Author Topic: Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness  (Read 5296 times)

Wanna-Be-FI-Bri

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness
« on: January 03, 2015, 11:52:50 AM »
Background:  In June 2013 I graduated from Oakland University, a regional University in southeastern Michigan, with a degree in Production & Operations Management and a concentration in Supply Chain Management.  Since my grades or athletic ability were never spectacular enough for much scholarship money, I worked full time three out of my five years to finance my entire education.  Never truly knowing what I wanted to do for a career I selected my college major because I felt like I would be able to obtain a relatively high paying position at a respectable company.  However, since I worked in local government (purchaser/buyer) for the last three years, which I have since discovered is looked down on by the private sector, I am afraid my ability to easily obtain a well-paying private sector position may be wearing off if I donít go back to school (no SCM internships either).

Four major options exist and are presented below:

Options
[/b]

Attend Oakland Universityís Information Technology Management Masterís Program

Positive: Close to home and familiar with the school/program

$24k total - less expensive

Negative: Most professionals recommend not earning undergraduate and graduate degree from same university


Attend Michigan State Universityís Supply Chain Management Mastersí Program

Positive: Huge alumni network and a reputation for being the best SCM school in the nation

Negative: $50k total - more expensive. 1.5 hours away; I never had much of a college experience because I worked so much, maybe I could get that here?


Not pursue a masterís degree and continue to work for local government (dead end job); Earn certifications in lieu of degree, e.g., PMP from Project Management Institute

Positive: Very inexpensive; continue to make/save a decent amount of money; I would like to earn PMP

Negative: Wonít earn advanced degree; limited opportunities for advancement


Searching for part time work on multiple website.  In 2014 I started a very small website company (only $2k gross).


Apply for position at Major OEMs/ Suppliers

Being from southeast Michigan I have connections with a number of automotive companies/workers.  However since I donít have private sector experience I will probably only earn $40-45k per year.  There may be more opportunities for advancement here, but I probably would NOT have the time to pursue an advanced degree.


Things to consider

My current employer will not pay for additional schooling; however, I would be able to continue to work full time while pursuing my masterís.  Also, I would be the first in my family to earn a graduate degree.  My current job is secure until 2016.  After that I could be eliminated due to political reasons.

Access to inexpensive health insurance through my father until 26 years old (currently 24.5).

In my current position I earn approximately $63k annually.  By continuing to live at home with my parents, over the last five years I managed to save over $150k and have it invested similar to other mustachians.  Since I worked so hard to earn the money I find it very difficult to spend (even on college).

I am so confused as to what I should do with my life.  Please offer advice on how you feel would be best for me to proceed with my life/career!
« Last Edit: January 04, 2015, 01:29:12 PM by bfairbrother »

Annamal

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 429
Re: Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2015, 12:34:15 PM »
1) 150k is a phenomenal amount to have saved (even while living at home) so well done on that.

You've laid out your current situation very succinctly but I think it might be a good idea to put some effort into considering that most awful job interview question "where do you see yourself in five years?"

Or rather...what are you hoping for?

What satisfies you about your current job/living situation? Do you like living in the mid-west? Is your local area a low cost of living area (and if so, would you like to stay there)?

What makes you frustrated about it?

Do you like supply chain management or is IT an area where you feel like you belong?

If you are looking to move into IT then honestly the best thing you can do is to just keep building things and looking for more and more information on best practice. A masters won't make a lot of difference to IT employability, experience (and demonstrating initiative) will. The bonus for this is that you can keep earning income on the side.


Murse

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 540
Re: Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2015, 12:40:56 PM »
I don't know your situation any better then you have told us, but it sounds to me like you already have it pretty well made. You work for the government, are making over 60k, and likely getting great benifits better then the private sector. Do me a favor and Google the average household income in America, do a little reading and recognize this is household income meaning including duel income households. I do not know what your goals are, but if you are focused on saving as much as you can as quickly as possible I think realizing you are already sitting pretty and can likely double your income if you go into management/administration (I imagine.) I say you sit where you are and if you REALLY feel like it you can apply for private sector positions which are better. I do not think you need more education if you plan on living the mustachian life.

« Last Edit: January 03, 2015, 12:54:37 PM by FutureNurse »

Murse

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 540
Re: Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2015, 12:58:04 PM »
Why might you lose your job?

