Author Topic: I have WAY too much time to waste at work, want to get a bachelor's degree.  (Read 2250 times)

ElizaStache

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Hi!
I am the office manager for a small engineering firm. Out of 8hrs a day, I do maybe 1.5hrs of work most days. I get paid $18/hr to basically hang out with the engineer and do invoices and be his firewall.

He does not give a rat's ass about what I do in my spare time here, past assistants have gotten degrees, done art projects, and other things. I work on some budgeting stuff, but most of the time dick around on Reddit and Facebook, which I punch myself in the face for most of the time. I have an AA transfer degree that I completed online, no specialty/major. I am forklift certified.
My only passion is in cooking, which I do at home as a hobby. I used to work in fine dining, but health issues prevent me from going back and I'd also take a pay cut/add commute doing so. Every time I look through my community college's course list, my eyes glaze over as nothing looks interesting. I'm 25 and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

All of this is to pay down my current debt of $8,500 in a personal loan, and my husband's $11,000 in student debt and then to invest and retire early. While I can cut my spending, I also need to increase my pay doing something on the side.
Thanks for reading.
<3 ElizaStache

craiglepaige

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Hi!
I am the office manager for a small engineering firm. Out of 8hrs a day, I do maybe 1.5hrs of work most days. I get paid $18/hr to basically hang out with the engineer and do invoices and be his firewall.

He does not give a rat's ass about what I do in my spare time here, past assistants have gotten degrees, done art projects, and other things. I work on some budgeting stuff, but most of the time dick around on Reddit and Facebook, which I punch myself in the face for most of the time. I have an AA transfer degree that I completed online, no specialty/major. I am forklift certified.
My only passion is in cooking, which I do at home as a hobby. I used to work in fine dining, but health issues prevent me from going back and I'd also take a pay cut/add commute doing so. Every time I look through my community college's course list, my eyes glaze over as nothing looks interesting.  I'm 25 and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

All of this is to pay down my current debt of $8,500 in a personal loan, and my husband's $11,000 in student debt and then to invest and retire early. While I can cut my spending, I also need to increase my pay doing something on the side.
Thanks for reading.
<3 ElizaStache


Ahhh not trying to be an ass but you're 25yo which means you're a "Grown-up". It may not seem like it but the sooner you realize it the better you'll be.

You need to figure out what you want to do/be asap and find the easiest/fastest way there. If I had the time, I would be looking at online training/certifications. I'm currently planning on getting a Medical Interpreter licence and it would be amazing if I had the free time you have at your job. We can't really tell you what to be, you need to figure it out yourself.

What are you on Facebook and reddit for? Anything specific that draws your attention or just grab-assing online and wasting time? If it's something in particular, can you look into making a living from it somehow?


Bicycle_B

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I never developed a real "passion" for work.  Ended up minimally FI in late 40s.  You don't have to have passion but you have to do something if you want to improve.

The "eyes glaze over" part is tricky.  If it represents your inner decisions that you Will Not Do Boring Shit AND Everything BUT Fine Dining is Boring Shit, you are putting in writing decisions you have already made, but your decisions are creating an I Can't box.  I have known people who did this but didn't want to take responsibility for doing it, therefore they listed all the reasons they couldn't do various things. At some point you will either have to Do Something That Makes Money, or you will have to accept that you don't have much money.

It's a good sign that you're working and bored.  People bored at work can usually be reasonably happy doing new and better paid stuff even if the other jobs aren't perfect.  In this case you just have to decide/recognize which new well-paid things you are willing to do, and learn how to do them if you don't already know, and then get jobs doing the better paid stuff.

You could keep your current job and do various types of remote work on your phone/ipad/etc.  Then you'd be less bored and add some extra income.  You could skip formal school, teach yourself to be a programmer, and become a $50k and later $100k coding whiz while sitting at the very desk you're at (might take a few years though).  Or you could pick a program that you could live with once you did it, and jump into that.

If you are going to go the Pick A Program route:
1. Explore using What Color Is Your Parachute.
2. Use your desk time to examine different career paths using the Bureau of Labor Statistics
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/
3. I've known more than one person who simply looked for the best pay in the shortest time and picked dental hygienist.  These were people who were good at doing small work with their hands though.

PS.  I've enjoyed your posts elsewhere in the forum when I've seen them.  Good luck with your decisions.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2018, 02:02:04 PM by Bicycle_B »

ElizaStache

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Hi!
I am the office manager for a small engineering firm. Out of 8hrs a day, I do maybe 1.5hrs of work most days. I get paid $18/hr to basically hang out with the engineer and do invoices and be his firewall.

