If You Want an Easy Job, Consider This Advice

What is the world’s easiest job? The answer will depend on the individual, career counselors say. What seems “easy” to one person may be excruciating for another.

If you’re looking for effortless employment, here are some things to keep in mind when making a career decision.

  • If you hate your job, it will be hard.

The key to finding a job that seems easy is to identify activities you enjoy, says career counselor Mitch Baskin, co-director of BBCS Counseling Services, an agency in Marlboro, N.J. “When you do what you like to do, it becomes fun; it becomes easy,” he says. “If you don’t like something, it’s torture.”

Such was the case for Cubby Fitts, a 39-year-old in Duxbury, Mass., who worked in investment banking as a client-service associate for 10 years. “I completely burned out,” says Mr. Fitts. He quit in 2003.

Unsure what to try next, Mr. Fitts made a list of the things he liked to do — and jobs that related to those activities. One, residential real-estate agent, sounded just right. He earned his real-estate license in 2004 and now loves his new career as a Realtor.

“I wake up excited to go down and go to work,” he says. “I’m energized every day.”

  • Strike a balance between ease and effort.

A job that isn’t challenging usually won’t feel easy, because being bored all day isn’t satisfying, says Anita Sharpe, co-editor of Worthwhile magazine, a publication in Atlanta about finding meaningful work.

“It’s almost like an exercise regime,” says Ms. Sharpe, a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal, publisher of this site. For example, she says, running up and down a room would be boring, but, for most people a marathon would be a stretch. “You need to find the right balance,” she says.

Jorge Chavez, a cost accountant at a communications-technology company in Fort Worth, Texas, knows what it’s like to be bored all day. “I’m doing the same tedious work on a daily basis,” the 23-year-old says.

Mr. Chavez, whose personal passion is music and composing, has held several jobs over the past four years. Once the challenge is gone, “I just kind of pack up and move on and look for something else to do,” he says. He envisions working one day in the music industry in Southern California or as a financial adviser to musicians as he pursues his dream of becoming a successful musician and composer.

  • Put yourself in a comfortable environment.

The work environment plays a large role in whether a job seems easy, says Rita Horn, a career counselor in Laguna Niguel, Calif. “The things that make work comfortable for people may also be what make work easy,” she says.

Mr. Fitts learned this lesson from his experience in banking. He sees himself as an entrepreneur and values his independence, he explains. “When you’re in the corporate environment, you basically do what you’re told to do,” he says. “I found that very difficult.”

The people you work with can have a big impact on how much you like your job. If you like to be around people, take a job where you’ll get to interact often, Ms. Horn advises. If you prefer more solitude, take a job where you’ll have time alone.

 

  • Beware of get-rich-quick schemes.

Still thinking about that infomercial you saw on TV that promised easy money? If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

“If you really look at what’s involved in those kinds of careers, there’s a lot more work to it,” says Ms. Horn.

Paul Nimmo, a 50-year-old federal employee in Reston, Va., found this out the hard way. He says he attended a seminar hoping to learn how to “flip” a property in 60 days and make $20,000 to $50,000. He says he bought two properties for about $180,000, and, instead of making a profit, he now expects to lose $100,000 or more. What has he learned? Be wary of companies that promise to help you “make very good money in a short amount of time,” he says. “They basically get their money, and the investor is left high and dry.”

Companies making such claims often can be checked out at your local consumer-protection agency,

 

By Jared Flesher

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