The Wall Street Journal published the results of an annual ranking of Best And Worst Jobs.
There are some interesting picks in there. The #1 best job is Mathematician and #12 is Philosopher, coming in right behind #11: Economist. Academic jobs overall did well (#4 Biologist, #7 Historian, #20 Astronomer) though other high skills office jobs ranked as well: #2 Actuary, #3 Statistician, #5 Software Engineer, #9 Industrial Designer, #10 Accountant.
One thing that struck me was that nearly every job in the top twenty involved sitting at a desk and thining a lot (with the biggest exception being #14 Parole Officer.) Of the bottom 20 we have: #181 Firefighter, #182 Child Care Worker, #187 Auto Mechanic, #196 EMT, #199 Dairy Farmer, and #200 Lumberjack.
Looking at the methodology from Career Cast, working outdoors, physical labor, and struss/urgency were all considered to be negative factors in rating careers. I can see why many people might have these preferences -- especially if they are college educated analysts sitting at desks over at Career Cast -- but that makes it a bit more of a "careers like mine" ranking more than a "best" ranking.
I wonder what would happen if you specifically rated based on the satisfaction of workers with their own jobs, how highly they rate their expectations continuing in that career, how much they would recommend their career to others, and how satisfied they are with their current income and future income potential.