Lessons in Opposites
By Regis Coccia
Does this sound like a stretch? Thank the U.S. Department of Labor and an unusual feature in The New York Times’ online column, The Upshot: a look at Labor Department data on opposite jobs. An interactive tool allowed readers to input a job and see its opposite, according to the Labor Department’s data.
The opposite job of an insurance agent? A fashion model. So much for the glamorous life of selling policies and advising clients about insuring their risks.
The skills most and least used determine the Labor Department’s list of opposite jobs. Let’s look at what those are for agents and their counterparts.
|Skills used most||Skills used most|
|Selling or influencing others||Ability to maintain balance|
|Sales and marketing||Gross body coordination|
|Economics and accounting||Trunk strength|
|Communicating with persons outside organization||Ability to reach with arms, hands and legs|
|Customer and personal service||Performing general physical activities|
|Establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships||Performing for or working directly with the public|
|Performing for or working directly with the public||Technology design|
|Resolving conflicts and negotiating with others||Dynamic strength|
|Skills used least||Skills used least|
|Performing general physical activities||Monitor processes, materials or surroundings|
|Ability to coordinate two or more limbs||Identifying objects, actions and events|
|Ability to quickly and precisely adjust controls on a machine or vehicle||Making decisions and solving problems|
|Controlling machines and processes||Processing information|
|Operating vehicles, mechanized devices or equipment||Estimating the quantifiable characteristics of products, events or information|
|Ability to focus on one sound among distractions||Finger dexterity|
|Building and construction||Pattern recognition|
|Visual color discrimination||Near vision|
|Depth perception||Information ordering|
The opposite job of a marketing manager is an agricultural grader. Marketers are in the business of selling and influencing others, while agricultural graders need physical strength and dexterity to handle and move objects. In case you’re wondering, the opposite job of a writer or author? It’s a mobile home installer.
As the Labor Department data shows, every profession has its strengths. Insurance agents and models might learn from each other, particularly where performing physical activity, working with the public and problem-solving are concerned. The average insurance agent may never walk the runway or appear on the cover of Vogue, but models and agents alike can enhance their value as professionals by strengthening their minds, bodies and public image.