“Growing up, I didn’t know anybody who didn’t have a miner in the family. Both of my grandfathers were miners.”
Jennifer Haigh, Novelist
Pros and Cons of Working as a Miner
You think about becoming a miner? Great! However, before you make your final decision, you should check out all the pros and cons of being a miner in this article.
After evaluating all the arguments, you may change your mind and go for alternative career options instead.
Being a Miner – Key Facts
|Short Job Description||Miners search and extract precious metals like gold, iron or aluminum out of the ground. They also search for coal and other raw materials for fuels to ensure our global energy supply.|
|Salary||$65,000 per year on average, most miners make between $50,000 – $80,000 per year.|
|Job Security||Average jobs security, low barriers to entry mean plenty of competition in this field.|
|Job Satisfaction||Rather low job satisfaction due to adverse working conditions.|
|Work-Life Balance||Good work-life balance.|
|Physically / Mentally Demanding?||Physically demanding job|
|Future Outlook||Some mining jobs will be replaced by machines in the near future.|
|Requirements||No special educational requirements necessary.|
Advantages of Being a Miner
- You can find precious metals and jewels
- Being a miner can be exciting
- Miners can earn decent money
- You may be able to work for yourself
- Miners don’t need a college degree
- You can avoid student loan debt
- Miners don’t have to stare at a computer screen all day long
- Machines can make your work easier
- Miners are important to keep our system running
- Miners have standard workweeks
- Holidays are usually off
- Good work-life balance
You can find precious metals and jewels
One advantage of being a miner is that you can find precious things during your work. Depending on the mine you work in, you may find gold or jewels. Sure, most of the time, you will have to give those things away to the mining company you work for or to the owner of the mine. However, it can still be quite nice to find those precious elements.
If you are pretty long in the company and your boss is pretty generous, you may even be able to keep one of your findings as a bonus. As you can see, working in an environment where you can find precious treasures can be really nice and your work will never get boring since you could always find something new.
Being a miner can be exciting
In fact, the job as a miner can be pretty exciting. You will not only find precious jewels or gold sooner or later during your shift, but you can also never be sure how secure working conditions in your mine really are. Working as a miner is not the safest occupation and there had been many accidents in the past.
While this may alarm many people, others need the thrill and a high level of uncertainty to feel comfortable at work. Thus, becoming a miner can be great for you if you need adrenaline on a daily basis to be happy.
Miners can earn decent money
Another upside of being a miner is that you can also earn really good money from what you are doing. In the US, the average yearly salary is around $65,000 and you can even earn much more than that, depending on the state you live in and on the mining company you are working for.
While you may not get rich quick, this salary can be enough to have a decent lifestyle and to afford some nice things. For sure, it also depends on the area you live in. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area where you will have to pay many thousand dollars to rent a house, the salary of a mining worker will not be enough to afford living there.
However, if you live in far cheaper rural areas, you can still have a decent lifestyle, especially if your partner also makes money. Thus, depending on where you live, becoming a miner can also make sense from a financial standpoint.
You may be able to work for yourself
In some mines, you can even work as self-employed person. You have to pay a certain fee to the owner of a mine and you will then be granted access for a specific period of time.
Sometimes, you can also mine for yourself if you give away a share of your findings to the owner of the mine. If you are really adventurous, you may even buy your own mine.
However, this can only be a good idea if you really know what you are doing and if you have worked for many years in the mining industry before.
Miners don’t need a college degree
Another benefit of being a miner is that you can work in mines without the need of having a college degree. Since mining is pretty applied work, you don’t have to study a lot for becoming a miner. It is much more important to be patient about what you are doing and that you are willing to work hard for it.
Hence, while your high school friends will often have to go to college and get a fancy degree, you will be able to earn money right after school. You also don’t have to spend many years on additional education.
Therefore, working as a miner can also make quite a lot of sense if you are not the type of person who wants to go to college anyway but rather want to become independent soon after school.
You can avoid student loan debt
Since you will not have to go to college for a mining career, you will also be able to avoid student loan debt. In our current state of the world, it has become quite common to go into debt for college education.
While this can make time in college easier since students don’t have to worry about money that much during their time in college, students have to pay the piper later on in their lives.
Thus, while you may already be able to buy a home pretty early in your life, college students will often take much longer since they have to pay back student loan debt which can take many years or even decades.
Miners don’t have to stare at a computer screen all day long
You will also have the privilege to avoid working in an office. In conventional office jobs, you will stare at a computer screen almost all day long since you will prepare presentations and other stuff that will most often not make any real impact on the success of your company anyway. By working as a miner, you will work in a completely different environment.
