I have no idea what I want to do as a career

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I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby mlipps » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:09 am

Sage bogleheads, I am in need of your advice. I'm 23 years old & I have no idea what kind of career I want. Normally, I'd see where life takes me and try not to stress about it. However, I currently work for a university and my tuition benefits will kick in with Spring Semester 2014. I can take any courses, graduate or undergraduate, here for free except the law & medical programs.

Currently, I have a B.A. (not a BBA) in Economics & a B.A. in International Studies. My undergrad GPA was around a 3.35. I work as an administrative assistant now, but I know I'm capable of something much better.

My priorities in life are not my career. The perfect job would first and foremost allow work life balance and, ideally, be a field where it is common for folks to work part time or do consulting/contracting, so that I could have the option when we're ready to have kids in a few years.

I'm really smart. That's not a brag, it's just a fact. When I apply myself, I'm capable of just about anything. Math does not intimidate me, although theoretical things like proofs don't really interest me. I've taught myself almost everything I know about personal finance & I think I'd be a great advisor, but the path to that career almost inevitably requires something like insurance sales or investment advisor that makes my skin crawl. My husband works as a database administrator/software engineer. I think I have the intelligence and ability to act as a business analyst or project manager in IT, but I don't know that I have the desire to learn the programming skills needed to get there.

One I've seen recently that seemed interesting was a "Business Manager" for a department at my university. Another field that appeals to me is project management. I'm taking a class in that, paid for by my department, next month.

I've contemplated getting my Masters in Accounting. However, I calculated the hourly wage if I had to work 60 hours a week making $60,000/year and realized that, hourly wise, I'd be making the exact same amount I make now. This does not particularly appeal to me. I think I have the skills for it though, based on the undergrad classes I took in it.

I'm also thinking about just getting my MBA, and maybe focusing on Accounting within that. If I did so, I'd have enough accounting coursework to be CPA eligible, with the name recognition of an MBA. My school is not a top ranked one, but it's reasonably well respected within our region. The downside of the MBA is that doing it part time would probably take me 3 years, which seems like a long commitment. In particular, I'm not sure I want to stay in my current position that long & without the tuition benefits, I'm not sure it makes financial sense. I could look for another job within my university that might be more challenging, but for most jobs they require a master's in higher ed.

I've thought about the master's in higher ed, since I'm already in the field so to speak, but honestly I don't think I take higher education that seriously to make a career of it. Plus, I think the bubble will burst on colleges eventually and those staff will have to be cut back to make budgets work.

As you can probably see, I've been going around in circles with this for quite some time now. I'd really appreciate insight from those of you with many years of experience in the work force as to what my next step should be. I'm happy to provide any additional info as needed, but this was pretty long already...Thanks all!
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby SamGamgee » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:33 am

mlipps wrote:...My priorities in life are not my career. The perfect job would first and foremost allow work life balance and, ideally, be a field where it is common for folks to work part time or do consulting/contracting, so that I could have the option when we're ready to have kids in a few years.

I'm really smart. That's not a brag, it's just a fact. When I apply myself, I'm capable of just about anything. Math does not intimidate me, although theoretical things like proofs don't really interest me.


You should consider being an actuary.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby tylerherman » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:39 am

mlipps wrote:My priorities in life are not my career. The perfect job would first and foremost allow work life balance and, ideally, be a field where it is common for folks to work part time or do consulting/contracting, so that I could have the option when we're ready to have kids in a few years.


I'd maybe say no to project management for you, as it can take over your life but maybe if you can freelance/consult, not as much.

Accounting sounds like a good choice or maybe something else in math dealing with statistics. There are lots of cushy IT jobs and most the of the people in it don't really know as much as they'd lead you to believe.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby beanstock » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:58 am

The most realistic options in this new economy are low-wage service jobs or health care. Most other jobs have been eliminated, streamlined, out-sourced, overcrowded, in-sourced, or automated. The surplus of workers means you can't be too choosy.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Bogle101 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:58 am

Look it is an anonymous internet forum and you can't tell much about a person from one post, but you seem kind of lazy and indecisive. You whined about long hours and seem very focused on pay per hour. That is a terrible attitude to have. When you are as young as you are, you should want to work longer hours, learn as much as you can and cultivate professional relationships. You are 23 and already seemed concerned about life/work balance. Are you kidding me? You work at a Univeristy and have the chance at free classes, but don't seem excited about the opportunity at all.

Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. You say you are an admin assistant and got a 3.35 gpa at a "well respected school". Umm, that seems average. Just saying you are smart does not make it so, especially if you are unmotivated. Getting your Masters in accounting or an MBA is not some easy task that you can just jump into.

We know nothing about who you are, your hopes and dreams. However, you work at a University! They have entire offices and personel dedicated to helping students figure out majors, get jobs and deal with getting ready for the real world. Why are you not talking to a career conselor right now for free? Or you can just be an admin assistant for a few years and be stress free. Then be a stay at home mom. Sounds like your significant other has a stable job and isn't concerned with pushing you into a career.
Last edited by Bogle101 on Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:58 am

My thought is: Actuarial Sciences, Taxation or Accounting with licensure appointments. This will take you a few years to earn on a part time basis, however, will likely give you more flexibility as a career (not guaranteed). I would think you could then transition across the public/private/not for profit space and different industries as opposed to being bottle-nosed into a career or industry for rest of working life if you chose more specific job function. Before you decide on a major, perhaps you can conduct informational interviews with prospective employers or alumni of your university who are employed in the fields you are contemplating? Taxation and Accounting with a CPA will require heavy work hours during their busy period - almost no getting around that (forget about pay per hour), but as in any apprenticeship, the pay usually comes down the road in one's career. You should be "extremely hungry" for knowledge and work experience throughout your career, that will help in setting you apart from your colleagues/competitors.

Edited to add: What ever major or focus you choose, you will need to differentiate yourself from other applicants to land the position/job. Start thinking about that strategy as you begin taking those classes. When you are young such as yourself, you believe 3 years is/can be too long of a commitment, that is a common mistake. There are no quick road to riches in life or investing, unless you win an upfront cash lottery. Usually MBA programs require applicants to have a minimum of 3-5 years of practical work experience under their belts, before entering school and you will need to take the GMAT.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Epsilon Delta » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:00 pm

If your career is not a priority maybe you should use your education benefits for something that is a priority. If your current skills can support your desired life style and you're not going into debt you can study whatever you want. If Etruscan art will enrich your life I'd say "go for it".
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:04 pm

beanstock wrote:The most realistic options in this new economy are low-wage service jobs or health care. Most other jobs have been eliminated, streamlined, out-sourced, overcrowded, in-sourced, or automated. The surplus of workers means you can't be too choosy.


Aren't you a fountain of inspiration? :|
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby mlipps » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:09 pm

Bogle101 wrote:Look it is an anonymous internet forum and you can't tell much about a person from one post, but you seem kind of lazy and indecisive. You whined about long hours and seem very focused on pay per hour. That is a terrible attitude to have. When you are as young as you are, you should want to work longer hours, learn as much as you can and cultivate professional relationships. You are 23 and already seemed concerned about life/work balance. Are you kidding me? You work at a Univeristy and have the chance at free classes, but don't seem excited about the opportunity at all.

Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. You say you are an admin assistant and got a 3.35 gpa at a "well respected school". Umm, that seems average. Just saying you are smart does not make it so, especially if you are unmotivated. Getting your Masters in accounting or an MBA is not some easy task that you can just jump into.

We know nothing about who you are, your hopes and dreams. However, you work at a University! They have entire offices and personel dedicated to helping students figure out majors, get jobs and deal with getting ready for the real world. Why are you not talking to a career conselor right now for free? Or you can just be an admin assistant for a few years and be stress free. Then be a stay at home mom. Sounds like your significant other has a stable job and isn't concerned with pushing you into a career.


It's certainly true that I have been lazy. School work always came easily to me, so I never learned self-discipline to study. Slowly over the years, I've gotten better at it, and I actually think graduate school would be good for me in this sense. I made the dean's list my last 3 semesters in college, which was a big difference from the 2.99 I earned (or maybe coasted into) my first semester.

