People whose job it is to work out this sort of stuff reckon the average young person is now going to have to wait until they're 77 to retire. Based on the current UK life expectancy (81), that gives us just enough time to pick a half-decent coffin and write a will that leaves our remaining student debt to our luckily families. But hey, that's fine, no? Everyone loves their job and wants to be working long into their arthritis years. Right?
Considering almost 50 percent of people in the UK want to change career, and a quarter are desperately miserable in their occupation, no. Wrong. Dead wrong. Worse still is when other people hate you for just doing your job. To find out how that feels, and to give them a chance to explain themselves, I spoke to five people who work in some of the most hated professions: an estate agent, a traffic warden, a lawyer, a door to door salesperson and a journalist.
Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.
HEIDI, ESTATE AGENT
Greedy agents and greedy sellers are a toxic combination; hate is an inevitable outcome. Estate agents sell your most valuable asset; moving house is one of the biggest financial and life decisions we make. A good agent has exposure to the market on a daily basis, understanding the market at both a macro and micro level.
Choosing the agent with whom you establish a rapport and who provides pragmatic advice on selling strategy and price is the key. That agent is not necessarily the cheapest, but will have offices locally with an internet platform to the world and a reputation earned. It is those agents who are worth their weight in gold, literally. You shouldn't hate an agent that sells your house in the timescale you want at the best price achievable. The decision to like or hate them is yours!
BEN, TRAFFIC WARDEN
Imagine a job which demands that you spend your days out in the sun. Where you decide where to go and what to do; when to stop, rest and look out over the sea. A job where people greet you with happiness and gratitude.
Well, I can give you two out of three.
As a traffic warden in a busy seaside town I've had my share of abuse and snide remarks. I also learned some creative and, frankly, painful-sounding uses of the F and C-words. But a job where you are paid to be outside, with total independence, and where I got the greatest tan of my life, I wouldn't have swapped it for the world.
MICHAEL WOLKIND QC, DEFENCE LAWYER
On my fridge is Shakespeare's magnetic instruction: "Let's kill all the lawyers." In my desk drawer is a file of thank you letters. Apparently I have "literally" saved lives. It is better for the individual [who says they hate lawyers] that they never need to meet me or my colleagues, as it would mean they are accused of a serious crime. On my conscience I have no cases where I caused imprisonment. Positive news that the system works. Positive views that lawyers work. And we work hard.
Disastrous government cuts to public funding has increased the number of litigants in person left floundering without a professional voice. If only they had lawyers. The politicians decided otherwise. Whatever next – could even politicians one day be perceived in a negative light by an ungrateful public?
KAT, DOOR TO DOOR SALES
I work for a well-known subscription box company doing door-to-door sales. I can't imagine many other jobs with such a high frequency of hearing the words "fuck off". It's all very tactical – they make you do these morale-boosting sessions every morning, where you run around high-fiving each other, because otherwise you'd quit immediately. You have to keep a smile on your face at all times.
Within my first week I was bitten by two dogs. I had to comfort a newly-divorced woman who burst into tears at the words "box for two". I was called a "little cunt" by a frail geriatric woman attached to a breathing machine. What people don't know is that most of us work on commission, so if we make no sales we make no money, so you have to really push for it. So yeah, I guess people shouldn't hate on us because we almost definitely already hate this job anyway.
NADIA MENDOZA, DIGITAL SHOWBIZ EDITOR OF 'THE DAILY STAR'
You know when you were at school and couldn't be bothered to read your GCSE English book so watched the film instead? To me, that's kind of what journalism is. It breaks down the political jargon from world leaders, challenges the spin fed to us by governments and collates news from around the world so you don't have to. It feeds our innate interest in culture, human nature and connects us to the space we live in. Tabloids are no different from broadsheets – they just happen to deliver the message like your best mate over a pint, rather then a newsreader on the 10 o'clock news.
Also, the power of digital journalism is that it is ever-evolving, meaning we use reader feedback to give the public more of what they want. Yes we sensationalise – that's our craft – but I also believe journalists have a duty of care. For example, I don't let my reporters use words like "flawless" or "perfect body", as we're in a position where we could influence impressionable people, and so we try to take responsibility with that. People like to point fingers and blame "the media", yet still click on articles they loathe to moan in the comments section.
Everyone needs to be responsible for their own digital footprint. The more people click, it's like a vote to the editor saying you want more of that content, so more of that content starts appearing online. Folks can slag off the "gutter press" all they want – it's funny how they never complain when they want to be my +1 for Glastonbury or visit me in Venice Beach though!