TerriM

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 507
Re: Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2015, 01:19:03 PM »
I would consider applying for jobs in the private sector before choosing to go back to school.   At worst, send out applications, take the pay cut and move somewhere else in 2 years at full pay.

Also, undergrad and grad from same school is not always a problem.  If there are plenty of classes to choose from it's fine.  And if it's a local school anyways, people may care less. 

GardenFun

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 459
  • Location: Packers Hell - they're everywhere!
Re: Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2015, 01:27:44 PM »
Originally from SE Michigan.  Don't get caught up in thinking $63K is a poor salary.  It isn't, but for some reason, too many people in that area verbally inflate their incomes to the point that everyone thinks they are poor and the other people are rich.  Have you done your own research on real Supply Chain incomes in the area?  Do that first. 

On the flip side, what perks do you get for being a government employee?  Maybe a pension, better health care once off father's plan, standard 40-hr work week? 

If you want to get your masters, compare the job placement and networks between Oakland and MSU.  I know quite a few people going to MSU for supply chain so that may be a specialty of theirs, meaning better network, higher placement % and better pay. 

Wanna-Be-FI-Bri

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2015, 01:52:37 PM »
Why might you lose your job?

I am an appointee and therefore not a member of the union.  My boss may be leaving in 2016 and when the boss leaves it's almost a guarantee that his/her subordinate will be let go.

Murse

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 540
Re: Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2015, 02:10:01 PM »
Why might you lose your job?

I am an appointee and therefore not a member of the union.  My boss may be leaving in 2016 and when the boss leaves it's almost a guarantee that his/her subordinate will be let go.

Any chance you can find another position within this same sector/branch of the government for similar/higher pay. If they value you and your work, you may be a better candidate for a position then outsiders they don't know. Are you qualified for your bosses position?

You are planning for something that may or may not happen. You are looking at furthering your education to make you more valuable. My point is simply that you may not be giving yourself as much credit as you deserve. You may already be valuable to the market. I don't think you need more education until you prove that you are currently not marketable and more education would change that.

Wanna-Be-FI-Bri

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2015, 05:56:05 PM »
Thank you.  I am very proud of my savings thus far.  I really hate to admit it, but I absolutely hate the 'where do you see yourself in 5, 10, and 20 years?' question.  I definitely want to move out of my parents house this year and I wouldn't mind living in a different city.  The community I live in isn't particularly low cost, but it is nice, clean and safe.

I do like the SCM area, especially as it relates to process improvement.  I feel IT Management degree may compliment a SCM undergraduate degree as technology is everywhere throughout SCM.

Expanding my website business sounds good, but truthfully I'm not all that impressed with my abilities.  So far I've made two website: periostudyclub.com and schererpodiatry.com.



1) 150k is a phenomenal amount to have saved (even while living at home) so well done on that.

You've laid out your current situation very succinctly but I think it might be a good idea to put some effort into considering that most awful job interview question "where do you see yourself in five years?"

Or rather...what are you hoping for?

What satisfies you about your current job/living situation? Do you like living in the mid-west? Is your local area a low cost of living area (and if so, would you like to stay there)?

What makes you frustrated about it?

Do you like supply chain management or is IT an area where you feel like you belong?

If you are looking to move into IT then honestly the best thing you can do is to just keep building things and looking for more and more information on best practice. A masters won't make a lot of difference to IT employability, experience (and demonstrating initiative) will. The bonus for this is that you can keep earning income on the side.

Wanna-Be-FI-Bri

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2015, 06:05:36 PM »
The benefits at my employer are pretty good.  I don't take the health insurance, but receive a good number of PTO.  I am well aware of what the average US household income is.  I tend to compare myself to people more successful than me, not the average. We mustachians are way above average.  Unfortunately I can't double my salary by moving to management/administration since I am already there.  Friends of mine in SCM make considerably more than I do (including my sister) and I would like to keep pace with them.

This may be antimustachian, but I want to be able to afford the same crazy vacation my friends go on (Vegas, South America, tour Europe) and still retire at a younger age (35ish)

I don't know your situation any better then you have told us, but it sounds to me like you already have it pretty well made. You work for the government, are making over 60k, and likely getting great benifits better then the private sector. Do me a favor and Google the average household income in America, do a little reading and recognize this is household income meaning including duel income households. I do not know what your goals are, but if you are focused on saving as much as you can as quickly as possible I think realizing you are already sitting pretty and can likely double your income if you go into management/administration (I imagine.) I say you sit where you are and if you REALLY feel like it you can apply for private sector positions which are better. I do not think you need more education if you plan on living the mustachian life.

