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

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Cmnilz87
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:58 pm

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

Post by Cmnilz87 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:42 am

Construction management. End of story. You have flexibility, high starting salary, good benefits. You can start as a field engineer traveling making 110k+ with per diem or take a manager route in one place. Or you can be a superintendent, estimator, scheduler, purchasing agent. All these jobs can be linear up the ladder or you can jump between them to find your niche. Trades are hurting for workers and companies also need good managers. Sky’s the limit.

From experience I went back to school at 29, graduate at 31 with 50k in student loans, will pay them off in 1 year.

gliderpilot567
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:32 am

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

Post by gliderpilot567 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:36 am

Fighter pilot. Hard to get into, and very hard work, but if you are qualified, highly recommended despite the low starting pay. The quality of people you will work with is fantastic and the adventures you will experience are unreal, beyond belief. You will look back at it in awe for the rest of your life. Do it while it exists, because everything will be unmanned soon.... though right now there is a severe fighter pilot shortage in the US and expected to continue for 10-20 years. If it is something you want to shoot for, you need to start in high school, too late for many of us but you can certainly inspire your kids or grandkids. Do it for 10 years then punch - don't fall for the carrot of the retirement after 10 additional years, because most of the flying is done in the first 10, and that second half is crappy staff jobs, and after the first 10 years and 2500 flying hours you're well positioned to move right into the major airlines and make boocoo cash.

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

Post by PrimalAtom » Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:44 pm

First post here, I've been lurking for a while. It's the first time I've posted on a forum in a few years, as most seemed to be toxic or time wasters. This place seems like a good one.

I graduated HS in 2007, joined the US Army as an Infantryman. Did 4 years in the 101st Airborne, played in Afghanistan. Some of the best and worst times of my life, glad to be done, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. I regret not being smart with my money. I wasn't exactly stupid, no sports cars or anything like that, but I didn't save anything. I left with no debt, but I think about what I could have done with that 20k bonus I got in February 2008, plus regular contributions, as housing and food was already paid for. I was totally oblivious to what was going on with the market and economy at the time.

In the fall of 2013 I went to community college without really knowing what I wanted to do. Finished an associates degree in wind energy technology while working a full time warehousing job. I Interned in a technician role between 1st and 2nd years of college, and I got on full time after graduation with the same company (NEE) as a technician. I primarily repair and maintain utility scale wind turbines, but I have recently started working on utility scale solar photo-voltaic projects as well. It's hard work, the average tech lasts something like 3 years. But the industry has been growing very fast, and the technology is progressing even faster. Opportunities for advancement are great, except the locations are usually pretty rural. Management is a very real possibility in the next year or two, and I am being pushed that way. Its been good to me, after 3 years I am capable of maxing out a Roth IRA and 401K, adding about 10k/yr to a taxable account, and I am on track to pay of my 30yr mortgage in about 10-12 years. Not bad for community college...

Once again, it is very hard work, and I work a massive amount of overtime. I would recommend it to anyone young who is willing to do hard work for a while. I am going back to school for an Advanced Aerospace Manufacturing BS too, and plan on getting a Masters after that, mostly because I can't sit still...

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

Post by BeanCity » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:16 am

Thanks for posting this, and welcome. Great story.

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

Post by Dandy » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:20 am

Right out of college I didn't know what job to apply for. A friend said XYZ is hiring for internal auditors. I applied and was hired. The plus of this job was getting to know all aspects of the company, their management and how all the pieces fit together. Most of the other departments and their management just knew their piece of the company. Of course most times you aren't very popular since you are reporting control issues to the area management. There are ways of mitigating that aspect if you focus on major issues and don't try to make a big deal of a minor one. It also sharpened my writing skills.

I liked the flexibility of learning new things rather than spending a career in one aspect of the company. That led to a variety of assignments outside of internal auditing: managing bill payment, payroll, mutual fund training, call center, written correspondence, account set up, warehouse, etc. over the next 20 years. Lots of challenges never bored. The variety of management assignments also allowed me to change jobs more easily since I had a variety of management experiences. Of course the risk was I wasn't considered a master of any one skill. And I had numerous bosses all with different management styles, a few were really hard to work with.

Today the world seems totally different. Unless you are an ace at tech I'm not sure what to recommend except perhaps the trades. don't see tech or AI replacing electricians, plumbers, etc.any time soon. Internal auditing, if it still exists, might still be a good starting point.

Dolphin1
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by Dolphin1 » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:45 am

Software Engineer/Programmer (female)
Great career for people who are flexible and willing to do what the boss says. 20+ year career, laid off twice when companies went under but only about 3 weeks total unemployment during career. Easy to find employment if living in Silicon Valley and willing to be flexible.
Not such a great career for people who are idealistic and/or not willing to do what the boss says when they feel it's "not the right way to go."
Females must be willing to put up with some sexism and inappropriate behavior without raising a fuss, unfortunately. Not saying I approve of this, just stating the facts as I saw them.
Good income and benefits.
Hours can be kept reasonable if you pick the right company and position and have a spine when asked to work more than reasonable hours.
Best to plan to retire before you "look too old."

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

Post by dsjohns » 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.

