What career path would you advise a younger person to take? This entry at Vdare got me to wondering. [Note: I had genuine reservations about linking to Vdare, which I read about once per fiscal quarter, but facts are facts. It should be accepted among adults that you can read incendiary things without necessarily agreeing with them.]
I realize that the vast majority of GNXP readers’ kids and the kids of their friends are all winners in the brains sweepstakes. Extreme intelligence makes its own rules. But the rest of us must follow immutable laws of the economic universe and have to be beady-eyed about how our talents and capacities dovetail with demand. We’ve got to be brutally realistic.
For those in your acquaintance who are only somewhere above average, what secure career choices would you suggest?
My own would be to advise a young man to go into some kind of building contracting, and allied trades (such as carpentry, landscaping, glaziers, bricklayers, etc.). Contractors are making out like bandits in any locale where development is going on, and that’s in lots of places. I had a conversation with a building contractor in Warwick, New York, in 2004, and he told me that he had to turn down work. Warwick used to be a dreary pit; due to its proximity to New York combined with a picturesque setting, it is now chi-chified and booming. The contractor grew up there when it was poor; he is now turning down business from the people who have moved there. He drove a Ford pickup and was probably a high school graduate. There must be thousands of such counties in these great United States.
Too many middle-class parents look down on trades such as these — what are they thinking? Isn’t it better to be a self-sufficient carpenter than a nervous middle manager who is scared that his job is going to be exported? There will always be a market for superior craftsmanship.
For women those kinds of jobs would be either not attractive or too physically demanding. I suggest cosmetology. Don’t laugh; you can charge a lot for one hair-coloring. Fine motor coordination might make women better at jewelry-making. Another career path would be dressmaking. Back in the day, a good seamstress was able to make a dress without patterns. They fit, they draped and they were beautiful. There are very few custom dressmakers left in New York; people tell me that they are all in Jackson Heights, where the Indian immigrants have moved.
I realize that these jobs can be physically taxing but…you can’t have everything.
Suggestions welcomed! (But please, keep it proper.) The idea is to suggest professions that do not require freakish ability. Just a job that an average but dedicated and persevering yeoman can accomplish.
The comments have proved an interesting exercise. What happens with fruitful comment lines is that certain principles manifest. In this case, the main principle that jumps out at me is that you may not need to be brilliant to be a successful small businessman, but you do need above-average drive and organizational ability. Even a micro-mini-Martha Stewart (who started as a local caterer, another career choice) needs to be very dedicated. A lot of folks simply aren’t. They want to collect a paycheck and let The Man take care of everything.
While I sympathize with this mentality, I can’t agree with it. The Man has taken care of things so well that entire sectors of our economy have been exported. Average America has to start mistrusting The Man, and that’s what I tried to point out with this post. Henry Ford is seriously dead.