Author Topic: Hi, I'm DJ and I'm uncertain about my career  (Read 1474 times)

dj

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Hi, I'm DJ and I'm uncertain about my career
« on: January 31, 2018, 09:12:11 PM »
I know I might be hounded for freaking out about my future prospects since I'm only 26, but I thought I'd start a thread detailing the different interests I have and positions I'm looking for and/or receive.. since I've talked about it in a couple different threads. It's hard to feel like I have accomplished anything professionally since 2014 when I graduated.

In my case, I was more certain of areas I'm interested in AFTER college so that sort of sucks. These include conservation, photography, green products, web development, and UX/UI design. I'm finally in a position after 6 months at a retail flooring company (a job that was the result of being desperate for a job after coming back home from Oregon where I did a paid internship), that I feel comfortable applying to other places and working on getting much better perks such as:
- PTO that doesn't require being there for a year first
- Flexible time off
- 401k that doesn't require being there for a year first

The most recent application I'm interested in is a Mortgage Assistant at a credit union with great benefits. My best friend works there and is pretty certain I could get in there. I've never done financial services before. On the plus side, it would help me gain knowledge about something I'm not familiar with, and it would be a secure place to work while I can build skills on my own time with the things I'm interested in that I mentioned above.

Is there anyone like me around here that still doesn't know what they want to do for a living, and is having a tough time staying positive about it?

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Hi, I'm DJ and I'm uncertain about my career
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2018, 09:51:07 PM »
I don't know that I'll ever fully know what I want to do for a living.  It may continue changing.

BUT, I know far more than I did at your stage.  FWIW, work is hard.  That's how it is by design.  It's common to flail around a bit and struggle around that age.  Even after you find better work, it will still have portions you don't love or aren't passionate about that you will have to grind through; that's how work generally is. 

In your post, you're talking about your passions and maybe your skills.  But have you asked what tasks and things YOU are particularly good at?  I.e., aptitudes - which ones do you have?  I took aptitude testing with Johnson O'Connor Foundation and loved that.  It gave me insights into myself. 

Your passions and your aptitudes may or may not align well, either, so it behooves you to figure the aptitude piece out and pursue things you're naturally good at (and will enjoy). 

Also, see this book - the single best resource I've found on learning about yourself and who are you meant to be (related to work/jobs). 

You sound motivated, so read the book and do the exercises - you'll learn a lot about yourself that may help you on your journey.  It can't hurt.  And it gets easier over time: you will learn more about yourself the more you do. 

dj

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Re: Hi, I'm DJ and I'm uncertain about my career
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2018, 10:43:37 PM »
I don't know that I'll ever fully know what I want to do for a living.  It may continue changing.

BUT, I know far more than I did at your stage.  FWIW, work is hard.  That's how it is by design.  It's common to flail around a bit and struggle around that age.  Even after you find better work, it will still have portions you don't love or aren't passionate about that you will have to grind through; that's how work generally is. 

In your post, you're talking about your passions and maybe your skills.  But have you asked what tasks and things YOU are particularly good at?  I.e., aptitudes - which ones do you have?  I took aptitude testing with Johnson O'Connor Foundation and loved that.  It gave me insights into myself. 

Your passions and your aptitudes may or may not align well, either, so it behooves you to figure the aptitude piece out and pursue things you're naturally good at (and will enjoy). 

Also, see this book - the single best resource I've found on learning about yourself and who are you meant to be (related to work/jobs). 

You sound motivated, so read the book and do the exercises - you'll learn a lot about yourself that may help you on your journey.  It can't hurt.  And it gets easier over time: you will learn more about yourself the more you do.

Appreciate the insight. I actually did take an aptitude test and that's what aligned me with the interests I mentioned above. Two of those I was already aware of before the aptitude test. I'm just afraid that starting out in one of those fields will take a long time to get in since I don't have any previous experience really. Which is why I might need to learn some stuff on my own and try to put together a portfolio (this is mostly for the UX/UI/Web Dev stuff). Not so sure about the conservation.. That would probably take more education or being a park maintenance worker. Maybe I could do something like Forestry part time on the weekends.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 09:21:49 AM by dj »

retireatbirth

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Re: Hi, I'm DJ and I'm uncertain about my career
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2018, 06:25:20 AM »
A web boot camp might be a good fit for you. Don't spend a fortune, but see what's out there.

I didn't get started until I was 30 so you have time, but I do regret blowing all my money in my 20s. Get your nest egg started now.

dj

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Re: Hi, I'm DJ and I'm uncertain about my career
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2018, 06:53:08 AM »
A web boot camp might be a good fit for you. Don't spend a fortune, but see what's out there.

I didn't get started until I was 30 so you have time, but I do regret blowing all my money in my 20s. Get your nest egg started now.

Two days ago I bought two courses on Udemy. One a highly rated bootcamp in Web Development, the other in design. Both $10 specials that ran through yesterday. Iím excited to get started and those resources will be in my account forever.

