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Choosing careers with very limited potential

  • 16-04-2021 9:24am
    #1
    Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Music Moderators Posts: 12,764 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Zascar


    I was discussing this with a friend recently - about how many people choose to go into careers where no matter how good you are, your promotion and earnings potential is severely limited. Take the standard "Nurse and a Guard" - very solid professions but you are never exactly going to hit the bigtime, even the bosses don't exactly make huge money. Going into a career in areas like finance, banking, tech, sales or engineering etc - even at the very bottom has virtually unlimited possibilities of where you can go and ways you can make serious money - and you don't need 600 points to get in. I still don't understand why so many young people are steered into avenues where no matter how well they do, there is always a ceiling on your success. I get not everyone is money motivated or is even ambitious, but if you are going to have a career does it not make sense to give yourself as much runway as possible?


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,335 ✭✭✭ basill


    I think you highlight the fundamental problem in the education system. Presently its aimed at getting children to complete secondary school at all costs and then feed them into higher education even though most are unsuited to this type of learning environment. They end up doing a course that is in reality a vocation and something would be better placed in a polytechnic/technical training college or centre or via work experience. Many of these courses have little chance of a job at the end of it. In fact many simply exploit kids via unpaid internships which has to be stamped out.

    The bright children at school miss out on learning opportunities as the teacher has to direct more of their time in dealing with the kids that shouldn't be at school in the first place nor quite possibly want to be. Instead they should be in apprenticeships. So its then a nasty spiral race to the bottom where class sizes get bigger, teacher resources get strained and inevitably the curriculum has to be "dumbed down" to facilitate educating the children that shouldn't be there in the first place in order to try to wrestle them up to higher education entry levels.

    The moral of the story is stop rewriting history and go back to pulling kids out of school at 15 and into apprenticeships or work. Or send them into technical colleges at 15 and take them out of the normal school system.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,689 ✭✭✭ 3DataModem


    The one thing about jobs with a ceiling, is that they also generally have a floor, and fixed hours. That is attractive to a lot of people.

    The one thing about jobs with big potential, is that they also have a shorter expected lifespan. Knowing that you could be out a job in 6 months is something some people don't have to deal with.

    It's a trade off between security and potential, and always has been.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,733 ✭✭✭ OMM 0000


    I remember reading a psychology book and they were talking about different types of people. In a nutshell it said 80% of people are boring and want to be part of the establishment and not shake the boat. Only about 5% of people are entrepreneurial. Another 5% are creative. Mavericks take up another 5%, and then there was some other 5%, probably crazy people, I don't remember.

    My point is most people are boring and not very ambitious, so a civil service job or the like (stable, secure) appeals to them.

    This is a good thing, because if everyone was entrepreneurial or mavericks, we'd have no one to do the boring stuff.

    So I think it'd take a lot more than "hey go into finance you'll make a fortune" to prevent them becoming nurses.

    Obviously I have nothing against nurses.


  • Posts: 0 ✭✭ [Deleted User]


    OP - the jobs you mentioned (nurses, guards) have incredible job security, pensions etc. Same with teachers. Its a trade off.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,925 ✭✭✭ huskerdu


    "I still don't understand why so many young people are steered into avenues where no matter how well they do, there is always a ceiling on your success. "

    I disagree fundamentally. You seem to be talking about a very narrow definition of success.

    I don't understand why anyone would steer a young person into a career on the basis that 10% of people who go into that area make a lot of money.

    Doing something that you might enjoy is a much better reason
    (of course, choosing a career path at 17/18 is fundamentally flawed and many people move from the path they went on initially anyway but no time to go into that today).


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,647 ✭✭✭ Homelander


    I also wouldn't say they have "very limited" potential in the overall scheme of things. Not only is there scope for advancement if you've determined, motivated and ambitious enough, but they have excellent security, benefits and a respectable salary scale that allows you to easily plan for the future.

    I'm not sure I agree with "even the bosses don't make big money". It's big money when compared to the median industrial wage in Ireland and hence it's "big enough" for most normal people. Like in the civil service, any-one with the vaguest touch of intelligence or motivation could easily make Grade V or VI level and earn 60-65k, and still have a relatively simple, stress-free job.

