When you’re the Boy Who Lived, you don’t really get a chance to pick a career. It was Harry Potter’s destiny to defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and his teachers and mentors worked to guide him down that path. As a result, his skill set really only translated to one job: Auror. While even by wizard standards, that’s an awesome career, it might have been nice for Harry to have a few options.
In the Muggle world, we have the opposite problem: endless career possibilities, but next to no guidance in our choice. And how we pick a career is decidedly less magical. The closest thing we have to a spell to help us determine our career path is a free app.
Still, just as Harry and his journey taught us about friendship, courage, and the power of love over hate, it can also inspire you to pick a career path that’s right for you. With so many careers to choose from, here are a few knuts of wizardly wisdom to help you decide which of these jobs best suits you:
Interpreter or Translator
“Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” — Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
As the world becomes increasingly connected, the jobs translators perform become more critical. In this career, you would help people cross language and culture barriers so they can better understand others.
To give you an idea of your options as a translator, they are often employed by such entities as schools, hospitals, courthouses, and the U.S. Department of State. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, their projected job growth is 29 percent through 2024, which is above average. In 2015, the median salary was $44,190 per year and most entry-level translator positions don’t require education past a bachelor’s degree.
“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” — Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Many believe writers are a dying breed, but the skill set is still in high demand. Granted, print media is in dire straits, but the world can always use strong communicators and storytellers, especially in burgeoning new media formats.
Writers are now in demand as content marketers, copywriters, journalists, and editors. Also, the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2016 survey found that 70.2 percent of employers across industries are looking for written communication skills when considering job candidates.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics, projected a slower than average job growth of two percent in this field, the 2015 median salary was $60,250.
Community Organizer or Activist
“You do realize that your sheets are changed, your fires lit, your classrooms cleaned, and your food cooked by a group of magical creatures who are unpaid and enslaved?” — Hermione, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
If the thing you remember about the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare was all the hard work Hermione did to help the elves and not its unfortunate acronym (S.P.E.W.), you should consider becoming a community organizer or activist. People who take on these jobs spend their career fighting against economic and social injustice and raising awareness for their cause. But it takes more than passion to work as activist; you’ll also need strong organizational and communication skills.
Don’t think that choosing this career comes at the expense of a liveable salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social and community service managers had a 2015 median salary of $63,530, and the number of positions will grow around 10 percent by 2024.
“It is important to fight and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay though never quite eradicated.” — Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Want to protect and serve the public by fighting the bad guys? Then a career in law enforcement might be for you. And while most people think becoming a police officer is the only option in this field, there are other choices — like crime scene investigators, prosecution lawyers, and 911 dispatchers — that allow you to do your part to fight crime.
Depending on which law enforcement course you choose, there is a wide range of training you might need, as well as a large salary range. But to give you an idea, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 2015 median salary of $60,270 for police officers.
“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” – Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Wise words, Sirius. Although, if he had treated the family elf, Kreacher, more kindly, he might have lived to fight another day.
When it comes to a career choice, this sentiment is something people in human resources recognize and why they work to create a better workplace for everyone, despite their role in the company. Their focus is the organization’s people. Having a good HR department can make or break a company if they aren’t successful in improving employees’ satisfaction or in bringing the best talent on board.
This is also a very stable career path to choose. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a steady job growth of nine percent through 2024 and a 2015 median salary of $104,440 for HR managers.
“Ah, music,” he said wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here.” – Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Not every musician is a rock star, so don’t think this career path is unobtainable. Many musicians make their livelihoods playing as studio or session musicians or in music-related careers, such as a teacher, sound engineer, or concert venue employee.
Depending on how you decide to use your musical talent, there are different educational requirements and pay grades. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, musicians and singers made an average of $24.20 per hour in 2015, while music professors make around $72,000 a year.
“One can never have enough socks.” — Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
If you live and breathe fashion, retail is the route for you. What’s nice about this industry is there is a store and position for every personality. From Brooks Brothers to Hot Topic to Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, there’s a company that will match who you are and what you are interested in.
While entry level positions in retail start out with lower salaries — the Bureau of Labor Statistics, found the 2015 median salary to be $22,040 per year — there are more opportunities as you move up the ladder. For instance, retail buyers, who decide what a store will sell, had a 2015 median salary of $59,620.
“Youth can not know how age thinks and feels, but old men are guilty if they forget what it is to be young.” — Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
If you believe everyone has an inner child who shouldn’t be forgotten, a career counseling children would be good for you. Being able to communicate with young people and to reach them is a special gift. Not to mention that working as a school counselor or social worker can be very rewarding.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, school counselors have an average projected job growth of eight percent and a 2015 median salary of $53,660 per year. You could also go into private practice as a child and family counselor or work as a social worker.
“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” — Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
If you believe that people shouldn’t have to distrust their political representatives, then maybe you should consider politics. Elected officials have the opportunity to dedicate their lives to their community and country while trying to positively impact the world on a large scale.
“There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it.” Professor Quirrell, quoting Lord Voldemort, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Or if you really are just a power-hungry, wannabe despot who was rooting for Voldemort throughout the series, I guess politics is an option for you, too. Just keep in mind that Voldemort’s career ended pretty badly.
What are some other great quotes from Harry Potter that can help a Muggle pick a career? Share in the comments below!
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