Soul-sucking, low paying, or just plain dead-end - these jobs should be carefully considered before you decide to pursue them.
Face it - we all can't be singers, movie stars, or models. Most of us do have to get up and punch a clock somewhere. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to don plaid, grow a beard, and become a lumberjack.
There's a full spectrum of jobs out there, and many can be quite rewarding in terms of salary, growth, and opportunity. That is, if you know your own strengths and weaknesses, and are willing to put in the effort it takes to snag them.
"We read a lot about job hunting, but Westerners (people from North American, parts of Central and South America, and Europe) never take time to know who we are in relation to the job," says Elizabeth Lions, a Texas-based career consultant and author of "I Quit! Working For You Isn't Working For Me".
"Instead, we approach the job search like a puppy in a pound, begging to be chosen, constantly looking for affirmations outside," she adds.
Well, not anymore - at least if we can help it. Step one in taking your career into your own hands: Figuring out what job avenues you shouldn't be wasting your time on.
Read on for a list of career stop's and go's, plus advice on how to find what's right for you.
Career to Avoid #1: Telemarketer
Monetizing your chattiness as a telemarketer might seem like a way to make your motor mouth pay off, but it's not always as easy as it sounds.
Steer Clear Meter: Receiving unsolicited calls is annoying, and it's not likely they will get any less annoying if you're the one dialing. And calling up perfect strangers and possibly asking them to order services, donate money, or purchase goods is exactly what you would be doing as a telemarketer, says the U.S. Department of Labor.
If you think the job description doesn't sound like much fun, outlook on the field is even more dismal. The Department of Labor reports less than amazing prospects for this career: The median wage is just above $22,000 and growth rate is labeled as "slower than average" at seven percent from 2010 to 2020.
Lions agrees: "There's no career path for call center work, and there are only two screens you need to do this job - reading a computer screen and passing a drug screen."
What To Do Instead: Public Relations Specialist
Turn your talkative nature and ability to sell into a career as a public relations specialist. According to the Department of Labor, this career might involve writing press releases that influence the public to look upon your client or business favorably. Growth rate is projected to hit 21 percent from 2010 to 2020, says the Department, and the median pay, at $53,190, is more than double that of a telemarketer.
For public relations specialist positions, employers typically want candidates with a bachelor's degree in a field like journalism, public relations, communications, business, or English, says the Department.
Career to Avoid #2: Door-to-Door Salesperson
You might have been a first-rate Girl Scout Cookie peddler, but you're no longer a cute kid looking for a couple bucks. Working as a door-to-door salesperson might mean more doors slammed in your face than happy customers.
Steer Clear Meter: This entry-level job literally has you constantly knocking on doors, or standing on the street to sell people products, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. If haggling with people or constantly being on the go isn't your thing, then being a door-to-door salesperson probably isn't for you.
"Door-to-door sales is a lot of work for little reward when you look at commission pay outs," says Lions. "Better to do a regular sales job instead."
On top of that, there's very little growth opportunity, according to the Department of Labor, with a seven percent decline in jobs from 2010 to 2020, and a low median salary of $22,160.
What To Do Instead: Human Resources Manager
Far more promising than going door-to-door is going cubicle-to-cubicle, not to sell but to interact with employees as a human resources manager. These in-demand professionals recruit potential employees, expand staff, and solve internal conflicts, says the Department. What's more, they make a median pay of just under $100K a year, with the field set to grow at about 13 percent from 2010 to 2020. Lions attributes this growth to the need for companies to expand as we move out of the recession.
So how do you prepare for this career? You'll need a bachelor's degree in human resources or business administration, says the Department.
Career to Avoid #3: Postal Service Clerk
It's fun to get letters and cards, but how would you feel sorting through a never ending influx of envelopes? If this sounds like less than thrilling work, you might think twice about pursuing a mail clerk job as your 9 to 5.
Steer Clear Meter: Hope you like repetitive tasks. If not, you may find this job a bit monotonous. The U.S. Department of Labor says postal service clerks are responsible for sorting, insuring, and arraigning parcels. To top it off, there's really nowhere to go up in this line of work, save for supervisor roles.
When you think of how much communication takes place electronically today, postal service work doesn't exactly scream job security these days. According to Lions, this job is in danger of being phased out.
What To Do Instead: Medical Records and Health Information Technician
Instead, you might want to consider channeling all that attention-to-detail and record-keeping savvy into a promising position as a medical records and health information technician. How promising? The Department of Labor says the field will grow by 21 percent from 2010 to 2020.
Lions agrees that anything in health care, including administrative occupations like a medical records and health information technician, is a viable career option. "Boomers are getting older and need care," she says. "Insurance companies love to bill. Pharma is a huge business. This is an entire wheel that goes round and round. So anything that is a spinoff of health care or a vendor to health care is good."
To get your foot in this career's door, you will likely need either a postsecondary certificate or an associate's degree in health information technology, according to the Department.
Career to Avoid #4: Receptionist
Even Pam, everyone's favorite TV receptionist on "The Office," had to tell Dunder Mifflin to take this job and shove it at a certain point. Why? Because as a receptionist at a business, your job essentially entails fielding all the annoying, mundane - and yet totally necessary - interactions with the public that no one else wants to deal with.
Steer Clear Meter: Prefer to screen your calls? Well, as a receptionist, you won't have that luxury. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, you're paid to pick up the phone, jot messages down, and interact with company visitors.
Even if you can handle facing the tedium with a smile, you could be the first one on the chopping block, says Lions, should times get hard. "This job is always cut in recession," she says. It seems that even the boss can answer his phone to save $25,000 a year - which is roughly what the median pay of a receptionist is, per the Department of Labor.
What To Do Instead: Administrative Service Manager
Lions has the prescription for those who think they were born to be receptionists. "Move into admin work, office manager work, or even executive administration," she says. With a little schooling and cost to beef up your skills, she says, office managers can make more.
In fact, according to the Department, the median pay for an administrative service manager is about $79,540 a year. The work you do in return might entail buying supplies, supervising other administrative personnel, budgeting, and supervising a company's facility.
If this sounds like an ideal alternative to you, keep in mind that educational requirements vary by organization. According to the Department, some administrative services managers need a bachelor's degree, typically in a field like engineering, business, or facility management, while others hold only a high school diploma.
Career to Avoid #5: Logging Worker
And you thought sawing logs was just an expression for snoring. No, turns out you can make cutting trees a career, but it's probably not worth it, considering the hazards of the job and the low pay.
Steer Clear Meter: What's nice about being a lumberjack is that, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, you can pursue this career with a high school diploma and get trained on the job. But remember, the forest will be your office, rain or shine. Oh, and keep in mind, per the Department of Labor, this career is projected to grow at a 4 percent rate from 2010 to 2020 and reports a median salary somewhere in the neighborhood of $33,000. That's a lot of heavy lifting for a fairly light income.
Lions agrees that logging may not be the wisest career choice: "Unless you live in the Pacific Northwest and there are no other jobs, this may not be a good choice," she says. "Other blue collar jobs like construction would pay better."
What To Do Instead: Construction Manager
If your heart is set on not being cooped up in an office all day, you might pursue a bright career as a construction manager. In this profession, you might work with engineers and architects to supervise a residential, commercial, or industrial building project, notes the Department. Career prospects look strong too, with employment growing 17 percent from 2010 and 2020 and professionals in the field reporting a median annual salary of $84,240.
According to the Department, it is becoming more and more critical that construction managers have a bachelor's degree in engineering, architecture, construction management, or construction science. That said, you may qualify for the job having only a high school diploma. In either case, you'll need some years of experience in the construction industry before you begin managing a project.
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