    In fact most careers aren't all that limiting, they're mostly limited by lack of ambition, motivation, etc on behalf of the individual. What you are really asking is "why isn't everyone extremely ambitious?"

    Most just want a half decent job they don't hate that'll allow them a reasonable quality of life. A fraction of people want to endlessly climb the career ladder or hit the top of their field.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,615 ✭✭✭ jrosen


    Some young people have little guidance from home and then Career guidance in school certainly in my school was terrible. Its equally as bad in my sons secondary school. Not every young person is thinking long term, or has a focus. Plenty of students sitting the LC have no real idea what they want to do.

    We also need people to do a whole range of jobs. We cant all be ambitious finance people or engineers. We need someone to serve the coffee, cut hair, sweep the street, stock the shelves. If we want to pay people more for these jobs then we need to charge more for the service.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,666 ✭✭✭ billyhead


    Some jobs are a vocation or a family member such as a parent worked the same job and they followed suit i.e Gardai for example.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,639 ✭✭✭ PhoenixParker


    I wouldn't say nursing has low scope for advancement.

    There's a lot of scope for promotional posts which carry solid salaries and you can move from nursing management to hospital management and keep going further. The proportion of promotional posts is fairly high too.

    Engineering on the otherhand doesn't have great scope if you stay in engineering.

    Teaching is one that has fairly limited prospects for promotion. There are very few principals vs the number of teachers.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,584 ✭✭✭ Pogue eile


    Do people really choose a career based on potential earnings? Seems a recipe for disaster to me, job satisfaction and work life balance should be so far ahead of any starting or notional salary.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,733 ✭✭✭ OMM 0000


    Pogue eile wrote: »
    Do people really choose a career based on potential earnings? Seems a recipe for disaster to me, job satisfaction and work life balance should be so far ahead of any starting or notional salary.

    I know a lot of people in finance and banking and they all hate their jobs. Their salaries are high though, all on a good bit more than 100k a year.

    The thing with programming (sort of my area) is you can also make good money and if you like it you really like it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,487 ✭✭✭✭ Tell me how


    Zascar wrote: »
    I was discussing this with a friend recently - about how many people choose to go into careers where no matter how good you are, your promotion and earnings potential is severely limited. Take the standard "Nurse and a Guard" - very solid professions but you are never exactly going to hit the bigtime, even the bosses don't exactly make huge money. Going into a career in areas like finance, banking, tech, sales or engineering etc - even at the very bottom has virtually unlimited possibilities of where you can go and ways you can make serious money - and you don't need 600 points to get in. I still don't understand why so many young people are steered into avenues where no matter how well they do, there is always a ceiling on your success. I get not everyone is money motivated or is even ambitious, but if you are going to have a career does it not make sense to give yourself as much runway as possible?

    Bizarrely maybe, many people are motivated by things more than just career success and even in the context of their career, they don't always consider the amount of money they make as an element of their success.

    There are some who achieve a high level of 'success' (wealth) as a consequence of their career, but in doing so in finance, engineering, tech, sales they will most likely have devoted a huge amount of time of their lives in doing so with a 40Hr week being seen as a short week.

    We know how necessary money is, but the idea (not that you have said it) that it is the answer to all or most of lifes problems is absurd.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,474 ✭✭✭ floorpie


    I know many people who were big earners/senior in their respective fields, who were out of work for extended periods of time during bad economic years. Now look at an employment chart for the last 40 years and, at least at a high level, how many years of the 40 were bad?

    You're asking this question at a local peak of employment, but for almost a decade until recently, it didn't seem like there were "virtually unlimited possibilities" if you worked in several of the areas you mention. Jobbridge had what, 100k people working for free in the 2010s, including laywers, salespeople, tech staff. Even government departments hired laywers via Jobbridge just 5 years ago. Nearly half a million were on Jobpath since. There are near half a million on PUP right now!

