Dead End Jobs

Four Occupations You Should Quit

by Bill Johnston

Some jobs in the US are going nowhere fast.  They require few skills and even fewer opportunities for advancement. If you're stuck in one of these jobs, you may find yourself stuck there for a long time if you can't find an exit strategy.

There are millions of such dead end jobs, and you can guess which ones they are.  The starting pay is lousy, and never increases much.  There are few alternative occupations into which you can easily transfer.

Dead End Occupations

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, TORQ

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, TORQ

The common thread in these jobs is that they don't require or teach valuable skills. You don't engage much with customers or solve problems. You do the same simple things over and over again, usually under pressure to work faster.   

Not only are these jobs dull and poorly paid, they are at risk of disappearing altogether. Self-service cash registers, Roomba vacuum cleaners, and warehouse robots are already here. They are only going to get better and cheaper.

The movement to raise minimum wages may increase paychecks in some dead end jobs. But a better wage is not the same as a better job.

So if it's impossible to transfer to another occupation without new skills, what should you do? For many people the answer is to seek out new skills through education and training. There are many occupations that are open to individuals who have received employer recognized credentials after completing even short training programs. Office and computer skills, mechanical repair courses, or entry level health care credentials (such as pharmacy tech or medical records coding) are examples.

The path to the future has more guideposts and more hope than you may think, though. In future posts, we'll take a look at some promising signs, including some "gateway jobs" that open doors to multiple career paths.