Plotting Your Career Path

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My Japanese wife says I have had a smile on my face all day. I can't help it. "Ahead-of-the-Curve Careers" [March 24-31] said there is a job category called Asian-business-development specialist.

For 16 years, I was one of those. Sometimes almost the only one in Asia. The cosmetic companies sent some great guys, and there was someone from Coke, but most were expats who didn't last long enough to make a difference. Problem was, if we paid attention to what came out of corporate headquarters, we were doomed. Projects don't fail in Singapore, Taipei, or Tokyo. They fail in Chicago, New York, or Washington, D.C. If you read books flowing out of Washington, it would appear that almost everyone who knew anything about the Middle East told the Bush administration that it was a rough neighborhood and no place to start wars that can't be won. So it behooves any candidate to read about how to found and develop a business in Asia. Expect no help from corporate.

Loy Weston


Honolulu  

Buried in the last paragraph of "Combating the Peter Principle" on Page 55 is one of the most significant statements of the entire issue. "Michael also knows how to sell paper." This after a lot of ink on his faults and foibles. No matter how skilled and great in dealing with staff, a manager who "doesn't know how to sell paper" is a dead duck.

Ben Pedrick


Granada Hills, Calif.  

In "Best Careers"—and the ultimate calling your own number—you chose editor as one of your top 20 or so jobs (out of the over 20,000 listed in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles). As an author, I am not surprised and am reminded of Mark Twain, who wrote, "How often we recall, with regret, that Napoleon once shot at a magazine editor and missed him and killed a publisher. But we remember with charity that his intentions were good."

Fredric Alan Maxwell


Houston  

In "How Best Careers Were Selected," I was taken aback by the explanation that one of the factors, training difficulty, was adjusted by the amount of math/science involved. In this day and age, when the United States' educational pace in those subjects is lagging behind other countries', this is like saying: Math and science are hard; math and science aren't worth the effort; choose easy over right. I disagree with all those messages and worry that some readers may absorb those messages and even use this list to guide them to the wrong career.

Debbie Saucke


Vestal, N.Y.