    I'm personally quite money motivated, but I'm getting out of tech and into the public sector for this very reason. I think job security in many industries is very questionable right now, and imo you can't earn enough in Ireland to make up for the risk of your industry falling on its ass when you're >50. Especially when the age for state pension will soon be 68. Thinking about another 2008 hitting when I'm 10-15 years off of a high retirement age just makes me shudder :(


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,334 ✭✭✭✭ mariaalice


    I wouldn't say nursing has low scope for advancement.

    There's a lot of scope for promotional posts which carry solid salaries and you can move from nursing management to hospital management and keep going further. The proportion of promotional posts is fairly high too.

    Engineering on the otherhand doesn't have great scope if you stay in engineering.

    Teaching is one that has fairly limited prospects for promotion. There are very few principals vs the number of teachers.

    It's a certain type that goes for promotion someone would need at least a master's and probably an MBA and other specialised qualification if they were a nurse who wanted to go into health care management.

    There is no way today anyone goes for promotion or specialised role in the vast majority of careers without further qualification after their degree, they're on the treadmill from their leaving cert on.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,900 ✭✭✭✭ snoopsheep


    The level of insulting projection in that OP, the narrow ignorance evidenced and the easy confidence in same, tbh it staggers me it's not a new minted troll account but a longstanding poster

    Id safely say what you know about any of the varied and interesting careers you name and write off as being for people that are boring and unambitious could be written in large print on the back of a stamp.


  • Registered Users Posts: 108 ✭✭ Chaos Black


    OMM 0000 wrote: »
    My point is most people are boring and not very ambitious, so a civil service job or the like (stable, secure) appeals to them.

    This is a good thing, because if everyone was entrepreneurial or mavericks, we'd have no one to do the boring stuff.

    Just a small note, I get the meaning of what you are saying and that a lot of CS are likely more risk adverse then someone who works in a startup and that can be an organisation culture thing as well. I.e. if you are in the CS, regardless of personality the prevailing wind is to be risk adverse. Although I recently read the private sector despite the narrative is similar in reality!

    However, I just wanted to say that if someone is ambitious, the CS job can entail influencing and having a direct hand in national policy. I would bet that your average AP for example in some Departments have much more influence then someone making similar money in a tech giant like Google as they will be advising Government and implementing policy.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,571 ✭✭✭ vriesmays


    Someone full-time staying in the civil service at clerical grade from say aged 20 to 60 would earn over €1 million.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,900 ✭✭✭✭ snoopsheep


    vriesmays wrote: »
    Someone full-time staying in the civil service at clerical grade from say aged 20 to 60 would earn over €1 million.

    What would someone working in tesco earn over forty years?

    I mean this is absolutely inane stuff.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,474 ✭✭✭ floorpie


    However, I just wanted to say that if someone is ambitious, the CS job can entail influencing and having a direct hand in national policy. I would bet that your average AP for example in some Departments have much more influence then someone making similar money in a tech giant like Google as they will be advising Government and implementing policy.

    I think the average PO, AP, or even HEO has responsibilities that FAR exceed what their (imo) low pay would suggest. I had no clue about the nature or extent of CS work before I looked into joining it. I reckon by a certain level you must have extreme ambition to take on such responsibilities for the given salary. OMM 0000 suggests that they're the boring risk-averse 80% but possibly they're the 5% of crazy people :p
    OMM 0000 wrote: »
    In a nutshell it said 80% of people are boring and want to be part of the establishment and not shake the boat. Only about 5% of people are entrepreneurial. Another 5% are creative. Mavericks take up another 5%, and then there was some other 5%, probably crazy people, I don't remember.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,800 ✭✭✭ BonsaiKitten


    Not everyone wants to work solely to earn big bucks. Speaking of teaching, I know a lot of classroom teachers who wouldn't touch being a principal with a barge pole - it's a completely different role to their own, much more admin and paperwork, can be quite lonely at times. It's not directly comparable to promotion in other careers where you might be doing something similar while being bumped up the food chain.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,378 ✭✭✭ con___manx1


    At the end of the day money isn't everything. Some people get those kind of jobs where there is real career progression but the higher they go up the ladder the more responsibility pressure and stress thses people will have.
    Any job that puts you under stress is not worth the money in my opinion. That will take years off your life.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,921 ✭✭✭✭ Buttonftw


    How many part time positions are available in the high-earning sectors?
    Plenty of teachers are happy to split their job for a while when their kids are before school age. Nursing has plenty of opportunities for part time work later on or shift work which can average at 3 shifts per week.
    On top of that is it worth zero security and flexibility to make an extra 20k which will be instantly halve by tax?
    A couple both on 2-3x minimum wage (which apparently isn't high-paying now) will have a combined income of 100k, perfect job security and a couple of decent pensions.


