What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

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strbrd
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by strbrd » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:29 pm

I was in grad school for English literature for one year, I was a journalist for four years, and have been a lawyer (big law, clerkship, fed gov't) since. I would NOT recommend journalism for people going into the field now, but I would recommend law, with reservations. I do not recommend getting a PhD in anything.

Journalism has been on a crazy downward spiral for at least fifteen years and there is no end in sight. My experience was amazing (I worked as a film and theater critic primarily) but there is no position like mine at the paper I worked at and of the five or so similar positions in my city that I knew about at the time, only one still exists. Low pay, low job security, terrible hours, unsustainable business models, rampant alcoholism, etc. That said, I would have done my actual job, at the time I did it, again in a heartbeat.

In comparison with journalism, law is really OK. True, I only managed to stay in big law for 2 years, but my exit opportunities from big law (federal clerkship, federal gov't) have been relatively well paid [I find it fascinating how this thread is calling $100k both low and high pay, depending on the perspective] compared to both my prior career and those of my close friends from high school and college. I paid off my loans in four years (and now pay about the same amount monthly for daycare for my kid). It is also intellectually stimulating and I feel that I am contributing something useful to society. That said, go to a top 10 school or the best school in your state, take out as little money in loans as possible, and get good grades for best results.

protagonist
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by protagonist » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:38 pm

My daughter is currently applying for jobs teaching HS biology- she just completed a masters degree. Originally she was thinking of pursuing a Ph.D. in biology and working in academia, but she decided against that, and I think it was a wise decision.

I don't know if her experience is in any way typical, but she is getting a lot of job offers. So far she has been offered a job everywhere she applied.

Teaching is, IMHO, a noble profession. It won't make you rich but you can make a decent middle-class salary and have a good lifestyle, especially if you are raising a family. Your job satisfaction level will probably be very dependent on the administration and district where you work. I have heard the job market is much worse outside of the science/math fields, but I am no expert. I think we all pretty much know the pros and cons of being a teacher.
Last edited by protagonist on Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

protagonist
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by protagonist » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:27 pm

Taylor Larimore wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:50 pm
Bogleheads:

My career:

1. Laborer on a construction project (my first job and the hardest).
2. Paratrooper in World War II
3. LIfe Insurance Salesman (disliked the most).
4. Commercial laundry manager
5. IRS Revenue Officer
6. SBA Chief of Financial Division
7. Miami-Dade Housing Director
8. Charter-boat captain
9. Teaching sailing
10. The Bogleheads Forum

The last two are my favorites.

Best wishes.
Taylor
Well that makes a lot of sense, Taylor. (Although charter boat captain seems like it might be fun as well. I don't know...)
My gut feelings would align with yours. I think I would also hate life insurance salesman.

protagonist
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by protagonist » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:38 pm

dsjohns wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:21 pm
Military officer for 9 years.
Now IT Management at a megacorp. Still part time military officer (National Guard).
And my favorite job, husband and father of 3.

I haven't planned much of where I've ended up, but it has all been good.

I recommend the military, either active or reserve, officer or enlisted to almost anyone. I think being part of a big team and counting on others is good life experience.

As for megacorp job, it pays the bills. Time will tell if these types of organizations continue to transform well in the future.
I've been skimming this thread and find it rather fascinating.
Most doctors and lawyers seem quite unhappy, especially lawyers.
But military officers seem to really like their jobs.

What I find interesting is none so far have mentioned the risk factor (physical and mental).

Never having served, I imagine the typical route is to start off as a lieutenant, and I would think that would be a thankless position and mean a very good chance of being deployed somewhere like Iraq (is this Year 17 of the war??) or Afghanistan....lots of risk, lots of stress, little joy, little opportunity for family, lots of discomfort (mental and physical), possibly following a lot of capricious orders, maybe having close friends killed, PTSD etc..... Do I watch too many movies?

Granted, life seems like it would be great if you were sent, say, to the US Satellite Tracking Station in the Seychelles (I know about that job because I practiced medicine in the Seychelles in the early 1980s and had a bunch of friends who were officers working at the Satellite Tracking Station. I'd go up there to play tennis with them and eat steak and lobster dinners and hot fudge sundaes as their guest, which is most of what they seemed to do when they weren't occasionally tracking satellites or chasing women or sailing in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I'd take that job in a New York Minute).

Were all of you that lucky, before you made at least Major?

(By the way, I really enjoyed being a physician, but I took a lot of professional risk and carved out my own path, and it served me well. I always put lifestyle and professional satisfaction ahead of money, and it worked out very well for me. I can't speak for how easy that is to do nowadays, or for that matter, even when I did it. Education was a long grueling haul.)
Last edited by protagonist on Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:58 pm, edited 8 times in total.

palaheel
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by palaheel » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:45 pm

Software Engineer for MegaCorp

Pros:
love creating in logic
The projects are fun
The people you work with are brilliant
The pay is good/great

Cons:
My Computer Programmer aunt once called programmers "the highest paid migrant workers in the world." I've never seen anything to dispute that.
I see the shift to lower-cost countries as a big problem. The US used to produce EEs that designed audio and video equipment. We don't do that any more; those jobs moved. I think the software industry is following that path.
I got tired of competing with 26-year-olds who work 60 hours a week because they have no life. (To the 20-somethings, don't take that personally; you'll learn, as I did.)
Staying technically current becomes harder the older you get.
If you're laid off in your late 40s or 50s, finding a job can be difficult. In your 60s, forget it. Plan on retiring early, whether you want to or not.

Summary:
I love the field.
I don't love the industry, or where it's headed.
If you can use this as a stepping stone to an area whose half-life of human capital is more than 7 years, go for it. The new career won't be as fun, but it should be more stable.
Markets crash. Markets recover. Inflation takes your money FOREVER.

socaldude
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by socaldude » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:54 pm

Retail Clerk... back when hard work was respected by retail companies. Paid off a cheap house and got my daughter through college. I don't reccomend it now of course, except for maybe Costco and a few others. Our company was purchased by KKR ( hedgefund) and they cut wages and benefits and took home billions...America.

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TexasPE
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by TexasPE » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:57 pm

Chemical Engineer (ChE).

Excellent starting salaries ($90-100K + signing bonus for 3.0 GPA and summer/co-op experience).
Stable employment.
Opportunity for management if you have the skills (a ChE who hired me and I carpooled with 30 years ago now makes a published $40M+ per year as CEO of a multinational). :!:
Many fields of specialization available: consulting, project/ program management, technical support, sales, medical, fuels/ petrochemicals, paper, process control, environmental, government.
At 20: I cared what everyone thought about me | At 40: I didn't give a damn what anyone thought of me | Now that I'm 60: I realize that no one was really thinking about me at all | Winston Churchill (?)

erictiger
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by erictiger » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:26 pm

Biostatistician!

Definitely recommend for this career due to good pay, stable employment (with current megacorp for 20 plus years), and flexible hours (work at home if needed).

TheNightsToCome
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Re: What is/ was your Bu and would you recommend it now?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:27 pm

Small Law Survivor wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:33 am
Went to a "top 20" (maybe 25) law school in Boston area, graduated 1979. Did well in law school (law review ..). Only law review students seemed to get top law firm jobs, and I was able to work at large firms in D.C. and Boston before starting my own firm in 1986. (side note: I remember when I got offer letter from D.C. firm in 1978 - $28,000/year. My father, who was a reasonably successful business man, was blown away - "that's a huge salary," he said. Hah!).

Always wanted to start my own firm (father always said, "work for yourself, not someone else"), so did that in 1986. I was very lucky - was able to associate with smart, highly motivated partners. T'his was an extraordinary stroke of luck, although it has taken me decades to fully appreciate just how lucky I was. Firm is still going strong, 33 years later, although I'm mostly retired ("senior counsel").

Being a lawyer for 40 years (civil litigation) was a brutal career. I look back on many of my experiences and wonder how in heck I did it, how the firm survived the recessions and challenges. I feel like an old war vet looking back on his years in combat and wondering, "was that me, or someone else"?

Today I view a law career as a "lottery choice" - if you are able to go to a top school, or if you graduate at the top of a less prestigious school, and if you have the interest and aptitude, you can do very well at law. You can make a lot of money (and I mean a LOT), and you can have an intellectually satisfying career. But, as other lawyers on this post have noted, law is bi-modal - the haves/have nots. We always have law-grad paralegals working at our firm - sometimes for years. They were unable to find jobs as lawyers, so they're doing the next-best thing, working as paralegals or temps. I always feel for these people - how frustrating it must be for them to have a law degree and be unable to work as lawyers. They lost the lottery.

As far as the future goes, I have to wonder what the legal profession will be like 30 years from now, when the people graduating from law school at 25 are in their 50s - what should be their top earning years as lawyers. Technology has totally changed the practice of law in the last 30 years - it is really unrecognizable. My productivity as a lawyer is 50-fold what it was 30 years ago. I don't see much "AI" impact yet, but I think it's on the horizon. I think that people need to try to think about and anticipate the changes AI will force in the profession, if that's possible.

Good luck to you all.

Small Law Survivor

p.s. - can't conclude without quoting Conrad. If you are a young lawyer, you should feel this. If you don't, change careers -

“I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more—the feeling that I could last for ever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort—to death; the triumphant conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires—and expires, too soon, too soon—before life itself.”
― Joseph Conrad, Youth
"Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone ... "
-- John Mellencamp

charriso1973
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by charriso1973 » Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:06 pm

I've been working since age 14:
- Video store clerk (afraid I'm dating myself with this one...)
- Grocery store bagger / stocker
- Computer lab assistant
- Parking lot attendant
- Engineering co-op student (automotive manufacturing)
- Automotive engineer/executive (R&D)
- Pre-tirement!
- (Whatever comes next)

Yes, I'd recommend engineering as a career path. But, I'd advise choosing something that doesn't bind you to a specific geographical region like automotive does (basically Midwest or Silicon Valley). Anything in software or computers offers lots of geographic flexibility and opportunities for working from home.

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Go Blue 99
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by Go Blue 99 » Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:14 am

I'm in corporate finance/FP&A. I would recommend it. I find the work interesting and it's a good mix of mingling with other people and introverted quiet work. The other nice thing is that you can work in this field in pretty much any large metropolitan area. You can also make good money even if you don't manage any direct reports.

Like any corporate job though, a lot of your satisfaction will depend on your employer. I love my employer and boss, so it makes the job/career more enjoyable.

