Author Topic: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance  (Read 6918 times)

03Short_Timer

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Hello. Out of all places, I've decided to come here for help. I think it's probably because I like to live as far below my means as I can, like much of you. I'm going to try and explain my situation in as few words as possible and get straight to the point. I appreciate any help or advice I receive from anyone; now that my thank you is out of the way, I'll tell my tale:

Basically my life has been flipped upside down during the last six months: I'm ready to move on and start anew. I was attending university for engineering (civil), but long story short I'm not anymore. It was a mix of things that lead to cease my pursuit of that degree; I would rather look towards the future than dwell on that though. Although I realize it's not a B.S., I did receive my A.S. in Engineering Science in '12, so at least I have SOMETHING to show for my hard work. I really enjoyed the general math and physics classes I took getting my A.S., and I enjoyed my time in the classroom. It was a nice transition coming from a Marine Corps infantry battalion to a more relaxed classroom environment.

Fast forward to today. Due to injuries I received in Iraq I'm entitled to VA Vocational Rehabilitation. http://www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/index.asp?utm_source=hootsuite&utm_campaign=hootsuite Basically the VA will pay for you to attend a school or tech school of your choice in hopes of you being able to find a worthwhile career.

My question to you is what program and or certificate should I go for?

I know I should probably pack up my truck and go head to an oil field somewhere, but I would rather view that as my last option. I like to think I'm very open to different ideas in regards to figuring out my life, so I would greatly appreciate any advice. I'll list some random stuff about me so you have a better idea of what I like. 

* Dream job is elevator mechanic/constructor. Went through the hiring process for local 2 in Chicago and got ranked in the 80's out of 1600+ people who passed the test. They call people in order they're ranked to become an apprentice. The list is good for a couple years, so fingers crossed I get a call, but I don't want to sit around and wait for that call

* Interested in working with hands outdoors 

* Thought of getting a welding certificate and then trying to work in the oil industry. Are there any technical jobs in that industry I could go for?

* Was a grunt in the Corps. DON'T WANT TO BE A COP OR DO PRIVATE SECURITY WORK

* I realize I should probably move somewhere south and start over but I'm kind of nervous doing that. Only debt I carry is my truck ($9,xxx) and only have a couple thousand in savings. Trying to work on the savings and kill truck debt.

* Really like airplanes, but I've read mixed reviews about being a mechanic in that industry

To sum up... You're a 29 year old, single, no kids, minimal debt, A.S. degree, living in Chicago but open to possibility of moving: What program and or certificate do you go for?





anisotropy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 681
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2014, 03:24:10 PM »
you are prob pretty fit as a young veteran. so.... NORTH DAKOTA !!!!

03Short_Timer

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2014, 03:32:28 PM »
anisotropy

Ha. I'm 6'3", 250lbs, and built like a linebacker, so I know I'd do fine up there. The only thing that worries me about ND would be the lack of woman. Part of me wants to meet a girl, get married, have a kid, etc. I realize I should put acquiring currency above all else, so I really need to consider this option.

   

Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2014, 03:40:21 PM »
Not sure if welders are still in as hot a demand as a few years ago, but my brother in laws company was offering $10,000 to salary workers as a finders fee if they found qualified welders willing to work on heavy machinery.

Plus, welding is a great skill to have even at the hobbyist level.

RetireAbroadAt35

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 222
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2014, 03:41:52 PM »
I'm a terrible one to offer advice as I'm a cube-chained IT guy, but the idea of welding/metal work appeals.  You wouldn't have to do it on an oil field - there are naval yards, self-employment options, sculpture, 4x4 vehicle modifications, heavy equipment, underwater work etc.  It strikes me as a portable and useful skillset, though i don't know much about the income potential.  It's just something I wish I could do very well.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 03:44:43 PM by RetireAbroadAt35 »

Numbers Man

  • Guest
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2014, 03:50:45 PM »
How about a little long term planning. Become a car mechanic. Get some experience and save your money. After a few years, find an independent shop with a loyal base of customers and an owner in his mid to late fifties. Kick ass at your craft then buy the owner's business when he retires.

2527

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 485
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2014, 04:47:27 PM »
I'm a veteran and I worked with Veterans at a university.  Look at the things you like, look at the things that you seem to be naturally good at,  look at the things that pay in the range you want, and pick something that fits those three categories fairly well.

Welding, HVAC, electrician, plumbing?
Tool and die maker?
IT related stuff?
Engineering degree?
Something else?

Try to talk to some people who do the jobs you are thinking about.
Do you want to work for the federal government or private industry? 

03Short_Timer

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2014, 05:14:54 PM »
Thanks 2527, I don't think I want to work for Federal Gov.

I'll definitely take into account what you're saying.

