Is it appropriate to ask what career field I should pursue?

If I base the question on my skillset, experience, and goals, it would be more specific an answerable. However, the result would probably be more like a list than an ideal single-best-answer question. Would it be appropriate as a CW question?


Personally I think there are three potential problems here:

  1. Not Constructive:

    • These basically request a list/solicit general recomendations of what I might try. generally that's not cool. There's no right answer, answers aren't even really answers, they're just lists of things. Lists of things don't really solve specific problems. Lists of things can be very popular but they diminish the quality of the site by allowing theoretical lists to overwhelm practical, direct answers to solvable problems.
  2. Too Localized:

    • On occasion someone lists very specific skills they have and what job they should get with those exact skills. If you're asking what you personally should go into, you're the only one that can answer that. That doesn't sound like your question, but it's another problem with these questions
  3. Off Topic:

    • As Jeff Atwood says here, this just plain isn't a general Workplace issue. It's a career issue only someone in those specific careers could really tell you. This isn't an issue you'd ask someone very experienced with intraoffice politics or other general workplace issues; you have to ask people in that field. It's also extremely close to the "Which job should I take?" clause we've already listed as Off Topic in our FAQ.

Because of all that, I don't think these questions can ever be acceptable here. We've already started closing these questions and I think it's best for the site to define these sorts of questions as clearly off topic. See also ChrisF's answer on a very related Programmers Meta question.

Perhaps more importantly, we're opening the door to hundreds of questions that can be asked with zero stake in the game. "Just curious" questions are very dangerous because they require no effort or experience to ask; "these are the ultimate newbie questions". On top of all the rest, I really don't want to open the door for the hundreds of combinations of field and jobs that could make dozens, hundreds or thousands of "gimme a job, any job!" questions.

Community Wiki doesn't help; Community Wiki used to be abused to allow questions that really don't fit well on Stack Exchange's format. Either the question fits or it doesn't; Community Wiki isn't going to fix that.

To paraphrase ChrisF: Ultimately the answer to "what job can I get with my skills?" is anything and everything, which isn't an answer at all.

  • I won't argue with point one, it is certainly list-oriented. #2 is a bit hypothetical though, it is indeed not what I'm asking. #3 makes it sound like Workplace is only open to "career agnostic" questions, which are not specific to any field. If that's really the case, I suggest that it be amplified in the FAQ; I did not get that impression, though maybe I just missed something. – user1113 Aug 6 '12 at 22:57
  • @JonofAllTrades "Questions should be about problems you are encountering or have encountered in the workplace, and not the learning/applying of specific job functions." It doesn't have to apply to every job ever, but if only people one/very very few (non-workplace management/interaction related) jobs can answer your question, you'd really need to ask them not us. – Rarity Aug 6 '12 at 23:04

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