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

Post by dacalo » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:53 pm

Accounting

I started working in banking actually and studied during nights to earn enough accounting credits for the CPA license. Once I passed the exam, I was networked with a local accounting firm that specialized in banks. After about 4 years there, I went on to a Big 4 accounting firm in the silicon valley auditing technology and biotech companies which was a huge difference from auditing banks but managed to learn quickly. Spent about 4 years there and then moved on to mega corp as middle management doing operational accounting. After a couple of years there, now I am at a start-up for technical accounting role.

Would I recommend it? Yes. Contrary to what people think, auditing is not actually about the numbers. It's about being a good communicator, managing time well, prioritizing tasks, and being good with people. You learn a lot in a short amount of time. A lot of long hours though so prepare for that.

Non-public accounting jobs tend to pay more with less hours but it can get boring too. I am really enjoying technical accounting role though, much more than operational since I don't have to worry about month-end closing etc which can be quite perfunctory.

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

Post by MotoTrojan » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:11 pm

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.
Curious why?

alexfoo39
Posts: 190
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by alexfoo39 » Thu May 30, 2019 5:35 am

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.
Bump, let me cite some of your articles pls :)

alexfoo39
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by alexfoo39 » Thu May 30, 2019 5:40 am

Spedward wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:29 am
retired recently wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:38 am
I was a managing partner of a Big 4 audit firm and would highly recommend auditing for a Big 4 firm for anyone that likes accounting.

The con is the working hours for sure as there are many late nights but there is ample down time too.

The pros are the money is typically quite good, most of your colleagues are a similar age, at a very early stage of your career you interact with senior level people in many top companies, you see the inner-workings of many companies, there are typically numerous opportunities to travel (sometimes this is a con) and you learn quite a bit pretty quickly.
Tax partner here.

Agree with everything said.

Tax world is changing and compliance is moving to more automation, which is increasing the need for the demand for tax advisory related skills. Pay is great for those who can (1) stomach the hours and (2) are passionate.
Hi, do u mind elaborate on the automation part?

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

Post by Tool-Time » Thu May 30, 2019 7:00 am

Civil Engineer working for a utility. Received my degree in 2008 at the age of 50. Love my job but the age discrimination has worn me out health wise. I’ve had to fight to get similar projects that they were giving the young engineers. Hard for me to even get the same software they do. They recently hired a legacy employer to do emf work which was his interest. Instead they gave that work to a young engineer and he, like me gets minor ie unimportant, work to do.

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

Post by life in slices » Thu May 30, 2019 7:21 am

I started off with a BS in biology doing bench research for a few year after college - while enjoyable it wasn't the path i wanted to pursue, so went back for an MBA. Spent a few years after that in product marketing roles, but ultimately ended up in a place I never thought i would be - biotech sales. Have been both an individual contributor and a manager for 20+ years and can't think of anything better that i could have been doing. Perfect combinations of using my background in science and the ability to be out working with incredibly smart people high up in the companies that I sell into. While it took a little time to work my way up through different companies, the pay is great and the job in general is flexible to where you can live (I work out of my house) and flexible to your time (although I put in quite a bit of hours, I can get away for a dr. appt or a kid's afternoon event). Definitely a great career choice for someone who has a solid science background but wants to be out talking to people on a daily basis.

X528
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by X528 » Thu May 30, 2019 11:17 am

kensadams wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 7:21 am
I started off with a BS in biology doing bench research for a few year after college - while enjoyable it wasn't the path i wanted to pursue, so went back for an MBA. Spent a few years after that in product marketing roles, but ultimately ended up in a place I never thought i would be - biotech sales. Have been both an individual contributor and a manager for 20+ years and can't think of anything better that i could have been doing. Perfect combinations of using my background in science and the ability to be out working with incredibly smart people high up in the companies that I sell into. While it took a little time to work my way up through different companies, the pay is great and the job in general is flexible to where you can live (I work out of my house) and flexible to your time (although I put in quite a bit of hours, I can get away for a dr. appt or a kid's afternoon event). Definitely a great career choice for someone who has a solid science background but wants to be out talking to people on a daily basis.
How does one get into biotech sales working from home? I have a Ph.D. and work in a biotech related field, but not sales related.

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

Post by ohai » 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.

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

Post by Tycoon » Thu May 30, 2019 11:44 am

Career: Investing genius.
Recommended?: It depends.
Emotionless, prognostication free investing. Ignoring the noise and economists since 1979. Some are predisposed to consistantly lose money. Don't be a sheep.

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

Post by Augustus » Thu May 30, 2019 12:06 pm

Boarding school teacher at what one might consider an "elite" high school. The demands on time are much higher than a public school teacher and coaching, advising, and sponsoring clubs are expected, as are dorm and weekend duties. Getting to live on campus, along with free utilities and food (while school is in session), are amazing benefits, though, and I love what I do.