The downside is that it can be difficult to quickly climb the ladder, especially if you don't switch companies often.

vested1
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by vested1 » Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:34 am

I spent 39 of my 50 working years in telecommunications, but I wouldn't recommend a new career in that industry. I started out servicing 8 party lines, then quickly graduated to working on the most advanced electronics available for signal delivery. I was hired away after 31 years with Ma Bell, branching out into high voltage systems installation and repair, design engineering for cell site/tower/equipment installation, then finally fiber delivery and infrastructure placement primarily in the financial district of SF, but also running projects in different States from my home.

This variety allowed me to wear different hats, crossing from a regulated to de-regulated perspective, then back again. While it was interesting seeing the industry from different vantage points, the technology is advancing so quickly that it would be difficult to correctly guess which sector to pursue in regards to a new hire. As the technology advances, the demand for the number of employees capable of understanding and maintaining it decreases.

FinanceStudent
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by FinanceStudent » Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:11 pm

I find it interesting that so many physicians here seem to recommend avoiding medicine. I'm an accounting/finance major who worked in transaction advisory at a Big 4 firm for a couple of years and am now taking science prerequisites to apply to medical school next year. Accounting ended up not really being for me, but I don't regret it at all. While working I received pretty good compensation, got to work with wonderful colleagues, and got some excellent work experience. I think accounting is a great field for people who enjoy it.

Swarm Trap
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by Swarm Trap » Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:26 pm

MegaCorp risk and regulatory compliance middle manager. I'm thankful for the time I've had, but can't say that the work is especially fulfilling. I am compensated well and am comfortable. I'll stay as long as they'll have me, or at least until I hit my number.

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friar1610
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by friar1610 » Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:50 pm

dsjohns wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:21 pm

I've been skimming this thread and find it rather fascinating.
Most doctors and lawyers seem quite unhappy, especially lawyers.
But military officers seem to really like their jobs.

What I find interesting is none so far have mentioned the risk factor (physical and mental).

Never having served, I imagine the typical route is to start off as a lieutenant, and I would think that would be a thankless position and mean a very good chance of being deployed somewhere like Iraq (is this Year 17 of the war??) or Afghanistan....lots of risk, lots of stress, little joy, little opportunity for family, lots of discomfort (mental and physical), possibly following a lot of capricious orders, maybe having close friends killed, PTSD etc..... Do I watch too many movies?

Granted, life seems like it would be great if you were sent, say, to the US Satellite Tracking Station in the Seychelles (I know about that job because I practiced medicine in the Seychelles in the early 1980s and had a bunch of friends who were officers working at the Satellite Tracking Station. I'd go up there to play tennis with them and eat steak and lobster dinners and hot fudge sundaes as their guest, which is most of what they seemed to do when they weren't occasionally tracking satellites or chasing women or sailing in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I'd take that job in a New York Minute).

Were all of you that lucky, before you made at least Major?
I posted way back when this thread first started and read a lot of it. Since it has been restarted I've either skimmed or carefully read the entire thread. I came to the same conclusions (about doctors, lawyers and military officers) that disjohns did above. As a career naval officer, I didn't love every minute of my time in uniform. But when I read this thread and recall conversations with my HS and college classmates about their careers, I think my overall job satisfaction level was far above average. I was in a relatively narrow specialty where the sea tours and deployments were less arduous than those of surface warfare officers, submariners, aviators and SEALS. But, Ironically, I got to work across a broad spectrum of Navy operations in most of the major warfare specialties and therefore learned a lot.

I started out during Vietnam days but was never "in-country", just on ships in the Gulf of Tonkin where it was a lot less dangerous than what the infantry, Marines and Swift boat guys faced. My career ended after the fall of the Soviet Union but before 9/11, so I was lucky to be on active duty during a period of relative peace. I do remember being on an older destroyer in the Med during the Yom Kippur War, a period during which the Soviets had a robust presence in the Med. We were surveilling several Soviet ships that were much more heavily armed than we were and whose weapons had much greater range than ours. If the Yom Kippur had sparked anything involving the US and Soviet Navies, we likely would have been toast early on.

By the time I was a LCDR (Major equivalent) I had served overseas in the Philippines and Spain (with frequent deployments at sea from those locations to the Gulf of Tonkin and Med/North Atlantic/Baltic, respectively), spent a year studying Russian at the Defense Language Institute in California, got a Masters degree (on my own time) and visited a number of foreign countries. I also got to work directly for the 3-star Director of a Defense agency for a year, giving me a view into how things worked at a high level. The latter portion of my career was less adventurous but still satisfying (except for my tour in the Pentagon which I absolutely hated).

I still maintain contact with a number of old Navy friends and, on the infrequent occasions we get together, it seems like we just pick up wherever we left off the last time. So, a good career for me and a nice one to look back on. I suspect many retired military officers could say much the same, albeit with different supporting details.
Friar1610

wandering_aimlessly
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by wandering_aimlessly » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:12 pm

Trained (BS) as a mechanical engineer, served as Navy Officer/Helicopter pilot, transitioned to finance via top 5 MBA program, worked in corporation finance advancing through CFO of large division (approx $2B revenue), transitioned to corporate acquisition integration...next career will be as financial planner (not an investment adviser) - as a retirement career. Overall this has been a great path, I found the military part very rewarding - not perfect, but very interesting and gave me opportunities I would never have had otherwise (I did serve in a relatively peaceful time though my reserve years did cover part of the Iraq conflict), while pay increases in the final positions have been significant. Not sure how anyone else would plan to mimic this path, but the important point is probably that I have generally done things I am interested in at each decision point with consideration for earnings. I tend to believe job experience in the future will be less of 40 years in a single career and more a series of shorter experiences that focused on areas of interest...making flexibility and willingness to learn even more important than they are today and certainly more than they were yesterday