Murse

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 540
Re: Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2015, 06:44:49 PM »
The benefits at my employer are pretty good.  I don't take the health insurance, but receive a good number of PTO.  I am well aware of what the average US household income is.  I tend to compare myself to people more successful than me, not the average. We mustachians are way above average.  Unfortunately I can't double my salary by moving to management/administration since I am already there.  Friends of mine in SCM make considerably more than I do (including my sister) and I would like to keep pace with them.

This may be antimustachian, but I want to be able to afford the same crazy vacation my friends go on (Vegas, South America, tour Europe) and still retire at a younger age (35ish)

I don't know your situation any better then you have told us, but it sounds to me like you already have it pretty well made. You work for the government, are making over 60k, and likely getting great benifits better then the private sector. Do me a favor and Google the average household income in America, do a little reading and recognize this is household income meaning including duel income households. I do not know what your goals are, but if you are focused on saving as much as you can as quickly as possible I think realizing you are already sitting pretty and can likely double your income if you go into management/administration (I imagine.) I say you sit where you are and if you REALLY feel like it you can apply for private sector positions which are better. I do not think you need more education if you plan on living the mustachian life.

Okay. So you are wanting to live the average American lifestyle? Then you are right, if you want more then you need to earn more. I would encourage you to instead look at other options rather than playing the earn more spend more game but it is up to you. Instead I would encourage you to ask mustachians how you can do things in a more mustachian way such as traveling. There are many here with a wealth of knowledge on credit card churning for hundreds of thousands of free flight miles. you can travel without going to grad school.

Annamal

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 429
Re: Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2015, 08:59:09 PM »
Thank you.  I am very proud of my savings thus far.  I really hate to admit it, but I absolutely hate the 'where do you see yourself in 5, 10, and 20 years?' question.  I definitely want to move out of my parents house this year and I wouldn't mind living in a different city.  The community I live in isn't particularly low cost, but it is nice, clean and safe.


Everybody hates that question, it's an awful question to answer (and like most job interview questions it really only tells you whether your applicant has also studied common job interview questions).

Unfortunately it is a useful life question, if only because it lets you know what is currently important to you.


Quote
I do like the SCM area, especially as it relates to process improvement.  I feel IT Management degree may compliment a SCM undergraduate degree as technology is everywhere throughout SCM.

Expanding my website business sounds good, but truthfully I'm not all that impressed with my abilities.  So far I've made two website: periostudyclub.com and schererpodiatry.com.


Development is one of those things that you only pick up with a lot of practice, so it might be worth continuing if only to get to the point where you can understand where the people you manage are coming from (and how and why it projects fail).

Ignore the next bit if you don't want suggestions on the website development front (sorry I'm incurably curious and a little nit picky)

I had a quick look at your websites, I'm sure an experienced web developer could give you a lot more advice but my two big suggestions would be to

1) look into using Bootstrap(http://getbootstrap.com/), I've got my own pet project and when I switched over to using bootstrap for style and layout, I was able to throw out my entire set of CSS files and still end up with a much more professional looking product.

2) Maybe make sure that the podiatry index page (http://schererpodiatry.com) redirects to your main page?

Wanna-Be-FI-Bri

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2015, 01:18:46 PM »
Thank you.  I am very proud of my savings thus far.  I really hate to admit it, but I absolutely hate the 'where do you see yourself in 5, 10, and 20 years?' question.  I definitely want to move out of my parents house this year and I wouldn't mind living in a different city.  The community I live in isn't particularly low cost, but it is nice, clean and safe.


Everybody hates that question, it's an awful question to answer (and like most job interview questions it really only tells you whether your applicant has also studied common job interview questions).

Unfortunately it is a useful life question, if only because it lets you know what is currently important to you.


Quote
I do like the SCM area, especially as it relates to process improvement.  I feel IT Management degree may compliment a SCM undergraduate degree as technology is everywhere throughout SCM.

Expanding my website business sounds good, but truthfully I'm not all that impressed with my abilities.  So far I've made two website: periostudyclub.com and schererpodiatry.com.