Greenback Reproduction Specialist

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Re: Hi, I'm DJ and I'm uncertain about my career
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2018, 12:29:11 PM »
If I were in your position I would go visit every web development company in your immediate area. Focus on smaller companies, go in and meet the owner, show them you are serious about wanting to follow this career path and ask for ANY crapy part time job they can afford to pay you to perform. If you dont get a yes the first go round, make a schedule to stop by each business once a week. Bring in a box of doughnuts and just check in with them. I guarantee you will have a job at one of these places within a month or two, which is no time at all if you are serious and want it bad enough. Just dont give up, be patient, be persistent. Build a good relationship with the person in charge of hiring and they will want you working with them. Trust me this works, I've seen it happen many times.

A couple pointers:
-Dress professional, figure out how people in the industry dress and make yourself look the part.
-Be on time, screw this up and you will send a lot of time repairing the damage to your image.
-Dont worry about your experience, but put together a nice professional resume.
-Be polite, respectful, and make a really good first impression.
-Read up on a company, it will show you are really interested in what they do and give you something to talk about.
-Instead of paying for more education, at this point(assuming you have a good base set of skills), subscribe to a trade magazine to keep up with the industry. Which again, gives you something to chat about with the owner when you visit with him/her each week.
-Always follow up, always.... stop by once a week and just say hi, show them you enjoy being there. You dont necessarily need to talk with the owner every time, and it doesn't need to be more than a few minutes. just a quick "hi, I was in the neighborhood and thought I would stop by to say hi. Hey did you hear about (some interesting fact about a new program, web feature, etc)".
-Don't worry about pay and benefits for the first job, just get you foot in the door so you can show experience on your resume. When you get this job and have it for a year, then you can start focusing on pay increases, in the mean time learn everything you can.
-Figure out who the sales representatives are in the area for the programs that they use and see if they have any monthly get togethers or classes.
-Figure out if there are trade organizations in your area that meet regularly and go stop by to introduce yourself.

Last but not least, let me repeat again because it is SUPER important... Always follow up, again, again, and again, until someone finds something for you to do in their company. (unless of course things get uncomfortable or they ask you not to). This takes time and effort but will pay off eventually, try really hard to make friends at each place you visit and get to know the people in the industry. Just get involved, someone will notice you and ask you to work for them.

Treat this idea of "finding a job" like a job, you should work at it everyday.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 12:31:38 PM by Greenback Reproduction Specialist »
FIRE.... Remember, it's closer than it feels.


goalphish2002

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Re: Hi, I'm DJ and I'm uncertain about my career
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2018, 12:38:23 PM »
DJ- What is your undergrad degree in?

dj

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Re: Hi, I'm DJ and I'm uncertain about my career
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2018, 12:43:03 PM »
@goalphish2002 Communication Studies/PR

goalphish2002

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Re: Hi, I'm DJ and I'm uncertain about my career
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2018, 01:41:49 PM »
@goalphish2002 Communication Studies/PR

This is from the post you made regarding a master's degree.  I'm not sure if you read all the replies.  I am going to post below and then build off of it.

I have a master's, and it did help me.  However, I already had work experience and did this part-time while working full time.  Be careful about getting another degree (even if it is higher education) with no experience in the field.  You will still have to break through and get an entry-level job without experience.   

I would probably lean toward finding an internship or entry-level job in a field of your interest first. 

- You may find that you enjoy it
- Your employer might pay for your graduate degree
- You might find that certifications are more important than a graduate degree, in the field
- You might find out that experience is the MOST important factor in that field
- You might find out you don't like the field and be glad you didn't invest time, energy, and possibly money for the degree
 
I have a B.S. in Consumer Affairs and an M.S. in Accounting.  However, I am a Project Controls Analyst or Cost Engineer.  If I could go back, a Master's in Construction Management or Project Management would have benefited me more; maybe an MBA with a concentration in Project Management.  With that being said, my knowledge of accounting does help me; there is a crossover. 

But, in my field, the PMP certification will carry as much weight, if not more, than any graduate degree. 

I mention this because you never know where you will end up or what you enjoy doing from classes alone.  You are only 26 years old.  I spent years trying to find my "passion."  It caused a lot of needless anxiety and wasted time.  The facts are most people don't have a passion that will translate into work.  And, people's passions change with time.  I have found that the better I become in my field, the more I am paid, which makes me more invested, which in turn makes me more passionate about my work.  Don't miss out on opportunities looking for something that might not manifest. 