  • Registered Users Posts: 203 ✭✭ Yourmama


    It's not all about money. Some people prefer to have a job they enjoy and go to work to have fun. I consider myself lucky that I do what I love and I get decent money for it. If money was crap, I'd still do it. Life's to short for suffering, even for great money.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,621 ✭✭✭ Cluedo Monopoly


    At the end of the day money isn't everything. Some people get those kind of jobs where there is real career progression but the higher they go up the ladder the more responsibility pressure and stress thses people will have.
    Any job that puts you under stress is not worth the money in my opinion. That will take years off your life.

    Agree with this. If your job is stressing unnecessarily then get out. Stress will mess up your health in many ways.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 17,827 Mod ✭✭✭✭ peasant


    Zascar wrote: »
    ... there is always a ceiling on your success.

    It really depends on how you define success.

    If your definition for example includes regular hours to devote to your family, the ability to have life outside of work, being yourself instead of a corporate wheel and advancing on merit rather than office politics...then yes, that success comes with a ceiling to your potential earnings.

    But money aint everything and quite brutally put ...not everybody wants to be the corporate whore, no matter how well it pays, some people have standards to live up to


  • Registered Users Posts: 964 ✭✭✭ LimeFruitGum


    Jobs aren’t for life anyway.
    I remember bumping into a science teacher from my school in Limerick city a few years later at a job in Blanchardstown. She was working in HR. I did a double-take at first! She had never taught me and we didn’t interact that much at work, but I had to really try to stop myself calling her Miss :)

    Another friend who originally trained as a teacher, had enough of unstable contracts, and she eventually went into financial services.


  • Registered Users Posts: 521 ✭✭✭ maxsmum


    I totally get why people go into nursing, Garda etc, safe and pensionable and when you're off the clock, you're off the clock. Paid maternity leave and all that is very attractive to most.
    I never got why people go to art college (to be artists). There were two in my class at school. They are still living off their parents, nearly 40. I know we need art and artists, but as a sideline to a 'real' job, I would have thought.


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Zascar wrote: »
    I was discussing this with a friend recently - about how many people choose to go into careers where no matter how good you are, your promotion and earnings potential is severely limited. Take the standard "Nurse and a Guard" - very solid professions but you are never exactly going to hit the bigtime, even the bosses don't exactly make huge money. Going into a career in areas like finance, banking, tech, sales or engineering etc - even at the very bottom has virtually unlimited possibilities of where you can go and ways you can make serious money - and you don't need 600 points to get in. I still don't understand why so many young people are steered into avenues where no matter how well they do, there is always a ceiling on your success. I get not everyone is money motivated or is even ambitious, but if you are going to have a career does it not make sense to give yourself as much runway as possible?

    Garda commissioner makes 263,000 euro a year!
    Not everyone will make that money obvs, but management level is not a bad salary figure, plus expenses.

    Tbf, I think most people want to do a job that they enjoy, as well as being able to live off the wages. If I was paid 3 times as much as I am now, but it was a job I didn't like, I wouldn't do it.
    Ambition is not always about going higher/making more money.


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,657 ✭✭✭✭ listermint


    I'd have to agree with alot of others here, OP has an extremely juvenile and naive definition of success.


    It reads like the type of 'potential released' picked up from a bottom shelf self help book or podcast.

    People should not shape themselves or their world on such frivolities. But they do.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 377 ✭✭ ThumbTaxed


    People would really want to stop saying how good a civil service pension is.

    Those who joined post 1995 and post 2013 would not agree with that.

    It is more of a small benefit than a real head turner especially now that 40 year careers in CS will be less likely with older new joiners.


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