Last Updated Jun 20, 2011 4:37 PM EDT
So, why should anybody be surprised that, even in these supposedly enlightened times, there are dozens of jobs or fields based on little more than blind faith and superstition with the occasional subjective empirical data thrown in for good measure.
Why do they exist? Who knows? Maybe it's because there will always be enterprising people looking for ever more creative ways of providing the desperate and gullible with what they want - a quick fix or an easy solution to all their problems.
Now, before the flame-mail begins, a few caveats:
- This is my observation, my list, my opinion; no more, no less, no data to back any of it up.
- In most of these jobs or fields, I'm referring to what I think is the majority. Some individuals distinguish themselves by using real science. They know who they are and so do their customers.
- If you happen to have one of these jobs, it's nothing personal and I don't mean to imply you're a bad or misguided person. There are real markets for this kind of stuff, as evidenced by how lucrative some of these jobs are.
- Self help book author. Hundreds of authors, thousands of books, hundreds of millions of copies sold, billions of dollars made. With rare exception, it's all just a bunch of BS. That's all I've got to say.
- Chiropractor. Yes, of course, they do some good. But they also subscribe to all kinds of practices and market and sell tons of dubious products that are based on nothing more than unsubstantiated pseudoscience or just plain quackery. Just keep flushing all those toxins and taking megadoses of vitamins and supplements. Placebo's a powerful effect.
- Personal / life coach. I know I'm going to catch a lot of crap for this, but I'm not talking about highly-trained consultants who deal in executive coaching and the like. I'm talking about thousands of self-proclaimed personal or life coaches with little or no experience who can't even get their own lives together, let alone help anyone else.
- Health expert. This is a huge field that encompasses quite a lot of product and professional areas like nutrition, supplements, diets and diet pills, holistic medicine, and homeopathic medicine ... the vast majority of which are just quick-fix fads. Hell, even colonics is still around.
- Stock picker / market timer. This may be a slight exaggeration, but I would put a monkey up against the vast majority of stock pickers, market timers, and all day traders. Of course there's science to investing, but it's mostly about developing a diversified portfolio that meets your specific needs and keeping up with macro changes after the fact.
- Environmentalist. It's not just global warming - one of the biggest scams in history. Environmentalists destroy entire ecosystems to protect one endangered species. Every time they make a move to save one thing, they destroy far more. They muck with dozens of species to save a tiny flower or insect and create runaway forest fires that destroy millions of creatures.
- Government bureaucrat / administrator. Have you ever worked with government bureaucrats like local planning officials? I built a house a few years ago and, let me tell you, words and phrases like incompetent, clueless, and self-perpetuating waste don't even begin to describe them.
- Management professor. The vast majority of brilliant management thinkers were managers and consultants, not academics. As management consultant Peter Drucker wrote, "... in modern society there is no other leadership group but managers. If the managers of our major institutions, and especially of business, do not take responsibility for the common good, no one else can or will." Some of the great ones may choose to teach what they learned in the real world, but rarely is it the other way around.
- Smart home / automation contractor. Admittedly, this is a personal pet peeve. Technology has come a long way and we've got all the pieces needed to fully integrate and automate home networks, audio, video, security, energy, and all that. And yet, even in the land of technology - Silicon Valley - there are no contractors who know what they're doing.
- High-tech marketer. The vast majority of high-tech marketers are clueless. They give marketing a bad name. They either try to apply generic marketing techniques that are simply ineffective in the technology world or they're engineers who don't have a clue how marketing really works. Either way, it's sad that such an important field has so few competent practitioners.
Also check out:
- 10 Great Careers For Self-Driven People
- Are You Missing Your True Calling?
- Does Your Job Suck? It's Probably You
Image: Wrestlingentropy via Flickr