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

Post by life in slices » Thu May 30, 2019 12:08 pm

X528 wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 11:17 am
kensadams wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 7:21 am
I started off with a BS in biology doing bench research for a few year after college - while enjoyable it wasn't the path i wanted to pursue, so went back for an MBA. Spent a few years after that in product marketing roles, but ultimately ended up in a place I never thought i would be - biotech sales. Have been both an individual contributor and a manager for 20+ years and can't think of anything better that i could have been doing. Perfect combinations of using my background in science and the ability to be out working with incredibly smart people high up in the companies that I sell into. While it took a little time to work my way up through different companies, the pay is great and the job in general is flexible to where you can live (I work out of my house) and flexible to your time (although I put in quite a bit of hours, I can get away for a dr. appt or a kid's afternoon event). Definitely a great career choice for someone who has a solid science background but wants to be out talking to people on a daily basis.
How does one get into biotech sales working from home? I have a Ph.D. and work in a biotech related field, but not sales related.
Hard to break into a larger company out the chute without sales experience, but I think the best paths forward would be:

1. If you are in a largish biotech company that has a sales force, I would look for opportunities to transition at your current company (as people know you and generally are willing to invest in the career development of people within their company) - this may take different aspects, could be direct sales or supporting the sales team in a field based role. At the least I would interact with the commercial group, find a mentor, and learn all you can about sales.

2. To go straight into sales without a ton of experience, usually it is with a small company that is building out their salesforce and competing in smaller markets - for most of these roles there tends to be a higher requirement for having scientific expertise than sales acumen - most of these companies are selling specialized products into niche markets so really need someone who can hold their own with another PhD. This is where I started; while not a PhD, i started my sales career in a couple of small companies to build up expertise - These companies did like to higher PhDs and MS holder for that scientific expertise. Small companies, IMHO, are a great place to start a sales career - you have limited support, tend not to be the #1 choice in the market; but it builds great skill sets and you quickly learn how to sell well as it is all on your shoulders.

3. An intermediate approach that will usually get you into larger biotech companies where you can eventually transition into sales is to look at an FAS - Field Application Scientist - role. These are field based jobs where you work directly with customers to work through successful deployment of the technology that they end up purchasing - in many companies, FASs have a good relationship with the sales team in in some cases have pre-sales roles. I have watched many stellar FASs transition into successful sales careers over time. The other approach are sales specialist roles that are usually more technically oriented such as Sequencing specialist or Library Prep specialist where you directly work with the sales team to have deeper technical discussion with the customer.

Hope this helps! Happy to answer any other questions you have.

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

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu May 30, 2019 1:24 pm

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.
I think it would be helpful if you were more specific about what part of “finance” you are in. For example, my wife and son are, arguably, in finance, but their jobs are very different.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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

Post by ohai » Thu May 30, 2019 1:35 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 1:24 pm
I think it would be helpful if you were more specific about what part of “finance” you are in. For example, my wife and son are, arguably, in finance, but their jobs are very different.
Ah yes, of course. I work in a quant/trading role for a large bank. In reality though, the fates are all tied together in the investment bank. If M&A goes to zero, the bank will cut everywhere. Even if buy side, aka hedge funds go out of business, our clients are gone. So, within this sort of eco system, it's hard to escape each others' fate...

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

Post by goldendad » Thu May 30, 2019 1:38 pm

Airline pilot for major airline. Recommend it only if flying is in your blood. The industry is better now but the last 30 years have been a bit of a roller coaster.

renue74
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Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Post by renue74 » Thu May 30, 2019 1:38 pm

Own a small web design firm. (20 years)

Over the years, my business has pivoted based on the needs of clients. Early on, strictly PR agency....then print design/full agency....always small 3 to 7 people at any given time.

Perks....Freedom to pivot your business as you like. Target clients you like to work with, etc. Pay sorta sucks, but you have flexibility to make decisions about your own retirement plan. Flexible work time...you basically are always thinking about work..even if not physically in the office.

Cons....work a lot. Clients can suck sometimes. Wear many hats...accounting, HR, designer, coder...I sorta do it all. Competition for employees...I can't compete with larger firms to retain employees.

I'm pretty sure that an entry level web developer could make as much $ in a HCOL city as I make as a business owner in a LCOL town.

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

Post by Nathan Drake » Thu May 30, 2019 9:41 pm

ohai wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 1:35 pm
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 1:24 pm
I think it would be helpful if you were more specific about what part of “finance” you are in. For example, my wife and son are, arguably, in finance, but their jobs are very different.
Ah yes, of course. I work in a quant/trading role for a large bank. In reality though, the fates are all tied together in the investment bank. If M&A goes to zero, the bank will cut everywhere. Even if buy side, aka hedge funds go out of business, our clients are gone. So, within this sort of eco system, it's hard to escape each others' fate...
Surprised you don’t recommend Finance. It seems like the mega wealthy on bogleheads are either entrepreneurs (which is risky) or in finance (investment banking, private equity, hedge funds). Every other week I seem to read about a 35 year old with a 5 million net worth making 1-2 million per year from those areas.

It seems like a gigantic racket IMO. Just manage (mostly) other people’s money with a fairly small team, skim off 2% annually for your small team (which is a massive amount of money), and the profit per employee is astronomical because the rich clients/institutions don’t seem to know any better or even care as long as they’re making money.

It hasn’t been “cost controlled” like any other capital intensive business, nor does it really involve any sort of brilliance or ingenuity since the truly transformative changes within these companies comes from the actual operations and engineering teams.

I certainly wouldn’t recommend engineering (or any other job other than finance) if you want to have substantial careeer growth. It’s largely non existent in megacorp land.

