The 9 Worst Career Choices Right Now
Your career may be doomed if you pick the wrong occupation. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics cites technology, continuous productivity improvements and competition from less expensive imports as reasons some jobs are disappearing. Based on employment projections for 2006-2016, here are the jobs to avoid and alternate careers you could recareer to instead.

  1. Photographic Processing Machine Operators
    The need to develop film to print photos is quickly becoming obsolete as digital photography becomes more prevalent. Customers now operate kiosks to print photos from cards or print them at home using inexpensive photo printers. The need for photo processing machines operators is expected to decline 49% over the next six years.

    Career Transition:

    Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians. Transition attention to detail and experience operating machines to a field expected to grow faster than average. Prepare specimens and use computers and other machines to analyze them. Training for positions can be obtained through two year associates degrees, specialized community colleges and technical school programs which often offer internships. Median pay: $32,840.

  2. File Clerk
    File clerks record and retrieve information stored on paper or microfilm. Many organizations use computerized filing systems that require file clerks to scan documents and categorize them. Even given the push to "go green" and conserve paper, there are many paper documents that require file clerks to manage. But, the occupation is declining rapidly due to computer systems that categorize and retrieve documents electronically.

    Career Transition:

    Receptionist. The need for receptionists is expected to increase 11% especially in the areas of healthcare, technology, legal and employment services. These important positions represent the first line of contact between customers and an organization. Duties include greeting customers, answering telephones and perform light administrative duties such as sorting and opening mail. Workers receive on-the-job training. A high school diploma is needed along with a pleasant personality and basic computer skills. Median pay: $11.01 per hour.

  3. Sewing Machine Operators

    This fast-paced, repetitive work requires workers to use sewing machines to join pieces of clothing, upholstery and other textiles together. Inexpensive clothing and textiles imported from other countries is decreasing the need for workers 27%. (Learn what both the supporters and critics have to say about this growing global trend. Read The Globalization Debate.)

    Career Transition:

    Laundry and Dry Cleaning. Use skills with fabric in dry cleaning positions which are expected to increase 18%. A high school diploma and on-the-job training is required. Median pay: $8.58 per hour.

  4. Electrical and Electronic Equipment Assemblers

    People who put together electronic equipment are being replaced by robotic or automated systems. Production of electronic equipment is also being imported from countries with cheaper labor costs. The need for this highly-specialized work force is expected to decline 26%.

    Career Transition:

    Avionics. Assemblers wishing to continue to use their electronics knowledge should seek positions in the fast growing airplane production industry. Additional training is required that can usually be accomplished through specialized schools. Median pay: $22.95 per hour. (The institutional sector offers an intellectual and financially rewarding alternative. Check out Do You Belong In Retail?)

  5. Computer Operators

    Large computer systems traditionally require operators to keep them running properly. Duties from fixing hardware errors, performing backups, exchanging storage media, etc. have become largely automated, prompting a decline in jobs of 25%.

    Career Transition:

    Technical Support. Computer operators can transition highly desired skills including analytical skills, adaptability and good communication skills to help computer users solve problems. Workers who complete additional training, usually available at technical schools and community colleges, can enjoy a growth in demand of 13%. Median pay: $41,470 per year.

  6. Order Clerks

    Technology is making the need for human intervention in order processing obsolete. Demand for workers who used to receive orders for products and services in person, over the telephone, online or on paper forms is expected to decline 24%. Automated systems now track inventory, process the orders and monitor their progress through warehouse and billing departments.

    Career Transition:

    Cargo & Freight Agents. Transition computer skills and attention to detail to an occupation expected to grow 16%. Cargo agents arrange and track shipments being transported via truck, train, airplane or ship. Median pay: $37,110. (Looking to switch careers? A professional resume writer can really help. Check out Resume Scribes Seal The Deal.)

  7. Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators and Tenders for Metal and Plastic

    Manufacturing products made from metal or plastic requires operators to setup and operate machines. Automation, imports from other countries and production improvements will reduce the need for these workers by 23%.

    Career Transition:

    Welding, Soldering and Blazing. Use math skills, communication skills, and ability to read blueprints to continue to work in manufacturing. Vocational schooling and on-the-job training are required. The job outlook includes an increase of 5%. Median pay: $15.10 per hour.

  8. Bindery Workers

    The pages of books, magazines, and other materials are attached together by workers with attention to detail, keen eyesight and accuracy. The binding process is being enhanced with computer automation and imports from foreign countries, reducing the need for workers by 21%.

    Career Transition:

    Graphic Design. Workers with a keen eye for design can attend community college, four year colleges, or specialty art programs to learn to design the layout of advertisements, magazines and other documents. The need for graphic designers is expected to grow 10%. Median pay: $39,000 per year.

  9. Press Technicians & Workers

    Workers who setup and run printing presses are being replaced by automated computer systems as printing turns increasingly digital. The need for workers is expected to decrease 21%. (Learn how to answer some of the hardest interviewer questions and scenarios. Check out Tips To Beat Tough Interviews.)

    Career Transition:

    Desktop Publisher. Press Technicians can transfer their knowledge of printed documents to computerized publishing. Training in desktop publishing is required and readily available online, at community colleges and vocational schools. Either establish a freelance business or incorporate desktop publishing skills with internships to work in advertising agencies. The job outlook for this occupation will remain unchanged. Median pay: $34,130 per year.
Retaining employment may be as easy as transitioning existing skills to occupations forecasted for higher growth. Additional training may be required, but job security may be worth the extra effort. Remember, even if your vocation is being phased out, your skills will make you marketable in other areas. Be proactive and find out where your career is headed next. (Take our quiz to find out whether you're suited to this line of work. Is A Career In Financial Planning In Your Future?)

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