Careers and Paychecks

May 5, 2010

I just got a copy of the latest edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), the Bureau of Labor Statistics compendium of information about every job imaginable. Since the 1940’s, this biennial reference stalwart has provided career guidance information to untold numbers of job seekers, counselors, students, and anyone else interested in the U.S. job market. Although it’s lot like doing an Internet search on oneself, I decided to look up my profession.

In my job, I perform a number of cross-occupational tasks but, given my recent preoccupation with this blog, I decided to try “Authors, Writers, and Editors.” I was impressed by the way in which the entry methodically outlined what’s involved in performing the tasks associated with these professions, how things are done, and the working conditions (“they work any number of hours necessary to meet a deadline”), and also proved to me that I’m the real thing, to wit: “Some writers maintain blogs or issue text messages as a way of keeping in touch with readers or providing information to them quickly, but only those who are paid to write their blogs or send text messages may be considered writers.”

It’s not that I wasn’t aware of what goes into being a writer or editor, but I’ve seldom seen those things expressed so clearly and logically as in the OOH. When I finished reading the entry, I felt a little bit like the character from one of Molière’s plays who was astonished to find out that he had been speaking prose all of his life.

I also have a new understanding of the value of the OOH in providing comprehensive information on occupations in America. I’m not looking for a career or a job right now, but if I were…

GPO has the latest edition of the OOH available here and here.

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