Some attributes of careers

These are just some random thoughts about different kinds of careers one might choose, and why some people find certain careers more interesting than other people. This is not really a very exciting blog entry, so be warned.

There are wide differences in talent and in training and experience that can be used to classify different career paths. Someone who never studied music until after college is unlikely to have a successful career as a classical musician; someone who has poor hand-eye coordination will not succeed easily as a surgeon, and so on. But that's not what I'm talking about here.

I think that there are four very general attributes that can be applied to any possible career. Some careers seem to have one of the four almost to the complete exclusion of the others, while other careers are more of a blend. Here they are:

  • Drifting.
  • Scamming.
  • Maintenance of the present.
  • Focusing on the future.
First off is drifting, which many people wouldn't call a career at all. I include in this both the Skid Row bum and the idle rich. For example, Paris Hilton's career up to now has had a strong "drifting" component. Some people fall in to this category naturally, and others are forced into it. Some ordinary jobs can attain a very large component of drifting after a time. Someone who just "puts in the hours" or "keeps the seat warm" is drifting.

Next come scamming. This kind of career is built on the exploitation of human frailty. Most of the criminal careers fall into this category, but there are others. If someone spends their time pandering or taking advantage of peoples' weaknesses, then they are scammers. Some religious figures fall into this category, as do many in the entertainment industry. People with porn websites are basically scammers, as I am using the term. Since societies and laws serve to protect citizens, it is no accident that many scams are illegal, but not all are. Politicians, for example, often scam voters by making a career of exploiting their fears and prejudices in order to keep getting elected. While reprehensible, this is far from illegal.

Next we come to the largest class, those who maintain the present. These jobs are the pillar of society. People who raise food, who prepare food, who sell food--they are in this class. People who make cars and repair cars are too, along with doctors and policemen and firemen. Our large and complex human society requires a lot of maintenance, and there are many different types of maintenance activity. Many maintenance jobs are not widely respected: picking fruit in the field and collecting the trash are two out of many examples. Yet, all maintenance jobs are important.

The final class is those who focus on the future. Research scientists, legislators, inventors, philosophers, and similar workers also play an essential role. Almost all of our technology was developed by members of this class. Virtually all of the various medical procedures, laws, and similarly important aspects of our lives were not created by drifting, scamming, or maintenance, but by individuals whose focus was a bit beyond the needs of their day.

There are a great many careers who blend these four factors. For example, entertainment frequently has both scamming and maintenance aspects. As I stated above, many careers can be directed primarily at scamming, maintenance, or the future, but can fall into drifting through boredom or constant repetition. Very often, people whose primary careers are involved with maintenance also concern themselves with the future and make contributions in that area. People can be in maintenance or future-oriented businesses, but concern themselves primarily with scamming, that is, profiteering.

I think that applying these four attributes to potential careers could be useful to young people who might be making career choices, and also to older people who may not feel satisfied with their current careers, and might be looking for some kind of change. Anyway, speaking for myself, I've found it interesting to apply them to my career.

No comments: