career choice
April 26, 2011 9:38 AM   Subscribe

Career Counseling: What is the best resource for finding out what people actually do? Your job isn't your title or what you know, but what you sit there and do all day long.

Considering that everybody has to make a living somehow, I'm almost shocked there is no definitive guide for jobs and what people actually do. I know there is the occupational outlook handbook, but everything is so broad and vague.

Instead of "I oversee a large portfolio of funds from institutional investors and make investment decisions on their behalf", I want "I meet with representatives from a few large universities a couple of times a week . We invest their endowments . I spend my time researching stocks on Bloomberg, downloading market data into excel and reading earnings reports. I then make decisions on what to invest in based on a, b and c. I'm constantly trying to get new clients by….", etc.

I've had some career counseling that has been pretty unhelpful. They just say "you would like being a statistician," based mainly on what I have said, i.e. I already knew that I don't want to be an insurance salesman.

You know, tests like "on a scale of 0 to 5, how much would you like to be a lumberjack?" don't really help.

I feel like I can figure out what I want to do myself if I could get a realistic portrayal of many people's jobs. I've read the book Gig which is kind of what I'm talking about.
posted by amsterdam63 to Work & Money (3 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know if this helps but it is a different way of tackling or thinking about this question: doing interviews with people in the career(s) you are thinking of. This provides you with direct knowledge of the ups-and-downs of the career, what is actually expected in a real-world context.

With that said, a book you may be interested in pursuing is WORKING by STUDS TERKL

Hope that helps!
posted by Dauus at 9:47 AM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding Dauus that the only way to do this is to get informational interviews with people doing what you want to do.

I know maybe 3 or 4 other people with my same job title at different companies. Our day-to-day lives are completely different. A book really can't tell you what your job is going to consist of, that's what vetting companies/jobs/asking good questions at job interviews/etc is for.
posted by brainmouse at 10:04 AM on April 26, 2011

I think this is what I was thinking of: the strong interest inventory. If it's the same one I remember doing 16 or so years ago, it had you rate specific tasks with how much you like doing them (organizing things by size, selling products, providing personal advice, whatever) and then suggested careers based on how people who were happy in their fields rated those same activities. It definitely gave me some insight.
posted by purenitrous at 8:35 PM on April 26, 2011

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