When your alumni magazine comes in the mail, whatís the first thing you read? Most people flip immediately to the alumni update section to see what their classmates are up to. Are you impressed when you read about their latest accomplishments and career strides? Would you tout your professional status to your fellow alums?

Certainly some job titles carry more cachet than others. But what makes a job prestigious? Is it fame? A six-figure salary? Power?

Firefighters, doctors and nurses should have no problem telling people what they do for a living. At least half of U.S. adults surveyed recently by the Harris Poll say these jobs carry "very great" prestige. Military officers, teachers and police officers are also well-regarded.

Some jobs, however, arenít as revered. The lowest-rated occupations in the survey were stockbrokers, real estate brokers, accountants and journalists. Union leaders, bankers, business executives, actors and lawyers didnít fare much better.

This is a signal that Americans donít necessarily equate high incomes with success. In terms of perceived prestige, important but lower-paying jobs like teachers ($43,000 median salary per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) and police officers ($45,000) solidly trumped business executives ($140,000), lawyers ($95,000) and stockbrokers ($69,000) -- jobs typically associated with wealth.

The most prestigious jobs wonít usually get you rich, and theyíre also unlikely to get you famous. While actors, entertainers and musicians may bask in the spotlight, fewer adults consider their jobs as prestigious as, say, a nurse. Instead, the most esteemed jobs involve helping others.

Americansí high regard for these jobs starts early. When the Gallup Youth Survey asked teenagers about their dream jobs earlier this year, teacher, doctor, military officer and nurse all earned a spot on the teensí top 10 list.