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

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Jayhawk11
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by Jayhawk11 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:44 am

Attorney here, I cannot recommend it to anyone unless they can graduate with less than, say, $50k in debt.

I was a "winner" - top 3 law school, biglaw job, and paid off my 200k in student loans in 3.5 years. Now I have a job that I really love working in the public sector for a solid middle class income.

You do not know pressure until you have to come up with that NONDISCHARGEABLE student debt nut every month during the great recession. Law is not for everyone - even most - in that it adversarial, high pressure, and mostly terrible hours. Look at the rates of alcoholism and divorce among most attorneys.

It does allow poly sci idiots (like myself) a chance to hit it big in plaintiffs work - but that's a lot of hustle. If you have that hustle you can make it other ways.

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

Post by ofcmetz » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:03 am

Law Enforcement.

I'd never recommend it to someone who just wants a job. For someone who has always wanted to be a police officer or for someone who was former military then yes I'd recommend. You have to feel called to this kind of work and even then it takes a toll on you and your family. For anyone getting in, I recommend interviewing police officers at agencies you are interested in. Also read Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement as it kind of shows the changes you'll experience and how to adapt and overcome them. Also, if you are considering, make sure your spouse or partner is OK with it and the hours.

The hours are terrible. The pay is not generally good starting out, but after a few promotions and overtime you can make a nice living (six figure incomes after overtime for sergeants on up is common). The pension and benefits at my state agency are simply amazing. I started at age 19 and will be able to retire at age 40 and do something different if I chose.

Law Enforcement today is not what it was even 19 years ago when I started. It requires using a lot more technology, and you are policing on camera. Everything that you do is recorded (body cams, surveillance cams, vehicle cams, the public using their cellphones). It's hard for old school cops to get used to it, but its the reality.
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kjvmartin
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by kjvmartin » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:07 am

Law enforcement.

It requires a lot of adapting, but it's a good, challenging, and very rewarding job. If lots of money is the goal, there are other avenues you should explore.

kjvm

2015
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by 2015 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:07 pm

rixer wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:05 am
I was a carpet cleaner. I worked hard, lived below my means, paid off the home, invested in my retirement accounts and am now enjoying a comfortable retirement.

Would I recommend it? Not unless you enjoy sucking nasty stuff out of carpets to make ends meet.. :shock:

But it worked for me. :sharebeer
It also worked for an entrepreneur I know who came to Los Angeles to be a rock and roll musician and began cleaning houses to make ends meet. A few decades later and he has his own cleaning businesses and a substantial net worth due to living beneath his means and several real estate investments/partnerships. Very much the millionaire next door type.

I held positions in organizational leadership in small, medium, and Fortune 500 companies and am grateful to never have to go through any of that again. I was fortunate in that my very last position I supported law enforcement which turned out to be the most fulfilling work of my career. I have never admired, respected, and enjoyed working with any group of colleagues as much as I did them. It was a great way to retire from something.

Maverick3320
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by Maverick3320 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:36 pm

Military Officer.

90% love it, 10% hate it.

PROS:
-six figure, low tax salary.
-just about the best pension anywhere.
-little to no healthcare costs.
-get paid to work out and stay in shape.
-paid travel. This year: Colorado springs, Austin, Washington DC, Nashville, Chicago, South Carolina.
-paid for my undergrad.
-get to wear the same thing to work every day (totally underrated)

CONS:
-the bureaucracy and politics can be soul-sucking.
-potential for deployment to some less-than-desirable places.
-bosses have a lot of power; crappy bosses can abuse it.
-not always intellectually stimulating.
-this career path seems to get a lot of people judging you based simply on your profession. A certain part of the political spectrum, unfortunately.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:50 pm

Glockenspiel wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:35 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:33 am

I honestly believe that going into a trade like plumbing will be more lucrative and stable than engineering. It's one of the jobs that can't be outsourced.
Civil Engineers will never be outsourced to another country. There are too many local, state, and federal regulations, codes, standards, requirements that need to be followed that someone from India will never be able to get a grasp of as well as someone who lives in the locale. Especially in consulting, my clients would NEVER hire a consulting firm from Asia. They prefer engineering firms located in their city or state.
I'm very happy to hear this and truly hope it's true. My son will enter his senior year in the fall in civil engineering. He's currently working a well paid summer internship at a military contractor, generating actual billable hours doing structural analysis for these silly boats that sink by design.
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6bquick
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by 6bquick » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:02 pm

Pharmacist here as well. still relatively young, 30, with only 4 years of "work." I currently also work graveyard at an inner city hospital. four tens. off every weekend. Absolutely enjoy it. i spent three years in retail pharmacy mgmt. hated every second of it, but the pay was 20% better. In a sentence, i'd say: "if you have a rich uncle paying for your school and you can manage to graduate damn near debt free, give it a go!" Lots of clinical knowledge and very little hands-on, wiping-butts type stuff. But, if i could do it again, the insane loan burden isn't worth the salary. Speaking strictly fiscally, I'd have tried for med school or dental school. especially given the GIANT potential income discrepancy between pharmacists who depend on a retail establishment or healthcare system for employment and a physician/dentist who can choose to work for someone or for themselves. i'm too old and too broke to change now, and i sincerely enjoy what i do, so no regrets, per se, but i'd asterisk any recommendations with the above for any younger folks inquiring.

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

Post by ASpenderInRecovery » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:13 pm

IT Sales and I highly recommend it. Whether you go the route of being a a salesperson or a sales engineer role that helps explain the technology and determines the appropriate solution fit both are great options and can be highly lucrative. I only now realize how fortunate I was to have entered IT Sales in my early twenties and established a good income early.

I saw an interview with Michael Dell where he basically said IT shouldn't be called Information Technology aka IT anymore. IT is no longer some obscure thing that is run out of a companies closet or basement because it's now foundational to how organizations operate, transact, communicate, etc. He suggested we rename IT to BT aka Business Technology. I couldn't agree more. There is virtually no industry/business/organization that doesn't rely heavily on technology whether it's Finance, Legal, Healthcare, Pharma, Retail, Education, and increasingly manufacturing.

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corn18
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by corn18 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:37 pm

Spent 20 years flying in the Navy. 3 combat tours and the rest of my time as a test pilot. Retired in 2008 as the flying dried up for me. Would highly recommend it. High speed, low drag. Lots of unmanned stuff out there now, but there are still a lot of cockpits to fill. And sending a drone into bad guy country isn't as impactful as sending a U.S. citizen.

After I retired, I went into business development at a major defense contractor. Worked my way up to VP and now president. P&L is fun but BD is a lot more fun. Will probably transition back (by choice). Pay and benefits are great at this level. Would highly recommend it but to get the bonafides, you really need a lot of experience. Great way for ex-military to make the transition.

Corn

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

Post by edudumb » Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:02 pm

acegolfer wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:18 am
Professor, 2003 - present (Finance major)

Would I recommend it now? Depends on who you are.
If you love to read hundreds of research papers, spending weeks solving problems, are passionate about teaching, have patience dealing with students every month, then yes. The hurdle to become a tenured professor is very high. You need several publications in top journals, in addition to excellent teaching record. Once you make it, then you have a secured job with lots of time flexibility. And you can spend work time on bogleheads.org legitimately.
Assistant Professor, 2015 - Present (Management major)
Agreed with the above.
Would I recommend it now? Depends on whether you like mobile life.
I feel that the job market in this profession is very global. You can't bet on applying to schools in the same state/ country/ continent. Though once you get a job and tenure, you can stay in the same school forever. Pay is just so-so at the beginning. The starting salary for junior prof is in the 100k range, or close to 200k if you work at a top school (salary reflects stress and workload). Always makes me wonder the value of my PhD.

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

Post by feh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:10 pm

bert09 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:21 am
Software engineer - I would absolutely recommend it.
+1

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

Post by triceratop » Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:17 pm

edudumb wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:02 pm
acegolfer wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:18 am
Professor, 2003 - present (Finance major)

Would I recommend it now? Depends on who you are.
If you love to read hundreds of research papers, spending weeks solving problems, are passionate about teaching, have patience dealing with students every month, then yes. The hurdle to become a tenured professor is very high. You need several publications in top journals, in addition to excellent teaching record. Once you make it, then you have a secured job with lots of time flexibility. And you can spend work time on bogleheads.org legitimately.
Assistant Professor, 2015 - Present (Management major)
Agreed with the above.
Would I recommend it now? Depends on whether you like mobile life.
I feel that the job market in this profession is very global. You can't bet on applying to schools in the same state/ country/ continent. Though once you get a job and tenure, you can stay in the same school forever. Pay is just so-so at the beginning. The starting salary for junior prof is in the 100k range, or close to 200k if you work at a top school (salary reflects stress and workload). Always makes me wonder the value of my PhD.
Don't confuse the market price set for your employment with the value to society and humanity of your PhD or your research. There is no fundamental reason they should be tied.
"To play the stock market is to play musical chairs under the chord progression of a bid-ask spread."

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

Post by LadyGeek » Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:48 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (career guidance).
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

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

Post by golfCaddy » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:07 pm

old career - product software development. The compensation sucked, but it was intellectually stimulating. It might be worth it if you can get a job in SV/Seattle/Boston, which would be a different universe compared to programming in Indianapolis.

current career - federal government employee working in national security. It provides a good work/life balance. Not many employees advance past GS-14, which means their salary will cap out at $135k or below. That can be solidly middle class if you live in a LCOL or MCOL area, but obviously no one gets rich working for the government. Feel free to PM if you want to know more.

If I was young enough to do it all over again, I would go to med school.

Amanda999
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by Amanda999 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:56 pm

Lawyer. No.

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

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:06 pm

LawEgr1 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:22 am
burt wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:44 am
IlliniDave wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:24 am
Engineer. If I had it all to do over again I might choose differently, but I wouldn't globally recommend against it.
+1
Capital engineering: everytime the economy passes gas, management freaks and shuts the projects down.
Operations and maintenance: on call with free overtime. Painful.

burt
ChemEng here - design / ops / major CapEx projects / PM for major specialty chem mfg. facilities for megacorp and mini-megacorp.

Pros:
-Lots of of global travel experience and extended stays. Far and away, this has been the highlight of my career.
-Once you have demonstrated experience, this is a very valuable skillset to have in the market

Cons:
-Always unrealistic expectations
-Stressful (to me) due to schedule, downtime, budget, etc., and the above statement and "getting it" from above and below
-Project teams can be miserable to work with
-Travel expectations can be brutal
-Holiday work on shutdowns, etc.

I love the technical side, but have great displeasure for the typical culture that comes with the roles I have had and the travel as I get older becomes more and more of a pain in my personal life.

If I had to do it all over again, I'd choose differently, but I also wouldn't globally recommend against it.
An engineer with 3 degrees here:
1) 5-year BS in Mechanical Engineering, with construction and HVAC specialization
2) MSME, focus on manufacturing (General Motors sponsored my Masters thesis)
3) MS in Cybersecurity

PE license, CISSP.

My jobs included HVAC design, telecommunications (Bell Labs has provided extensive training), networking, and cybersecurity.

I liked my career in that I could always find a well paying job. If I could change anything, it would be to get a PhD and work on the "R" side of R&D.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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

Post by Hayden » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:12 pm

Engineer. If i were a student today, i'd be in computer science.
That's just a reflection of my personal interests, not a commentary on the job market.

gator15
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by gator15 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:44 pm

HR and no. Would go into tech if I could do it again.

trojans10
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by trojans10 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:48 pm

retiringtype wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:41 am
Advertising. Stay away...far away. It was always quite stressful, but the stress was balanced by the perks: Good pay, lots of travel, interesting people and projects. That's mostly all gone now. Virtually all agencies have to kick back money to their holding companies nowadays — and the CEOs make millions. And then there's Google and Facebook sucking away ad dollars. Plus I know of one big client who's beginning to explore having their advertising written by computers. Yikes.

I heard it described perfectly the other day: We gone from Mad Men to Math Men.
Interesting. I work in digital advertising - went from creating the ads to doing more of the tracking, and analytics of advertisements and web traffic - has been fun and interesting. So essentially 'web analytics'. Have a degree in information systems and accounting. Since the advertising industry is changing so much, it makes me wonder if I should get out and start prepping for another career. My options I"m thinking are: Go back to school to finish accounting classes, and get a CPA OR continue in analytics, and focus more on data analytics - business analytics OR front-end development OR get salesforce certified and move to marketing automation. No idea what is best.

Olemiss540
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by Olemiss540 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:51 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:50 pm
Glockenspiel wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:35 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:33 am

I honestly believe that going into a trade like plumbing will be more lucrative and stable than engineering. It's one of the jobs that can't be outsourced.
Civil Engineers will never be outsourced to another country. There are too many local, state, and federal regulations, codes, standards, requirements that need to be followed that someone from India will never be able to get a grasp of as well as someone who lives in the locale. Especially in consulting, my clients would NEVER hire a consulting firm from Asia. They prefer engineering firms located in their city or state.
I'm very happy to hear this and truly hope it's true. My son will enter his senior year in the fall in civil engineering. He's currently working a well paid summer internship at a military contractor, generating actual billable hours doing structural analysis for these silly boats that sink by design.
It's true. Infrastructure is always booming, whether its rail, roads, boats, or bridges.

Went to the rail industry myself, and have a wonderful work life balance and income that noone in their right mind would complain about.

From design to project management, you can design your own life.
I hold index funds because I do not overestimate my ability to pick stocks OR stock pickers.

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

Post by CyclingDuo » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:55 pm

alex123711 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:15 am
Curious to know what careers/ jobs / business people on this forum have or have had if you don't mind sharing. And whether or not you still think its a good career choice now with automation/ outsourcing. I'm at a career crossroads and looking for a new one, but most options don't seem very good these days.
Professional Opera Singer (US and International) for 20+ years
Professor of Music (teaching opera singing to the next generations) for 15+ years

Good career choice if you have the vocal pipes, good looks, language skills, can act/dance/sing/move/create characters/share drama to thousands in the theater in multiple languages and absolutely love music. About the same amount of training required as a doctor, so mastering one's craft takes years of dedicated study and improvement. Doubt that automation/outsourcing is going to usurp the beauty of the human voice and the thrill of live performance. :beer
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LadyGeek
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by LadyGeek » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:01 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:50 pm
...He's currently working a well paid summer internship at a military contractor, generating actual billable hours doing structural analysis for these silly boats that sink by design.
:D

Engineer. My dad forced me to go to college and get an engineering degree. Otherwise, I may have ended up as an auto mechanic. Really. At the time, I liked working on cars and thought it would be fun. Fast forward a long time and I like what I'm doing as an engineer.

Bear in mind that you can get stuck doing nothing but paperwork and that's where you'll probably start. Like any profession, if you want to work on the "fun" stuff, you have to earn it.

Always do the best you can and help others. People notice that, and it will pay off more than you can know.

If you want to work your way up, do the job you're after, do it right, and don't step on anyone's toes. Be proactive and you'll get there.

One other tip: If you are willing to move, you can always find a job that you like to do.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

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

Post by JBTX » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:08 pm

In terms of accounting, more and more turn the crank accounting activities will be automated and outsourced. However, the consultative aspects I suspect always be there. Also it will continue to demand more IT, systems and data mining skills.
Last edited by JBTX on Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by AlwaysWannaLearn » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:18 pm

.....
Last edited by AlwaysWannaLearn on Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by mrsbetsy » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:25 pm

Educational Therapist specializing in teaching students with dyslexia how to read, write, and spell. I have a home office and teach remotely. I work about 30 hours a week right now and make about double what school teachers make. It's been wonderful for me because I can work as much or as little as I choose. Lots of things are expensed.

DH was in the medical device field in the Silicon Valley for many years. He burned out about 5 years ago and bought a window treatment company. I was skeptical, but he's truly done a great job. He is an engineer by trade so to think he could say, "Yes Mrs. Jones, let me show you some drapery fabrics, shutters, or colors for your cellular shade", made me and everyone else chuckle. But he knows who he is and can solve just about any install issue because he thinks like an engineer. He's happier than he's ever been. Working for himself and doing his thing.

We could retire if we wished. For now, we enjoy serving in different ways.

Moral: To thine own self be true -- even if your wife of 30 years thinks you're crazy.

Lesson: Do what you love and you'll never work another day in your life.

I recommend all of it. It just depends on your nature? Are you born to serve? Are you born to work alone? Do you like being part of a team? Would you prefer being the boss? It really doesn't matter what everyone else does, what do you want to do?
Last edited by mrsbetsy on Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by El Greco » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:32 pm

Advertising Creative Director. It used to be a fun, glamorous and relatively well-paid career. Now, not so much. I've noticed that most positions pay about the same amount as when i first started about 30 years ago, NOT adjusted for inflation. Now it is a lot less about creativity and a lot more about analytics, SEO, etc. Plus, if you work in a major market, i.e Manhattan, it is rampant with age discrimination. Currently, I am winding down my career in the "Provinces" for a fraction of what I used to make in the city and in most instances the work is the mental equivalent of shoveling coal.

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

Post by IngognitoUSA » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:48 pm

Very few jobs these days seem immune from ageism, IT being the worst.

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

Post by jimmo » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:51 pm

Stinky wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:23 am
Actuary. It has been rated in the "top 10" by many lists over the years, and the ranking is correct. Once a person finishes their actuarial examinations (usually happens before age 30), unemployment is basically zero, salaries are very good, and the stress level is relatively low.

