We are bad at predicting what will make us happy, so the best way to pick a career is to study people to see if you like what their life is like. If you do, then try their career.
This is not very efficient, though. I mean, you can’t study that many people. So New York Magazine’s Watching the Clock is a gift for all you career searchers. You can read a minute-by-minute account of each person’s day.
Of course, it’s an account of their best day. No one reports anything like “1:36 pm put head on desk and worried about failure.” But still, you can learn a lot from reading about how someone really spends their day.
Also, you can learn about yourself by watching how you read the pages — you will read carefully what seems like the most fun to you. When I read, for example, I went first to the publicist, and relished every minute of his day. I even took pleasure the relentless pitching he did, within this piece, for his client, Bombay Sapphire. I skimmed the location scout’s day, and the contractor’s day. I read five scattered words about the chef’s day and they were all about food (who eats porchetta anyway?) and I couldn’t bring myself to read anymore. So no cooking school for me. Ever.
What if you like reading all of the profiles equally? Maybe you should be a librarian.