobs in Corporate America while they stay employed, what response do you expect to this?
Those who are frustrated with the market will say, “I just want a job and I don’t have any sympathy.” It’s important to note that this is analytical; we’re looking at data here. They’re working non-stop to do their jobs, they may have high blood pressure, miss their children’s birthday parties and have no work/life balance.

When we speak with mail carriers or garbage collection people, they say, “I work 7 ½ hours a day and I turn off my job and it’s completely me. I don’t have to worry about anything but my family.”

Lee goes on to say “Don’t believe surgeons, attorneys and airline pilots have golden lives and everything’s wonderful because it’s not true.”

The biggest shift of The Most Overrated

This year’s list of Most Overrated Jobs of 2011 had 3 of the top 4 that were medical professions, a shift going back a few years. Whether it’s because of insurance regulations, increased paperwork, and higher expenses or that there is simply no “oops” allowed in the medical professions, these are certainly becoming overrated professions at a faster rate.

If you’re considering a job change, or simply on the hunt, take a dive into the underrated jobs – at least that’s my opinion. Then again, as a career coach expert, I’d also say what you find to be stressful and overrated vs. underrated and satisfying is different from what your neighbor will so you may want to consult a career expert.