I'm willing to work hard at a job now (and I do), I just don't want the kind of job, like an attorney for example, where I would be expected to work 100 hours a week for the rest of my life. And no, my husband doesn't really care what I do either way, although we both agree it'd be silly to waste a free chance at a master's degree.

The career office on my campus is pretty useless, as is the case I think at most schools. I'm just trying to gather some ideas that I might not have thought of on my own. I actually am not at all indecisive, just weighing my options.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Stevee » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:15 pm

Consider becoming an actuary. Take the first actuarial exam (I believe it's Exam P now) and see how that goes.

More here:
http://www.soa.org/education/exam-req/edu-exam-p-detail.aspx
(full disclosure: I am an actuary)

Good luck in whatever you do.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby cheese_breath » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:18 pm

Maybe you should back up and ask yourself whether you want a career you will enjoy or one where you can make a lot of money. Sometimes you can find a career where you can do both, sometimes not. Give this question a lot of thought because you may have to live with the answer the rest of your life. Also narrow your choices down to careers you are qualified for, or can get qualified for. You are probably already qualified to enter some fields based on your education. Some fields you will never be able to qualify for. For example, if you enjoy art but can’t even draw a stick figure don’t expect to become the next Rembrandt. OTOH there could be other art related careers, such curator, you may enjoy (but not make a lot of money). When you have identified potential career candidates talk to people in those fields to learn more and get their opinions on the next steps to take. Maybe it’s start interviewing, getting more education, looking for apprenticeships, etc?

You’re doing well to ask the questions you’re asking now. Many of us just fall into a career without any pre-planning. Some come out OK, some don’t.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Fallible » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:21 pm

mlipps wrote:Sage bogleheads, I am in need of your advice. I'm 23 years old & I have no idea what kind of career I want. ...

[b]My priorities in life are not my career. The perfect job would first and foremost allow work life balance and, ideally, be a field where it is common for folks to work part time or do consulting/contracting, so that I could have the option when we're ready to have kids in a few years. [/b]
...

Based on your comments above, which I thought were the most significant, you need to find a job in a career area that will allow you to work part-time in a few years when you plan to have children. That should narrow your career search. However, you seem interested in business management, or some type of management, and part-time work in that case would be more difficult. But you could try management, get some experience for a few years, then if you can't scale back to part-time, find another part-time job and you'd still have management experience if and when you return to full-time work.

BTW, 23 is the time for "going around in circles." You have the education and intelligence that brings many options, but more "circles." I think you'll do quite well whatever you decide.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby mike143 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:24 pm

If this is just a lag between now and producing offspring and being a stay at home parent, then do what ever makes you happy. I hate see people waste money on master degrees to be a stay at home parent and never make good on their investment, I understand yours is part of your compensation.

beanstock wrote:The most realistic options in this new economy are low-wage service jobs or health care. Most other jobs have been eliminated, streamlined, out-sourced, overcrowded, in-sourced, or automated. The surplus of workers means you can't be too choosy.

Just wait until they outsource doctors to virtual cloud based doctors. There will be a new careers in digital nursing, basically a regular nurse that can operate a video camera. So they can virtually be the doctors eyes and ears.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Random Poster » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:24 pm

Wasn't there another relatively recent thread here that contained a lot of the same questions, comments, and replies? Or am I losing my mind?
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Howard Donnelly » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:30 pm

Here is Warren Buffett's career advice:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aNKhVPKHBc
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby bigred77 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:31 pm

Alot of the generic things you listed ("Business Manager", "Project Manager") require alot of work and experience at lower levels/salaries to make it into that position. These are not "get a masters and get a job" type positions. These types of jobs are not going to consider your work as an admin assistant as "experience".

Another red flag for me would be when you said "The downside of the MBA is that doing it part time would probably take me 3 years, which seems like a long commitment". 3 years is not a long commitment, especially when your getting a subsidized, maybe even free, masters degree. I would reccomend against getting your MBA right now as you have no business experience and aren't going to a name brand, top B-school. You will be applying to the same pool of jobs you could apply for now, with maybe a little better chances.

