Author Topic: Need Advice- Career Change, Grad School, what to do?  (Read 1434 times)

mountain mustache

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Need Advice- Career Change, Grad School, what to do?
« on: October 05, 2018, 06:26:43 PM »
I've been reading here for a couple of years, and posting here or there, and really fired up about increased frugality, being financially independent and feeling in control of my finances and future.

I am 27 years old, and graduated from college with a degree in Kinesiology (Fitness studies, exercise physiology, etc) in 2012. Since then I have mostly worked in the outdoor industry, doing various sales, retail, and support roles. It has been fun because it's allowed me flexibility to enjoy racing bikes, camping, road tripping to races, etc.

I was very fortunate to go to college for free on scholarship, so I graduated at $0. No money to my name, but no money owed. Since then my jobs have ranged between $10-$17 an hour. I am currently making the most I have ever made in the outdoor industry ($17!!) but no benefits at all. no health insurance, 401k, time off, etc. This didn't bother me much in my early 20s, but I am really starting get tired of the instability of my job, the random income, and honestly it would just be nice to have some benefits. Also, the outdoor industry is not exactly stable, and I don't count on it providing a "career" for me in the long run. I don't want to work forever, not even until 50, but I know I am not on that path now. I don't have debt, and my spending is fairly optimized (with the exception of some emergencies this year), and I just feel like the only way to reach my goal is to make more money at this point.

I am posting because I guess I feel I can do more, but I am conflicted on the direction to take. For the past couple of years I have had the desire to go back to school for a Masters degree. I waver between furthering my current degree and getting a Masters in exercise physiology, or going towards Public Health, or Education. I have a huge desire to go back to school because:

1. I love school, it makes me feel like I have a purpose, I love using my brain and being challenged intellectually
2. It is black and white. Study hard=good grades. Very predictable outcomes.
3. I feel that if I get a Masters degree I will be more employable. Currently I feel very stuck with my work experience. I have 6 years of experience in the outdoor industry, with increasingly difficult roles (now I work as a purchasing manager, which is definitely the most challenging job I've had). I feel that I am only employable in the outdoor industry, and there is very little to choose from. If I got a Masters, perhaps I would qualify for better jobs, outside of my current industry

So, most of my brain is set on getting a degree, going back to school, etc. But, the rest of my brain knows it probably makes sense to just work on getting a better job, without going into potential debt ( A few programs I've looked at would potentially give me grants/scholarships). I just feel lost on looking at new jobs/career direction. As I stated above, I feel like I have cornered myself into a very small, very low paying industry, and while I have significant experience, I struggle with how to apply that to more "real world" jobs. I am totally willing to work a corporate job, for a university, something completely different than what I do...I just don't know how my experience applies when looking for those jobs. I have been working for a low salary for such a long time, that even making 40K a year would be huge!

I guess, the point of my posting there any logic in furthering my education to qualify for "better" jobs in a real career industry. Or should I just really dig deep with a job hunt until I find a position outside my current industry that is a stepping stone to more of a career in the future.

I know this is long, and a little all over the place. Thank you for anyone who takes the time to read!


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Re: Need Advice- Career Change, Grad School, what to do?
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2018, 07:07:52 PM »
Itís hard to give advice to a person without knowing all of the background, but, in general, getting more education to increase oneís income is a good thing. Do you want to stay in the outdoor industry but go higher? Try to find a person at a high level in that profession and get advice. Same for other professions.


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Re: Need Advice- Career Change, Grad School, what to do?
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2018, 04:54:03 AM »
Yes, it may make sense to get further education, but before you apply, look at employment rates of graduates from the prospective program.

Also, would your masters be in a related field to Kinesiology? If you want to explore switching careers, maybe take a look at typical entry level jobs for kinesiology grads. For example, My roommate in college was a Kinesiology major. She went on to get her pharmacy degree and was making over $100k as a pharmacist in her first job out of college.


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Re: Need Advice- Career Change, Grad School, what to do?
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2018, 07:00:37 AM »
As someone on the other side of grad school, I would say first pick the job you want to do, then figure out if you need another degree to be able to do it.  I didn't take that approach and it was only through some amount of sheer luck that I ended up with a job I like afterwards.  School and education are great, but you want to make sure (especially if you're FI-focused), that it's leading you to a career that you want and that ideally pays well.