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

Post by Lee_WSP » Thu May 30, 2019 9:49 pm

I went to school to be a lawyer. Became a lawyer. Made more money making soap. Go figure.

No, I do not recommend my educational choices. Other fields in the stem fields are much better.

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

Post by ohai » Thu May 30, 2019 11:13 pm

Nathan Drake wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 9:41 pm


Hi, I'm not saying what you said is all 100% untrue, especially if you are the type to approach things with a cynical mind set. I would add a couple of insights, which are just my opinion.

"It seems like a gigantic racket IMO. Just manage (mostly) other people’s money with a fairly small team, skim off 2% annually for your small team (which is a massive amount of money), and the profit per employee is astronomical"

This does happen, but this description only applies to some wealth management or buy side firms. Only a small minority of "finance" workers manage money like this, and I am not in a field like this.

"rich clients/institutions don’t seem to know any better or even care as long as they’re making money."

Sometimes this happens. However, many clients are also extremely sophisticated and demand superior service and flawless execution. For instance, perhaps you are managing a share buy back program for a Fortune 500 company, or advising them on mergers or taxes. There is no room for error and you are often on demand on the whim of the client, with no regards to your personal commitments. Bankers do not just generate dollars and cents for clients; they perform countless other non-billable tasks in order to earn commissions.

Also, very often, the department you work with at the client company is staffed by former bankers themselves. These people would obviously know if you try to trick them and will attempt to extract maximum value from your service relationship. The same is true for other demanding service fields - in house law departments, for instance, are run by former law firm partners.

"It hasn’t been “cost controlled” like any other capital intensive business"

FALSE - and note that this is the only part where I will say you are plain wrong. You have only to read about regulatory reform or talk to anyone in the industry to know that the current climate demands accountability for every cost. Have you read on this forum about people in large corporations who plateau and are career "cruising"? I guarantee that you can't pull this off at Goldman Sachs today. Anyone who does not demonstrate productivity is gone. Finance today is more cost controlled than most other fields.

"nor does it really involve any sort of brilliance or ingenuity"

I don't know what you consider to be "brilliance or ingenuity". However, a couple of things are clear: 1) In top finance jobs, it is extremely easy to mess up, and ruin your career, and create extreme reputational risk to the company, and 2) There is usually a very clear relationship between revenue and ability, unlike in most other fields. Combined, these factors motivate finance companies to be extremely sensitive in staffing decisions and also leads to a compensation premium for better employees. Breaking this relationship can lead to a company's demise - look at what is happening at DB, for instance.

"the truly transformative changes within these companies comes from the actual operations and engineering teams."

Again, I disagree. Who would you consider to be someone who is not in either operations or engineering but works for a bank? Projects in the "engineering" parts of finance are directed by someone who runs the business. The hierarchy of finance puts the front office on top and developers at the bottom. A good engineering team is necessary but insufficient to produce a good business. The same is true for operations.

"I certainly wouldn’t recommend engineering (or any other job other than finance) if you want to have substantial careeer growth. It’s largely non existent in megacorp land."

I think the general theme is that career progression in most fields is difficult and apparent ceilings appear for most people at some point.

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

Post by twinklestar » Fri May 31, 2019 3:15 pm

pokebowl wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:04 am
Information Security. Suppose its cooler or more trendy these days to call it Cyber Security.

Regardless yes I would still recommend it as a career choice. However as with all things technology related, it rapidly changes, as does it's barriers to entry. When I first launched into this career, no degree was needed, it was more what you knew practically than what a piece of paper said that landed you the high paying job. Fast forward 15 years later, it now requires some form of higher education to appease HR as well as various flavors of professional IT certifications. That being said its one of the few IT fields that are currently outsource proof (for obvious reasons) as well as automation proof. The tools may become more automated, but it just makes it easier for both myself and the bad buys to get around them. :beer
+1 I was one of those rare weird people once I got my first PC in 1995 I knew that's pretty much what I wanted to do in life. Timing worked out in my favor (kinda) back when I started college 99 they put all the computer nerds in the computer science school - there really wasn't a niche for IT Systems yet (& I went to good public state school) that was horrible experience as I hated programming and almost dropped out due to the hard math requirements. Luckily my advisor had me switch to English (more on that later) However all my jobs were always in computer repair, self taught myself how to build PCs from scratch and my HS internship was at our town's ISP so I was teen blessed with exp that in turned led me to getting a summer internship for the military agency (didn't even realize I was being cleared) and it was wrap from there. Stellar 15 year+ career doing what was originally called Information Assurance, INFOSEC aka Cyber which had no clue would blow up. Also during my 20s I had thriving side business doing computer repair (before the formal Geek squad days) but back when consumer computing was new & growing and everyone was getting viruses daily using lime wire, etc..those were fun times.

I would recommend only for those who are intellectually curious and like technology. I'm not a hacker no would I want to be I enjoy technology with a focus in risk management, audit & compliance. Too many people now jump into cyber for the money and that doesn't work. Also I was teased mercifully in my 20s by everyone recruiters and my peers for my English degree while working in tech. I respect STEM but I'm so glad the tides have turned and all degrees are accepted in the field. However It felt good as I was the first in my alma mater crew to cross 6 figures before my engineer and business friends - :moneybag its never your degree title but what you do with it.

