The time has come (the Walrus said) to stop being pacified by safe, soft-pedaled words like ‘recession,’ ‘slump’ or ‘dip in the market.‘ Let’s face the facts, folks: Times are hard; money’s tight. The price of everything from gas to grapes skyrockets, while unemployment and job loss figures go up on a monthly basis. If these economic trends continue, we’re going to see corporations and entire industries tightening their belts, followed by a dwindling spiral of jobs.
If you’re pursuing a dream job, you may need to wake before Life turns that dream into a nightmare. Your dream job may be one saddled for elimination. But you can save yourself a lot of stress and disappointment by going after jobs with proven longevity. Or, as Mick Jagger would say: ‘You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need.’
Here’s a look at 21 careers will stay stable, no matter how much the Dow-Jones rises or falls.
1. Doctor: This is a career that never goes out of style. People will always get sick; doctors will never want for patients. Despite the failing economy, Health Care in an industry on the rise. We’re living longer, but we definitely need people to help us do it. Jobs in the medical and health care professions are not only lucrative, but in demand. And you don’t have to be an M.D. Everything from Nurses and Physical Therapists to Medical Coders and Ambulance Drivers is red hot.
2. Pharmacist: Immediately after we see the doctor, we head straight for the drug store for our prescription. Whether you’re an independent druggist, or working for one of the chains, it’s gonna make rain, particularly during a recession. Increased unemployment means more people without insurance. And this spells business for pharmacies and manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. The uninsured will forestall an expensive doctor visit with flu shots, over-the-counter drugs, even alternative herb and vitamin therapy.
3. Dentist: Dental hygiene is very important to Americans. We like our choppers straight and pearly. This is a safe bet, even when money’s tight. While people may not have as much to spend on expensive braces, data from Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that dental offices did increase as much as 2 - 4% during previous economic recessions in 1990, 2001 & 2007. Recession also means people will be eating cheap, rather than healthy. This takes a major toll on the teeth, but creates business for you. Remember, no matter how much people hate dentists, they hate toothaches more.
4. Teacher: Sadly, teachers aren’t appreciated in this country. But we all remember that one teacher who made difference in our lives. The really good news in this job market is that teachers can always get work. And right now, enrollment is increasing exponentially while veteran teachers are retiring. There’s also a growing need for teaching aids with bilingual proficiency and handicap training, to assist children with special needs. Educators with advanced degrees are particularly sought after to meet the rising number of college students.
5. Engineer: There are many different types of engineers, but the great thing is that they are always in demand. And if the government steps in to ignite the economy through infrastructure improvements, it will be engineers that lead the way. We tend to picture them in flannel shirts and hard hats, but engineers can be choosy, and use their skills in either a white or blue collar environment. The Energy industry will bring steady engineer work in any recession, but particularly now, with all the ongoing research for alternative energy sources.
6. Accountant: They say the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. As long as we have taxes, we’ll need people to prepare our tax forms. It’s Greek to us, bread and butter to them, God bless ’em. Even in recession, the cost of hiring an expert is offset by the clever loopholes and tax breaks they find. Like engineers, Accountants are spoiled for choice. Every industry and corporation, anyone who makes or handles money, eventually needs one.
7. Mortician: Ok, you knew it was coming. It’s macabre and spooky, but career-wise, this is the house that always wins. And you don’t need to be a funeral director to get in on the action. There are several lucrative, death-related careers. Here’s a list; imagine the details yourself: Coroner, Embalmer, Crematorium Technician, Casket Manufacturer, Obituary Writer, Grave Digger.
8. Politician: Death, Taxes…Politicians, they will always be with us. It’s an election year, so it deserves a mention. We like to think them as public servants, but they also get paid. Whether it’s the local District Attorney or a Congressman in Washington, our elected officials receive a tidy salary and a budget for the running of their office. Sounds rather cushy, but we all know (wink, wink) they’re not in it for the money.
