Like most people I know, I pondered the question of what to do for a living for a very long time. I can’t remember exactly when I first encountered this question but my guess is that it was around the time I was in kindergarten. I also don’t recall what my answer was back then but it probably had to do with fire engines, moon landings, or lion taming.
Trying to figure out what to do for a living can be tough, especially if you are interested in more than one occupation or if you know what you like doing and are good at but don’t know what occupation that makes you qualified for. There is of course no shortage of information and advice one can find on this subject. There is academic support and counseling, there are professional services such as headhunters and career coaching, and then there is the oft dreaded parental “conversation” about what you’ll be doing with the rest of your life the day after graduation.
Well, there is a resource that can help you make sense of these vexing life questions; it is called the Occupational Outlook Handbook or OOH for short. The OOH is published annualy by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can access an electronic copy of this resource, for free, by clicking on the link above. The title of this publication pretty much sums up what it is but to get an idea of what it contains I have copied this text from the OOH’s Home Page:
“Welcome to the Nation′s premier source for career information! The profiles featured here cover hundreds of occupations and describe What They Do, Work Environment, How to Become One, Pay, and more. Each profile also includes BLS employment projections for the 2010–20 decade.”
The information you will find here is extremely useful in a practical, dare I say, bankable way. An added benefit is that the OOH is user friendly. One need not have a PhD in economics to understand the data and there is no steep learning curve when it comes to how the site functions. The following is an example of the OOH profile for librarians:
Next time you find yourself wrestling with this perennial question you can take comfort in knowing that the OOH is here waiting for you. I hope you find this posting useful and wish you the best of luck and good fortune on your career journey!