Development is one of those things that you only pick up with a lot of practice, so it might be worth continuing if only to get to the point where you can understand where the people you manage are coming from (and how and why it projects fail).

Ignore the next bit if you don't want suggestions on the website development front (sorry I'm incurably curious and a little nit picky)

I had a quick look at your websites, I'm sure an experienced web developer could give you a lot more advice but my two big suggestions would be to

1) look into using Bootstrap(http://getbootstrap.com/), I've got my own pet project and when I switched over to using bootstrap for style and layout, I was able to throw out my entire set of CSS files and still end up with a much more professional looking product.

2) Maybe make sure that the podiatry index page (http://schererpodiatry.com) redirects to your main page?

I will look into bootstrapping when I start up my TeamTreehouse membership again.  I cancelled it because I was just too busy with other things and wasn't using it enough.

The Schererpodiatry.com domain was purchased through treehouse's webhostingforstudents.  They are cheap, but lack in the customer service department.  For some reason they won't let me transfer it to godaddy.com.

Annamal

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 429
Re: Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2015, 02:28:05 PM »
I will look into bootstrapping when I start up my TeamTreehouse membership again.  I cancelled it because I was just too busy with other things and wasn't using it enough.


This is my pet project

http://liverpoolmaritime.org/

(Or rather it's my partner's job, I just work on the database design and web styling).

There are a lot of mistakes and things that probably need correcting but the liverpoolstylestylesheet.css file  has gone from hundreds of lines of not great css to 6 lines and it looks so much better than it did (I'm reasonable on databases and appalling on design).

On the redirect front...I think you are using PHP so this article might help if you are ever in that situation again?

http://css-tricks.com/how-to-redirect-indexhtml-to-indexphp/

Wanna-Be-FI-Bri

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2015, 07:36:30 PM »
Interesting...I ran my last name and had a lot of results.  Unaware if I am actually related to any of the findings.  Where do you mine your information from?


I will look into bootstrapping when I start up my TeamTreehouse membership again.  I cancelled it because I was just too busy with other things and wasn't using it enough.


This is my pet project

http://liverpoolmaritime.org/

(Or rather it's my partner's job, I just work on the database design and web styling).

There are a lot of mistakes and things that probably need correcting but the liverpoolstylestylesheet.css file  has gone from hundreds of lines of not great css to 6 lines and it looks so much better than it did (I'm reasonable on databases and appalling on design).

On the redirect front...I think you are using PHP so this article might help if you are ever in that situation again?

http://css-tricks.com/how-to-redirect-indexhtml-to-indexphp/

Mommyof2

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Re: Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2015, 07:53:29 PM »
What do you want to do for a living?  I work in software sales and make north of 200k a year.  I don't have my masters. 

Wanna-Be-FI-Bri

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2015, 08:27:37 PM »
Right now I want to go into software sales and make north of $200k per year! ;P

What I really want to do is change the world, even just a little, in some positive way.  Process improvement either through IT or SCM seems like a reasonable avenue to do so...

What do you want to do for a living?  I work in software sales and make north of 200k a year.  I don't have my masters.

Annamal

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 429
Re: Career Advice Needed: College, $$$, Skills, or Happiness
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2015, 08:28:28 PM »
Interesting...I ran my last name and had a lot of results.  Unaware if I am actually related to any of the findings.  Where do you mine your information from?



This is my pet project

http://liverpoolmaritime.org/

(Or rather it's my partner's job, I just work on the database design and web styling).

An awful lot of people passed through liverpool one way or another (it was a major trading port).

The data is sourced from a variety of places (including my partner's boss sitting down and patiently copying information from the mormons in Utah).

Some of the information was copied from this website
http://www.lan-opc.org.uk/Liverpool/

There's also information from  other data sources due to be added. It's essentially a hybrid datawarehouse...gluing together a whole bunch of disparate sources into a common format so that records for the same person (or ship) can be linked together.

There was a phenomenal amount of data cleaning required (my partner just spent more than a month cleaning and standardising occupations...sometimes spelling in the 18th and 19th century wasn't particularly consistent and some occupations are incredibly obscure).

Fortunately I'm a vounteer so I get to skip the data cleaning and go straight to the fun design bits.

Sorry for the digression, I just like geeking out about this stuff.