I would highly recommend the profession for someone who meets the basic criteria - a strong aptitude for math (practical math, not PhD-type math), and a desire to work in business.
Actuary here as well. I'd recommend but probably less enthusiastically at this point. IF you have a strong aptitude for math and statistics, it is a solid option.

Pro - You don't have to go 6 figures in debt to make a nice income. Con - You have to go through a grueling exam credentialing process while you're working for the first 5-10 years of your career. Actuarial exams are a bear unless you're one of those special types.

Pro - Job security / unemployment both very favorable right now. Con - Long-term there is pressure from data scientists types and automation. Having actuarial credentials pay well now, but I think it will become watered down over time.

Pro - Once you're through with the exams, there's generally pretty good work/life balance and good flexibility. Con - You will spend most of your time staring at a screen or in a conference room.

I'm not sure I'd choose it again myself if starting over. I'm pretty well entrenched now so will probably stick around until I'm FI anyhow. For my second act, I may try my hand at one of the skilled trades, or at least something away from a computer and office job type environment. Of course by then my body may not be so agreeable to it.
Last edited by jimmo on Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Post by MikeWillRetire » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:52 pm

Civil Engineer. This career allowed me to live much better than my parents did. But it no longer appeals to me. When I started, we performed calculations by hand, and we sat at large drafting tables sketching up designs for the draftsmen. I really liked that. Today, I sit in a cubicle and spend all day behind a computer with 2 or 3 monitors, using programs to do all of the work that I once enjoyed doing by hand. So I wouldn't do it again for myself, but for those who enjoy computers, it is still a great career

gold99xx
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by gold99xx » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:56 pm

WAS, photographer, and Cinematographer, Bizz was destroyed by digital transition ( not terrible) BUT social media utterly destroyed this biz. Everyone with an iPhone and an internet connection is now a content creator, photographer, DP etc... And, like UBER and LYFT, all of these young people will work for NOTHING. Old guard got caught with their head in the sand, and some of us older guys won't work for the reduced rates... Boy do I wish I listened to my parents and became a Dentist or a plumber...

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

Post by gunn_show » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:05 pm

ASpenderInRecovery wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:13 pm
IT Sales and I highly recommend it. Whether you go the route of being a a salesperson or a sales engineer role that helps explain the technology and determines the appropriate solution fit both are great options and can be highly lucrative. I only now realize how fortunate I was to have entered IT Sales in my early twenties and established a good income early.
+1

If you can sell, this is the way to go. And if you can really sell, you can make a ton of money, and will always have a job.
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

ping1050
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by ping1050 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:50 pm

Ophthalmologist-eye surgeon

I work 8:00am-4:30pm Monday thru Friday. During these hours I do work my tail off and typically work thru lunch. The field is procedure based and we get quick, reliable, excellent results the vast majority of the time (cataract surgery/LASIK/eyelids). The pay is solid ~$330k, and I would recommend it again for sure.

Now, the path to get there was not so great. Graduated medical school at age 26 and then residency at age 30. At age 30 I had nearly $300k in (in-state public) medical school loan debt at 6.8%. Fortunately my parents took care of college education so i ONLY had 300k. I am now debt free at 34 but just now have started to save in something other than a roth for retirement.

I would definitely not recommend going to medical school. The lifestyle fields (radiology, ophthalmology, anesthesiology, dermatology, plastics, and less so ENT, ER) are very competitive and I know of many colleagues that ended up doing something they didnt want such as general surgery or family practice due to not ‘matching’ their desired residency. There is an astronomical number of administrators for health care systems now. And with the expected changes coming to health care (declining reimbursement, increased workload, red tape) I wouldn’t advise someone to go into medicine unless they truly felt it was a vocation. The jobs are stable and compensation good but outside of the lifestyle fields listed above, docs are getting burned out and jaded. For instance, lets say you love kids and want to be a pediatrician... graduate from a private medical school with ~350-400k in debt at 6.8%. Job offers for $120k and you peak at around $180k after years in practice... Doesn’t make any sense.

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

Post by jimmyq » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:55 pm

Electrical Engineer in a hardware development group. Has been good to me overall so I would recommend it for those who like to solve tough technical problems. Lots of ups and downs depending on how the company is doing financially. I've seen many waves of layoffs during the bad times, and have seen nice bonuses and salary increases during the good times. Job security has been decent overall, though, and can be even better if one is willing to relocate when things take a turn for the worse.

