Career Chemistry: Best Jobs for Orderly People
If anybody has ever called you a neat freak, chances are you have skills that go well beyond tidying up. People who find comfort in the predictable nature of numbers, office routines, and computer programs are considered to have "conventional" or "orderly" personalities. And they're essential to well-run organizations. As part of our guide to career chemistry, we've gathered these top choices for folks who prefer structured activities and have a knack for following through, all the way to the last dotted i:
Accountant. Isn't it boring? Not for precision-minded people who are comfortable with numbers. And there's growing demand, especially in a few intriguing specialties. Forensic accountants, for instance, unearth basic embezzling, along with higher-level chicanery like backdated stock options that can reach all the way up to the CEO. International accountants help that U.S. company that manufactures a widget in China and distributes it in Mexico make sense out of the financial Babel. One specialty that allows for self-employment: professional estate executor, the person who handles all the paperwork and other details involved in disposing of an estate after someone dies.
More info: American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Vault Career Guide to Accounting (second edition) by Jason Alba
Finance specialist. A company needs to raise money. Should it go public? Get a bank loan? Obtain private-equity backing? Finance specialists address such questions and perhaps negotiate the deal. Once the money is in, a finance specialist advises the company on how to allocate it between bank accounts and other investments. Finance specialists work for commercial banks such as Chase or Citibank, or investment banks like Goldman Sachs. For top jobs, an M.B.A. and/or chartered financial analyst (CFA) certification is standard.
More info: www.careers-in-finance.com
Financial planner. Individuals, too, use financial experts, usually called financial planners. Or they're called account managers when working for financial services firms such as Merrill Lynch or Smith Barney. Success in this career depends as much on the quality of your Rolodex and your cold-calling moxie as on your knowledge of stocks and bonds.
More info: Financial Planning Association, Practicing Financial Planning for Professionals, Practitioners' Version (ninth edition) by Sid Mittra
Actuary. How long will you live? What are the odds you'll get into a car crash in the next year? Actuaries figure out such things to help insurance companies decide how much to charge individuals and groups for premiums. Six-figure salaries are common. Most actuaries have a bachelor's degree, and the training includes 10 arduous exams. You can coach yourself for them or pay for prep courses.
More info: Society of Actuaries
Administrator. Every program, project, and office needs an administrator to handle the details: keeping the staff on schedule, watching for budget overages, ensuring that the janitor cleans the bathroom on schedule. Such jobs tend to be more pleasant on a college campus, or with a company in a cool business, like a radio station, architecture shop, or video-game design firm. The job market is likely to be strongest in government agencies.
More info: Your Bright Future in Business Administration by Marilyn Pincus
Technical writer. When a new product comes out, a tech writer is needed to produce the manual and online help pages. Deadlines are usually tight—you can't write the manual until the product is completed, and at that point the manufacturer wants to get it shipped as quickly as possible. Trade publications also hire tech writers to explain new products. If you enjoy getting an advance look at new stuff, have technical acumen, and can write quickly, you'll have good prospects. Writers uncomfortable with deadlines can often find work preparing white papers on technical issues, or technical parts of proposals, for corporations.
More info: Online Technical Writing Textbook; Writer's Workshop on Technical Writing; Society for Technical Communication
Building inspector. You get to play detective, figuring out what's wrong with the building. Plus, you don't have the hassle of fixing it. Building inspectors are hired by government agencies to ensure that building codes are followed, whether it's a home, skyscraper, or shopping mall. Property owners also hire inspectors to unearth termites and to ensure that that whiz-bang electrical system won't short-circuit.
More info: www.careeroverview.com/construction-inspection-careers.html