My advice would be to either stay in your role and do a MS Accounting (if its subsidized greatly) and accept you will actually have to work real life hours to get a real life paycheck, or leave your job for an entry level role in a different industry you want to work in. You can always go back later and do an MBA if you decide thats right for you. An MBA is not right for you if you abhor the idea of a 60 hr work week when just starting out.

Staying in your current role without a plan to use it for a grad degree and a springboard to something greater is just spinning your wheels in place if your serious about career advancement.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Randomize » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:32 pm

Mlipps,

Have you taken any Engineering Econ or Finance? One of the funnest roles of my own econ job has been building financial models for various projects (wind farms, solar panels, efficiency upgrades, etc.), showing whether they're worth it. It's like playing with Legos only it's Excel :D If you haven't taken those sorts of courses, do yourself a favor and do so while you've got free tuition. If you like it, there are lots of jobs out there for analysts who can build a decent Excel model and the pay scale has a higher ceiling than an accountant. If you're really that sharp, you could always get a masters, get good grades while you're at it, and then pick up a job with the CBO or similar state agency.

Good luck!
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Engineering mindset

Postby VictoriaF » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:48 pm

brianbooth wrote:Have you taken any Engineering Econ or Finance?


You have to think like an engineer.


------------
During a CPR class at an engineering department the instructor asked "What's the best way to stop bleeding?" An engineer raised his hand and responded "Stop the heart."
------------
A pastor, a doctor and an engineer are on a golf course behind an especially slow group. When the marshal comes around, they decide to ask him what the deal is. He tells them the slow play is because it is a group of blind firefighters, who saved the clubhouse from a fire that blinded them, so they get to play for free.
The pastor proclaims "That is terrible, I will say a prayer for them."
The doctor says "I can contact an ophthalmologist friend who has done wonders with the blind."
The engineer asks "Why don't they just play at night?"
------------

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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby playtothebeat » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:50 pm

Ask yourself three questions:
1) What do I enjoy doing in terms of activities, hobbies, etc, and what are my interests?
2) Which of these things am I good at, or actually want to be good at?
3) Which of these things have potential for a good income/lifestyle (how you define that is up to you..) ?

Where those three intersect is what you should be doing for a living.
For instance, here's what it looks like for me:
1) I love numbers and negotiations, both of which are used daily in the field I have strong interest in (commercial real estate). I also love sports.
2) I'm great at numbers, pretty good at negotiations (and getting better daily - still quite young), and while I love playing sports, I'm not good enough to play at a competitive level.
3) Commercial real estate is a very lucrative field. As are sports, of course, but I crossed that off the list early.. I also realized that I did not want to work as a low-level marketing executive in the sporting world, as there is very little income there (until you're truly established, which is many years down the line). I looked at investment banking and consulting as well to put my numbers/negotiations skills to use, especially since income potential in those is tremendous; however, neither of those provides the work/life balance I desire (don't want to be on the road 20 days each month, and don't like the i-banking culture).


Also, I suggest that once you figure out what you want to do at some point in the future (perhaps you decide you want to own your own bakery), make sure that your next job, each job after that, gets you a step closer to that goal (whether through training, experience, networking, etc).
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby dpusa » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:51 pm

If you are going to do accounting, I would strongly advise you go work for a 'Big 4' firm at least in the beginning. Hours are LONG, really LONG... but agree with someone else who says when you are young you want to work long hours, learn all you can, develop your network and skill sets so that you have value as a 'brand' going forward.
You can then take that Big 4 experience and go work in an organization, become a CFO, be a PM, whatever... but you need the basis building blocks to create YOU INC!
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby KyleAAA » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:51 pm

Consider an MS in computer science or software engineering. It can be a very laid-back career and pays well. You generally won't earn any more for having an MS over a BS, though.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:02 pm

KyleAAA wrote:Consider an MS in computer science or software engineering. It can be a very laid-back career and pays well. You generally won't earn any more for having an MS over a BS, though.


Tell that to a friend of mine who was burnt out after putting in 12 years as a major software company. He doesn't seem to think giving up those 12 years was worth the money, of which there was plenty.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby SamGamgee » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:18 pm

mlipps wrote:It's certainly true that I have been lazy. School work always came easily to me, so I never learned self-discipline to study.


