In Genesis, after God creates Adam (literally “the man”), he gives him work to do:
The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Genesis 2:15)
Note that this is before Adam and Eve’s sin of eating from the wrong tree. The Fall made work harder, but it didn’t create the work. In fact, God gives Adam two jobs: not only is he to be caretaker of the Garden of Eden, but he’s also the namer of the animals.
Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. (Genesis 2:19–20a)
This work, however, doesn’t seem to have a practical purpose. God had already provided for him through the Garden, as he makes clear from the instructions to eat from the trees that God had already planted. As for the names of the animals, in Genesis 1, God has shown himself to be pretty adept at language, speaking the very universe into existence. Surely he could have thought up names for pigs and horses on his own. Considering God’s omnipotence and omnipresence, he’s probably not delegating tasks to Adam that he’s too busy to address.
Health care and technology dominate the list. What else do these jobs have in common?
They are well compensated. Some professions, like physicians and dentist, are famously well-paid, but all of these provide you with a solid middle- to upper-class lifestyle.
They require specialized skills and talents. Not only do they require years of education, they also certain habits of mind in order to be successful. It’s relatively easy (compared to some other fields) to distinguish who belongs in the discipline and who is just a pretender. Beyond the compensation, the specializiation and high degree of skill confers a high level of respect for people who are good at these jobs. (People outside the profession might not even have a clear idea of what they do!)
They are in high demand. Both health and technology are growing at rates beyond the rest of the economy, which offers both security and a high degree of autonomy for people in these fields. Right now, at my work, we’re trying to hire a web developer, and it’s common for highly skilled developers to receive several attractive job offers at the same time. As a result, developers can be extremely selective, choosing a job that is just the right fit for their preferences.
In summary, the “best jobs” are well paid, highly respected, and secure. Who wouldn’t want that? Well, that’s a complicated question.
Security (in terms of job growth, employment rate, and prospects) and compensation (median salary) were weighted more heavily in the formula, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the “best jobs” were those that delivered on those qualities. Continue reading Which Is the Best Job?→
It’s a famous phrase in theatre, and we know its truth. In a stageplay, television show, or movie, roles that are small in terms of lines or screen time can be integral to the plot. Or they can provide an opportunity for an unknown rising star to steal the scene. Or allow an all-time great to remind us all why they are considered great.
Boba Fett speaks only a few lines in the original Star Wars trilogy, yet became one of best-loved characters of the films. In Silence of the Lambs, Anthony Hopkins needed only 16 minutes (out of a 2-hour-long movie) to win Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance. With the right actor, in the right role, a few minutes, a handful of words, are all that’s needed for magic to happen.
The saying is often spoken to actors disappointed with their role, and it’s meant to encourage them to invest in what they have been given. Having only a few lines doesn’t give you an excuse to slack off. When I was ten or eleven, I was cast in a church youth group’s production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I had a very small role, with only two lines in the entire show. During one of our performances, another kid sat in my seat by mistake during a scene. While I was arguing with him under my breath, trying to get him to move, my cue came and went. An older kid covered for me, supplying my line at the right moment, and I spent the rest of the show in red-faced silence. This wasn’t Olivier flubbing a Shakespearean soliloquey, but it was a pretty good indication why I wasn’t given a larger role.