The Most Loved and Hated Professions

Pro athletes enter a stadium

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According to a Gallup poll published in mid-2018, about 34 percent of Americans are actively engaged in their jobs, which means they actually enjoy going to work. However, this also means that 67 percent of workers either just tolerate, or actively dislike their jobs and have trouble staying engaged in their work.

Some people cringe when hearing about specific types of occupations, like that of a principal, dentist, or lawyer. Although they are all honest ways to earn a living, these particular jobs often evoke negative feelings. Other occupations, such as a teacher or a nanny, generally elicit positive emotions.

Why we hate some professions and love others has to do, in part, with how we form opinions about some occupations and the people who work in them. It's based on the level of social respect they garner, and the way these jobs are portrayed in the media, such as on television and in the movies.

Take the opportunity to explore the benefits and disadvantages of various careers, which may lead to some interesting results like finding your future career, changing course, or finding satisfaction in your current role.

Factors that Can Determine Job Satisfaction and Engagement

Gallup, as part of its poll process, measures employee work engagement through certain types of work elements that are linked to performance outcomes. When employees like their jobs, this typically means, for example, that they have the ability to do what they do best, their jobs offer opportunities for them to develop new job skills, and their employer shows them that their opinions count.

Other, more specific factors that can affect how much a person likes their job include the environment in which they work, such as a plush office building or an old, run-down facility. Additionally, it can include the types of people they interface with, such as eager-to-learn students vs. angry people coming to a divorce attorney or a nurse that helps patients feel better vs. fearful people who must endure a dentist visit.

The Most Hated Professions


Most people hate going to the dentist because there's often vulnerability, discomfort, and even pain involved. On top of this, it doesn't help that dentists are portrayed as evil and sadistic in the media. Dentists are often portrayed as trying to get information out of someone with their dentistry tools, like a large drill.

One popular example is in the musical Little Shop of Horrors when the doctor uses its skills to sadistically inflict pain on people. It's no wonder that children who grew up with movies like this are scared to go to the dentist throughout their life.


Unfortunately, lawyers are made out to be liars and deceptive people in the media, and it's usually at the expense of a joke. One of the most famous examples of this is in the 1997 comedy Liar Liar with main character Jim Carrey. In the film, the attorney is conniving, dishonest, and a workaholic who breaks his commitments.

School Principals 

School principals help run entire schools, whether at the elementary, middle, or high school level. However, since most students are afraid of being sent to the principal's office, it makes sense that this career path makes people cringe. Consider the character Principal Ed Rooney from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

The hot-headed man was always trying to get one of the students, Ferris Bueller, in trouble despite a lack of evidence for his suspicions. His ego and self-importance turned into an obsession, and the last thing any student wants is a principal who is after them, whether they play hooky for a day or not.

TV News Anchors

TV anchors work as newscasters, news analysts, and news anchors, and help create and distribute news stories to audiences around the world from a broadcasting station. Because it's difficult to receive bad news from someone who is safe and sound inside a television studio, getting harsh information from a smiling news anchor tends to get under our skin. 

The Simpsons does a great job at creating satire around TV anchors and the media. For example, Springfield's main news anchor, Kent Brockman, is always sharing some type of sensationalist new item which pokes fun at journalism, current affairs, and the profession itself.

The Most Loved Professions


Athletes devote their career to professional sports, rather than just amateur sports. They get paid for their performance in fields like hockey, swimming, tennis, football, and more. Athletes must have a combination of talent, stamina, and competitive drive in order to be successful. 

People grow up wanting to be like their sports stars, enjoy their favorite sport, and turn a hobby into a career. The movie Space Jam-inspired many kids to go after a profession in athletics, as showcased by Michael Jordan's character about his basketball career. This was done in an empathetic, fun, and motivational way.


Musicians dedicate their lives to learning and excelling at playing a musical instrument, and these performers also may compose and conduct their own music. Musicians typically love their jobs because their craft is often their baby; however, some people want this career for the fame and attention it sometimes brings.

Tons of media outlets from traditional pop magazines to cultural online social media channels constantly highlight the lives of musicians and famous artists. This luxurious lifestyle always portrays a rich and fun life where celebrities do what they love while inspiring others.


Being a nurse is a popular job with a huge reward. They talk to patients and doctors, communicate information, care for patients, administer medicine to them, and more. Often working in hospitals, outpatient facilities, or clinics, nurses play a diverse role in caretaking for others.

They are largely thought of as caring and kind professionals, making this a top career choice amongst those who want to help people. Popular television shows like Grey's Anatomy and Scrubs shows the drama between doctors and nurses, but also reveals the positives of being in the medical field, like interacting with all types of personalities, helping people recover from their illnesses, and more.


Teachers share their knowledge with their students from an array of subjects, such as math, science, and English. They often teach a specific age group and level, and many teachers teach across various languages and ethnicities. This heavily skilled job comes with many responsibilities that are familiar and inspiring to students growing up. 

The media often portrays teachers as kind-hearted and compassionate people who guide students in their work and life. Take Matilda, for example. Matilda has a difficult home life with parents who don't seem to care much for her and a scary principal (scarier than Mr. Rooney, even.) Her teacher, Ms. Honey, inspires Matilda to read books, excel in her education, and protects her from the bad guys.