Class Assignment, and Discussion: What We Do for a Living

In Chapter 1 of Personal Finance Turning Money Into Wealth we take a look at “Thinking About a Career” and discuss the steps involved in career planning.   The first, and maybe most important step in career planning, is doing a serious self-assessment which could lead to developing an understanding of what you want to do in your “work life.”   You begin this by considering your interests, skills, values, personal traits, and desired lifestyle.  You’ll also take a look at your educational record – which courses did you like the most and which ones did you do well in?

But, what do most Americans do for a living?  A recent Planet Money article, “What America Does for a Living,” takes a look at the occupational changes that have taken place over the past 40 years.  To say the least there have been a lot of  changes.  Perhaps the biggest change is in the size of employment in the manufacturing sector which was the largest sector  back in 1972 employing almost a quarter of the U. S.  population.  At the start of 2012 the manufacturing sector has dropped considerably.  There are a couple other noteworthy changes.  First, more people are in the workforce – 64 percent versus 60 percent in 1972, and the number of jobs available has increased.  Today, 133 million people are working compared to just 73 million in 1972.

Class Discussion and Assignment:

1.  Read the Planet Money article, “What America Does for a Living.”  What have the major changes been in what Americans do for a living over the past 40 years?  Write a one page paper on the changes and why you think they have happened.  Be prepared to discuss this in class.

2.  What two careers have the most appeal to you?  Compare the salaries of both using the “Salary Comparison Calculator” website by  Write a one page paper on your findings and be prepared to discuss your findings in class.

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