lists.jpgThere’s no shortage of fastest-growing-occupations lists out there, but warning: Don’t pay attention to them until you do one thing — figure out what YOU want to be.

If you don’t, such lists may only derail your career efforts or your attempts to find a new field.

I got an email recently from a woman who’s trying to help her unemployed husband. Marian sounds like the sweetest person, and she’s so concerned about her hubby’s future, which is a great thing. She writes:

“My husband was laid off from his employer after 31 years – he is 53 – we are trying to develop a plan to return him to the workforce. Here’s what we’ve determined. He will be enrolling in the following courses:

* Microsoft Office Specialist
* Medical Billing and Coding
* Health Information Technician

The goal is reemployment in a growing field. Maybe a hospital or medical benefits provider.

What other growing fields would you recommend he investigate.”

Ah, the growing-fields question. I reluctantly sent her a list of fastest growing jobs from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and here’s a link for all of you, because I know you’re dying to see it. But please, before you click on the link, take a look in the mirror.

Yes biomedical engineers and financial examiners are two growth jobs, but do you really want to be either of those? And do you have the personality, drive, or inclination for either? Just because a field is growing doesn’t mean you should head in that direction. In fact, it could end up wasting a lot of your time and money.

I can’t tell you how many people have emailed me over the years telling me getting into nursing was the dumbest thing they ever did. It’s not that nursing is a dumb profession. It’s actually an incredible career and very rewarding, but not everyone is cut out to become a nurse. It’s damn hard work, and you need a lot of emotional strength to handle such a job.

And lots of folks I interview in their 40s tell me they chose a field in college because it was the latest big profession and ended up hating it. (Hear that parents; and you poor high school seniors who are waiting to hear from that college at the top of your list you maybe shouldn’t even attend because the occupation you think will give you future job security may end up being an albatross around your neck.)

So, before you peruse that fastest-growing list, make a list of what you want to do, what you might be good at, and whether it makes sense for you to go for such a profession. Do you have the time to get the extra education if needed, or the money to pay for school, or to make less money while you learn a new field?

After doing that, you can take out the pesky list and make sure there is indeed a future in the profession you choose. But even if there aren’t going to be plenty of jobs in the area you like, don’t disregard it. The fastest growing lists are just that, fast growing. That doesn’t mean other jobs won’t be available in other fields.

Hey, I’m sticking with journalism and that hasn’t been on any list other than the fastest dying lately.

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