If you like it or not depends on the type of person you are. Working in mines is not for everyone, neither is working in an office. However, if you don’t want to work in an office at all, chances are that you will be happier working in a mining environment instead.
Machines can make your work easier
As a miner, you will also be able to use our latest technological inventions. In fact, the work of miners has become much easier over the past decades since a significant fraction of the physical work has been eliminated. Sure, miners still have to work under exhausting conditions and need to be fit.
However, working conditions in mines are not comparable to just one century ago when miners had to do all the work by hand and didn’t have any machines that could have made their lives much easier.
Therefore, it is probably the best time to work as a miner right now, at least when we compare it to working conditions in the past.
Miners are important to keep our system running
Another advantage of becoming a miner is that you can make a great contribution to keep our system running. Imagine a world without metals. We would not be able to produce cars, to generate electricity and so on. In fact, our quality of life would drop more than anybody could imagine.
We would also not be able to develop technologies further to a point where we can mitigate climate change and other major environmental issues. Hence, as a miner, you can make a great contribution to ensuring our high quality of life.
Miners have standard workweeks
In many states, miners also have pretty standard workweeks. This means that you will be home pretty early in the evening most of the time. In turn, you will be able to meet up with your friends or to play with your kids. You can also follow your hobbies as a miner since you will simply have plenty of leisure.
Holidays are usually off
Miners usually also don’t work on national holidays. While you might take this for granted, there are many workers who still have to work during those days. For instance, if you work as a train conductor or bus driver, chances are that you will also have to work on holidays since people still want to get from A to B, even if they don’t have a car. Imagine you have to work on Christmas Eve.
Chances are that your children and your spouse would be quite sad and that family issues would occur pretty frequently. As a miner, you can avoid those unpleasant working schedules and can spend the time with your family instead.
Good work-life balance
In general, the work-life balance of miners is pretty decent. Most miners don’t work more than 40 hours a week and some of them even work for less. Hence, becoming a miner can also be great if leisure is more important to you than money.
Disadvantages of Being a Miner
- Being a miner can be dangerous
- You will often work underground
- Working conditions can be difficult
- Mining as physically demanding job
- Job security is rather low for miners
- Accidents are quite common
- Problematic if you are claustrophobic
- Life expectancy is lower than average
- Many miners become depressed in the long run
- Many miners have to quit in older years
- Hard to find jobs in different industries
- You have to educate yourself about latest developments
- Automatization may cost many mining jobs in the future
- Miners have a rather low social status
- You may have problems in the dating market
- Being a miner can be problematic if you have kids
Being a miner can be dangerous
While there are many upsides to becoming a miner, there are also some issues related to this profession. For instance, one problem with being a miner is that it can simply be a dangerous job. In fact, many miners had lost their lives in the past since mines just collapsed.
Moreover, working as a miner can also be bad for your health. You will have to breathe air that might be contaminated with harmful substances, especially if you work as a miner in developing countries where safety standards in mines are pretty low.
Thus, becoming a miner is not the safest career choice and you should make sure that you are willing to take on this risk before deciding for a mining career.
You will often work underground
As a miner, you will also have to work underground pretty often. In fact, most mining operations take place below the soil surface and you will therefore not be able to see the daylight most of your workday. This can be quite frustrating and may also give you a strange artificial feeling.
In fact, we as humans have never evolved underground and it can be considered rather unnatural to work under those conditions. A lack of sunlight can also be bad for our health and can lead to depression and other mental problems.
Working conditions can be difficult
In general, the working conditions of miners are pretty difficult. The air will be quite bad most of the time and some miners even have difficulties with breathing in a proper manner, especially in the long run since plenty of dust will be inhaled by them. In turn, their lungs may no longer work properly after a certain period of time.
Moreover, since you will always be exposed to artificial light instead of daylight, many miners also lose their sense of time and hours may feel like days for you.
Mining as physically demanding job
Another downside of being a miner is that working in mines can also be pretty exhausting and physically demanding. Sure, there are machines that can help you out to do most of the heavy physical work. However, there are still many minor things that have to be done by hand and as a miner, you need a high fitness level to carry out your work.
In fact, you just need a certain level of physical strength and you should not become a miner if you are not willing to stay fit in the long run since you will simply not get happy with what you are doing.
Job security is rather low for miners
As a miner, you will also not have that much job security. While there will always be demand for metals and other precious elements, you will still be pretty replaceable.