Lastly its a good career move & you don't have to get a Masters honestly that doesn't move the needle much pay wise (outside upper management) - for my area its CERTS CERTS and lots of unique experiences (cloud, different fed agencies, financial systems, space, military systems have a portfolio of understanding many different IT configurations is golden)

hurrah - my 1st post - many more to come looking fwd to implementing many bogle strategies and seeking advice from the community :D

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

Post by Bulldawg » Fri May 31, 2019 6:21 pm

Business degree/ Accounting Major

Spent most of my career as a business owner in service industries ( real estate / horticulture / landscape contracting / trash hauling ) - would I do it again ? Yes ! Would I recommend ? Only if you can’t imagine NOT working for yourself . My children all have regular jobs with pensions : nurse/ teacher/firefighter /STEM so they’ve went in a different direction .
" IN GOD WE TRUST " ( official motto of the United States )

Rkoa63
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2015 12:31 pm

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

Post by Rkoa63 » Fri May 31, 2019 6:32 pm

alexfoo39 wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 5:40 am
Spedward wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:29 am
retired recently wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:38 am
I was a managing partner of a Big 4 audit firm and would highly recommend auditing for a Big 4 firm for anyone that likes accounting.

The con is the working hours for sure as there are many late nights but there is ample down time too.

The pros are the money is typically quite good, most of your colleagues are a similar age, at a very early stage of your career you interact with senior level people in many top companies, you see the inner-workings of many companies, there are typically numerous opportunities to travel (sometimes this is a con) and you learn quite a bit pretty quickly.
Tax partner here.

Agree with everything said.

Tax world is changing and compliance is moving to more automation, which is increasing the need for the demand for tax advisory related skills. Pay is great for those who can (1) stomach the hours and (2) are passionate.
Hi, do u mind elaborate on the automation part?
I can elaborate a little bit. I'm a CPA currently working for a large corporation in their internal income tax department. We just recently deployed a bot to automate one of our monotonous, time consuming tasks. The bot basically logs into a software, checks our queue, scans something for relevant data, if it finds what it's looking for, it will automatically create a second file, attach it, and approve it. If it doesn't find what it's looking for, it will post a question asking for specific information so it can then approve it.

Pros: saves me about 30 - 60 minutes daily.
Cons: VERY expensive to implement. If one thing changes on the website or in the software ever so slightly, the bot will fail and need to be reconfigured.

The takeaway is that if I were working in A/P or A/R, I would be worried about my job in the next decade. On the flip side, when QuickBooks came out, people thought bookkeepers would be out of business. When TurboTax came out, people thought 1040 shops would be out of business. Those folks are still standing.

FI4LIFE
Posts: 186
Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:27 am

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

Post by FI4LIFE » Fri May 31, 2019 6:45 pm

Firefighter for the last 15 years. Great job for someone who doesn't know what they want to be when they grow up. Pay and benefits are regional. I do fairly well in my HCOL area after moving through the ranks a bit. Times are changing with stricter building codes making fires less common than 20-30 years ago. I still enjoy the job but am counting the days till I can retire.

randybobandy
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:51 am

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

Post by randybobandy » Fri May 31, 2019 7:18 pm

Military officer for the last 4+ years. Enlisted for 8 years before that. Some days I think I'll retire at the 20 year mark, other days I think if I'm still enjoying myself I'll keep going as long as they'll have me. Padding the pension wouldn't be a bad thing, either.

Would I recommend it? Yes, if you are able to get a decent say in what you will be doing. It can make the difference in a few miserable years to a long, enjoyable career.

It's not for everyone, but I feel there are many more pros than cons for me. At the 10.5 year mark I had moved 6 times. That may be too much for some people. A big pro was being selected to attend grad school. It both scratched an intellectual itch and helped with my career.

alexfoo39
Posts: 190
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 2:00 am

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

Post by alexfoo39 » Fri May 31, 2019 9:06 pm

Rkoa63 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 6:32 pm

Thank you :)

Random Poster
Posts: 1849
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:17 am

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

Post by Random Poster » Fri May 31, 2019 9:20 pm

FI4LIFE wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 6:45 pm
Times are changing with stricter building codes making fires less common than 20-30 years ago.
Seems like that would be a good thing, right?

Small Savanna
Posts: 119
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:27 am

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

Post by Small Savanna » Fri May 31, 2019 9:20 pm

I'm a Mechanical Engineer by training, but have been managing people and projects for the last 20 years, and most of my colleagues are electrical engineers and software developers. The technical background is necessary, but most of the problems I solve now are about people, money, schedules, and customers. When I chose to study engineering, I knew very little about what engineers did, but I liked math and science, and my grandfather and uncle were engineers, so it seemed like a plausible path.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. I've been fortunate to have been gainfully employed since I was 22, made enough money to support a family, and got to work on some very interesting projects. No regrets.

FI4LIFE
Posts: 186
Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:27 am

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

Post by FI4LIFE » Fri May 31, 2019 10:04 pm

Random Poster wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 9:20 pm
FI4LIFE wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 6:45 pm
Times are changing with stricter building codes making fires less common than 20-30 years ago.
Seems like that would be a good thing, right?
Yes but what does a firefighter do 30 years from now when there are no more fires?

retiredflyboy
Posts: 183
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:02 pm

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

Post by retiredflyboy » Fri May 31, 2019 10:32 pm

Professional pilot for 35 years. Yes
Facts are stubborn things. Everything works until it doesn’t.

