I had a long chat yesterday with a coworker who gave me lots of good advice on surviving unemployment. Before he joined the company, he was out of work for twelve months. Yikes! I know a lot of people who have been in similar situations. I was out of work myself for more than ten months when I lost a job in 2002, so I understand better than most the long, difficult road that lies ahead. All I can do is meet it with optimism and hope for the best, and learn from my past experience.
By the way, I hate the phrase “lost your job.” I didn’t lose it – I know exactly where to find it. It’s right here! Then again, after Friday, it won’t be here anymore. “Lost it” just sounds wrong, but who am I to quibble over semantics?
This time will be different, though. I won’t have a two-year old daughter to take care of during the day, for starters. If there was one bright spot about being out of work in 2002-03, it was spending time with Danielle during a crucial period of her young life. I still have fond memories of pushing her stroller through the neighborhood during our daily afternoon walks. Sometimes, she was even in it! So much has changed since then. The kids are older and self-sufficient (and only around half the time); the house has been replaced with a townhome; there’s no mother-in-law living under the same roof; the wife is history, but now there’s a cat. On the surface, at least, it seems like there will be far fewer distractions this time. Fewer excuses, too.
Now that the end is drawing near, I’m starting to think about what my next job will be. I googled “best and worst jobs” yesterday to give me an idea of some of the hot (and not) career fields. Job search portal careercast.com used five key measurement criteria to determine their rankings – stress, working environment, physical demands, income, and hiring outlook. The results were somewhat surprising. First of all, “marketing coordinator for a pressure washer manufacturer” made neither list. Go figure!
Here is a list of the Top 5 Jobs for 2010, according to careercast.com.
- Actuary. Interprets statistics to determine probabilities of accidents, sickness, and death, and loss of property from theft and natural disasters. This is the #1-ranked job? Staring at pie charts and bar graphs all day? Put me out of my misery already.
- Software engineer. Researches, designs, develops and maintains software systems along with hardware development for medical, scientific, and industrial purposes. Presumably also spends gads of time playing videogames. Hell, invents videogames. Sign me up!
- Computer systems analyst. Plans and develops computer systems for businesses and scientific institutions. I picture a guy walking around with a clipboard going, “We’ll put a Mac in this corner, a Dell over here, a wireless router by the lunchroom…”
- Biologist. Studies the relationship of plants and animals to their environment. I’d be a natural. I already know that whenever I shampoo the carpet my cat will cough up a hairball within twenty-four hours.
- Historian. Analyzes and records historical information from a specific era or according to a particular area of expertise. Seriously? I had to rub my eyes to make sure I wasn’t imagining this one. The article goes on to say, while it may seem surprising that a seemingly obscure job like Historian would rank so well, in fact the career has many applications beyond just the classroom. Apart from academic settings, there is a great demand for Historians in the defense industry and State Department. Considering that the federal government is expected to be a top source of employment in 2010, this demand helps give Historian projected job growth of 24% through 2016. Not only can I tell you that in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue, but I actually minored in History in college. Hmm…this may be my calling.
So, those are some of the jobs I should consider. How about the ones that are to be avoided at all costs? Here are the 5 worst jobs.
- Roustabout. Performs routine physical labor and maintenance on oil rigs and pipelines, both on and off shore. Thank you for the description. I thought that was a Yes song. I think the gulf oil spill following the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon sufficiently scared most of us off.
- Lumberjack. Fells, cuts, and transports timber to be processed into lumber, paper, and other wood products. I could never do this anyway, ’cause I’m a northern spotted owl-loving ultra-liberal tree hugger. Though it would be cool to have a blue ox…
- Ironworker. Raises the steel framework of buildings, bridges, and other structures. Right – hundreds of feet up in the air. I can’t even climb a stepladder without experiencing vertigo. Pass.
- Dairy farmer. Directs and takes part in activities involved in the raising of cattle for milk production. Surely there are worse jobs than shoveling mounds of manure all day and, hey, possibly getting kicked in the head. Moo-ving right along…
- Welder. Joins or repairs metal surfaces through the application of heat. Sweating off half your weight every day while dodging sparks and risking blindness? What’s not to love?
Lists are both helpful and fun! (Maybe I should become an actuary). I’ve been inspired to come up with my own. Here are 5 jobs that, while maybe not dream careers, are still things I can see myself doing. And enjoying.
- Chilean miner. Not only did these guys emerge with really bitchin’ Oakley Polarized Radar Range sunglasses (that retail for $260), but they’ve also been given food, clothing, wine, toys, and even sexy lingerie for the wives (and girlfriends, presumably). Plus book deals, movie offers, meetings with the president. Lucky bastards!
- Jet Blue flight attendant. Nobody expects you to put up with rude customers – you can simply curse them out over the intercom. And at the end of a long and trying day, you can get yourself drunk, deploy the emergency evacuation chute, and slide to the ground. Wheee!!! And, you become a folk hero with your own Facebook fan page. Yes, please.
- The next Simon Cowell. Where else can you get paid a gazillion dollars for hurling insults and crushing dreams? You get to hang out with famous (if somewhat over-the-hill) music icons like Rod Stewart, the dress code is lax (stock up on tight black t-shirts), and there’s a never-ending supply of Coke whenever you’re thirsty.
- Wino. Don’t be scared off by the low no pay – rent is cheap (it’s easy to find a cardboard box); you aren’t chained to a desk all day; you get plenty of fresh air and exercise; sometimes if you’re just standing around people hand you money; and you spend all your time in a blissful, ignorant stupor.
- Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. Because, seriously, No Experience Required. Also, you don’t have to know diddly about geography or current events or, umm, anything. The scenery is beautiful. And you spend all your time in a blissful, ignorant stupor.
So, there you have it. Lists, lists, and more lists! At this point, I can’t wait until I’m officially unemployed so I can get started on finding my dream job.
I wonder how much a one-way ticket to Wasilla costs?