Every once in a while, we get to a point in our work lives where we wonder if we made the right choices. Maybe we’re working too hard, or slaving away at something so that someone else can get all the praise and big bucks. Or just doing something that isn’t ultimately satisfying.
I’m in that kind of a place right now. So, I’ve been thinking a lot about what my next job should be. I’ve been thinking of branching out to new areas I haven’t previously explored.
I read an article by a so-called “career expert” (which apparently means they have had an article published in a job-related website) which suggested making lists of the job attributes that I’d find most desirable in a new career.
So here is my list:
q High level of renumeration
q Relatively sedentary physical requirements
q Completely unaccountable for results
q Relatively high levels of ego-stroking and positive attention
q Does not require extreme levels of God-given talents or gifts
I had to add the last one to exclude people like professional athletes, actors, or performers who, for the most part, were born with their abilities or looks and have been able to coast their whole lives. Hey, if you got it, you got it. I just ain’t got it.
So, using this list of ideal job attributes, I’ve developed a list of ideal next careers:
Most have unwarranted attention paid to them, and/or get paid well above the average person. Virtually none are accountable for results.
Let me cite a few examples.
Economists and Psychologists, and Meteorologists, Oh My
I remember watching Lester Thurow, the well-known MIT professor and economic bloviator on a television panel a few years ago. I don’t even remember what the overall reason for the panel was, but what I did take away from it was Thurow’s smarmy declaration, “I get paid enormous sums of money for doing what I do”, or words to that effect. The context of his remarks were meant to seem self-deprecating, i.e., “I don’t really deserve it, shucks, etc.” but in fact he came across as a gloating, pompous, undeserving ass which, by and large judging his actual positions, is true.
In economics 101 we learned that Government spending crowds out private investment. Anyone with a brain knows this. The late, great Milton Friedman (the one main exception to my assessment of Economists as a group) was the lone voice in the wilderness on this one. And yet this overcredentialed weasel, despite his statements in the eighties favorably comparing the Soviet economy with the United States (less than two years before the collapse of the Soviet economy), and his general advocacy for increased governmental participation in the economy, is a sought-after public speaker and frequent member of boards of directors (two classic and highly desirable something-for-nothing occupations – trophy jobs for the accomplished scam artist).
You know, when things are bothering you, sometimes it’s nice to have someone to bitch to. You can vent for a while, and you feel better. The effects don’t last, but hey, you feel better for a while. We know this. And yet, our airwaves are filled to overflowing with programming content featuring the most self-promoting of these pseudo-professionals spouting glittering generalities about “feelings” and “communicating”; even turning many of them into celebrities. Would you be surprised to learn that most of these hacks are more screwed up than you are?
(I have a story to tell about a psychologists convention I once hosted, which I’ll add here later on.)
Now, there are many psychologists who toil in obscurity, actually helping people who need help, and not getting particularly rich at it. To them I offer my admiration, and sympathies to them for having to share a practice with the self-serving, crap-book-writing, talk-show-appearing, BS artists amongst them.
Although this one is increasingly falling into the category of jobs for lookers regardless of talent1, there is still some vestige of expectation that there be some accountability for results. At least in the days of crusty New England weathermen like Don Kent, you expected a 50-50 chance he’d be wrong. But nowadays we have nearly a dozen computerized weather “models”, Doppler radar and all sorts of other toys. But no, they’re still wrong at least as often as they’re right. And yet, they’re celebrities, and get paid some serious money in some cases.
And one final gripe. Can we, once and for all, get rid of the idiotic convention of congratulating or blaming the weather person for the weather? “Boy what a beautiful day you gave us today, Dave!”
Just read the friggin’ teleprompter, news bunny. Don’t try to think or be entertaining.
Ok, I took a breath. I’m fine now.
1 Glaring exception: Mish Michaels. Beautiful and talented.