A ranking of 200 jobs in the United States. Mathematician, actuary, and statistician are #1. #2, #3. Lumberjack, dairy farmer, and taxi driver are #200, #199, and #198. ("Farmer" and "chauffeur" are a bit higher on the list.)
Their one-sentence description of what a mathematician does is "Applies mathematical theories and formulas to teach or solve problems in a business, educational, or industrial climate", which isn't too bad. The word "formulas" in there rubs me the wrong way, though; I don't like the implication that mathematics is all about formulas, and I tend to use "formulae" as the plural. Here's an explanation of the methodology. They don't give the scores they assigned to mathematicians on each of the many factors they take into account. But basically, it's a good job because we sit on our asses, don't have to deal with customers, and make good money. (Well, I suppose I make good money if you factor in the fact that I don't pay tuition...)
Many of their top jobs are one what might call "academic" jobs -- the top ten also includes statisticians, biologists, historians, and sociologists. I'm wondering whether it's really true that academic jobs are generally good, or whether their methodology consistently overrates such jobs.
Via Not Even Wrong (Peter Woit); see also the Wall Street Journal and reddit.
Edit, 5:56 pm: see also See also Cosmic Variance (which, as usual, has many commenters, some insightful), Rigorous Trivialities, Unapologetic Mathematician.
Edit, Friday, 9:47 am: See also The Accidental Mathematician and Junk Charts.
Edit, Tuesday 1/13, 12:05 pm: And Computational Complexity.