By Joyce Lain Kennedy

DEAR JOYCE: My job left me. As long as I face a major change of employment venue, what are the best careers for next year or future years? I keep hearing about the "best career fields" of education, health and information technology (IT), none of which appeal to me. Options? -- K.Z.

You're on the right track in seeking growing, rather than fading, industries and career fields. But recognize three critical points:

Job security is not always what you may think.

Teachers are being hit with layoffs in a number of states. Hospital workers (such as vocational nurses, nursing assistants and phlebotomists) are feeling the effects of the economic downturn. IT jobs are regularly outsourced and offshored.

Moral: Before jumping into a new life based on little more than an understandable desire for job security, check out the occupation or career field. Add the terms "layoffs," "outsourcing" or "declining" to your possible career choices and do a Web search.

Emerging careers may not work for your budget or timetable.

I'm always up for hot emerging careers, but early birds who rush into a dawning field are called "pioneers" for a reason -- if their timing is premature, they catch arrows in their backsides.

When your risk gene gives you a go-ahead urge, review research findings and compare them with known megatrends, such as the rapidly digitizing world of work and education, globalization of jobs moving across oceans, growth of genomics, recognized health care needs and greener thinking.

Tip: Cruise a list of emerging careers by visiting Seasoned by both academic credentials and field experience, the wise Dr. Marty Nemko knows whereof he speaks.

Know what motivates you.

I find it unnerving whenever I hear untrue canned career advice, like, "You can be anything you want to be as long as you want it badly enough."

By contrast, you can trust what Barbara Moses says. Dr. Moses -- another academic- and field-tested star, wrote a classic book in 2004: "What Next? The Complete Guide to Taking Control of Your Working Life," which says it's folly to jump into an emerging or traditional field without understanding what it is that lights your fire. Her book identifies eight motivational types -- everyone has a major and two minor motivations. In shorthand, the major motivations are:

-- Sociability seekers need people and social interaction.

-- Career builders are ambitious for prestige and money.

-- Authenticity seekers cherish true belief in their work.

-- Personal developers love learning, new mountains to climb.

-- Autonomy seekers crave being in charge of what they do.

-- Novelty seekers thrive on change and bore easily.

-- Stability seekers flourish with structure, predictability.

-- Lifestylers work to live, not live to work, and pine for flexibility.

Moses offers substantial detail in her book about each motivational type, including analysis of strengths and potential trouble spots. She notes both happy and unhappy employment choices based on your motivational core.

Use trustworthy resource.

For more than 50 years, the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Outlook Handbook has been delivering solid information on occupations that provide most of the jobs in the economy. The OOH is a job bible written in understandable language. You'll be blown away to find so much reliable information collected in one place. You can read the 2010-11 OOH for free online at

Free is good, but, personally, the print copy is more helpful to me than the online version because it allows easy concurrent comparison of several career fields. Find the print version in libraries and school guidance offices, or order your own copy in soft cover ($23), or hard cover ($39) at the U.S. Government Bookstore ( -- search for Bulletin 2800).

Available at

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Careers - Making Best Future Career Choices

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