Thanks to Stephanie Holmgren for posting on medlib-l a few days ago the link to the US News & World Report article on Best Careers for 2008. The author, Marty Nemko, is a veteran career coach, and is also the author of “Cool Careers for Dummies.” The article highlights 31 careers that offer outstanding opportunities based on job satisfaction, training difficulty, prestige, job market outlook, and pay.

Librarianship made the best careers list, and Nemko further calls it an “underrated career.” He also put together a list of “overrated careers,” those occupations with “a mystique that exceeds reality.” New to the list this year is medical scientist. He contrasts the appeal of helping humankind, doing fascinating experiments, and high prestige to the reality of the less-than-lottery-winning-chances of actually making a significant discovery, the superlative grades required, the poor quality of life for medical researchers, and the relatively low pay given the hours worked. This probably isn’t news to most of us. But what really surprised and pleased me is that Nemko offers medical librarianship as an alternative career. He says our chances of actually solving scientific puzzles is greater because we solve lots of people’s problems by finding the information resources they need. He adds that our training is shorter and easier, and requires only a master’s degree in librarianship. He ends up by declaring medical librarianship an “under-the-radar” career, with less competition for jobs. Wow.

One of my presidential priorities is to expand our recruitment efforts by concentrating on college students in the popular new health sciences major, and to work with schools of library and information science in reaching out to these programs. Nemko’s remarks are powerful ammunition in these recruiting efforts.