Since there is no fancy education required for becoming a miner, almost everyone can do it and a person who is younger and healthier than you might replace you sooner or later.
Accidents are quite common
Another disadvantage of being a miner is that you will always be at risk for serious accidents. While it is rather rare that mines collapse in the Western world, there are still significant other risks involved in mining.
Since miners operate heavy machines, they are at great risk to be injured by those machines, at least if they don’t know how to operate them properly.
Also minor issues like bruises are quite common among miners. Hence, make sure that you are willing to take those risks that are implied by mining jobs before deciding for working in this field.
Problematic if you are claustrophobic
You will also not be the right candidate for a job in mining if you are the kind of claustrophobic person who just can’t stay in narrow rooms for an extended period of time.
In fact, working as a miner often implies working in narrow corridors and you will sometimes even not be able to stand up since you would bump with your head on the stone ceiling.
Life expectancy is lower than average
Due to the risk of accidents and the overall rather poor working conditions in mines, the overall life expectancy of miners is also much lower compared to the normal person.
This is especially true for poor developing countries where working conditions for miners are often far worse than in the Western world where there is at least a certain minimum standard that mining companies have to comply with.
Many miners become depressed in the long run
Many miners also suffer from mental problems sooner or later. The lack of daylight and working in those narrow environments can make miners depressed and frustrated.
Many miners also lose their motivation for mining since they just have to handle the dirt but don’t get much of the yields they produce for mining companies.
Many miners have to quit in older years
Since the job as a miner can be physically demanding, many older miners have to quit their job due to health issues sooner or later. In fact, back pain and other physical health problems are pretty common among miners.
Especially in older years, the bodies of miners are just not suitable for this heavy work anymore and many old miners will become unemployed due to that.
In turn, those people will often struggle to pay their bills and some of them may even end up in poverty or homelessness.
Hard to find jobs in different industries
It is also hard to change your field of work as a miner. Especially if you have never learned something else and don’t have proper education, it will be almost impossible to switch from working as a miner to another job that is unrelated to mining.
Hence, before becoming a miner, make sure that this is really what you want to do for many years or even for the rest of your life.
You have to educate yourself about latest developments
Like in many other industries, you will also have to educate yourself about the latest developments as a miner. Technology progresses pretty fast and if you don’t stay up-to-date with those developments, chances are that you will never get promoted in your company since you will simply lack the knowledge to lead people in a safe but yet efficient manner.
Automatization may cost many mining jobs in the future
Thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence, many jobs in the mining industry may vanish in a couple of years. In fact, machines become quite smart and will soon be able to carry out many tasks that humans currently do.
It is also safer to send robots into mines since you don’t have to put the lives of people at risk. However, this also means that some jobs will be lost in the mining industry since humans will simply no longer be needed.
Miners have a rather low social status
As a miner, you will also not have a high social status at all. Compared to lawyers or doctors, you will just be seen as the one who goes to a mine, works underground and comes home dirty and tired. Sure, you do an important job.
However, the problem is that the general public will not recognize this sufficiently and will therefore not value your achievements that much.
You may have problems in the dating market
Since you will not make that much money as a miner and will also not have a high social status, you may also have a rather difficult time finding a partner.
Moreover, many people also don’t want to date miners since they fear that they will lose their partner sooner or later due to a mining accident.
Being a miner can be problematic if you have kids
Becoming a miner can also be quite problematic in case you have kids. In fact, your children will always worry about you and may live in constant fear that their daddy will not come back one day. You will also leave your home with a strange feeling due to that.
Hence, you may also want to go for an alternative career path if you want to have your own family one day.
Top 10 Being a Miner Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Being a Miner Pros||Being a Miner Cons|
|Being a miner can be exciting||Being a miner is physically demanding|
|You can make decent money||Mental issues are quite common|
|Miners often have regular workweeks||Miners are at risk of accidents|
|Time off on national holidays||Low average life expectancy of miners|
|Miners can keep our system running||Long-term health issues|
|You don’t need college education||Miners have to work underground|
|You can avoid student loan debt||Rather artificial working environment|
|Good work-life balance for miners||Hard if you have a family|
|You don’t have to work in an office job||Hard to switch industries for miners|
|You may be able to work for yourself||Rather low job security|
Should You Become A Miner?
Whether you still want to become a miner or if you want to go for an alternative career path instead depends on your individual preferences.
After reading this article, you at least know all the advantages and disadvantages of being a miner and can make a profound decision in this regard.
Also make sure to check out the following articles:
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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