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

Post by golfCaddy » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:07 pm

For instance, lets say you love kids and want to be a pediatrician... graduate from a private medical school with ~350-400k in debt at 6.8%.
The lesson there isn't so much med school is bad as to attend your in-state public, unless you can get scholarships.

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

Post by gouverneur » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:21 pm

Jayhawk11 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:44 am
Attorney here, I cannot recommend it to anyone unless they can graduate with less than, say, $50k in debt.

I was a "winner" - top 3 law school, biglaw job, and paid off my 200k in student loans in 3.5 years. Now I have a job that I really love working in the public sector for a solid middle class income.

You do not know pressure until you have to come up with that NONDISCHARGEABLE student debt nut every month during the great recession. Law is not for everyone - even most - in that it adversarial, high pressure, and mostly terrible hours. Look at the rates of alcoholism and divorce among most attorneys.

It does allow poly sci idiots (like myself) a chance to hit it big in plaintiffs work - but that's a lot of hustle. If you have that hustle you can make it other ways.
Similar life story here. I love my work (government attorney). I would not recommend it for most people, but for people who can go to a highly ranked law school, can get the degree for relatively little debt, and have a strong sense of what they want to do as a lawyer (so maybe for 1% of people), yes.

J295
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by J295 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:29 pm

Law.
Retired early
Would not recommend

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

Post by Notsobad » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:42 pm

Physician

Would still recommend. There are challenges of Med school debt, and the issues of the changing work environment from the hospitals and big businesses of Pharmacy, insurance, etc. I graduated long enough ago that my debt was manageable.

Despite this, there is good job security, we make a good living, and at least once a day, I feel like I have done something good for someone.

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

Post by TxAg » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:54 pm

PVF sales (Pipe, Valve, and Fitting). I don't use my degrees, and I make less than my grad school buddies but I also work many less hours.

Overall...Pay is good, not great. Perks are very good. Quality of life is outstanding.

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

Post by ClevrChico » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:05 pm

I'm in the operations/systems side of tech. Would recommend it if one has a love for the field. It's taken me from a working class teenager to an adult with an upper-middle class income. My dad and I spent a small fortune on computers back in the 90's, and I worked my way through college. (Remember when $2k got you a cheaper computer in the 90's?) ROI has been very good.

Hours and working conditions have varied from terrible to great and have improved as my career has progressed. Going from small > medium > megacorp companies has been very beneficial.

The field has always faced foreign competition, H1B, outsourcing, business cycles, death marches, mass layoffs, relocations etc. but most of my colleagues managed to get through that successfully. Although I've seen some workers make poor work/life balance choices chasing a few more dollars. Myself, there's been a lot of days I've felt like I've been paid to do fun stuff. I think tech is one of the best career choices if you have a love for the field.

The field undergoes huge shifts every few decades. The lucrative client/server tech that started in the 90's has now been replaced with even more lucrative cloud technology.
Last edited by ClevrChico on Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:49 am, edited 4 times in total.

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

Post by edudumb » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:20 pm

triceratop wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:17 pm
edudumb wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:02 pm
acegolfer wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:18 am
Professor, 2003 - present (Finance major)

Would I recommend it now? Depends on who you are.
If you love to read hundreds of research papers, spending weeks solving problems, are passionate about teaching, have patience dealing with students every month, then yes. The hurdle to become a tenured professor is very high. You need several publications in top journals, in addition to excellent teaching record. Once you make it, then you have a secured job with lots of time flexibility. And you can spend work time on bogleheads.org legitimately.
Assistant Professor, 2015 - Present (Management major)
Agreed with the above.
Would I recommend it now? Depends on whether you like mobile life.
I feel that the job market in this profession is very global. You can't bet on applying to schools in the same state/ country/ continent. Though once you get a job and tenure, you can stay in the same school forever. Pay is just so-so at the beginning. The starting salary for junior prof is in the 100k range, or close to 200k if you work at a top school (salary reflects stress and workload). Always makes me wonder the value of my PhD.
Don't confuse the market price set for your employment with the value to society and humanity of your PhD or your research. There is no fundamental reason they should be tied.
True, so let me figure out that value :sharebeer :sharebeer

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

Post by nordsteve » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:35 pm

Software engineer. 38 years now. Highly recommend it, if you're passionate about it. Pay is ridiculous, great working conditions if you can get on at one of the top tier companies.