Just my 2 cents...

deskpilot65
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by deskpilot65 » Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:20 pm

palaheel wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:45 pm
Software Engineer for MegaCorp

Pros:
love creating in logic
The projects are fun
The people you work with are brilliant
The pay is good/great

Cons:
My Computer Programmer aunt once called programmers "the highest paid migrant workers in the world." I've never seen anything to dispute that.
I see the shift to lower-cost countries as a big problem. The US used to produce EEs that designed audio and video equipment. We don't do that any more; those jobs moved. I think the software industry is following that path.
I got tired of competing with 26-year-olds who work 60 hours a week because they have no life. (To the 20-somethings, don't take that personally; you'll learn, as I did.)
Staying technically current becomes harder the older you get.
If you're laid off in your late 40s or 50s, finding a job can be difficult. In your 60s, forget it. Plan on retiring early, whether you want to or not.

Summary:
I love the field.
I don't love the industry, or where it's headed.
If you can use this as a stepping stone to an area whose half-life of human capital is more than 7 years, go for it. The new career won't be as fun, but it should be more stable.
Exactly this. would not recommend.
At my megacorp, software engineers were highly prized until the late 90s. then we became a cost to eliminate.
I jumped from project to project as each, in turn, was sent to Canada, Ukraine, India, and Hungary. At 53, my megacorp cancelled all remaining projects in the US. I retired early due to how burnt out I was and still am.

FourWallsofFIRE
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by FourWallsofFIRE » Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:55 pm

I'm in the military working in the intelligence community. I would highly recommend this route for a couple of reasons.

1. Benefits - Free health care, free housing, housing and food allowances that go untaxed. Best of all, free college.

2. Intelligence community members specifically receive Top Secret security clearances and training that almost no one else gets. With 4 years of service in this field you're highly likely to get a job that pays $100,000. 8 Years and you're closer to $145,000.

Loved my time in the military, but I'll be getting out for a much higher paying job. I got what I needed, served my country with a year long deployment, and set myself up for success in the future.
Matt | | | -It doesn't matter how much money you make, it matters how much you save.

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WestUniversity
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by WestUniversity » Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:33 am

Finance/accounting for 37 years. Businesses are always going to need accountants, so from that perspective there is job security/stability. If there is a downside it’s having your life rigidly scheduled around a monthly cycle of month-end close, producing financial statements, account analysis, budgets, audits, and filing various returns.

rai
Posts: 1249
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by rai » Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:56 am

I’m MD anesthesiologists.

Would recommend. I’ve been at the same place 22 years but can get a job easy most anywhere.

Downside is don’t make full pay level until 30 years old.

Downside is stress and long hours.

Upside great pay and easy to translate to other centers. Easier to set your own hours if you feel like slowing down.
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans" - John Lennon. | | "You say that money, isn't everything | But I'd like to see you live without it." - Silverchair

sirinme
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by sirinme » Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:29 am

deskpilot65 wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:20 pm
palaheel wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:45 pm
Software Engineer for MegaCorp

Pros:
love creating in logic
The projects are fun
The people you work with are brilliant
The pay is good/great

Cons:
My Computer Programmer aunt once called programmers "the highest paid migrant workers in the world." I've never seen anything to dispute that.
I see the shift to lower-cost countries as a big problem. The US used to produce EEs that designed audio and video equipment. We don't do that any more; those jobs moved. I think the software industry is following that path.
I got tired of competing with 26-year-olds who work 60 hours a week because they have no life. (To the 20-somethings, don't take that personally; you'll learn, as I did.)
Staying technically current becomes harder the older you get.
If you're laid off in your late 40s or 50s, finding a job can be difficult. In your 60s, forget it. Plan on retiring early, whether you want to or not.

Summary:
I love the field.
I don't love the industry, or where it's headed.
If you can use this as a stepping stone to an area whose half-life of human capital is more than 7 years, go for it. The new career won't be as fun, but it should be more stable.
Exactly this. would not recommend.
At my megacorp, software engineers were highly prized until the late 90s. then we became a cost to eliminate.
I jumped from project to project as each, in turn, was sent to Canada, Ukraine, India, and Hungary. At 53, my megacorp cancelled all remaining projects in the US. I retired early due to how burnt out I was and still am.
Same here. I was a Software Engineer for 17 years and would not recommend now, precisely for same reasons. It's bitter-sweet because I loved the kick that came from writing a beautiful piece of code, but sadly, that doesn't happen much in this country, especially at megacorps. I also worked at early-stage startups where it's lot more enjoyable, however. There's rarely any work-life balance at megacorps these days. You're on borrowed time anyway once you're into your 40's and 50's - just one job loss away from likely forced retirement.

I moved on from that career a few years ago. Own a small business now (preschool). It sure is stressful, too, and the income patterns can be uneven, but at least my fate is in my own hands (for most part). Once I'm home at night, I'm "truly home" - to me, that means a lot!

FI4LIFE
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by FI4LIFE » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:23 am

protagonist wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:38 pm
dsjohns wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:21 pm
Military officer for 9 years.
Now IT Management at a megacorp. Still part time military officer (National Guard).
And my favorite job, husband and father of 3.