That was me. I became an actuary. It has worked out for me so far. I'm 31, making 6 figures, and working just barely 40 hours a week at a low stress job with a significant amount of vacation time and I travel to a conference a couple times a year.

But, and this is a big BUT -- it takes 5-10 years of having no life to get to this point. You have to pass 9 very difficult exams. It's probably harder than law or medicine. Everyone taking the exams is very smart, and generally 20-40% of them pass a given exam offering. That's even in the upper level after the weak candidates have been weeded out.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Rupert » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:22 pm

Anytime a young person today asks me what to do with his/her life, I always say "climate science." Anything having to do with climate science. There will be not only a great need for people in the hard sciences, such as geology, going forward, but also a great need for folks who can study/address the geopolitical ramifications of climate change. A degree in economics & international studies would be helpful there, especially if you speak one or more foreign languages (if you don't already, use those free tuition credits to learn one or more foreign languages). Have you considered government work? Unfortunately, the federal government is not hiring at the moment but perhaps it will again at some point. There are lots of positions where your degrees would be useful, especially if you live in the Northeast. USAID, intelligence analysis for FBI/CIA/State Department, etc. There are opportunities for flexible work schedules with the government - job-sharing, etc.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Rick Ferri » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:25 pm

Go in the military and fly jets for a few years. There'e nothing like traveling 600 mph at 50 feet off the ground to get you focused.

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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby frugaltype » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:33 pm

KyleAAA wrote:Consider an MS in computer science or software engineering. It can be a very laid-back career


Is this a joke?
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby nisiprius » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:33 pm

The only thing I want to say, mlipps, is don't worry about it. If you start talking to older people about how they have actually lived, I think you will be astonished how often it resembles the opening sequences in the movie "Forrest Gump"--the feather wafting chaotically hither and yon. Yes, some people do know what they want to do early in life and stick with it, many do not.

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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby frugaltype » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:36 pm

When I was in high school, we took a long standardized test (all day?) that was supposed to show what careers were interesting to us and also what our skills were. I've forgotten its name, but it must still exist somewhere. I found it quite accurate when I thought about it.

As others have said, at your age, three years is nothing.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby hicabob » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:38 pm

SamGamgee wrote:
mlipps wrote:It's certainly true that I have been lazy. School work always came easily to me, so I never learned self-discipline to study.


That was me. I became an actuary. It has worked out for me so far. I'm 31, making 6 figures, and working just barely 40 hours a week at a low stress job with a significant amount of vacation time and I travel to a conference a couple times a year.

But, and this is a big BUT -- it takes 5-10 years of having no life to get to this point. You have to pass 9 very difficult exams. It's probably harder than law or medicine. Everyone taking the exams is very smart, and generally 20-40% of them pass a given exam offering. That's even in the upper level after the weak candidates have been weeded out.



I used to write code for an actuary while in university (APL of course back then since that's what they loved). He always said the first 3 exams were pretty easy but after that you really had to work - He had a couple women who were working thru the series of tests - both math majors undergrad and from what I saw, it's certainly not for slackers! He did frequently give them paid time off to study though.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby arthurb999 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:44 pm

If it's a somewhat decent school, get your MBA an concentrate in Finance.

(Might be helpful if we knew what school it was).
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby KyleAAA » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:54 pm

frugaltype wrote:
KyleAAA wrote:Consider an MS in computer science or software engineering. It can be a very laid-back career


Is this a joke?


Nope. Working less than 40 hours per week is not at all unusual in this industry outside of Silicon Valley. If you choose to move to the Valley, you know what you're getting into.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby cheese_breath » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:27 pm

KyleAAA wrote:
frugaltype wrote:
KyleAAA wrote:Consider an MS in computer science or software engineering. It can be a very laid-back career


Is this a joke?


Nope. Working less than 40 hours per week is not at all unusual in this industry outside of Silicon Valley. If you choose to move to the Valley, you know what you're getting into.

