I am an astrophysicist. When I tell people that they look at me funny and ask me how on earth I make money doing that, albeit in somewhat more polite terms. My brother in a mechanical engineer. When he tells people that they assume that large corporations are dropping bags of money on his doorstep at night in the vain hope that one day he might design their next generation of widgets.
Well it turns out that physicists actually get jobs - seriously! From the AIP's Statistical Data Center:One thing to note here: the national unemployment rate had yet to skyrocket when this data was collected. In June 2008 (roughly when the data above was taken), the national rate was only 5.6%, so while physics majors were doing better than the average American at finding jobs, it wasn't phenomenally better.