He does not give a rat's ass about what I do in my spare time here, past assistants have gotten degrees, done art projects, and other things. I work on some budgeting stuff, but most of the time dick around on Reddit and Facebook, which I punch myself in the face for most of the time. I have an AA transfer degree that I completed online, no specialty/major. I am forklift certified.
My only passion is in cooking, which I do at home as a hobby. I used to work in fine dining, but health issues prevent me from going back and I'd also take a pay cut/add commute doing so. Every time I look through my community college's course list, my eyes glaze over as nothing looks interesting.  I'm 25 and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

All of this is to pay down my current debt of $8,500 in a personal loan, and my husband's $11,000 in student debt and then to invest and retire early. While I can cut my spending, I also need to increase my pay doing something on the side.
Thanks for reading.
<3 ElizaStache


Ahhh not trying to be an ass but you're 25yo which means you're a "Grown-up". It may not seem like it but the sooner you realize it the better you'll be.

You need to figure out what you want to do/be asap and find the easiest/fastest way there. If I had the time, I would be looking at online training/certifications. I'm currently planning on getting a Medical Interpreter licence and it would be amazing if I had the free time you have at your job. We can't really tell you what to be, you need to figure it out yourself.

What are you on Facebook and reddit for? Anything specific that draws your attention or just grab-assing online and wasting time? If it's something in particular, can you look into making a living from it somehow?

No worries about being an ass, I meant my Grown-Up comment to be tongue-in-cheek. I know I'm a reasonable adult, recently married, with a condo only in my name with 95k left to go (planning on killing it within 10 years)

I'm trying to figure out what I might be good at as far as certification/degrees would go, and would make a decent wage. I should mention I also do yard work in the spring/summer, mostly pulling weeds, pruning, and topiary. If I put effort into learning plant names and their needs, I could look into higher paid work in designing and do more topiary. Rich people pay a decent chunk of money to have their unnatural swirly trees.

As far as Fb/Reddit go, I'd say 25% of it is giving away/selling my junk on various groups and the rest is distraction. I've already uninstalled FB from my phone, I've benefited from it so far. I do love reading the personal finance/frugal posts and relating to aquariums and planted tanks. I sell aquatic plants for a few bucks, it wouldn't be hard to ramp that up since my floating plants just clutter up my tank.

ElizaStache

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I never developed a real "passion" for work.  Ended up minimally FI in late 40s.  You don't have to have passion but you have to do something if you want to improve.

The "eyes glaze over" part is tricky.  If it represents your inner decisions that you Will Not Do Boring Shit AND Everything BUT Fine Dining is Boring Shit, you are putting in writing decisions you have already made, but your decisions are creating an I Can't box.  I have known people who did this but didn't want to take responsibility for doing it, therefore they listed all the reasons they couldn't do various things. At some point you will either have to Do Something That Makes Money, or you will have to accept that you don't have much money.

It's a good sign that you're working and bored.  People bored at work can usually be reasonably happy doing new and better paid stuff even if the other jobs aren't perfect.  In this case you just have to decide/recognize which new well-paid things you are willing to do, and learn how to do them if you don't already know, and then get jobs doing the better paid stuff.

You could keep your current job and do various types of remote work on your phone/ipad/etc.  Then you'd be less bored and add some extra income.  You could skip formal school, teach yourself to be a programmer, and become a $50k and later $100k coding whiz while sitting at the very desk you're at (might take a few years though).  Or you could pick a program that you could live with once you did it, and jump into that.

If you are going to go the Pick A Program route:
1. Explore using What Color Is Your Parachute.
2. Use your desk time to examine different career paths using the Bureau of Labor Statistics
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/
3. I've known more than one person who simply looked for the best pay in the shortest time and picked dental hygienist.  These were people who were good at doing small work with their hands though.

PS.  I've enjoyed your posts elsewhere in the forum when I've seen them.  Good luck with your decisions.

I probably shouldn't have worded my post that way, I didn't mean to type  it in a "I Can't" way. That was pretty helpful for me to be more mindful as I write more posts here. I'm not against doing anything "boring" that makes money, with the exception of selling insurance. I worked at State Farm for a while and realized it was not for me. My main goal for the next decade or so is to stay at my current job because my boss is the nicest human I've met, the free time aspect to make me more money in the long run, and especially that it's recession-proof. My only concern is that he would retire, but hopefully by then I'll have enough skills and money to move on without a hitch.

Thanks for the resources, I'll check the book out. I've heard decent things about it so far.

