Hot careers in hard times


What are the "hottest" careers, even in these recessionary times? Working Woman magazine, for July, asks, "Does your job have what it takes to stay hot even when times are bad?" and answers, "Few careers have sailed through the recession but some toughed it out better than others."

Here, from the article, are the 25 "hottest" careers: Physical therapist, international accountant, outplacement specialist, nurse-anesthetist, optometrist, physician assistant, pharmacist, veterinarian, bankruptcy attorney, environmental engineer, clinical-research associate, reproductive endocrinologist, environmental attorney, software engineer, special-education teacher, health services administrator, employee-assistance program director, technical trainer, human-resources manager, development officer, sports and special-events marketer, caterer, private banker, management consultant, and rabbi/minister. The article is loaded with details and explanations.

SILVER LINING? Speaking of recession, I asked Joel "Bud" Finkelstein, chief executive officer of Ace Uniform Services, how uniform rentals were going in Maryland. He responded, "Things are improving. For the quarter just ended we had more add-ons than layoffs and this is the first time I could say that in the last five quarters. Automotive add-ons were especially strong."

ALTOONA BLUES: Spending a weekend in this once-proud railroad town, I found the recession still biting deep. In Lena's 20th St. Cafe, a waitress told me, "We're not as packed as we were, and people don't order the same. Instead of spaghetti and two meatballs for $6.25, they mostly get spaghetti and one meatball for $5.50." And at Tom and Joe's diner, the counter man said, "Since train crews go on to Johnstown now instead of changing here -- the railroad does that to save money in the recession -- things is quiet." But Joe Wahl, 65, who lives alone in a trackside trailer, said, "I never had it so good. Retired, enough money to get along on, nobody bosses me around any more. I sell golf balls I find three for $1, pick my own blueberries, get water from that well and I don't know anything 'bout recession."

SWEATY PALMS: "It's normal to be nervous before job interviews," says National Business Employment Weekly, May 19. Excerpts: "A manageable level of stress can actually improve your performance. . . The less you worry about making mistakes, the less anxious you'll be. . . Interviewers center on the subject you know best: yourself, and if you've done your homework you know more about the company than he/she knows about you. . . Interviewers expect you to be nervous. . . You have nothing to lose; you didn't have a job offer before the interview." (For back copies, contact Tony Lee, Box 300, Princeton, N.J., 08543).

SUMMER SNIPPETS: Business Week, July 1 issue on newsstands now, runs a cheerful cover story, "Strong Recovery -- It's Possible.". . . If you earned $30,000 a year in 1990, you'll need $48,866 annually in the year 2000 to keep up with 5 percent inflation. (Data from Dexter Davis, Ferris, Baker Watts & Co.). . . Environmental Elements, a Baltimore-based firm whose stock is traded over-the-counter, is the subject of a new Legg Mason report which the firm will send you. . . "Constant use will wear away anything, especially old friends." (Bits & Pieces). . . "Employee stock option plans are a simple way to transfer ownership of private companies, with great tax advantages." (INC, June)

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