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The 10 Hottest Careers for College Graduates

Yeah, that's a headline that can grab your attention, but what else can it do?

For as little as my parents and I talked when I was younger about what I would do for work after college, one thing I remember them doing frequently was giving me articles to read that they saw in Newsweek or syndicated in a regional newspaper with headlines like

10 Fastest Growing Occupations for College Graduates
The 25 Fastest Growing Jobs for College Graduates
Employment Outlook for College Graduates

I remember reading them and feeling like I was receiving instructions from the government or the media or some authority that was telling me which job I would have. Or which 10 jobs I could choose from. Either way, I wasn't excited because few of the jobs on the list seemed like they'd be fun for me.

Now I realize that the sad thing is that even if a job on one of those lists might be a dream job of a certain individual, if she pursues the job in the slightest part because of those articles, she's not going to be happy later on.

Same goes for announcements of new degree programs. Saw this in Stanford's newsletter today...

In response to a serious shortage of genetic counselors, Stanford will launch a two-year program -- the only one of its kind in Northern California -- to train more professionals in the field. It is expected to begin in the fall of 2007. http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2006/july26/med-genetic-072606.html

I had never heard of the genetic counseling profession, and it sounds cool for the right people. Perhaps those who are attracted to helping people with very important issues but they aren't drawn to financial advising, they want more concrete and data-driven situations than what's encountered in psychiatry, and they're into healthcare but don't want to go to med school. But I wonder how many current undergraduates who are considering graduate school as merely a way to delay deciding what they want to do next will apply to that degree program just because it's new. Just because it's news.

When you see articles like "Where opportunities lie for tomorrow's graduates" with lines like "By 2014, nearly 270,000 new accounting jobs will be created," just know that it might be useful to economists and entrepreneurs, but it's not something to plan your career or live your life by. By 2014, I'm sure there will be 270,000 other people who chose to do accounting for the wrong reasons, so there's no need for you to go into it if you don't want to.

Posted by Ian Ybarra on 22 August 2006

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