I haven't planned much of where I've ended up, but it has all been good.

I recommend the military, either active or reserve, officer or enlisted to almost anyone. I think being part of a big team and counting on others is good life experience.

As for megacorp job, it pays the bills. Time will tell if these types of organizations continue to transform well in the future.
I've been skimming this thread and find it rather fascinating.
Most doctors and lawyers seem quite unhappy, especially lawyers.
But military officers seem to really like their jobs.

What I find interesting is none so far have mentioned the risk factor (physical and mental).

Never having served, I imagine the typical route is to start off as a lieutenant, and I would think that would be a thankless position and mean a very good chance of being deployed somewhere like Iraq (is this Year 17 of the war??) or Afghanistan....lots of risk, lots of stress, little joy, little opportunity for family, lots of discomfort (mental and physical), possibly following a lot of capricious orders, maybe having close friends killed, PTSD etc..... Do I watch too many movies?

Granted, life seems like it would be great if you were sent, say, to the US Satellite Tracking Station in the Seychelles (I know about that job because I practiced medicine in the Seychelles in the early 1980s and had a bunch of friends who were officers working at the Satellite Tracking Station. I'd go up there to play tennis with them and eat steak and lobster dinners and hot fudge sundaes as their guest, which is most of what they seemed to do when they weren't occasionally tracking satellites or chasing women or sailing in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I'd take that job in a New York Minute).

Were all of you that lucky, before you made at least Major?

(By the way, I really enjoyed being a physician, but I took a lot of professional risk and carved out my own path, and it served me well. I always put lifestyle and professional satisfaction ahead of money, and it worked out very well for me. I can't speak for how easy that is to do nowadays, or for that matter, even when I did it. Education was a long grueling haul.)
I am not a military veteran but I would recommend reading or listening to "War" by Sebastian Junger. Quick read and addresses a lot of your questions about war/PTSD. I think camaraderie plays a major role in job satisfaction.

protagonist
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by protagonist » Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:04 am

FI4LIFE wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:23 am
protagonist wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:38 pm
dsjohns wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:21 pm
Military officer for 9 years.
Now IT Management at a megacorp. Still part time military officer (National Guard).
And my favorite job, husband and father of 3.

I haven't planned much of where I've ended up, but it has all been good.

I recommend the military, either active or reserve, officer or enlisted to almost anyone. I think being part of a big team and counting on others is good life experience.

As for megacorp job, it pays the bills. Time will tell if these types of organizations continue to transform well in the future.
I've been skimming this thread and find it rather fascinating.
Most doctors and lawyers seem quite unhappy, especially lawyers.
But military officers seem to really like their jobs.

What I find interesting is none so far have mentioned the risk factor (physical and mental).

Never having served, I imagine the typical route is to start off as a lieutenant, and I would think that would be a thankless position and mean a very good chance of being deployed somewhere like Iraq (is this Year 17 of the war??) or Afghanistan....lots of risk, lots of stress, little joy, little opportunity for family, lots of discomfort (mental and physical), possibly following a lot of capricious orders, maybe having close friends killed, PTSD etc..... Do I watch too many movies?

Granted, life seems like it would be great if you were sent, say, to the US Satellite Tracking Station in the Seychelles (I know about that job because I practiced medicine in the Seychelles in the early 1980s and had a bunch of friends who were officers working at the Satellite Tracking Station. I'd go up there to play tennis with them and eat steak and lobster dinners and hot fudge sundaes as their guest, which is most of what they seemed to do when they weren't occasionally tracking satellites or chasing women or sailing in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I'd take that job in a New York Minute).

Were all of you that lucky, before you made at least Major?

(By the way, I really enjoyed being a physician, but I took a lot of professional risk and carved out my own path, and it served me well. I always put lifestyle and professional satisfaction ahead of money, and it worked out very well for me. I can't speak for how easy that is to do nowadays, or for that matter, even when I did it. Education was a long grueling haul.)
I am not a military veteran but I would recommend reading or listening to "War" by Sebastian Junger. Quick read and addresses a lot of your questions about war/PTSD. I think camaraderie plays a major role in job satisfaction.
Thanks. I just read the NYT review. It does seem like an interesting read.

indyfish
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:22 am

Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by indyfish » Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:55 am

Software Engineer at a mid-size company bought by a MegaCorp. Been at company over 6.5 years - career for 23 years.

Pros:

I have been unemployed for 0 weeks since starting my career.
I have been fortunate to not have too many periods where I had to work a lot of overtime - but I think I am just lucky.
I am good at the specific parts of my current job.
Salary is pretty good - good enough for what I do.

Cons:

I am not good at keeping with with latest tech trends - this is a must to truly thrive and be marketable. The parts of the job I do well now are not necessarily transferable anywhere else.
A lot of the job-satisfaction is heavily dependent on your manager and the organization structure.

I would only recommend this if you truly have a passion for it. If I was younger - I probably would have gone into data science with the math background I used to have (that is now long forgotten).

I will turn 50 later this year - I have a wife with a very steady job with virtually no chance of termination and a 2 year old daughter. We won't have more kids. My goal is to work until the end of 2024 and then re-evaluate what is next. I made a spreadsheet our savings and Social Security benefits per year and 2024 is a potential sweet spot for my retirement if needed - especially since my wife doesn't want to retire until age 70 (with her career - that is very possible).

