Choosing a career? Read this first

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the land of opportunity is offering a much leaner version of opportunity for those entering the work force today. The Bureau's Occupational Outlook Handbook lists what jobs are hot, and what jobs are not.

As you might expect in a nation with an enormous pre-retirement bubble, health-related careers dominate the hot jobs list. If you would like to make a living bathing, probing, cleaning the teeth or schlepping the bedpans of boomers, jobs should be plentiful. Unfortunately, the pay for most of these would put you soundly in the category of subprime loan candidates; in other words, scraping by.

The other area projected to provide opportunity is the computer industry, especially network systems geeks. These jobs will pay considerably better, but there is no reason to believe the pace of change in the industry will slow down, so buying into a career in this field probably means accepting ceaseless retraining and frequent job change.

Grim as this projection is, though, there is a bright spot for those in the sweet spot between the boomer generation and the boomerang (children of boomers) gen. Over the next 20 years, a huge percentage of the U.S. workforce will retire, including most of the top management of the country's companies. This means the relatively small number of experienced executives currently between 25-44 years old will be in great demand.

If you're starting your work life today, the Bureau projections strongly suggest looking for a career in hands-on, personal service, something that can't be bought on eBay or provided by a computer program. It will help to keep in mind that money cannot buy happiness.

Repeat after me - Would you like fries with that?

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