“What do you for a living?” It’s typically one of the first questions someone asks you upon meeting. Why is that? Whether you like it or not, your choice of career says a lot about you. Considering the fact that we spend the bulk of our lives either working or sleeping, how we choose to spend our days gives an insight into who we we are. It’s not necessarily fair, but people have some preconceived notions about certain professions, and depending on what you do for a living that might not be a good thing.
Greed. Corruption. Selfishness. These are all traits we wouldn’t want to showcase to others, but if you’re in the wrong field, people might subconsciously associate you with these negative aspects of the human psyche. Of all the professions, which have the most negative reputations? Are there jobs that make you seem less desirable, less trustworthy to others outside your professional domain? Which careers are considered the most unethical and morally corrupt of them all?
Well, according to a Gallup poll, if you work in any one of the following ten professions, chances are pretty good that people don’t view you in the most positive light. The professions below are ranked according to the percentage of people surveyed who feel these career people are trustworthy.
10. Local Officeholders – 23%
Even on a local level, people seem to have a hard time trusting politicians. Only 23% of those polled felt that local politicians were ethical or moral. Unfortunately, scandals like the one that happened in the city of Bell, California, has soured people’s perceptions of local politics and local politicians. During an investigation in Bell, it was discovered that city officials’ salaries were some of the highest in the nation – even though the city itself isn’t very wealthy. When investigators looked into the issue a little deeper, they discovered unusually high property taxes, possible voter fraud and other issues which led to demands for the city officials to resign – as well as jail terms for some of those officials. With cases like that in the news, it’s little wonder that people don’t put much faith in their elected politicians.
9. Business Executives – 22%
Especially after the antics and near financial ruin that marked the last decade or so, wealthy business executives aren’t viewed very favorably by the rest of the world. Of course, it doesn’t help when you have scandals like Enron or read about Goldman Sachs getting millions upon millions in bailout money, and then turning around and paying a hefty salary and bonuses to their execs. It’s all a bit sketchy, and well, it’s obvious their reputation has suffered because of these types of stories. 22% of people polled said they view business execs as moral and ethical, but hey, it’s still a higher approval rating than Congress.
8. Newspaper Reporters – 21%
We’ve mentioned the media already by stating that sometimes, what we read in the papers has impacted how we view certain professions. And because of the media’s ability to blur the lines between fact and fiction, people seem to question the ethics of the person writing the news story. Only 21% of people felt that newspaper reporters were honest and ethical people. Which if so many view them as corrupt, immoral and unethical, it makes you wonder why are so many people still buy into what the media tells them.
7. Lawyers – 20%
Ahh… You knew lawyers would make the list, didn’t you? After all, if you were asked to name a profession despised by most people, chances are, lawyers would be the first profession that came to mind. People accuse them of being ambulance chasers, profiting off the misfortune of others and looking for any reason to sue. That and of course, we hear all about defense attorneys twisting the law in their defense of people like Casey Anthony, and well, you really have to wonder how they sleep at night.
6. TV Reporters – 20%
Well if we thought newspaper reporters had a bad reputation, their TV counterparts aren’t faring much better. Only 20% of people thought TV reporters were moral or ethical. And again, this likely stems from the way the media is perceived. Another Gallup poll found that only 44% of Americans have a fair amount of trust in the media. The same poll shows that many feel the media is politically biased, meaning that they only report the news that fits their political or ideological agendas. But as with newspaper reporters, television reporters wouldn’t have a job if a vast majority of people weren’t tuned in and buying what they’re selling. If reporters are corrupt or unethical, we are to blame since we are the ones giving them an audience.
5. Advertising Practitioners – 14%
There’s a big jump from the 6th and 5th position, which says a lot for how people view advertising executives in this country. Only 14% of those who responded thought advertising executives were ethical. Considering what they do for a living, it should come as little surprise. After all, they’re experts at manipulation. They’re the ones who create the commercials and ads that make you and your kids want to buy things. And when those they target happen to be children, well, that’s where things get dicier. Just last month, U.S senators accused e-cigarette advertising execs of putting out ads that were targeting children. They went on to compare these ads with tactics ad agencies used back in the 90s to get kids and teens addicted to nicotine.
4. State Officeholders – 14%
If you thought local office holders had a bad reputation, those who make it to the state level have it even worse. It would seem the higher one is on the political ladder, the more corrupt they are thought to be. It’s sad that only 14% of those surveyed felt that they could trust their state officials – especially considering the fact that they’re the ones who voted them into office. As of 2013, 29 state officeholders in New York had been convicted of a crime or otherwise accused of wrongdoing. State officials have been found guilty of crimes ranging from throwing coffee in the face of a staff member to siphoning money from a nonprofit to pay for $20,000 worth of takeout sushi.
3. Car Salespeople – 9%
It feels like you can’t buy a car without feeling like you’re being screwed over somehow, doesn’t it? Well, according to all but 9% of those surveyed, people have a very hard time trusting car salespeople. After all, who hasn’t at least heard of someone buying a car, driving it off the lot, and having it break down only days later? The fact is, salespeople are trying to sell us something. We know their paycheck depends upon us buying whatever it is they’re selling. And while we may be more lenient about smaller, everyday items, a car is a big purchase and one that is stressful for everyone. Not knowing whether or not you can trust the salesperson adds even more anxiety to the mix and their sometimes shady tactics are likely why they are viewed so unfavorably.
2. Members of Congress – 8%
Just like the state and local officials, people have a hard time trusting their congressmen. As mentioned before, the higher up a person is on the political ladder, the less ethical they seem to be. In may 2014, Gallup found that 80% of people surveyed disapproved of how Congress is handling their job. And considering only 8% seem to think members of Congress are ethical, well, that doesn’t speak highly for those elected officials. When sitting Congressmen are mired in ethical investigations, accused of one impropriety or another, or you have married politicians who are literally caught with their pants down like Anthony Weiner and the photos he texted to at least six women, you really can’t blame people for side-eyeing their Congresspeople.
1. Lobbyists – 6%
If politicians are evil, well then lobbyists should most likely be considered the devil. Only 6% of the people surveyed felt lobbyists were ethical and moral people. Considering the fact that it is their job to influence and manipulate others, specifically government officials who pass the laws in this country, and the fact that they’re often hired by private corporations to push corporate interests in the political arena, it comes as little surprise that they’d be on the list – or that they’d be at the top of it. Some people feel that lobbying allows those with money and power to twist the law in their favor and is no different than bribery. Which might help explain the lack of trust people have in lobbyists.
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