I think about my daughter's potential career - more than I should at her age. I hope she can develop math skills and I will try to encourage that as much as possible. She is being taught Mandarin at home by my wife, and is currently better at that than English. I pray that my daughter keeps learning that as much as possible.

bobbyeast
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:35 pm

Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by bobbyeast » Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:06 pm

FinanceStudent wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:11 pm
I find it interesting that so many physicians here seem to recommend avoiding medicine. I'm an accounting/finance major who worked in transaction advisory at a Big 4 firm for a couple of years and am now taking science prerequisites to apply to medical school next year. Accounting ended up not really being for me, but I don't regret it at all. While working I received pretty good compensation, got to work with wonderful colleagues, and got some excellent work experience. I think accounting is a great field for people who enjoy it.
FinanceStudent - I'm curious..how long were you at your Big4 firm? I'm asking because I'm also a former Big4 alum and lasted about 3.5 years before jumping ship into industry accounting. Each of my first 3 years there, I kept telling myself that accounting wasn't really for me and to go back to school and enter the medical field. And each time, I convinced myself that I was too invested in the field already so it's kind of refreshing to hear that you and some others here made career changes.

stoptothink
Posts: 6499
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by stoptothink » Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:15 pm

protagonist wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:04 am
FI4LIFE wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:23 am
protagonist wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:38 pm
dsjohns wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:21 pm
Military officer for 9 years.
Now IT Management at a megacorp. Still part time military officer (National Guard).
And my favorite job, husband and father of 3.

I haven't planned much of where I've ended up, but it has all been good.

I recommend the military, either active or reserve, officer or enlisted to almost anyone. I think being part of a big team and counting on others is good life experience.

As for megacorp job, it pays the bills. Time will tell if these types of organizations continue to transform well in the future.
I've been skimming this thread and find it rather fascinating.
Most doctors and lawyers seem quite unhappy, especially lawyers.
But military officers seem to really like their jobs.

What I find interesting is none so far have mentioned the risk factor (physical and mental).

Never having served, I imagine the typical route is to start off as a lieutenant, and I would think that would be a thankless position and mean a very good chance of being deployed somewhere like Iraq (is this Year 17 of the war??) or Afghanistan....lots of risk, lots of stress, little joy, little opportunity for family, lots of discomfort (mental and physical), possibly following a lot of capricious orders, maybe having close friends killed, PTSD etc..... Do I watch too many movies?

Granted, life seems like it would be great if you were sent, say, to the US Satellite Tracking Station in the Seychelles (I know about that job because I practiced medicine in the Seychelles in the early 1980s and had a bunch of friends who were officers working at the Satellite Tracking Station. I'd go up there to play tennis with them and eat steak and lobster dinners and hot fudge sundaes as their guest, which is most of what they seemed to do when they weren't occasionally tracking satellites or chasing women or sailing in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I'd take that job in a New York Minute).

Were all of you that lucky, before you made at least Major?

(By the way, I really enjoyed being a physician, but I took a lot of professional risk and carved out my own path, and it served me well. I always put lifestyle and professional satisfaction ahead of money, and it worked out very well for me. I can't speak for how easy that is to do nowadays, or for that matter, even when I did it. Education was a long grueling haul.)
I am not a military veteran but I would recommend reading or listening to "War" by Sebastian Junger. Quick read and addresses a lot of your questions about war/PTSD. I think camaraderie plays a major role in job satisfaction.
Thanks. I just read the NYT review. It does seem like an interesting read.
Maybe a tad off topic and I am not a vet either, but several of my family members are (brother, two sisiter-in-laws, 3 uncles, grandfathers on both sides...) and I am currently one of the primary investigators in a clinical trial regarding vets and PTSD with the largest behavioral therapy entity in the state of Utah. Echoing the words of the CEO, the program director, and the nurse who runs the show day-to-day: every case is different, but from what they have seen, the overwhelming majority of PTSD cases with vets is not rooted in the military. Usually stuff from earlier in their life (you can make some guesses), but the military environment makes it more difficult to cope with those experiences.

protagonist
Posts: 6039
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by protagonist » Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:24 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:15 pm
protagonist wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:04 am
FI4LIFE wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:23 am
protagonist wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:38 pm
dsjohns wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:21 pm
Military officer for 9 years.
Now IT Management at a megacorp. Still part time military officer (National Guard).
And my favorite job, husband and father of 3.

I haven't planned much of where I've ended up, but it has all been good.

I recommend the military, either active or reserve, officer or enlisted to almost anyone. I think being part of a big team and counting on others is good life experience.

As for megacorp job, it pays the bills. Time will tell if these types of organizations continue to transform well in the future.
I've been skimming this thread and find it rather fascinating.
Most doctors and lawyers seem quite unhappy, especially lawyers.
But military officers seem to really like their jobs.

What I find interesting is none so far have mentioned the risk factor (physical and mental).

Never having served, I imagine the typical route is to start off as a lieutenant, and I would think that would be a thankless position and mean a very good chance of being deployed somewhere like Iraq (is this Year 17 of the war??) or Afghanistan....lots of risk, lots of stress, little joy, little opportunity for family, lots of discomfort (mental and physical), possibly following a lot of capricious orders, maybe having close friends killed, PTSD etc..... Do I watch too many movies?