Things must have changed since I retired.
The surest way to know the future is when it's the past.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby AlohaBill » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:33 pm

Hi,
In December 1972 I walked out of the Blue Wall at UMASS after having to many adult beverages. I was going to graduate in 6 months. As I lurched out the door, I noticed a table with a young guy sitting behind it. A sign saying "Peace Corps" was above him. I sat down next to him and said I was interested. He said he would help me. I told him I wanted to go to Nepal or Peru because I liked winter mountaineering. He said fine and said to put "anywhere" as a third choice. As luck would have it, I ended up in the Marshall Islands and changed my life forever.
I never really knew what I wanted to do. I became an ESL teacher and worked around the world. Now I am retired and everyday is Saturday. I am not a very smart guy, not like you, but I did get a MAESL degree from UH and married a really smart woman. Life is good.
Good luck to you; I envy you starting out; it's amazing what you'll do.
Cheers!
Bill
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby jay22 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:39 pm

KyleAAA wrote:
frugaltype wrote:
KyleAAA wrote:Consider an MS in computer science or software engineering. It can be a very laid-back career


Is this a joke?


Nope. Working less than 40 hours per week is not at all unusual in this industry outside of Silicon Valley. If you choose to move to the Valley, you know what you're getting into.

Laid-back career? I graduated with an MS in the said field 4 years ago. It's hardly a laid-back career. I am pretty sure most of my peers who graduated with me would agree to that as well. Not as stressful as, let's say, an investment banker, but I won't call the last 4-5 years of my career as laid-back by any means.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby mlipps » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:43 pm

bigred77 wrote:Another red flag for me would be when you said "The downside of the MBA is that doing it part time would probably take me 3 years, which seems like a long commitment". 3 years is not a long commitment, especially when your getting a subsidized, maybe even free, masters degree. I would reccomend against getting your MBA right now as you have no business experience and aren't going to a name brand, top B-school. You will be applying to the same pool of jobs you could apply for now, with maybe a little better chances.


Sorry, I guess I didn't make myself clear. I just meant I don't want to commit to staying in my current job for 3 more years, as I'd like to find something more challenging after putting in a year and a half to two years here. I'm fine with the three years for the MBA.
Stevee wrote:Consider becoming an actuary. Take the first actuarial exam (I believe it's Exam P now) and see how that goes.

More here:
http://www.soa.org/education/exam-req/edu-exam-p-detail.aspx
(full disclosure: I am an actuary)

Good luck in whatever you do.


I don't think my university has an actuarial program, so that might not work. We also don't have engineering.

brianbooth wrote:Mlipps,

Have you taken any Engineering Econ or Finance? One of the funnest roles of my own econ job has been building financial models for various projects (wind farms, solar panels, efficiency upgrades, etc.), showing whether they're worth it. It's like playing with Legos only it's Excel :D If you haven't taken those sorts of courses, do yourself a favor and do so while you've got free tuition. If you like it, there are lots of jobs out there for analysts who can build a decent Excel model and the pay scale has a higher ceiling than an accountant. If you're really that sharp, you could always get a masters, get good grades while you're at it, and then pick up a job with the CBO or similar state agency.

Good luck!


I was an Econ major, so yes, I've taken that. I do that I'm well suited to something that is a combination of analysis & explaining that analysis to people, as I am very articulate and succinct as a rule. I remember my accounting professors repeatedly saying that the best accountants of the 21st century would be not those that just knew the rules inside and out, but those who could explain with things like financial reports etc. MEANT and help managers decide how to make decisions based on that. That idea really resonated with me.

Rupert wrote: Have you considered government work?


I just moved back to Chicago from DC actually. I really hated it there, personally. That's a big reason I decided not to pursue my master's in economics (not that that's an option at my university, but before I got this job I was considering it). Not only was it just not my kind of town, I couldn't get past the cost of living there & the feeling that we were never really going to get ahead.

nisiprius wrote:The only thing I want to say, mlipps, is don't worry about it. If you start talking to older people about how they have actually lived, I think you will be astonished how often it resembles the opening sequences in the movie "Forrest Gump"--the feather wafting chaotically hither and yon. Yes, some people do know what they want to do early in life and stick with it, many do not.


