Once again, someone who appears not to know much about libraries or librarians has declared librarian a “dead-end job,” along with a few others. That someone is a “journalist” who has consulted some “career coaches.” It’s published by the prestigious education.yahoo.net, so it’s definitely something to pay attention to.
The dead-end jobs are paired with alternative careers, and here’s where things get weird and you begin to wonder if “journalist” isn’t one of those careers on the way out.
Let’s take a look at them.
1) Dead-end job: desktop publisher. Alternative career: graphic designer. Desktop publishing is supposed to decline with the decline of printed publications, at least according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Come to think of it, if you have the Occupational Outlook Handbook, you don’t really need professional career coaches. A librarian could probably tell people that.
The alternative career of graphic designer is the only one of a list of five that makes even the slightest sense. Both design stuff graphically. Okay, I’ll let that one pass.
2) Dead-end job: Telephone operator. Alternative career: Public Relations Specialist.
Okay, telephone operators have to have a minimal understanding of public relations, or at least learn how to talk to people. And they talk a lot. Other than that, how are they connected?
A telephone operator is a relatively low skill occupation that anyone with an understandable accent can do, or even a not understandable accent if it’s outsourced to India. According to the article, PR Specialist is a better choice because “A PR Specialist can bring businesses to the next level, because they actually have the connections and relationships with the community, radio personalities, publishers, journalists, and the ability to leverage various media strategies for the greatest media exposure,”
Yes, a PR Specialist might be able to do that. And of course someone with the talent to make it in the world of telephone operations is just right for doing all that. They already connect two people using the telephone lines. How hard is it to make the next step connect radio personalities with publishers or whatever? Not hard at all!
It gets better.
3) Dead-end job: Computer repairer. Alternative career: Computer programmer.
See, they both have “computer” in the title! Thus, they must have pretty much the same skill set. You could probably make that transition in an afternoon.
4) Dead-end job: Travel agent. Alternative career: Paralegal.
Because…because…sorry, no reason given. They both like to travel? Looking for travel deals is similar to poring through legal books and writing reports? I don’t get it. At least paralegal “is a high-growth, low barrier-to-entry job that can pay big bucks,” unlike, say, computer programmer.
5) Dead-end job: Librarian. Alternative: Nutritionist.
A career coach (which I’m assuming is another “low barrier-to-entry job”) says librarians are dying because “information now is so readily devoured using technology.” I have no idea how that relates to librarians. Presumably back in the day librarians would spoon-feed information to people using non-technology, unless the spoon is technology.
And since librarians have no connection whatsoever to information technology, they’re history!
Oh, and “federal funding for new libraries is basically non-existent, and job growth is expected to follow suit.” I actually laughed out loud at that one. How many new libraries have been built with federal funding? Other than federal government libraries, that number has got to be relatively small.
The “career coach” apparently thinks that public libraries, and we’re almost certainly talking about public libraries, are public because the U.S. government funds them, like National Parks or something.
You might think the “alternative career” suggested by the “career coach” is a little strange, because if there’s one thing you think when coming away from a librarian conference is “healthy eaters!”
But she suggests it because she “had a client who said that her work with the library’s organizational systems and her attention-to-detail helped her navigate the complex medical systems used by doctors and nurses to organize and manage their patients in her new career as a nutritionist.”
A client, one client, said this. And then the “career coach” extrapolated from that one example and made it general advice, showing that statistics isn’t another field you need to know about to become a career coach.
Based on the reasoning about librarians and nutritionists, I’m starting to doubt it all. Maybe travel agents are on the way back.