Not to rehash everything, but I have to reiterate that most of us sort of fall into place.  I'm not saying we literally fall into jobs without hard work.  What you will see above is an explanation of how I evolved from 25-35.  I took opportunities, my confidence grew, and so did my passion for my career.  I know how you feel, but just remember that most people didn't follow a passion.  They became passionate about their work.  Steve Jobs was a hipster, philosophy student taking calligraphy classes when he capitalized on an opportunity.  It became his passion when he realized he could get rich.  What I'm trying to say is you have listed a lot of different interests.  Learn, test, move forward, ask questions, make smart moves, and you will do great.  Just don't be paralyzed by inaction- I did this for a while.  If you like your programming courses, I would suggest you do a coding/design boot camp, like someone else suggested.  You have the bachelor's degree.  You can get a certificate that will move you into industries.  You could also try to find contract work on Craigslist to build a portfolio, etc...

goalphish2002

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Re: Hi, I'm DJ and I'm uncertain about my career
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2018, 01:51:13 PM »
Also, how is management at your flooring company?  Would they be receptive to your interests?  Could you suggest doing photography of the products and helping with their web design?  Even if you do this as a salesperson, you are building skills and experience for a portfolio.

I would suggest you look for another job if you are unhappy.  But, if your managers are cool, you could ask them how you can help them out with other things.  Your boss might have you reconcile some accounts and find you have a knack for being an analyst.  You might find that doing procurement is fun and negotiating with vendors is a tangible skill you possess that you didn't know you have. 


lkell

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Re: Hi, I'm DJ and I'm uncertain about my career
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2018, 02:24:55 PM »
You've mentioned UX/UI and the portfolio barrier a couple of times. It is real. Is it worth it?

I'm in UX/UI - 15 years now and in upper management. I have an impressive degree (school and subject) but wanted nothing to do with it, and had no idea what I wanted to do for a few years out of college. Tried two careers unrelated to my degree that never really called to me. I kept going back to "but I'm jealous of those folks in the bullpen over there working on Macs in Quark...."

I always had an eye for layout, page hierarchy, fonts, color. I was told for years I was way too smart for that kind of work and I'd never make any money. I started taking graphic design classes at night at a community college.

I finally said "screw y'all" at age 28, quit my job at a solid corporation, and while doing a little freelance work spent a good portion of my stash at the time to study graphic design full-time at a well-respected design school through their continuing ed program. (I considered matriculating for a BFA and second bachelor's but ultimately decided that probably wasn't necessary and I could get the same education in their continuing ed program.) In parallel, I started making websites (mind you this was 1999-2001 era) - and realized I had a special knack for organizing content... yes I was a good designer but an even better information architect and practical information designer (think signs, navigation systems, forms). I started building a portfolio. On the advice of some web design company owners (introduced to them by a friend in web development), I built a few pro bono websites to contribute to a professional portfolio.

Within a year I had a great portfolio, skills that built on my aptitude, and landed a cool job at a 15% pay cut from where I was when I originally quit. I outgrew that job in 3 years, moved on, then decided to go to grad school in the design/tech area. I dropped out after a year when I realized how hot my skills were and felt the leeches of debt. Had my choice of employers, took one job, 2 years later moved... been at same company awhile now and earn over $200K in a role that I mentioned is upper management in UX/UI (more broadly Product/UX/Customer research area these days).

Between the year off, the initial pay cut and the grad school foray I probably blew close to $100K, but I have a NW of over $1M now ... was it worth it? For me, obviously yes, but your milage may vary. I didn't make a really good salary until I was 35 but once I started to, combined with my frugal ways, I blew through debt and then ran up my Vanguard account like no one's business.

If you like UI/UX, explore it and try it out. Start with a General Assembly course or some local courses - it's more established than it was in my dot.com era when UX wasn't even a term. It's a niche field that is as in demand as software engineers and in many cases paying software engineering-like salaries if you are good**

** Final note: On the "if you are good piece"... I am very glad someone brought up the aptitude piece and that you've pursued this. I interview a lot of folks who do not have the aptitude for UX and they tend to not get far or if they do get into the field rarely get a break into the the high paying roles. I always ask questions that try to get at aptitude. I've asked directly: "what makes you sure you have the aptitude to do this?" Had one person get really offended and tell me that hard work can overcome anything, but this is total BS. It doesn't.

Good luck!

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Hi, I'm DJ and I'm uncertain about my career
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2018, 04:42:20 PM »
Awesome.  Then you're well ahead DJ.

You might see the Now What book re: steps to take once you identify directions.  It talks about concrete ways to formulate plans and do things while ensuring you don't go off a financial cliff.  In fact, you're already doing some of it with those courses - that's exactly what may help you find your way.  You're exploring the new areas and testing it out.  If you keep doing that, one of them may well take off for you and turn into something.  If that one doesn't, keep trying others.

At any rate, you have it together and are doing the right things.  I am confident that with time, you will find your way. 

dj

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Re: Hi, I'm DJ and I'm uncertain about my career
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2018, 06:02:25 PM »
All-

I mentioned that I enjoy working with my hands and being on my feet. This might sound crazy, but does anyone work in, or know anyone that works in wastewater treatment/operations. I read about it (my city has an operator opening) and it is kind of interesting. Maybe that's due to my interest in conservation/environment, but it's something that I could see myself succeeding in for some reason.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 06:13:01 PM by dj »