Thanks, your words are comforting. But, I'm a planner, first & foremost, so I want to have a PLAN. I'm ok with the plan changing, but I hate the idea of just magically falling into my dream job by happenstance. I need a goal & something to work towards.

arthurb999 wrote:If it's a somewhat decent school, get your MBA an concentrate in Finance.

(Might be helpful if we knew what school it was).


I would tell you but I'd prefer not to reveal my identity to that extent. I'm sure you can understand. You could probably do some digging and figure it out, there are only so many universities in the US.

And to clarify a point, I didn't mean I don't want to work hard now. I understand that I'll have to put in the time early in my career. And I do intend to go back to work after I have kids (although I realize that lots of people intend that and never follow through). But I value time with my family more than I value making millions of dollars or a very prestigious career. If I wasn't driven to have a career, I wouldn't bother to go through more schooling to start with; I could probably be an administrative assistant forever if I wanted to.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby mlipps » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:45 pm

AlohaBill wrote:Hi,
In December 1972 I walked out of the Blue Wall at UMASS after having to many adult beverages. I was going to graduate in 6 months. As I lurched out the door, I noticed a table with a young guy sitting behind it. A sign saying "Peace Corps" was above him. I sat down next to him and said I was interested. He said he would help me. I told him I wanted to go to Nepal or Peru because I liked winter mountaineering. He said fine and said to put "anywhere" as a third choice. As luck would have it, I ended up in the Marshall Islands and changed my life forever.
I never really knew what I wanted to do. I became an ESL teacher and worked around the world. Now I am retired and everyday is Saturday. I am not a very smart guy, not like you, but I did get a MAESL degree from UH and married a really smart woman. Life is good.
Good luck to you; I envy you starting out; it's amazing what you'll do.
Cheers!
Bill


Thanks Bill, that's very sweet of you. I almost joined the Peace Corps, but had a private loan hanging over my head that I couldn't figure out how to deal with, so I went to Australia for 6 months instead & worked on a sheep farm in the outback. It was an adventure, but unlike you, brought me no closer to finding my calling.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby William4u » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:00 pm

I can second the notion that getting an MBA (from a not so top program) without substantial business experience is not going to help. MBAs are only useful if you already have business contacts and expertise, and you just want to get to the next level. An MBA by itself, with no business experience, is worth little more than a BA.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby matonplayer » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:15 pm

KyleAAA wrote:Consider an MS in computer science or software engineering. It can be a very laid-back career and pays well. You generally won't earn any more for having an MS over a BS, though.

+1. Writing code can be very gratifying while being able to utilize all your analytical skills. Take a programming course and you might get hooked.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Meg77 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:31 pm

OK the primary goal here seems to be to take advantage of one of the free graduate degrees you are being offered. Based on what I have read here the obvious choice seems to be a Masters in Accounting. You have demonstrated an aptitude in the subject, the program is offered at your school, and it's a prestigious but fairly flexible designation. It's also obtainable in a relatively short amount of time (compared to the MBA for example).

Just because you get it doesn't mean you have to be an accountant at a Big 4 firm working 80 hour weeks afterwards. But since you can get it for free and have plenty of time/energy to study given your low-stress current job, I agree it would be silly to waste the opportunity to get a degree of some kind. Even if you just quit your job and have kids after obtaining the degree, it'll be a good thing to have on your resume if/when you decide to work again. And regardless it could enable you to do some part time or consulting work for local small businesses or area residents one day.

Of course I don't have the full list of options, but from the ideas I've read being tossed around I lean toward this one. Second choice would be MBA (though they are incrasingly devalued especially if you are at a Tier II school or lower).
"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Babakhani » Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:42 pm

Best solution:

Step 1) Dump your husband.
Step 2) marry richer guy.

Solves your problems without any hard work.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby mlipps » Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:56 pm

Babakhani wrote:Best solution:

Step 1) Dump your husband.
Step 2) marry richer guy.

Solves your problems without any hard work.