The best thing about starting here is that I'm actually excited for my future, I wasn't especially inspired in the consumerist loop. I hope to see you around too :)

craiglepaige

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What about asking your boss for career advice?

SeattleCPA

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I'm not saying getting an accounting degree and then picking up a CPA certificate is the right choice for you in your situation, but I know quite a bit about this and so want to share these comments which you can generalize, maybe, to other fields:

1. Western Governors University offers pretty economical online degrees that work really well with working adults. I think the cost is about $500 a month and you can "move" pretty much as fast as you want. (I've actually paid for BS in accounting degrees for two employees in my firm.)

2. I would not go for some quick degree or certification. Rather, as would be the case with accounting degree, I would say, "hey, I'm going to pace myself, work on this for next 18 months or whatever, and then really get a bang for my buck. I.e., I'm going big."

3. Online degrees often have weak branding...which you need to be honest about. Two ways to mitigate this weak branding are to couple the online degree with a professional certificate (like an online bachelors in accounting coupled with a CPA certificate) or to get an online degree from a school that also has a bricks and mortar presence.

4. At your age, you will get a giant return on your investment on the right degree both in terms of dollars and then also in terms of bumping up the satisfaction of your work. (Watch the costs though... you won't want to overpay... Also, please please please get a degree that leads to a well-paying job. To do otherwise, IMHO, is a questionable investment.)

P.S. Someone with a bachelors in accounting probably starts at about $25 an hour so not much more than your $18 an hour. Although $7 an hour is $14K more a year. But that's the starting wage. You can push that up pretty much as high as you want depending on the work. Also it should be relatively easy in some markets to move from $25 to $50 over first five or ten years of work if in your first year after getting BS in accounting you get the CPA certificate.)



ElizaStache

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I'm not saying getting an accounting degree and then picking up a CPA certificate is the right choice for you in your situation, but I know quite a bit about this and so want to share these comments which you can generalize, maybe, to other fields:

1. Western Governors University offers pretty economical online degrees that work really well with working adults. I think the cost is about $500 a month and you can "move" pretty much as fast as you want. (I've actually paid for BS in accounting degrees for two employees in my firm.)

2. I would not go for some quick degree or certification. Rather, as would be the case with accounting degree, I would say, "hey, I'm going to pace myself, work on this for next 18 months or whatever, and then really get a bang for my buck. I.e., I'm going big."

3. Online degrees often have weak branding...which you need to be honest about. Two ways to mitigate this weak branding are to couple the online degree with a professional certificate (like an online bachelors in accounting coupled with a CPA certificate) or to get an online degree from a school that also has a bricks and mortar presence.

4. At your age, you will get a giant return on your investment on the right degree both in terms of dollars and then also in terms of bumping up the satisfaction of your work. (Watch the costs though... you won't want to overpay... Also, please please please get a degree that leads to a well-paying job. To do otherwise, IMHO, is a questionable investment.)

P.S. Someone with a bachelors in accounting probably starts at about $25 an hour so not much more than your $18 an hour. Although $7 an hour is $14K more a year. But that's the starting wage. You can push that up pretty much as high as you want depending on the work. Also it should be relatively easy in some markets to move from $25 to $50 over first five or ten years of work if in your first year after getting BS in accounting you get the CPA certificate.)

Thanks for the tips, SeattleCPA! My mom was an accountant and was moderately happy doing it. I took an accounting class for my associate's and it was pleasantly challenging, I didn't think of pursuing it too much. Thanks for the WGU link, I was having a hard time finding the pace-yourself style learning as opposed to the semesters/quarters system. My local CC has professional certificates to pair with that. This is all very useful and I have a lot to think about.

Magic Mocha

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Hey there! I'm in a kind of similar boat to you. I'm 27, been working a few years in the IT/gov't contracting field as a Technical Writer/Business Analyst, and just started a new job. I can't do anything at my new job until I get clearance, which is probably another month at least, which leaves me with 40 hours a week completely free.

If IT is something that interests you, there's a dizzying array of certification options for a lot of things (see embedded link). I'm still trying to figure my way through this as well, but from what I can tell:

  • Comptia A+ Certification is a good place to start for entry-level stuff. I've been told it's kind of a joke to anyone formally educated in it, but it's a solid foundation for any additional IT-related fields if you don't have an actual degree.
  • Scrum Master Certification is very easy to get. Agile is a very popular brand of Software Development Methodology, and Scrum is the most popular subset methodology of Agile. You basically show you understand how to manage/work within an Agile development team. An official course is 2 days, but you can probably learn the steps and pass the test in a day.
  • Excel Exposure. If you ever wanted to learn more advanced Excel tricks like VLookup, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and formulas, try this out. It's free and the guy narrating it moves at a really good clip. I've saved myself a lot of time at my last job by applying what I learned.

