There’s disconcerting news in CareerJournal today. They list the top ten professions, using generally the same criteria that Salary.com used to come up with its list of the ten best professions. And the only professions that are (only sort of) on both lists are: “analyst” and “social worker/psychologist”.
Analyst is such a broad term that it is almost useless, but it is conveniently something that requires almost the complete opposite skills as social worker/psychologist. So at least most personality types have an opportunity here.
Maybe the only really actionable advice on this topic comes from what has become one of my favorite sources for career advice, New York Magazine. Here’s a quote from a funny and informed lecture on happiness by Ben Mathis-Lilley:
“Don’t go to law school. Lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to be depressed than members of other professions, and it’s not just because their jobs are more stressful. For most people, job stress has little effect on happiness unless it is accompanied by a lack of control (lawyers, of course, have clients to listen to) or involves taking something away from somebody else (a common feature of the legal system).”
That advice is not just for lawyers, it’s for everyone. Even if you can’t be an analyst or psychologist, at least get a job where you have control over your work.
What is control? For some people, it’ll mean working for yourself. But you can have control working for other people, too.
He said that control goes beyond just workload and pace. “People don’t like to feel there’s a risk of being fired. They like control over what they wear, they want access to the heat control.”
Surprisingly, in study after study, women report more job satisfaction than men do. So maybe the biggest factor in whether or not you feel like you have control over your work is not whether you’re in a “best profession” but whether or not you’re a woman.