9. Government Employee: It may not be a glamorous politician’s life, but somebody has to keep the wheels of bureaucracy well-oiled. The wonderful thing about Government Employment is the longevity. Usually, people leave only when they retire. Not only are they rarely downsized, but during a recession, the government is notable for creating new jobs within its network. Government contracting can also provide stable employment.
10. Utility/Energy Specialist: Another good standby. No matter how bad the economy gets, it isn’t likely that people will stop using electricity or heating their homes. These careers offer a variety of specializations from technicians to researchers, particularly as Americans become more environmentally conscious. We want power ‘greener’ and (hopefully) cheaper.
11. Scientist: The human race is never going to stop wondering about the world around us, which is scientists will feel the cold less than other areas of advanced academia. Now, not everyone can be an Einstein, but thankfully there is a great need for scientists in practical arenas of industry and medicine. Companies like Proctor and Gamble, historically a recession proof corporation, employs many scientists and engineers to develop and test new products.
12. Police Officer: Our finest in blue! Like government employees, police layoffs are rare; nobody wants to jeopardize public safety. This work can be a little more dangerous, depending on where you are keeping the peace, so you may want to opt for security work in the private sector. Or if you don’t want to be around criminals (who would?) you can safeguard the public in a fireman’s uniform.
13. Soldier: In war or peacetime, a Soldier in the Armed Forces is an honorable profession. And when the nation is in economic trouble, the career choice for many. And it’s not hard to see why. The Service provides salary and living expenses, trains soldiers in a variety of marketable skills as well as combat, and helps fund higher education. We all know the downside, of course, so the Army life isn’t for everyone. But it’s always an option.
14. Social Worker/Career Counselor: Economic turbulence is a time when people need help the most. Ordinary problems seem bigger when money is short. Hence, the need for Social Workers and counselors dramatically increases whenever the economy flops. Social Assistance offers a range of emphasis, from youth and family programs to elderly and handicap services. Career Counselors go hand in glove with economic hardship. They is nothing like being unemployed to make someone feel helpless. Job and industry downsizing will keep Career Counselors busy.
15. Auto Mechanic: We love them, we hate them, but where would we be without our cars? They are a necessity, and so are the mechanics who look nurse them back to health. The career is stable throughout, but during economic recession, mechanics can look forward to an increase in tow truck services.
16. Home Maintenance Specialist: This career is a generic term for a highly skilled worker, such as a Carpenter, Plumber or Roofer. Like the Auto-Mechanic, these jobs provide services that are necessary to daily life. The need for unclogged pipes and a roof without leaks doesn’t go away when the economy sours, so these careers, while blue collar, are steady as they come.
17: Bartender: When times get tough, booze sells. And actually, you don’t need to be the one mixing drinks and listening to the clients’ life story. Anyone involved in the production, manufacture and distribution of alcohol is sure to profit, from the distillery to the bar where you serve it up neat.
18: Cosmetologist: It’s the last thing to go. Women may deny themselves new clothes and stylish shoes and every other little luxury. Somehow, they always find enough money for the periodic salon date, complete with haircut, color, manicure and waxing. It’s a commentary on our obsession with youth and beauty, but it’s also a steady living, if you have the talent.
19: Veterinarian: Americans adore their pets (sometimes more than people!), and we depend on them when times get tough. Both Veterinary services and sales at pet and pet supply retailers typically take an upward incline during recession.
20: Debt Advisor/Debt Collector: Two sides of the same problem. Collecting and settling debts is probably the single most recession-proof job out there. Debts mount up, and Debt Advisors and Collectors spring up to meet them. It’s a bit sad, but if you’re squeamish you needn’t look.
21: Sex Worker: C’mon, you know you were thinking it, too! The world’s oldest profession is one you can bank on during recession. Illegal it may be, but like bootlegger trade during Prohibition, sex will sells in secret, despite any economic down spirals. And let’s not forget, there are similar jobs in this category that, while shady, are totally legal: ‘Blue Movie Performers,’ ‘Massage Therapists,’ ‘Exotic Dancers.’ Hasn’t done Diablo Cody any harm.