Friday, December 18, 2015

Occupational Handbook

The BLS is just released its updated version of the Occupational Handbook. I will admit that this is by far one of the best tools out there concerning defining occupations and can be a great help to those trying figure out what they need to obtain certain kinds of work.

But I have a real problem with the post “How People Use the Occupational Outlook Handbook to Search for Careers” by the BLS Commissioner (2).

This post suggests that 1. Not all young students should use it for college planning, and 2. It is better to use this tool so as to avoid changing majors (and increasing your loan costs) while in college (2).

Here is my rub with this posting—the idea of career. The word career comes from a root that means course or path (1). The word presumes that one’s work has a beginning and an end point. The truth is in today’s economy people change employers so frequently that a career has become a twisted path with dead ends and side tracks (not unlike switching majors while in college).

Yes, people should use the Occupational Handbook for planning purposes, but I think in today’s economy one needs to have more than one degree in their pocket (or at least plan to get second degree later in life). The goal here is to try to avoid adding more debt to the equation. This means you will need to plan to work and pay for education as you go.

A person today needs to be a basic jack-of-all-trades when it comes to education.


(1) Harper, Douglas. (2014). Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved from

(2) BLS Commissioner. (2015). How People Use the Occupational Outlook Handbook to Search for Careers. Blog. Retrieved from

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