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Real Estate Agent Tops List of 'Happy' Careers

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- With news the U.S. economy gained only 88,000 jobs last month, and that 500,000 Americans left the workforce, any discussion about "happy" workers may be a touchy subject.

But CareerBliss.com isn't named for nothing -- the site's mantra is to match up workers with rewarding jobs, financially and spiritually. (Its motto is "choose happy.")

Good luck to CareerBliss on that, especially in this rough-and-tumble economy.

But one way the jobs site is keeping the career conversation shiny and positive is to point out regularly that great jobs and great places to work do exist -- then actually point those jobs and places out.

This time, CareerBliss is focusing on the happiest jobs of 2013, or as the firm puts it, finding a job "that will bring a smile to your face."

The firm uses a formula to assign a numerical "Bliss Rating" to a given occupation -- the higher the rating, the better.

Included in that calculation are work-life balance, an employee's relationship with their boss and co-workers, work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks and job control over employees' daily tasks. The firm undertakes about 65,000 independent job reviews to reach its conclusions.

So what jobs lead the list? Here are the top 10 for the year from CareerBliss.com, along with their "bliss ratings."

Real estate agent 4.26
Software quality assurance engineer 4.23
Senior sales representative 4.19
Construction superintendent 4.10
Senior Application Developer 4.08
Logistics Manager 4.07
Construction Manager 4.06
Admin. Assistant 4.04
Network Manager 4.02
Assistant Controller 4.02

That list varies from last year's list; only three occupations remain from it -- software engineer, construction manager and administrative assistant.

Bumped off the 2012 list are executive chef, bank teller, warehouse manager, customer service representative and accountant.

CareerBliss also lists the most unhappy jobs in the U.S., with teachers, nurses and attorneys on top. These are professions with higher security and better benefits relative to other jobs, but jobs that bring a potentially high dose of pressure on a regular basis.

A big factor on the lists is timing. Take real estate agents, as CareerBliss does.

"Real estate agents have definitely weathered quite a financial storm over the past few years," says Heidi Golledge, CEO and co-founder of CareerBliss. "But right now, rates are between 2% to 3% and inventory is low, making it a real estate agent's dream as new homes hit the market and are getting multiple offers in the first week. Realtors say that the way they work and the rewards they are seeing with a growing market have helped boost overall happiness for those in this career."

Some "problem" professions suffer from an institutionalized culture that works against career professionals.

"It was clear from CareerBliss data that people in this position felt most unhappy with their company culture," Golledge says. "In many cases, law firms are conducted in a structured environment that is heavily centered on billable hours. It may take several years for an attorney to rise to the rank of partner. People in this position rated the way they work and the rewards they receive lower than any other industry."

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