22twain
Posts: 2042
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 5:42 pm

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

Post by 22twain » Sat Jun 01, 2019 6:49 am

FI4LIFE wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:04 pm
Yes but what does a firefighter do 30 years from now when there are no more fires?
There will still be plenty of forest fires etc. to deal with. My father was a firefighter for nearly 40 years in a small Midwestern city with plenty of undeveloped land on its fringes. His department spent a lot of time on "grass fires."
My investing princiPLEs do not include absolutely preserving princiPAL.

BUBear29
Posts: 264
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:20 pm
Location: Dallas, TX

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

Post by BUBear29 » Sat Jun 01, 2019 6:58 am

I’m an underwriter of commercial debt at a very large bank. Great pay, work-life balance and benefits. Usually work about 50 hours a week maximum.

Not the most exciting job but you get to work with some great companies during the day and spend time your family at night. Also I get over 5 weeks of paid time off which is great.

I’d recommend it but alot of work is being offshored now which is not ideal. Smaller regional banks are less likely to do that though.
There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no one independence quite so important, as living within your means.

flyingcows
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:13 am

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

Post by flyingcows » Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:49 am

deleted
Last edited by flyingcows on Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

Old_Dollar
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 8:27 am

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

Post by Old_Dollar » Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:09 am

STEM field. Graduated in 2008. It has been a terrible, horrible grind and I am no where near where my salary should be based on my experience, educational attainment, and connections. When asked by people who are younger what to do I try my hardest to push them away from the physical and life sciences. Lack of job security, low salaries, few advancement prospects, unending micromanagement and scrutiny over the most trivial of items. Luckily my new job is better, but I am still a decade away from having recovered from the 2008 crash. If I could do it all over again, I would steer clear from anything STEM.
I am here solely to learn about investing.

Small Law Survivor
Posts: 751
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2015 5:36 pm

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

Post by Small Law Survivor » 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
Last edited by Small Law Survivor on Sat Jun 01, 2019 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
68 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50/40/10 s/b/c, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard before that) under various other names

IntangibleAssets
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:06 am

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

Post by IntangibleAssets » Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:37 am

I am in Grant Management (Research Administration) in Higher Ed, I had no intention to set out on this path however it offered a clearly defined job path and you can learn a lot of useful skills. It is all about deadlines and client service, tedious detail, and contract review and negotiation, and compliance with T&C's. The feds/state/non-profits are always adding new regs, so the field often has to change and adapt.

Recommend? Depends on your personality, it's not the worst thing in the world.

stoptothink
Posts: 6207
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

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

Post by stoptothink » Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:38 am

Old_Dollar wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:09 am
STEM field. Graduated in 2008. It has been a terrible, horrible grind and I am no where near where my salary should be based on my experience, educational attainment, and connections. When asked by people who are younger what to do I try my hardest to push them away from the physical and life sciences. Lack of job security, low salaries, few advancement prospects, unending micromanagement and scrutiny over the most trivial of items. Luckily my new job is better, but I am still a decade away from having recovered from the 2008 crash. If I could do it all over again, I would steer clear from anything STEM.
Interested in what exactly you are doing? In general, STEM undergrad degrees are the most sure bet to a decent living; of course this is industry-specific. I'm a few years older than you (38) and a PhD scientist in private industry. I do pretty well, although with my job title most think I make a lot more than I do. I hire mostly recent bio/chem/biotech undergrads. Specifically to my industry, without a PhD there is a fairly low ceiling, but I am hiring 21-22yr old kids straight out of school at a higher compensation rate than my stepfather who has been teaching for 20+ years a few miles up the road.

Old_Dollar
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 8:27 am

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

Post by Old_Dollar » Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:37 am

stoptothink wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:38 am
Old_Dollar wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:09 am
STEM field. Graduated in 2008. It has been a terrible, horrible grind and I am no where near where my salary should be based on my experience, educational attainment, and connections. When asked by people who are younger what to do I try my hardest to push them away from the physical and life sciences. Lack of job security, low salaries, few advancement prospects, unending micromanagement and scrutiny over the most trivial of items. Luckily my new job is better, but I am still a decade away from having recovered from the 2008 crash. If I could do it all over again, I would steer clear from anything STEM.
Interested in what exactly you are doing? In general, STEM undergrad degrees are the most sure bet to a decent living; of course this is industry-specific. I'm a few years older than you (38) and a PhD scientist in private industry. I do pretty well, although with my job title most think I make a lot more than I do. I hire mostly recent bio/chem/biotech undergrads. Specifically to my industry, without a PhD there is a fairly low ceiling, but I am hiring 21-22yr old kids straight out of school at a higher compensation rate than my stepfather who has been teaching for 20+ years a few miles up the road.
I'd rather not say exactly what field I work in out of a concern of doxing. I think my graduation during 2008 was the largest determinant of my low salaries. It also made it difficult to find a laboratory job in the following years, after all, why hire a 2008 graduate with no experience when a lab could hire a fresh 2010 graduate with no experience? It took until 2012 for me to make the beginning salary of a teacher in my area and after earning my M.S. it took another four years to get up to a salary where I could finally have some breathing room financially. Even though the blame lays with the financial crisis, it left me feeling incredibly negative on the field I'm in.