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

Post by Glockenspiel » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:44 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:50 pm
Glockenspiel wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:35 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:33 am

I honestly believe that going into a trade like plumbing will be more lucrative and stable than engineering. It's one of the jobs that can't be outsourced.
Civil Engineers will never be outsourced to another country. There are too many local, state, and federal regulations, codes, standards, requirements that need to be followed that someone from India will never be able to get a grasp of as well as someone who lives in the locale. Especially in consulting, my clients would NEVER hire a consulting firm from Asia. They prefer engineering firms located in their city or state.
I'm very happy to hear this and truly hope it's true. My son will enter his senior year in the fall in civil engineering. He's currently working a well paid summer internship at a military contractor, generating actual billable hours doing structural analysis for these silly boats that sink by design.
If he works as a consultant, I can’t see civil engineering work getting outsourced to another country. The State Department of Transportation is never going to hire a consulting firm from Asia to design their roadways and bridges. If he works for a public agency, those jobs are also safe from outsourcing. If he likes his summer internship, and they like him and think he’s a good fit, he should have no problem getting a full-time job there after graduation.

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

Post by bada bing » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:39 pm

Oil & Gas production operator for 25 years now. Would I recommend it ? Maybe. It takes a 2 year AS degree and
a robust physical and mental constitution. It normally takes a few years working as a contractor to move into a
company job.

Pros:
It pays pretty well for a blue collar position. I'll make $200K this year with a little overtime worked.
Still good benefits. I get 401K match + pension credits + credit for retiree medical. Company says my benefits package is worth $50K/yr
See the world if you want. I've worked ex-pat in Azerbaijan, offshore Equatorial Guinea and Angola
It can interesting for the right personality type.

Cons
God mostly put oil in godforsaken places. You spend a lot of time where you rather wouldn't be
Job security is not the best, you need to be agile. I've worked for 4 "majors" and never been unemployed but that isn't the norm
It is physical work and isn't clean. You need to be willing to get your hands dirty occasionally.

Shift work is the norm, that can be a pro or con depending on your situation. I currently work 2 weeks on - 2 weeks off
and I value that schedule. I can live pretty much anywhere in the USA I choose and commute once a month. It is
a tough schedule for people with kids or needy spouses though.

If I could make the choice to start again as a young man, I think I'd try medical school instead. If I flunked out I
would pick my current path second.

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

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:22 am

Corporate strategy for MegaCorp. To get this job I had to endure years on the road as a consultant and go into debt for my MBA.

Worth it? Maybe. The funny thing is that the companies with the most need for “strategy” jobs are ones where their strategy isn’t working, mature companies that aren’t growing and may or may not be able to be turned around. Kind of a gamble for one’s career.

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

Post by queso » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:07 am

CIO (professional services sector). I suppose I would recommend it depending on your likes/dislikes and strengths/weaknesses. It's a weird blend of IT and business that not everybody is cut out for...kind of like crossing Dilbert with his pointy haired boss. :happy I started out doing systems/network engineering and then moved into consulting. I did a lot of fun stuff back then like ripping out token ring networks and NetWare and installing Ethernet and Windows. Traveling around the country and building stuff was really enjoyable and I almost didn't take the in house position, but I was at a point in my life where I was tired of the travel. With IT/technology one of the big decision points to me is the transition from builder/doer to manager. In some sense you feel like you sold your soul and you don't get to build stuff anymore. The inner engineer in you likes building stuff and it's hard to let go and let other people do that. It's really hard when you wake up one morning and realize that you no longer possess the skills to return to building stuff even if you wanted to. Politics, meetings, strategy, etc. become your focus and you only get to hear about all the cool stuff being built when you meet with the folks running those projects/groups. Other downsides include the fact that everybody wants something fixed or a project done right away so you are constantly communicating timelines and juggling multiple seemingly impossible deadlines all while other divisions complain about their issues not getting enough attention. I'm probably also one gullible user, a Nigerian prince's desperate email plea for aid and a few clicks away from being out of a job when my organization comes to a crashing halt due to the latest and greatest malware/virus. The continuing education is a constant struggle as well since technology is changing at a ridiculous pace and I could see reaching a point where that moves from the challenging and exciting column into the major hassle column.

I guess those would be some of the downsides, but the upside is that you are relatively insulated against some of the problems in the tech industry compared to the people building stuff, namely offshoring, ageism and displacement by technological advancement/automation/AI. Every now and then we'll take a fresh look at what we're doing with cloud strategy or whether or not we should be doing our own development in house or offshore, etc. I suppose at the end of the day it is better to be the person pulling those levers than the person that is impacted downstream by those decisions.

