Author Topic: How to get a good job without a degree? & What career to change to?  (Read 6219 times)

Ipodius

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I've been working on my own IT retail, support and leasing businesses for a decade, after dropping out of university. While they have been successful, they have never been as successful as I had hoped. Combining this with a desire to do something different, and a realisation that not specialising (the curse of running a small business is becoming a highly skilled generalist) is limiting my future earning potential, and I've decided it's time for a career change.

My current plan is to find a job in the next 3 months that matches or exceeds my current salary. I will then finish my degree in either 2014 or 2015, depending on what credits I can apply from my previous degree to whatever I chose to do next.

So, my questions are as follows:

1. How do I get a job without a degree? I know there are many jobs I could do, and could do well. I also believe that if I can get into the interview, my chances of getting the job are good. But I also know that my lack of a degree will generally get me filtered out pre-interviews.

2. What careers should I consider? Obviously I will need to investigate careers to see if I would enjoy them and if I would be well suited to them, but I want to know from the Mustachians what careers they feel match an early retirement goal well? I would want something with a high earning potential that would be suited to achieving financial freedom in ten years.

Fortunately myself and my wife have very low monthly expenses (less than $1300 dollars) and once she is qualified she will have a high earning potential.

tuyop

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Mobility is an excellent hedge against lack of qualifications.

This is Canada-specific, but:

Go to a boom town.

With a high school education, you can make absolutely absurd amounts of money, and keep absurd quantities of it if you're Mustachian in any way, if you just move to one of those places for awhile. There are similar cities all over the world, this will also drive you out of your comfort zone which is great.

Ipodius

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Thanks for the advice. I live in Johannesburg, South Africa - off the top of my head I can't really think of a boom town in SA, but it's an area to investigate! I think the boom town effect may be less prominent in SA - with a very high unemployment rate, high school qualified labour shortages are not really an issue.

For the next few years I would need to stay in Johannesburg, however, until my wife completes here degree.

tuyop

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Thanks for the advice. I live in Johannesburg, South Africa - off the top of my head I can't really think of a boom town in SA, but it's an area to investigate! I think the boom town effect may be less prominent in SA - with a very high unemployment rate, high school qualified labour shortages are not really an issue.

For the next few years I would need to stay in Johannesburg, however, until my wife completes here degree.

I make three times what my peers with the same degree make because I've been willing to be separated from my partner (read: wife) on and off for the past three years. She did the same thing and now makes nearly four times her old salary and has additional qualifications and experience. It's miserable at times, but I've given you a viable solution here, you just need to get positive.

Take a tip from my man David J. Schwartz (The Magic of Thinking Big), instead of explaining how a thing is impossible, imagine how to make it possible. What if you HAD to leave the country to support your family, how could you mobilize your creativity and skills to make it work?

Ipodius

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I wouldn't be opposed to moving if it where the only option, but I feel that at this point I would rather sacrifice some income while still achieving our goals than have a long distance relationship. But I agree with your overall philosophy - need to have a positive, what can be done even if it at first seems impossible attitude! And it's always good to throw extreme options on the table, they stick more often than one would expect.

Once she is qualified, our options will open up significantly - she will be able to get a good position in SA or internationally, and I would be able to do an MBA / other post grad qualification. Johannesburg is also not a bad place to get a job - highest paying in SA, and there is a major shortage of skilled / qualified staff. Combined with a very, very low cost of living for a very high quality of life and with the right jobs it's an ideal place for FI. To me, my challenge is not my location but rather talking / conning / convincing my way into a job that I'm currently not qualified for but could definitely do well. On top of that, I need to then close my education gaps and put myself on a path where I could do something like an MBA part time in a few years time to solidify those gains.

Education is *ridiculously* cheap in SA - I can get a internationally accredited MBA (UCT, top 100 internationally) for less than $20k - and undergrad stuff is even cheaper.

swick

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I would spend a day and read the "80/20 principal" before you make any major decisions.

It sounds like you have the business expereince and contacts, perhaps you just need to see which ones are working for you and how you can develop the few that give you your most returns. It would be an easy place to start if your already established.

Ipodius

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Good suggestion! I've read it before years back, but I will read it again... think I've given the book away, but I'll buy it on Kindle.

If it where purely financial, I think I would jump fully into the leasing business (going since 2011) and push it - it's been by far the most financially successful, and definitely has potential. However, I feel like I want something more intellectually challenging and something that pushes me out of my comfort zone - with more than a decade of running small businesses, I feel like I've reached a point of diminishing returns in terms of personal growth.

I don't feel like I'm turning my back on entrepreneurship indefinitely, but I think that I need a change.

Coneal

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If you have a couple of months emergency fund my suggestion is...

Find the one job that you really want even if its a little out of reach.  Call and ask to meet with the top guy in the company and tell him you want to work for him and explain that you don't have the necessary experience but in return you will work for FREE.  He will be taken aback a little when you say this but if you say it make sure you mean it.  Its less risk for them and you will be given an opportunity to show your worth.  There are several things that you demonstrating when you do  this.  1. you belive in yourself and your abilities 2. Your showing initiative.  Number 2 is very important to anyone that is hiring.

This is how I got into my field.  I've trained people that we took a chance on and the ones that was able to show initiative always worked out well.  Most places that deal in IT today have their own specialized programs so its stuff that can not be taught in school anyways.  However, they do look for a degree bc it shows commitment and the ability to finish something. 

If you take this kind of approach never ask when they will start paying you and never complain about the job.  Your interviewing the entire time your training.  They will come to you when they feel your a good fit.  The money will take care of itself.


MgoSam

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I know that this isn't as applicable in SA (from what little I know of SA's economy) but I do second traveling to an area of high employment. I know some people that have traveled to North Dakota, USA as their economy had just exploded with the new oil fields, which has led to increased economic opportunities for all fields. One caveat I have heard is that there is a drastic shortage of women, but that just might be in the towns that have oil fields...

Ipodius

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Re: How to get a good job without a degree? & What career to change to?
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2013, 05:16:47 AM »
Thanks for the advice Coneal - I've got a decent emergency fund, so that could be an option. Thing is, the type of job (and experience) I want is in the corporate world, where that kind of offer won't go down well - but it's worth keeping in mind.

On the second half of my question - assuming I'm going to re-qualify (finish my previous studies and then do something post-grad), what industries / careers should I be looking at? I'm strongly leaning towards an MBA at the moment because the content interests me and I like the fact that it opens up doors in management in a lot of different industries.

Ipodius

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Re: How to get a good job without a degree? & What career to change to?
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2013, 08:26:25 AM »
So I went back to the university yesterday, found out I should be able to finish my degree. Paid today for the courses I still need to do, will find out for sure soon (hopefully Friday) if they will accept me for this year - if they do, I can finish by December!

Very excited by this, my next course of action is to find out what short courses (3 months to a year) I can do next year that will improve my employability and improve my chances of getting into an MBA. Going to see MBA admissions staff next week to confirm what they look upon positively and take it from there. Thanks for all the advice, I appreciate it :) I've decided that for the next six months I will focus on the leasing business 100% - makes sense to only apply for jobs once I have the degree.


blackjack

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Re: How to get a good job without a degree? & What career to change to?
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2013, 08:03:56 AM »
UPS driver..... 100k a year salary, top health benefits, pension, union....