Since we're in a similar boat, I'd love to hear if you find anything particularly useful too! I'm inclined towards the IT/Software fields, but can certainly keep an open mind. (except CPA - I'm awful at numbers)

Goldilocks

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Ooh I am also dealing with something similar to this- Best boss in the world and lots of downtime that I am wasting. I would love to figure out a side hustle I could do in between my actual work at the office. PTF

toganet

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Hey there! I'm in a kind of similar boat to you. I'm 27, been working a few years in the IT/gov't contracting field as a Technical Writer/Business Analyst, and just started a new job. I can't do anything at my new job until I get clearance, which is probably another month at least, which leaves me with 40 hours a week completely free.

If IT is something that interests you, there's a dizzying array of certification options for a lot of things (see embedded link). I'm still trying to figure my way through this as well, but from what I can tell:

  • Comptia A+ Certification is a good place to start for entry-level stuff. I've been told it's kind of a joke to anyone formally educated in it, but it's a solid foundation for any additional IT-related fields if you don't have an actual degree.
  • Scrum Master Certification is very easy to get. Agile is a very popular brand of Software Development Methodology, and Scrum is the most popular subset methodology of Agile. You basically show you understand how to manage/work within an Agile development team. An official course is 2 days, but you can probably learn the steps and pass the test in a day.
  • Excel Exposure. If you ever wanted to learn more advanced Excel tricks like VLookup, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and formulas, try this out. It's free and the guy narrating it moves at a really good clip. I've saved myself a lot of time at my last job by applying what I learned.

Since we're in a similar boat, I'd love to hear if you find anything particularly useful too! I'm inclined towards the IT/Software fields, but can certainly keep an open mind. (except CPA - I'm awful at numbers)

(Emphasis added).  Scrum Master certifications are easy to get -- and generally are not seen as worth much unless you have the experience in an Agile software environment to back it up.  That being said, it's a role that's in huge demand right now, and worthwhile pursuing if you are interested.  Disclosure: This is what I am doing right now as a "grown up job" and it pays great.  Plus, I get emails from recruiters multiple times a day for jobs all around the country offering $45-60/hour to start.  Again, not something you can walk into off the street, but accessible and in demand. PM me if you have questions.

Magic Mocha

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Quote
(Emphasis added).  Scrum Master certifications are easy to get -- and generally are not seen as worth much unless you have the experience in an Agile software environment to back it up.

Agreed! For what it's worth, my CSM is only somewhat of an ass-pull. I worked for 3 years on a team of 10-14 doing a modified version of Agile Scrum for government contracting. Naturally the red tape and revision involved with government work made things a little slower than how I imagine Agile works in private dev gigs. Anyway, while I was technically a Tech Writer, the small team meant I got to do a little bit of everything including JIRA tracking, running daily scrum, writing and executing test cases, attend client meetings, etc.

Now that I've gotten confirmation from my job, I'll be shooting for the PMP shortly. As I understand it, it (and most certifications) aren't really proof of anything other than "you know how to take the test." But they're effective as a simple SEO boost for LinkedIn recruiters, and help solidify and contextualize the work experience you already have.

That's great to know it's in demand though! I actually have a ton of questions and will PM you shortly.

JanetJackson

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Re: I have WAY too much time to waste at work, want to get a bachelor's degree.
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2018, 07:34:48 AM »
I never developed a real "passion" for work.  Ended up minimally FI in late 40s.  You don't have to have passion but you have to do something if you want to improve.

The "eyes glaze over" part is tricky.  If it represents your inner decisions that you Will Not Do Boring Shit AND Everything BUT Fine Dining is Boring Shit, you are putting in writing decisions you have already made, but your decisions are creating an I Can't box.  I have known people who did this but didn't want to take responsibility for doing it, therefore they listed all the reasons they couldn't do various things. At some point you will either have to Do Something That Makes Money, or you will have to accept that you don't have much money.

It's a good sign that you're working and bored.  People bored at work can usually be reasonably happy doing new and better paid stuff even if the other jobs aren't perfect.  In this case you just have to decide/recognize which new well-paid things you are willing to do, and learn how to do them if you don't already know, and then get jobs doing the better paid stuff.

