If you’re reading this blog, the answer to the question in the title is, “Probably not.” Perhaps a better question is whether you can live on the mean incomes provided by the occupations on Forbes’ 25 Worst-Paying Jobs. As I said when commenting on the top 25 jobs, the “mean” calculation is often meaningless as it doesn’t give a full story of a wide range of incomes. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting statistic for starting discussions.
* Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food: $15,930
* Cooks, fast food: $15,960
* Dishwashers: $16,190
* Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers: $16,320
* Hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge, and coffee shop: $16,860
* Counter attendants, cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shop: $16,950
* Gaming dealers: $17,010
* Shampooers: $17,050
* Waiters and waitresses: $17,190
* Ushers, lobby attendants, and ticket takers: $17,500
* Amusement and recreation attendants: $17,530
* Farm workers and laborers, crop, nursery, and greenhouse: $17,630
* Cashiers: $17,930
* Personal and home care aides: $18,180
* Lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective service workers: $18,410
* Parking lot attendants: $18,450
* Pressers, textile, garment, and related materials: $18,470
* Food preparation workers: $18,480
* Bartenders: $18,540
* Graders and sorters, agricultural products: $18,610
* Maids and housekeeping cleaners: $18,700
* Cooks, short order: $18,710
* Child care workers: $18,820
* Laundry and dry-cleaning workers: $18,890
* Service station attendants: $19,150
Food service seems to be one of the biggest industries for low-paying jobs. Since the survey did include part-time wage earners, it’s possible these salaries are skewed downward by jobs requiring less than 40 hours of work each week. Have you ever worked in any of these positions? I’ve never worked in any of these industries. My retail job for one spring break in high school (Radio Shack) isn’t included above.
Feel free to share your experiences.
Updated January 8, 2018 and originally published June 6, 2007.