Granted, life seems like it would be great if you were sent, say, to the US Satellite Tracking Station in the Seychelles (I know about that job because I practiced medicine in the Seychelles in the early 1980s and had a bunch of friends who were officers working at the Satellite Tracking Station. I'd go up there to play tennis with them and eat steak and lobster dinners and hot fudge sundaes as their guest, which is most of what they seemed to do when they weren't occasionally tracking satellites or chasing women or sailing in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I'd take that job in a New York Minute).

Were all of you that lucky, before you made at least Major?

(By the way, I really enjoyed being a physician, but I took a lot of professional risk and carved out my own path, and it served me well. I always put lifestyle and professional satisfaction ahead of money, and it worked out very well for me. I can't speak for how easy that is to do nowadays, or for that matter, even when I did it. Education was a long grueling haul.)
I am not a military veteran but I would recommend reading or listening to "War" by Sebastian Junger. Quick read and addresses a lot of your questions about war/PTSD. I think camaraderie plays a major role in job satisfaction.
Thanks. I just read the NYT review. It does seem like an interesting read.
Maybe a tad off topic and I am not a vet either, but several of my family members are (brother, two sisiter-in-laws, 3 uncles, grandfathers on both sides...) and I am currently one of the primary investigators in a clinical trial regarding vets and PTSD with the largest behavioral therapy entity in the state of Utah. Echoing the words of the CEO, the program director, and the nurse who runs the show day-to-day: every case is different, but from what they have seen, the overwhelming majority of PTSD cases with vets is not rooted in the military. Usually stuff from earlier in their life (you can make some guesses), but the military environment makes it more difficult to cope with those experiences.
That is interesting, stoptothink. It reminds me of how critical the early stages of childhood development are.

I also imagine that the career of "military officer" is largely self-selecting. Perhaps one who would choose that field as a lifelong career would have a much different reaction to its stresses and rewards than the general public, and that is probably hard for non-career vets (like us) to comprehend.

I also grew up during the Vietnam War era....escaped the draft with a good lottery number....I knew a lot of Vietnam vets who were a real mess, and it colored my thinking. But that was a different era.

just1question
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:36 pm

Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by just1question » Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:36 pm

Attorney. 25-30 years. First big law, now small firm. I can't recommend it, unless you enjoy confrontation and arguing over documents (or if you're a sociopath, you're perfect).

My first year out, I was sitting with other associates in the lunchroom and someone went down the partner list on the firm letterhead. Every senior partner except one either had divorced, had a heart attack, or both. The one exception died of cancer a few years later. Kind of tells you everything you need to know.

FinanceStudent
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:42 pm
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii

Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by FinanceStudent » Thu Jun 06, 2019 3:39 pm

bobbyeast wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:06 pm
FinanceStudent wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:11 pm
I find it interesting that so many physicians here seem to recommend avoiding medicine. I'm an accounting/finance major who worked in transaction advisory at a Big 4 firm for a couple of years and am now taking science prerequisites to apply to medical school next year. Accounting ended up not really being for me, but I don't regret it at all. While working I received pretty good compensation, got to work with wonderful colleagues, and got some excellent work experience. I think accounting is a great field for people who enjoy it.
FinanceStudent - I'm curious..how long were you at your Big4 firm? I'm asking because I'm also a former Big4 alum and lasted about 3.5 years before jumping ship into industry accounting. Each of my first 3 years there, I kept telling myself that accounting wasn't really for me and to go back to school and enter the medical field. And each time, I convinced myself that I was too invested in the field already so it's kind of refreshing to hear that you and some others here made career changes.
I was there for 2.5 years. During that time my salary increased ~48% so I figured if I didn't leave soon it would have been too difficult to give up that compensation and go back to school.

Prodiver
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat May 11, 2019 11:32 am

Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by Prodiver » Fri Jun 07, 2019 7:30 am

Sold cards, salve, newspaper when I was young.

Put two Xmas on top of my VW bug in July and drove 4 hours to NYC and sold thousands to gas stations.

After college took an outside sales job with a big company calling on grocery stores.

After 1.5 years I quit because the old guys told me I was working too hard!

Ever since then I’ve been straight commission. If I didn’t sell, I didn’t eat.

And made a lot of money, at 69 yo still working...

User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 9535
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Jun 07, 2019 7:50 am

Prodiver wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 7:30 am
Sold cards, salve, newspaper when I was young.
My VERY first job was helping my Dad, who at the time was the “resident super” in a tenement in return for reduced rent. My main job was bundling newspapers into 25# lots for recycling. Some of the “newspapers” were pretty racy for a young kid. :shock:

[snip...] After 1.5 years I quit because the old guys told me I was working too hard!
I remember being surprised when the shop steward came up to me and warned me about being a “rate buster” at the steel fabrication place I worked at. When I resigned to go to graduate school, the company owner offered me a job in sales because he had heard that I could “do fractions.” Apparently nobody else thought of figuring out the optimal cuts to have the least waste out of a 40’ length of steel. I can’t say that it was the company’s money I was interested in saving, but it was also the way to heft the least amount of steel onto the angle shear.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

shm317
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:27 am

Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by shm317 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 7:54 am

ohai wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 11:42 am
I work in finance, hopefully "FIRE" soon at ~35. Despite this, I don't recommend this to new people.
1) Ship has sailed.
2) Work is BS, doesn't mean anything. Creates existential issues.
3) Most people are normal, but 15% are ultimate douches.
4) Everything is based on bravado and politics.
5) Really hard to get a choice job, on the level of getting into Harvard Business School or something like that.
6) Everyone is only thinking about "their number". There is no real life plan.
7) Normal people don't like you solely based on the company you work for.
8) Constant payscale benchmarking against other people.
9) Usually get locked into an expensive lifestyle.
Totally agree. I'm 37 and also hoping to FIRE before burning out of the industry. I'm in asset management, specifically Fixed Income Corp bond research. I actually like doing the research and investing, but egos and politics make the career hard to stomach. Good (albeit declining) pay, but it's a soul sucking industry. Would not recommend to any young people starting out.