2527

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 485
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2014, 05:28:31 PM »
I think your inclination to elevator mechanic or a similar skilled trade is a good idea.  I am a contracting officer on federal construction projects, and I see what the skilled trades earn, and it is a nice income.  My dad was a tool and die maker, and they are paid quite well and in high demand.  Sounds like these things fit you because you mentioned elevator mechanic and pursued it already.

For what it's worth, I was in Iraq, too, and it put me on a downward spiral that I am pulling out of.

Please keep us posted. 

03Short_Timer

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2014, 06:23:46 PM »
2527

Thanks again for your advice.

phred

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 506
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2014, 06:38:37 PM »
If you were me, I would sign for the 'Ball Aptitude Battery' offered through the Ball Foundation-Career Vision.  They come up with a personal profile that combines what you like to do with what you can do.  They have a website, and are located in Glen Ellyn IL.  Ball has been mentioned favorably by some educators I've met.  I don't know the cost.

Before devoting yourself to welding, you might read a few sites on 'welder's lung' especially if manganese is involved.

Thank you for serving the country.  I'm sorry you now have a disability. 

ch12

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 593
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2014, 08:28:12 PM »
In your shoes, I'd go for being a welder. I'd also go to North Dakota for a set time frame. It would be exhausting to live in a man camp forever (especially if you want to meet a woman), so you should set your own end date. "Once I accumulate X, I'll leave."

I've read a bit about it: http://www.npr.org/2014/01/31/265698010/commuting-to-distant-oil-fields-good-money-at-a-price

It's not the easy route by any means.

According to the article, you'd get one week off a month. I think that it would be viable to be dating someone in Minneapolis (possibly the nearest big city, though you'd face competition) as long as you kept in touch in the 3 weeks that you were working. It's a train commute. http://www.amtrak.com/empire-builder-train.

Rent is apparently insanely cheap in Minneapolis, if a 2BR, 2BA house goes for $380 a month. http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/wsh/apa/4381343916.html You might spend a few hundred a month on having a romantic relationship, and it's up to you on whether that's actually worth it. [I vote yes - YMMV]

03Short_Timer

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2014, 08:52:28 PM »
ch12

Thanks for the write up.

I feel like you'd be a good match maker;) Your post made me smile and laugh! I realize in my situation the last thing I should be worried about is finding a wife, but I want to leave a legacy behind and I would like to give a child -hopefully a boy, all the things I didn't have growing up.

I appreciate the effort you put into your post, thanks again.


sleepyguy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 671
  • Location: Oakville, Ontario
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2014, 09:28:58 AM »
COP is out of the question?  They make 100k/yr here in a heartbeat (Toronto).

T-Rex

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 414
  • Location: SF
  • Thirtysomething woman, military vet
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2014, 10:07:15 AM »
sleepyguy, he may be tired of the military uh... culture.

My cousin was in the airforce and was a mechanic for jets and still didn't get a job doing that in the civilian world, so I can't recommend that career path at all.

Is the Troops to Roughnecks program still around? I remember there being programs to get Marines in many sides of the energy industry. That would be good if you like hard / mechanical work and getting paid well.

Allison

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2014, 11:28:52 AM »
If you have an interest in CAD drafting and electric design, I have some opening at my company.  Uses your engineering degree, work outside very occasionally and keeps you in Chicago.

MDM

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9615
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2014, 11:58:10 AM »
... I'm ready to move on and start anew. I was attending university for engineering (civil), but long story short I'm not anymore. ... I really enjoyed the general math and physics classes I took getting my A.S., and I enjoyed my time in the classroom. ... Due to injuries I received in Iraq I'm entitled to VA Vocational Rehabilitation. http://www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/index.asp?utm_source=hootsuite&utm_campaign=hootsuite Basically the VA will pay for you to attend a school or tech school of your choice in hopes of you being able to find a worthwhile career.

My question to you is what program and or certificate should I go for?
Just how generous is that VA program?  E.g., if you could get accepted to Northwestern would VA pay the bill?  Ordinarily I'd say Northwestern's Ivy-ish pricing is not a good investment but if the VA will pay, that's different.  And thank you for your service and well earned.  A BS Engineering degree would open more doors - but you know that and from your OP may have already decided not to pursue, for whatever reasons.

Does the VA keep track of in-demand jobs that would fit your skills and interests?  The folks in the Career Services (aka Placement) office at a college can be very helpful to students with these questions (if students simply ask), so maybe the VA has a similar service...?

03Short_Timer

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2014, 04:01:49 PM »
Allison

I'm going to try and send you a PM. I would be even open to an internship since I don't really have any cad experience. But I do remember one of my professors saying how in demand CAD is. 

03Short_Timer

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2014, 04:04:55 PM »
MDM

I don't think the VA really keeps track of in demand jobs; it's basically up to us to come up with three options and then working with a counselor to determine the best fit. You can come up with anything, as long as you have some solid data to back up why you want it. Of course it be the federal government they might steer you towards the "cheaper option" Thanks for the kind words though. 

