Toughest jobs in Erie County

There are many jobs out there. Some are tough. Others are tougher. According to a survey by Manpower Inc., sales representati
May 24, 2010


There are many jobs out there. Some are tough. Others are tougher.

According to a survey by Manpower Inc., sales representatives, teachers and mechanics are some of the nation's most sought-after positions. The survey also found that 41 percent of the nation's employers are having difficulty filling positions because of unavailable talent.

Manpower Inc. surveyed more than 2,400 employers in February to determine which positions employers had trouble filling this year.

Among the top 10 positions employers listed as hardest to fill are mechanics, technicians, management/executives, truck drivers and laborers.

"With the variety of positions employers are struggling to fill, it seems like job seekers should have little trouble finding work. Yet, on a daily basis, we hear from clients who can't find the right people for open positions and candidates who are struggling to get hired," Jonas Prising, president of Manpower North America, said in a news release.

"The reality is that the talent crunch is more complex than a shortage of people. To bridge the talent gap, we must dig deeper and consider issues such as skill levels, geographic dispersion and demographics."

Whether it's hard on the body or rough on the mind, here are the jobs area leaders believe are the toughest positions in Erie County:


President of the Erie County Chamber of Commerce

Although he was a bit confused about the question (Moldovan included a Cincinnati Bengals player on his "Erie County" list), he was able to narrow it down to five jobs. In no particular order, Moldovan listed elected officials, police officers, trash collectors, insurance sales people and fundraisers as the hardest positions to cover.

n Elected officials: "Because you can only please some of the people some of the time," Moldovan said. "It's tough work."

n Police officers: "They're like superheroes. They have super powers, and they scare people," said Moldovan with a laugh. "They basically deal with stupid people."

n Garbage disposal: "It's obvious."

n Insurance salespeople: "They have a million competitors."

n Any fundraising jobs: "Because money is tight. Anybody that is just trying to raise money in an economy like ours has a tough job."


Erie County commissioner

McKeen named six jobs right off the bat. McKeen is very familiar with two of the positions.

n Athletic coach: "They have it rough," said McKeen, adding coaches have a lot of parents to please. "Some parents are going to be mad because you don't use their kids ... there's a lot of expectations in our area, especially football coaches."

n Jack Meyers, Erie County's Sanitary Engineer: "He's got a tough one," she said.

n Children's services workers: "They have to give their recommendation to pull kids out of houses," McKeen said. "What they see in a day I don't want to see in a year," she said. "It's heartbreaking."

n Police officers: "Cops have a tough job. Especially in this day and time," she said. "They deal with people who are upset, emotionally-charged, don't have decent jobs, health care ... domestic violence ... they put their lives on the line."

n Elected officials: "When people get upset, they take it out on you," McKeen said. "I've got a pretty thick skin, though."

n Waitress: When McKeen was younger, she waited tables at her father's restaurant. She said she understands what it's like dealing with customers who get upset about their food or the wait or the service.


Superintendent of Erie-Huron-Ottawa

Educational Service Center

One of Lally's choices isn't exactly a paid position, but he says he believes it's definitely one of the toughest -- if not the roughest -- job out there. He also added a sixth job to his list, but that's OK. No one's counting.

n Parents: "We're trying to make ends meet. We're trying to take care and provide for a family. We have children who are exposed to so many things that years ago we never would have seen. The challenges of being a good parent -- responsible parent -- is the toughest job in the world," Lally said. "It pulls at you in different directions -- the world at work and at home. We're trying to ensure children get proper upbringing ... it's truly a challenge."

n Being in education: "Whether you are a teacher, administrator or a bus driver. We don't throw away kids in society anymore. We have to figure out a way to reach and teach ... which is something in the past that wasn't an issue as it is today. Kids are coming to schools with different challenges and needs," he said. "(Educators) need to discern what motivates kids ... How are you going to hold their attention as a teacher or an administrator?"

n Safety forces: "Whether it's fire, police or ambulance. Each day you go in there and you don't know what's going to come your way. They're always embracing new challenges -- the twists and turns life will take. You might have to run into a burning home or confront an individual with a weapon," he said.

n Emergency room workers: "When those doors open, it's not good news coming in. Someone's hurt or their life is fleeting away," Lally said. "I think that'd be tough."

n School bus driver: "They're in charge of 60 to 70 kids' lives, driving down roads that are treacherous," he said.

n Health department workers: "We're about due for something major healthwise," Lally said. "Influenza made its trek through society ... we're way past due ... when that final epidemic or whatever it will be hits ... that hasn't come through the lines yet, but when it does, it'll be tough."


Advising executive director for the United Way

Haplea has been involved with the United Way for many years, so he understands how difficult fundraising can be across the county.

n Fundraising: "Number one. In my position, it's very challenging to secure funding when the economy is somewhat stagnant. There are so many programs and services to provide when its most in need." he said. "It's very depressing, to be honest with you."

n Elected officials: "They get hit from all sides. Everybody wants something from them. Everybody has specific needs they are lobbying."

n Teachers: "The teachers are asked to do so many things and provide education and guidance to our young people."

n Safety forces (police and fire): "They're putting their lives at risk every time they go out on a call." he said. "They always have to be on guard. That would be extremely difficult for anyone in their position."

n Human services: "Having to handle the difficult caseloads that come across their desks. That has to be extremely frustrating -- especially today when there are so many people in need."