Posted October 22, 2006 by

Static and Dying Jobs

My heart breaks each time I read an intern blog about the entry-level job their pursuing. So many are seeking filler positions such as data entry, secretarial, order clerk, postal worker. Yet at the other end of the spectrum, each one talks about the degree they’ve recently earned. What I want to do is have a live session with them to talk about more strategic ways to market their selves, to have more confidence in their abilities and the proper way to demonstrate that confidence, and how to talk about the knowledge and abilities they’ve gained from the edudation they’ve ained so that they may enter the initial stages of their true career path. Alas, at this point in time, I cannot have that live session. But I feel it in my bones. The day is coming.

Until the day that I can have that live session with our interns, I’ll have to write these blogs and post them in strategic places where I believe the interns will read them. And that is why today I’m posting a new blog in this space.

Kate Lorenz is the Career Editor at CareerBuilder and has done the research I did last year. The difference in our research is that Kate actually had the time to write about her findings regarding the ten dead-end jobs as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those BLS findings are another reason I have a heart attack when I read the interns’ blog posts.

The BLS projects that the jobs with the highest percentage of decline during the period 2004 to 2014 include (with the exception of farming and ranching) the very jobs that they are presently pursuing. Those jobs are:

  • Stock clerks and order fillers
  • Sewing machine operators
  • Order clerks
  • Mail clerks (excluding postal service workers)
  • Computer operators (although I believe this translates to word processor)
  • Secretaries (excluding legal, medical, and executive)
  • Telemarketers
  • Word processors and typists
  • Credit workers

Our current technology is now referred to as Web 2.0. We have global reach. We communicate with one another 24/7 because of the Internet and the technology we now take for granted and that drives our ability to do so many things. Our generation of interns grew up standing in front of a keyboard and monitor. Clicking a mouse for them was what they did before they took their first bite (not “byte”) of finger food. Indeed, their finger food was probably a chat room. These people who are the new breed of worker, are encouraged to do what they rally to be allowed to achieve. They want the opportunity to be involved in planning, communicating, executing, and analyzing. They may not realize it, but they clamor to be admitted into the ranks of skilled workers.

But they do their selves a disservice by limiting their creativity and blindsighting their selves with regard to the types of opportunities that are available to them. I’d like to stand in front of them with a white board and a marker and challenge them to tell me about the careers they want, related and supporting occupations, and steps to reach any of them. I’d like to force them to start taking steps along their career paths and hold them to their marks until they say they’ve learned about the option and it isn’t the right one for them. In the alternative, I’d like to hold them to their marks until they say they’ve taken step two or three and are well on their way to making it. They’ve got it.

Until then, I hope they’ll use the resources such as informational interviewing, statistics from the BLS, and other tools that will keep them aware of the types of options they have available to their selves. And I hope they’ll rise to the challenges they’re given here to get them moving in positive directions. They’re definitely worth the effort. They’re definitely worth more than the dead-end jobs.

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