Old Guy
Posts: 335
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:20 am

Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by Old Guy » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:06 am

I spent 30 years in the federal government beginning in the 1970s. At that time it was a great career. By the time I retired in 2004, not so much. Politicians ran against the federal government and by extension federal employees. Many of the political appointees were stupid or just plain mean-spirited. Your programs were destroyed. Pay raises were minimal or in some years non-existent. You were reorganized every four or eight years.

Much of my career was in external discrimination complaint investigations, compliance reviews and policy development, which were subject to the vagaries of the party in power and their appointed judges. I spent half of my career in a department not favored by one of the political parties so there was alway the fear of losing your job. Then there were the times when there was no budget and you were out of work for weeks. I did spend four years working on criminal and victims issues. Those were pretty good years. So bottom line, I cannot recommend the feds for a career.

In retirement I worked at a B1G university as the institution’s discrimination complaint investigator covering employees including student employees and faculty and staff.The best thing about the job was that unlike my federal job, I was the decision maker. The worst thing about the job was that I was the decision maker. Frequent battles with university’s attorneys. Five years in a row with no inflation pay raises. During the last part of my career the state was controlled by a political party that was not committed to the university.

In retrospect, the university is located in one of the best college towns in the country; I had authority far beyond what I had in the federal government; while the salary didn't compare to my federal salary the benefits were great and in the health area exceeded those provided by the federal government; I liked almost all of my colleagues; it was a great university; and I became eligible for another, especially well managed, pension. OTOH, the weather was very very cold and some of the faculty members behaved stupidly beyond belief. Finally, at the age of 71 too many tales of woe and grief can wear you out.

So, a great second career but because of the relatively low salary for non-faculty administrators, I cannot recommend it as a primary career. BUT, boy was it fun.

dsjohns
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 2:19 pm

Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by dsjohns » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:50 pm

protagonist wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:38 pm
dsjohns wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:21 pm
Military officer for 9 years.
Now IT Management at a megacorp. Still part time military officer (National Guard).
And my favorite job, husband and father of 3.

I haven't planned much of where I've ended up, but it has all been good.

I recommend the military, either active or reserve, officer or enlisted to almost anyone. I think being part of a big team and counting on others is good life experience.

As for megacorp job, it pays the bills. Time will tell if these types of organizations continue to transform well in the future.
I've been skimming this thread and find it rather fascinating.
Most doctors and lawyers seem quite unhappy, especially lawyers.
But military officers seem to really like their jobs.

What I find interesting is none so far have mentioned the risk factor (physical and mental).

Never having served, I imagine the typical route is to start off as a lieutenant, and I would think that would be a thankless position and mean a very good chance of being deployed somewhere like Iraq (is this Year 17 of the war??) or Afghanistan....lots of risk, lots of stress, little joy, little opportunity for family, lots of discomfort (mental and physical), possibly following a lot of capricious orders, maybe having close friends killed, PTSD etc..... Do I watch too many movies?

Granted, life seems like it would be great if you were sent, say, to the US Satellite Tracking Station in the Seychelles (I know about that job because I practiced medicine in the Seychelles in the early 1980s and had a bunch of friends who were officers working at the Satellite Tracking Station. I'd go up there to play tennis with them and eat steak and lobster dinners and hot fudge sundaes as their guest, which is most of what they seemed to do when they weren't occasionally tracking satellites or chasing women or sailing in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I'd take that job in a New York Minute).

Were all of you that lucky, before you made at least Major?

(By the way, I really enjoyed being a physician, but I took a lot of professional risk and carved out my own path, and it served me well. I always put lifestyle and professional satisfaction ahead of money, and it worked out very well for me. I can't speak for how easy that is to do nowadays, or for that matter, even when I did it. Education was a long grueling haul.)
There is a certain perspective that I think being a military officer gives you. It can come from a variety of sources. You may have a bunch of younger troops that work for you, and they may have come from worse or better backgrounds. They may mess up and get in trouble and you have to figure out what the best way forward is, for both them and the organization. You may serve in a rough part of the world, and gain a better appreciation of the incredible life we live back home.

From my current seat, I get to work at a great company that treats it's employees well. But I always look forward to my drill weekends in the Air National Guard, as it means I get back to my old family and do work that I miss. Maybe it is a dose of perspective. Maybe similar to those who gain so much from times of mission work or other volunteer activity.

I'd love to hear thoughts from others.

indyfish
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:22 am

Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by indyfish » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:14 pm

indyfish wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:55 am

A lot of the job-satisfaction is heavily dependent on your manager and the organization structure.
This is really true. My job satisfaction improved after my previous manager left and the organization structure changed since my original post in January.

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