The Rat-faced Man wants to draw your attention to salience. This is the house term I’m using to describe how much attention a career path (or a life script) commands. No one can think of every possible job or opportunity. What’s more, our socializations run along similar lines, so all of us are likely to have gaps in our maps of possibilities.
Popular media doesn’t help, because when it does address the question of unusual jobs, it tends to do so from a sensationalist, clickbait position that is grossly disinformative to people trying to make life decisions. Stuff like that isn’t far removed from “it’s the ice roads for you, my son!” If you’re the kind of person who’s going to go into crab fishing, you probably aren’t getting the idea from BusinessPundit.com.
Even slightly less misleading pieces are still pretty misleading. Most of the jobs listed have a high rate of churn, so they are constantly hiring, but that doesn’t mean they have enough structural demand to meet the number of qualified applicants. Instead, they constantly burn through new ones but retain relatively few for long-term career tracks. It’s not impossible to thrive in this environment, but if you go the IT route (for instance) you should expect a succession of short-term contracts with relatively high base pay but little in the way of stability or benefits.
The title of this post refers to the fancy name for a dockworker job. Back in the early 20th century, it was strenuous, unskilled labor, packing goods by hand and loading them with a rope and pulley. Today, however, it’s performed with equipment. And equipment operators can do pretty well, even if kids today have no idea that this career path exists.
In fact doctor is the most popular profession for girls, at 16%, followed by teacher at 7%, scientist at 4.5% and chef/baker at 4%. Among boys, the most popular future job is pro athlete at 16%. Firefighter comes in second, at a little over 5%, followed by engineer at just below 5% and astronaut at 4%.
Overwhelmingly, what you see are civil service, public safety, doctorlawyerscientistengineer, and computers. In other words, things that are on TV or otherwise highly visible in books by Richard Scarry. Is it really possible that we’re letting millions of people get derailed because they are selecting occupations using a dartboard and books for toddlers?
In a sane, functional society, we probably wouldn’t have delegated career guidance to network TV and people who make under $1,000 a week. Since we have, as a highly-skilled professional with hiring experience, allow me to step in and use my expertise to link a reddit thread:
Guidance counselors: it’s one thing if your job can be made obsolete by a robot. What about when you’re outperformed by reddit?