No it doesn't. I never said my goals were to make more money. I want a job that is more challenging & that I enjoy. Besides, my husband's pretty cute, and I'd probably have to marry an old fart to find someone making more money than him. I think I'll keep him.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Default User BR » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:14 pm

frugaltype wrote:
KyleAAA wrote:Consider an MS in computer science or software engineering. It can be a very laid-back career

Is this a joke?

It's worked out for me. It certainly helps to have an aptitude[1] for the work, so you get done quickly and with good results.


1. This is not some sort of brag. I was pretty surprised when it turned out that way, but it did.

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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Babakhani » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:16 pm

mlipps wrote:
Babakhani wrote:Best solution:

Step 1) Dump your husband.
Step 2) marry richer guy.

Solves your problems without any hard work.


No it doesn't. I never said my goals were to make more money. I want a job that is more challenging & that I enjoy. Besides, my husband's pretty cute, and I'd probably have to marry an old fart to find someone making more money than him. I think I'll keep him.



I was being facetious. Anyways, you may have to work hard at the beginning of your caree, no matter what you choose. The pay efficiency comes later in most careers.

Good luck.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Epsilon Delta » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:22 pm

Babakhani wrote:Best solution:

Step 1) Dump your husband.
Step 2) marry richer guy.

Solves your problems without any hard work.


The conventional wisdom is that if you marry for money you earn every penny. :P
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Near retirement » Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:50 pm

MS in Accounting would also qualify you to be a college/university professor teaching accounting in many institutions.PhD preferred, but there are so few, those with MS do well.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby market timer » Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:54 pm

mlipps wrote:My priorities in life are not my career. The perfect job would first and foremost allow work life balance and, ideally, be a field where it is common for folks to work part time or do consulting/contracting, so that I could have the option when we're ready to have kids in a few years.

I'm really smart. That's not a brag, it's just a fact.

Based on the above, I'd look into teaching test prep (GRE, SAT, etc.). Since you are on a campus, there are probably several centers near you.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby enderland » Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:59 pm

You are approaching the problem wrong. You are trying to find a job which lets you do something you like doing.

Instead, learn what things you like doing and find fulfilling, then look for a career which has those as key attributes of the job. What sorts of things get you fired up? That you do for fun? Sounds like mentoring is a one thing. These are not easy to identify. Maybe ask your spouse and friends. But get a better feel for the types of things you like doing.

After you do some soul searching, it's a lot easier to get advice about what sorts of things you might enjoy as a career.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby ThatGuy » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:15 pm

enderland wrote:You are approaching the problem wrong. You are trying to find a job which lets you do something you like doing.

Instead, learn what things you like doing and find fulfilling, then look for a career which has those as key attributes of the job. What sorts of things get you fired up? That you do for fun? Sounds like mentoring is a one thing. These are not easy to identify. Maybe ask your spouse and friends. But get a better feel for the types of things you like doing.

After you do some soul searching, it's a lot easier to get advice about what sorts of things you might enjoy as a career.


My little brother likes to lay on the couch and do nothing. Maybe watch some TV or play some video games if he's feeling frisky. What career path can I point him towards that will reward laying on the couch and doing nothing?
Work is the curse of the drinking class - Oscar Wilde
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Babakhani » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:38 pm

ThatGuy wrote:
enderland wrote:You are approaching the problem wrong. You are trying to find a job which lets you do something you like doing.

Instead, learn what things you like doing and find fulfilling, then look for a career which has those as key attributes of the job. What sorts of things get you fired up? That you do for fun? Sounds like mentoring is a one thing. These are not easy to identify. Maybe ask your spouse and friends. But get a better feel for the types of things you like doing.

After you do some soul searching, it's a lot easier to get advice about what sorts of things you might enjoy as a career.


My little brother likes to lay on the couch and do nothing. Maybe watch some TV or play some video games if he's feeling frisky. What career path can I point him towards that will reward laying on the couch and doing nothing?



Many jobs in the video game industry.
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Re: I have no idea what I want to do as a career

Postby Babakhani » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:40 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
Babakhani wrote:Best solution:

Step 1) Dump your husband.
Step 2) marry richer guy.

Solves your problems without any hard work.


The conventional wisdom is that if you marry for money you earn every penny. :P


[Crude remark removed by admin LadyGeek]
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