You could keep your current job and do various types of remote work on your phone/ipad/etc.  Then you'd be less bored and add some extra income.  You could skip formal school, teach yourself to be a programmer, and become a $50k and later $100k coding whiz while sitting at the very desk you're at (might take a few years though).  Or you could pick a program that you could live with once you did it, and jump into that.

If you are going to go the Pick A Program route:
1. Explore using What Color Is Your Parachute.
2. Use your desk time to examine different career paths using the Bureau of Labor Statistics
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/
3. I've known more than one person who simply looked for the best pay in the shortest time and picked dental hygienist.  These were people who were good at doing small work with their hands though.

PS.  I've enjoyed your posts elsewhere in the forum when I've seen them.  Good luck with your decisions.

I think I am starting to really agree with this point.  I find my eyes glazing over when looking at community class lists, when looking at my upcoming class lists (I am finishing my undergrad), but I still do it.  I've never had a "passion" working for someone else.  Some of my side jobs that I've done for myself have been more rewarding (tutoring, dog walking, etc) and I found no help from What Color is Your Parachute, sadly.
I'm 33 and I have no idea what I "want" to do with my life.  I'm working toward FI, but no clue what I want more time for.  There are bright spots in my workday and in my personal life, and I'm getting better and better at tuning into those and maybe working on a life map for myself. 
This all being said, I think it takes time.  For now I'd look at best pay increases in the shortest time related to your current career trajectory. 

isaakthepirate

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Re: I have WAY too much time to waste at work, want to get a bachelor's degree.
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2018, 01:00:23 PM »
This doesn't totally jive with being able to get your skills done at work, but it sounds like you might do well in the trades. Trades pay super well for many, especially if you get a union job. You could definitely take some basic classes online that are required (like safety classes). But if you're considering a new career, you might consider information interviews with other women in the trades. I know there can be some heavy sexism, but I also hear it's much better than it used to.

ePalmtrees

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Re: I have WAY too much time to waste at work, want to get a bachelor's degree.
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2018, 03:27:51 PM »
What about something you could do online from work, and thus get paid double for the same amount of time? Medical transcriptionist, learn photoshop and be a photo retoucher or graphic designer, learn to code? Wordpress guru?

Look on odesk.com and browse the different categories of what outsourcers do. You could be a virtual assistant or online researcher with basically no learned skills at all.

oldmannickels

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Re: I have WAY too much time to waste at work, want to get a bachelor's degree.
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2018, 03:35:21 PM »
I'm not saying getting an accounting degree and then picking up a CPA certificate is the right choice for you in your situation, but I know quite a bit about this and so want to share these comments which you can generalize, maybe, to other fields:

1. Western Governors University offers pretty economical online degrees that work really well with working adults. I think the cost is about $500 a month and you can "move" pretty much as fast as you want. (I've actually paid for BS in accounting degrees for two employees in my firm.)

2. I would not go for some quick degree or certification. Rather, as would be the case with accounting degree, I would say, "hey, I'm going to pace myself, work on this for next 18 months or whatever, and then really get a bang for my buck. I.e., I'm going big."

3. Online degrees often have weak branding...which you need to be honest about. Two ways to mitigate this weak branding are to couple the online degree with a professional certificate (like an online bachelors in accounting coupled with a CPA certificate) or to get an online degree from a school that also has a bricks and mortar presence.

4. At your age, you will get a giant return on your investment on the right degree both in terms of dollars and then also in terms of bumping up the satisfaction of your work. (Watch the costs though... you won't want to overpay... Also, please please please get a degree that leads to a well-paying job. To do otherwise, IMHO, is a questionable investment.)

P.S. Someone with a bachelors in accounting probably starts at about $25 an hour so not much more than your $18 an hour. Although $7 an hour is $14K more a year. But that's the starting wage. You can push that up pretty much as high as you want depending on the work. Also it should be relatively easy in some markets to move from $25 to $50 over first five or ten years of work if in your first year after getting BS in accounting you get the CPA certificate.)

Thanks for the tips, SeattleCPA! My mom was an accountant and was moderately happy doing it. I took an accounting class for my associate's and it was pleasantly challenging, I didn't think of pursuing it too much. Thanks for the WGU link, I was having a hard time finding the pace-yourself style learning as opposed to the semesters/quarters system. My local CC has professional certificates to pair with that. This is all very useful and I have a lot to think about.

Yea was also thinking you could learning bookkeeping or something like that and do that while you're at work. Learn quickbooks online. Charge $20/hr and really be earning $38/hr. Not really difficult if one of your current assignments is invoicing.