Edit: If my current job doesn't work out, i.e. economic problems cause lay offs, I am done with STEM entirely. I will probably return to school for accounting, business, law, etc. Basically anything other than STEM that might be able to at least provide something upon graduation. Although tailoring my resume at my age away from STEM and towards something else will be incredibly difficult.
I am here solely to learn about investing.

stoptothink
Posts: 6207
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

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

Post by stoptothink » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:28 am

Old_Dollar wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:37 am
stoptothink wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:38 am
Old_Dollar wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:09 am
STEM field. Graduated in 2008. It has been a terrible, horrible grind and I am no where near where my salary should be based on my experience, educational attainment, and connections. When asked by people who are younger what to do I try my hardest to push them away from the physical and life sciences. Lack of job security, low salaries, few advancement prospects, unending micromanagement and scrutiny over the most trivial of items. Luckily my new job is better, but I am still a decade away from having recovered from the 2008 crash. If I could do it all over again, I would steer clear from anything STEM.
Interested in what exactly you are doing? In general, STEM undergrad degrees are the most sure bet to a decent living; of course this is industry-specific. I'm a few years older than you (38) and a PhD scientist in private industry. I do pretty well, although with my job title most think I make a lot more than I do. I hire mostly recent bio/chem/biotech undergrads. Specifically to my industry, without a PhD there is a fairly low ceiling, but I am hiring 21-22yr old kids straight out of school at a higher compensation rate than my stepfather who has been teaching for 20+ years a few miles up the road.
I'd rather not say exactly what field I work in out of a concern of doxing. I think my graduation during 2008 was the largest determinant of my low salaries. It also made it difficult to find a laboratory job in the following years, after all, why hire a 2008 graduate with no experience when a lab could hire a fresh 2010 graduate with no experience? It took until 2012 for me to make the beginning salary of a teacher in my area and after earning my M.S. it took another four years to get up to a salary where I could finally have some breathing room financially. Even though the blame lays with the financial crisis, it left me feeling incredibly negative on the field I'm in.

Edit: If my current job doesn't work out, i.e. economic problems cause lay offs, I am done with STEM entirely. I will probably return to school for accounting, business, law, etc. Basically anything other than STEM that might be able to at least provide something upon graduation. Although tailoring my resume at my age away from STEM and towards something else will be incredibly difficult.
Sounds like it isn't your education that is the problem, you need to explore other opportunities. I'm an exercise scientist (MS in exercise physiology, PhD in kinesiology), I had to go totally outside my comfort zone and planned industry to start making decent money. I work in an industry that is heavily chemistry and microbiology focused, 90% of my employees are chemists and microbiologists, but my combination of understanding the fundamentals of science while being able to do bench work, write, and also manage people provided a lot of opportunities. Don't pigeon-hole yourself into doing only exactly what you studied and you might be surprised at the opportunities out there for someone with a strong science background.

Old_Dollar
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 8:27 am

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

Post by Old_Dollar » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:35 am

stoptothink wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:28 am
Old_Dollar wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:37 am
stoptothink wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:38 am
Old_Dollar wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:09 am
STEM field. Graduated in 2008. It has been a terrible, horrible grind and I am no where near where my salary should be based on my experience, educational attainment, and connections. When asked by people who are younger what to do I try my hardest to push them away from the physical and life sciences. Lack of job security, low salaries, few advancement prospects, unending micromanagement and scrutiny over the most trivial of items. Luckily my new job is better, but I am still a decade away from having recovered from the 2008 crash. If I could do it all over again, I would steer clear from anything STEM.
Interested in what exactly you are doing? In general, STEM undergrad degrees are the most sure bet to a decent living; of course this is industry-specific. I'm a few years older than you (38) and a PhD scientist in private industry. I do pretty well, although with my job title most think I make a lot more than I do. I hire mostly recent bio/chem/biotech undergrads. Specifically to my industry, without a PhD there is a fairly low ceiling, but I am hiring 21-22yr old kids straight out of school at a higher compensation rate than my stepfather who has been teaching for 20+ years a few miles up the road.
I'd rather not say exactly what field I work in out of a concern of doxing. I think my graduation during 2008 was the largest determinant of my low salaries. It also made it difficult to find a laboratory job in the following years, after all, why hire a 2008 graduate with no experience when a lab could hire a fresh 2010 graduate with no experience? It took until 2012 for me to make the beginning salary of a teacher in my area and after earning my M.S. it took another four years to get up to a salary where I could finally have some breathing room financially. Even though the blame lays with the financial crisis, it left me feeling incredibly negative on the field I'm in.

