Nobody starts out in life thinking “I cannot wait to grow up and become a cop on the take.” At least, we assume they don’t –Television corrupting the minds of children aside. But there are a lot of jobs that people do not trust. Some of these jobs are frivolous and some of them are vital. The range of negative opinions varies on these jobs but the question remains: are these bad reputations earned or a product of fiction and hearsay? Below we have selected four jobs from a list of the most untrusted jobs from a Gallup Poll listed on Slate.com. Let’s give them a run down and see where this hostility came from.
Used Car Salesperson
Ah, the stately butt of many a joke about dishonesty and flop-sweat. The used car salesmen is a staple of sitcoms and fictions in which a lesson about justified suspicion must be learned. What is it about used cars and the people that attempt to resale them that causes such vile mistrust in the human mind?
Pros: Everyone wants a new car from time to time. Maybe you got a new job or a great raise and can afford to move up. Maybe you had some children and the ‘ol college party-wagon with the hole in the floor is no longer the majestic chariot needed. Whatever reason you might have to replace your old car, that thing needs to go somewhere and that somewhere is likely a used car dealer. They pay you money and then fix up and resale your old collection of mistakes and stories to the next adventurous young soul. Depending on your economic standing the used car lot is where you got your first vehicle and it is a great place to start on the journey of owning a piece of rapidly depreciating property.
Cons: Well…even in the ‘pros’ section I managed to hit a litany of the reasons to distrust a used car. You don’t know where that thing has been! And the answers might disturb you. It is the duty of a used car salesperson to get you to pay more for that possibly worthless heap than the lot paid for it. It is not the salesperson’s job to tell you that the whole thing might seize up and die after a single block or that the heater is always on, or that attempting to fix it will cost three times what you just paid for the car. In the case of the used car the onus of responsibility really is on the consumer to know when too much of a bad thing is exactly that.
Verdict: If you are shopping for a used car and paying a fraction of the cost of a new car you are getting what you paid for.
Insurance agents occupy a middle ground of trust. They are your best friend when everything works properly and that guy who just rear-ended you cannot pay anything because he was 12 and shouldn’t have been driving in the first place and suddenly insurance, like a beacon, comes through and pays for the whole thing. So why are they so untrusted?
Pros: When they advocate for you and get you coverage for your family, home, or automobile that acts as a net for recovering what you have lost, insurance agents are the hero of the modern world. They work tirelessly at desks and in endless conferences learning about what every aspect of horrors can occur to a person and what it will cost to fix. They use this knowledge to guide you to effective coverage that can mean the difference between starting all over after a disaster or emergency or even just waiting two weeks to get replacements for everything.
Cons: Everyone fears that loophole problem. A missed payment that got lost in the mail a year ago invalidates everything else you have put in. The fire that destroyed your house was from a lightning strike and therefore an act of God and not covered. Sometimes it is as simple as the adjustor writes out the minimum for your belongings and it ends up being nowhere near what is needed to replace the stuff let alone the memories that go along with it. At the end of the day, it can seem like insurance agents see us as just a stack of statistics and actuary tables with commissions attached. The system is broken and expensive and we are the ones at the bottom holding a bag filled with broken promises.
Verdict: The good of insurance agents outweighs the bad of insurance companies. And if things were as bad as the horror stories attest the companies would not exist.
Doctors have had a rough time of it. Historically a noble profession they have become increasingly distrusted and labeled as disaffected greedy husks with no regard for human lives or health. Whether it is the image of the whiskey swilling mob doctor (a personal favorite) or the golf-playing corporate doctor that hasn’t seen a patient in ten years but still make a six-figure salary, the profession has been tarnished of late. Doctors spend a lot of time training, schooling, and learning to get where they are, do they deserve all the mistrust?
Pros: Some of use owe our lives to doctors. Whether it was a life-saving diagnosis or the careful hands of a surgeon doing something delicate; doctors do important work. Some doctors keep us healthy through regular check-ups. Doctors can carefully explain difficult to understand things about how the body works and then send you home to avoid the things that send you to the hospital. Without doctors we would still be dropping in droves from things like smallpox, influenza, and polio. Doctors spend an enormous amount of time and energy keeping up on all of the newest studies and medications and techniques so that they can do their jobs well. No other profession require a person to virtually re-learn the job every year. And the pressure of making a mistake and hurting someone or letting someone die? Not something I am emotionally capable of, that is for certain.
Cons: For as many good doctors there are out there working to keep people healthy and honestly helping, there are an equal amount that just do their job for a paycheck so they can go back home. People that are happy to handed kick-backs by Pfizer to prescribe something less than helpful, people willing to do a better job depending on how much money is in it for them.. Some doctors get distracted and make bad calls, causing damage instead of healing. Some doctors let the power of life and death go to their heads.
Verdict: Doctors are by definition in the business of helping people, a few bad apples that get a lot of press does not a terrible profession make.
Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injury lawyers are the trickiest of entities. Sometimes seen as nothing more than ambulance chasers and exploitationists, personal injury lawyers get the worst kinds of stories spun about them. Their profession is about using civil law to intervene in matters where the criminal system has no jurisdiction. But to hear people talk about it all anyone that is a lawyer ever does is try to sue WalMart for having exceptionally slipery floors.
Pros: Personal injury lawyers represent people that have been harmed by the actions or negligence of others. They are a shield that keeps companies from making dangerous products or refusing to put safety mechanisms in factories. They work to make irresponsible and malicious people in other parts of this list from doing their misdeeds. If you have a lemon car they can help you; if a doctor did a shoddy job stitching you up, they can help you; if some insurance company won’t pay for your surgery, they can help you. Personal injury lawyers are good people trying to give individuals the tools necessary to fight much bigger opponents or to arbitrate when life goes wrong. They do dirty and benevolent work — sometimes simultaneously.
Cons: There are times when an apology to a neighbor for running over their unleashed roaming dog is plenty sufficient. There are times when yeah, coffee is supposed to be hot and recovery is swift. Some personal injury lawyers are keen on talking you into suing the absolute pants off of a former friend or employer because there is money to be wrung from their insurance company. For every legitimate personal injury lawyer there seems to be three creeps in expensive suits looking to strike it rich on the misery of others. And maybe there are a disproportionate amount of the two things. And maybe bad news leads in the papers and the good stuff is tucked back on page 11 for a reason.
Verdict: Just because the people that game the system get more press is no reason to assume that all the eggs are bad.