There’s plenty of advice out there about how to choose a career. This list, on the Wall Street Journal Online, tries to magically distil what makes a “best” or “worst” career to just 5 criteria – physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook.
No mention of engagement, satisfaction, the psychological benefit of getting out of bed every morning excited to go to work, or any one of the many factors that really make a great career. No mention of the opportunity cost and actual costs associated with the years of study required to enter some of these careers, and the life-long financial burden that can impose. No adjustment of salary by average hours worked in these professions to get a true hourly rate. No mention of how little that last point really matters if you love what you do. It’s also very bad news for my sister, who loves working in the job that she had wanted since she was 10 years old. She shouldn’t love it though – according to the list, her career as a newspaper reporter is the worst possible career ever. For everyone. Turns out she, and everybody else, should have become an actuary. Sadly, some of the young people who really need some good career advice will, after reading this list, write off their passions and spend years of their lives working in a career that’s not suited to them.
But the advice that made me truly sad, was this one advising people choosing a career to not follow their passions. I’m a big fan of the author, and her Ask a Manager blog is fantastic – but in my opinion, that advice is terrible. Most of the career advice out there is wrong, and there’s a very real chance that the advice I’m posting today will be too. Continue reading