Edit: If my current job doesn't work out, i.e. economic problems cause lay offs, I am done with STEM entirely. I will probably return to school for accounting, business, law, etc. Basically anything other than STEM that might be able to at least provide something upon graduation. Although tailoring my resume at my age away from STEM and towards something else will be incredibly difficult.
Sounds like it isn't your education that is the problem, you need to explore other opportunities. I'm an exercise scientist (MS in exercise physiology, PhD in kinesiology), I had to go totally outside my comfort zone and planned industry to start making decent money. I work in an industry that is heavily chemistry and microbiology focused, 90% of my employees are chemists and microbiologists, but my combination of understanding the fundamentals of science while being able to do bench work, write, and also manage people provided a lot of opportunities. Don't pigeon-hole yourself into doing only exactly what you studied and you might be surprised at the opportunities out there for someone with a strong science background.
The thing is I'm not even in the lab for the field I studied in. My M.S. was incredibly specific and targeted towards a single job and it never came to fruition. I interviewed in over 10 states and none would hire me. I certainly don't think it is my education that is the problem, I think it was the inopportune timing of graduating in 2008. Like I said, if my current job doesn't work out I'm done with STEM.
I am here solely to learn about investing.

JPM
Posts: 81
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:29 pm

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

Post by JPM » Sun Jun 02, 2019 10:22 am

General internist in small midwestern industrial city for 40 years. Fortunate that my locale developed well economically rather than fell apart as many midwestern industrial towns have done over the past 40 years. Interesting and varied practice treating my friends and neighbors. Solving diagnostic problems. Work with great local people; MD colleagues, nurses, tech personnel. Good income, not nearly as good as radiology, ER, dermatology, or surgical specialists. Certainly not as good as big law or investment banking.

Would recommend to anyone with love of science because keeping up with the advances in diagnostics and treatments has to be fun for you to remain skilled in it. If you don't keep up, you cease to be good at it and then it is no fun. Need to be a sincere humanitarian and not be bothered by low income relative to some others. Range $250-500,000 per year for straight practice without administrative supplement. Probably will be a scarcity premium in the future but will be supervising NPs and PAs doing the routine work and you would be handling the diagnostic problems and more complex cases as I am doing now.

azFF
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2017 8:32 am

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

Post by azFF » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:21 am

azanon wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:06 pm
Taylor Larimore wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:50 pm
Bogleheads:

My career:
.........
2. Paratrooper in World War II
............
Best wishes.
Taylor
Did you pick #2 because of the bonus they offered for picking that, as depicted in the TV series Band of Brothers? :D
Thank you for your service Taylor :happy

azanon
Posts: 2574
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:34 am

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

Post by azanon » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:00 am

azFF wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:21 am
Taylor Larimore wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:50 pm
Bogleheads:

My career:
.........
2. Paratrooper in World War II
............
Best wishes.
Taylor
Thank you for your service Taylor :happy
Fixed it for you azFF

Robert_007
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 1:34 pm

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

Post by Robert_007 » Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:26 pm

I'm a medical social worker for a major home health non profit.I see patients after they have been discharged from the hospital and help them get resources and long term planning needs in place. Sometimes I wear the counselor/short term therapist hat. I really recommend for people who love independence, flexibility and don't mind being off on their own. This is a perfect fit for me since I have two little kids at home.

For any decent job in Social Work, you need your Masters. Many people get their LCSW so they are licensed and are able to open their own practice and see patients in a therapy setting similar to psychologists. I personally can't sit down for more than 45 min at a time so I love the pace of my current position. Always on the run. I have been doing it for over 5 years. Before this gig, I was a hospice social worker for 4+ years.

I recommend it. I graduated with only 12k in debt from a state school and paid it off quick. The money is good for Social work (90-100k) if you have some experience under your belt. The trick is to work for an agency or organization that receives funding from Medicare and doesn't rely on grants. Social Workers that work for grant money usually make (50-60k). I live in California so keep that in mind. Money doesn't go as far.

If I had to do it all over again, I would probably take the same path.

miket29
Posts: 131
Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:07 pm

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

Post by miket29 » Tue Jun 04, 2019 4:19 pm

EE working in digital hardware design. Got into the field kinda as a result of circumstances. In the early 1980s the Federal Reserve raised interest rates to flight inflation and the economy went into a tailspin. But the LA Times still had an extra classified section with jobs for engineers by the big defense contractors every Sunday (back when people looked for jobs in the newspaper). I was good at math, had an interest in electronics, so voila!

The pay has been good and I've been fortunate to have avoided layoffs. As a younger engineer I noticed it was the older ones that got cut; past age 50 or so sending out resumes is unlikely to get many calls. When I've changed jobs its been thru contact with former managers or coworkers. We used to design much more of the HW, these days a lot of the job is hooking up purchased components (a USB controller, a memory controller, etc) into a high gate count chip. Designing is the fun part of the job, it is like solving puzzles. Integration is more like connect-a-dot, tying pieces together and designing small sections of glue logic so they work together.

Would I recommend it? Only with strong reservations, leaning towards no. Software is a much more in-demand field these days. Many in the EE hardware industry are foreign born and since the manufacturing is almost all offshore anyway they could just as easily be building hardware designed in India or China instead of the US. You look around many hi-tech companies and a lot of the workers are from there originally, so foreign companies wouldn't have to start from ground zero if they lured them back. Another concern is that employment for digital hardware design is concentrated in a few areas. Maybe you can find a job doing this in many cities but you'll only have one or two employers in town so if they pull out or have a layoff it could be big trouble for someone with a family.

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