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

Post by Church Lady » Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:12 am

Software Engineer.

It used to be a great gig. It was like getting paid to play.

Lately, not so much. :( Wage busting, glass ceiling, ageism, offshoring, deteriorating working conditions ... now its a meh job. :( :(

Some software work is cutting edge, glamorous, and exciting. It is even rumored to be well paid. I guess if you could land such a job, it would be OK. We could say that about a great many professions, though, couldn't we?

Would I recommend it today? I'll never say never, but I will say do not finance a CS degree. Someday, you'll be training your Chinese, Indian, former Soviet Union replacements. You don't want to be paying off your student loans when that happens.
He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. Ecclesiastes 1:8

bert09
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by bert09 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:38 am

Church Lady wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:12 am
Software Engineer.

It used to be a great gig. It was like getting paid to play.

Lately, not so much. :( Wage busting, glass ceiling, ageism, offshoring, deteriorating working conditions ... now its a meh job. :( :(

Some software work is cutting edge, glamorous, and exciting. It is even rumored to be well paid. I guess if you could land such a job, it would be OK. We could say that about a great many professions, though, couldn't we?

Would I recommend it today? I'll never say never, but I will say do not finance a CS degree. Someday, you'll be training your Chinese, Indian, former Soviet Union replacements. You don't want to be paying off your student loans when that happens.
This is pretty interesting to me, because I have had the exact opposite experience. I guess it shows how wide of a range of conditions there are in the field - as someone living on the west coast working for a large tech company I see the opposite trend for almost everything you mentioned.

Ollie123
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by Ollie123 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:00 pm

Very interesting thread.

PhD Researcher in a Top 10 Medical School. Clinical psychologist by training, but largely functioning as a neuroscientist these days.

I genuinely don't know if I would recommend it right now. I am utterly miserable and strongly considering leaving, but what holds me back is that I don't know how temporary current circumstances are. Medical schools are "soft money" which means I'm expected to bring in grants to pay my own salary. The job description is essentially "science entrepreneur" in that regard...we have tremendous autonomy in what we pursue and as long as I continue to pull in funding and publish I'm pretty sure my department would let me do whatever I want. Pay is solid (~100k and I'm low man on the totem pole in a fairly low-paying field). Benefits are amazing (10% retirement contribution, $30/month for good health insurance).

Downside is I am absolutely being eaten alive by bureaucracy and I don't know how sustainable this is. My job is to get grants and do research. The university appears to view its job as throwing up as many barriers as possible to doing so, primarily by people with no vested stake in the outcome of any of this. I've now in month 3 of trying to build a single-page website to advertise one of my clinical trials. That we're putting together because we're struggling with recruitment. Contracts won't let me hire the marketing firm. Legal won't let me word it appropriately. We finally get it in place and IT wont' let us build the website because (and I quote) "It might have malware in it if it isn't on our servers, but we can't install their software on our servers" despite approving the contract before it went out in the first place. Oh, and in my grant renewal I got my wrist slapped for trying to imply the university was in any conceivable way at fault for delays. This is one small example of what university life is like these days (and where your tax dollars go). Debating how much longer its worth trying to do this. I like getting data and using it to ask/answer interesting questions. Seems like there are a lot of other professions where I could do that with far less stress.

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

Post by KlangFool » Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:10 pm

OP,

I believe the concept of career is out-dated. I believe in the capability/skill inventory model. I am an individual with a certain set of skills/capabilities. I traded my service for money. It could be with an employer and/or independent consulting.

1) I had a series of jobs: Software Engineer, LAN Engineer, Unix System Administrator, Sales Manager, Test Manager, Product Manager, Network Engineer, and Network Architect.

2) My plan was to save 1 year of expense every year and early retired by 50 years old. I could have reached my goal if I did not gamble on the Telecom stocks during Telecom bust. My older brother made it. He early retired at 49 years old.

Would I recommend my path?

Yes. I do not believe the concept of career makes any sense anymore. There will be a series of jobs, career, and industries. A person has to survive beyond any employers, careers, and/or industries across 20 to 30 years.

KlangFool

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

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:33 pm

Stay-at-home-Dad (SAHD) since 2001. Recommended.

Pre-2001. Software developer, systems programmer, systems architect, software development manager, etc. Recommended if you bring something special to the table, not if you’re just a code monkey.

I made decent money before 2001, and would be considered “successful,” but I think my talents were better expressed as a SAHD.
Zero Net Carbon by 2019.

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