03Short_Timer

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2014, 04:08:49 PM »
sleepyguy

Yes, police = no thank you. I took pride in my service in an infantry platoon, and I've seen how some of the local police both in Chicago and the suburbs act and train. I just wouldn't be able to do it.

No offense to any police reading this, I'm sure most are professional and actually want to do some good in their communities. But sadly most of what I've seen is the opposite.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2014, 04:11:54 PM »
I was married to a tool & dye maker and the $ is good. Lots of opportunity for overtime and it never took him longer then a week to find a job.  It does take a 4 year apprenticeship with some tech school classes too. They are the most highly skilled of the factory workers.  CAD is good to know in this profession also.

2527

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 485
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2014, 04:52:48 PM »
In response to MDM's postů

I administered the GI Bill and Voc Rehab programs at a major university.  They are very generous.  But a veteran still has too be careful to pick a school and major that is right for him academically, socially, and temperamentally, not just the most expensive or prestigious school that will accept him. 

MDM

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9615
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2014, 05:22:43 PM »
In response to MDM's postů

I administered the GI Bill and Voc Rehab programs at a major university.  They are very generous.  But a veteran still has too be careful to pick a school and major that is right for him academically, socially, and temperamentally, not just the most expensive or prestigious school that will accept him.
Agreed.  Just using NW for a range-finding exercise....

GoldenStache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 239
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2014, 06:31:17 PM »
Hello Short_Timer,

Another Iraq Vet here (Army).

If I could do it all over again I would go into engineering instead of BS in Econ/MBA.  I used my GI Bill to travel the world and get my MBA, and loved it..  Here is the program.. http://www.webster.edu/business-and-technology/going-global/mba-global-track.html
MBA in a year, full time living in 5 countries.  I think the program has changed some but they will probably work with you. 

I am working as a Fed now in DC and hate it, but getting me closer to FI.  If you do become a Fed you can buy your service time and it goes towards your pension (I bought my 5 years for 3k) so after I am a civ Fed for 5 years I will get a 10% pension.  Not huge but a nice check.  I might leave after t   

Back to you.  The three guys I know that went into engineering (electrical, mechanical and chemical) are all loving life.  Very easy for them to get a job any place they want.  One gets a new job every year or two after he gets tired of the ski slopes by him and finds a new job with different slopes. 

FrugalZony

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1463
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2014, 10:47:14 AM »
You seem to know pretty well, what you don't want and have a good sense of where you might want to go.
That's a lot better than most people!

If you are into mechanics and hands on work, have you considered heavy diesel equipment mechanic?
This is purely second hand information, so take with a grain of salt:
A friend of mine is a mechanic and he keeps saying all the time, he wish he had trained on heavy diesel equipment, as there's so much demand for that out there
and it's more recession proof and more fun to work than what he is doing now (mechanic on regular cars).

Is view may be tainted, he's trained overseas on high end European cars and has to deal with end customers in his job all the time.
Those kinds of folks in our area here, are let's say "demanding" (as in a PITA to work with).
So he may be dreaming about being a heavy diesel equipment guy, just to cut out all the Snob BS he has to deal with. The grass is always greener...
But then with all the different industries using heavy equipment, this may be a great choice with lots of options.
Just something to consider!


03Short_Timer

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2014, 12:10:39 PM »
GeorgetheGreat

Thanks for advice, to be honest I never really thought about gov work. But I realize it's a sweet deal RE buying into your pension.

FrugalZony

I have thought about diesel mechanic work. I'm just wary of using gov money to go to a school you see on tv (not that I watch tv), but I guess you have to learn somewhere. No offense to anyone that has been to one of those schools, to me they just seem shady. 

Nords

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3199
  • Age: 59
  • Location: Oahu
    • Military Retirement & Financial Independence blog
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2014, 04:02:55 PM »
Yes, police = no thank you. I took pride in my service in an infantry platoon, and I've seen how some of the local police both in Chicago and the suburbs act and train. I just wouldn't be able to do it.
No offense to any police reading this, I'm sure most are professional and actually want to do some good in their communities. But sadly most of what I've seen is the opposite.
Reminds me of a police officer's line from a Robert Crais novel:  "Half of us here are Marines, and the other half of us are tired of hearing about it."

phred

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 506
Re: 29 year old combat veteran from Chicago seeks career/life guidance
« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2014, 02:10:59 PM »
Like working with hands and being outdoors, has some technical education.  Best fit so far is 'civil engineering technician'.  You will work under a civil engineer, and spend a lot of time at project sites.  Training to become a surveyor also comes to mind.
As for the elevator mechanic program, you have to frequently let them know you're still interested by taking the decision guy to lunch every so often.