Author Topic: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?  (Read 15021 times)

possumjaw

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Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« on: March 12, 2015, 05:25:04 AM »
Hi there, folks!

I am relatively new, and am seeking advice.  This is roughly a case study type situation, but saving is not my issue, so I am not breaking down finances here for brevity's sake, (if that would be helpful, can easily do so).  Here is my question:

How does one go about obtaining a job which has an income large enough to save for early retirement?

My current yearly spending:  about $12,000/year.
My current yearly saving:  about $4,000/year.

I am very frugal.  I grew up sort of "land rich/money poor" and the favorite insult in my house was that someone was "one of those people who squeezes their toothpaste from the middle," as opposed to the end.  I do have a bit of extra in my budget right now, and I am working on cutting that down, but I'm pretty tight. 

I am 24, two years out working, moved out from a bad family situation and straight into any steady job I could find. 

Assets:  Have B.A. in psychology, am currently working as a support person for adults with autism in my area.  I love my work, but the pay is practically nothing, (darn non-profits), and it is somewhat stressful, though is in my field.  I graduated with honors from a reputable state university on full scholarship, debt-free, have work experience in several areas, and am pretty good at most skills.  Have excelled working as:  receptionist in tourist destination hair salon (dealing with large numbers of bride-zillas...think Las Vegas), felling trees by hand to build bridges out of them, doing historical interpretation and archival work for the National Park Service, weaving/spinning by hand and selling crafts, teaching karate classes to small children, and doing psych research studies. 

Cons:  While I am fairly skilled in a number of areas, I am not good with small details and hard-sciency-type-stuff.  Example, in math, I am excellent at abstract calculus, but I frequently mistip servers at restaurants, and I have to tape my phone number to the back of my phone to remember it.  I did data management work for a while and hated it.  I also detest marketing of all sorts and capitalist scams, (yeah, I'm sure there are many die-hard capitalism supporters on this forum...and that is fine...ya'll are entitled to your opinions...and I, mine.  I'm not trying to start beef here with economic system discussion).  I cannot do the dress uber-professional everyday and glad-hand-my-way-to-linear-happiness thing, although I do love connecting people to community resources and do have excellent people skills.  I also have ptsd and am frequently tired/stressed, so most 40hr/week jobs I can do, but some I may not. 

I am having a hard time seeing myself finding a job which would give me the income to save in order to move towards early retirement.  Most jobs seem to be in medicine, marketing/business, hard science, or politics.  I just am not really sure what I could feasibly move towards.  Some of this may just be due to mental health and social work jobs being undervalued, (from my perspective), in our society, but I really don't want to compromise my financial well-being just to pursue a job in a field in which I got a degree.  I do volunteer work in the area of social work in my free time...that is something I can do alongside a job.

Okay, thanks if you've made it through my ramblings.  I appreciate all constructive feedback.  Please let me know if you think I'm missing something.

Best,
-possum
« Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 05:26:46 AM by possumjaw »

jzb11

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2015, 05:36:12 AM »
The most obvious options are STEM as you mentioned, or some sort of trade/skill based work - (tradesman, machine operator, etc).

You may have to choose between work with low pay that you enjoy and find fulfilling (psychology), and work with high pay that you don't enjoy but enables you to save (STEM/etc).

This is the position I Find myself in. I work as an engineer, I don't love my job, but it pays the bills and will allow me to FIRE in 12-15 years. Is it worth it to work 12-15 years not loving my job so I can FIRE? Maybe, maybe not. I suppose we'll see how I feel once I FIRE.

kvaruni

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2015, 06:06:53 AM »
I feel your pain, as my wife is a psychologist. The problem, as you mentioned, is that the area is currently highly undervalued. This is still the effect of the 2008 crisis when psychology was one of the first items on the chopping block. Another problem is the supply. I often get the feeling that psychology is just the degree women pursue when they don't know what else to study. This sounds harsh, and it may not apply to you, but it means that it is a very competitive field to work in. Some ideas:

You can just keep your current job and enjoy the gratification. You are still young, with only a few years of work experience, and better opportunities are bound to emerge over time. FI is nice, but I would never want to pursue it if it meant wasting my days doing a job I don't like.

Alternatively, you can try to excel in your field. A word of warning: I know many M.Sc and Ph.D in psychology, and most of those even suffer to get a permanent job. This route is only advisable if you are truly and utterly interested in psychology, you have the money to support your studies, and you don't mind landing a poorly paid job in the end. When I put it like that, it really sounds like a bad idea.

Finally, you can opt for another job. What I often see is that psychologists move to the area of education/research. Pay can be better, and you get to use a fair amount of your skills. Whether or not education/research is something for you is up to you to decide. The alternative is of course a dull, high-paying job and FIRE in 10 years or so. Then you can do all the voluntary autism work you want :).

Whatever you do, take the time to think it through. You seem to have a steady job in your field and those are hard to come by. However, you do seem upset about the pay so it is good to think about your options and to carefully evaluate them.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2015, 06:09:02 AM »
As with all humans throughout history, you will have a very hard time finding a good job if you refuse to participate in capitalism.

Edit: Also, what's the point of saving money if you're not going to participate in capitalism (i.e. invest)?

Louisville

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2015, 06:16:39 AM »
Jobs that pay really well tend to be difficult and stressful. That's why they pay well. There's no magic here. If you want more money, get into something that pays well - whether you "enjoy" it is secondary. Or, have an enjoyable job and make less money. It's really that simple.
I know I'm going to get flamed for saying that, and there are always some lucky, anectodal exceptions to the rule, but it really is that simple for 90% of us.

Learner

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ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2015, 07:01:01 AM »
Jobs that pay really well tend to be difficult and stressful. That's why they pay well. There's no magic here. If you want more money, get into something that pays well - whether you "enjoy" it is secondary. Or, have an enjoyable job and make less money. It's really that simple.
I know I'm going to get flamed for saying that, and there are always some lucky, anectodal exceptions to the rule, but it really is that simple for 90% of us.

I know plenty of people who work basically 9-5 jobs for 50-60k. Now, those people have STEM degrees...

Louisville

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2015, 07:11:31 AM »
Jobs that pay really well tend to be difficult and stressful. That's why they pay well. There's no magic here. If you want more money, get into something that pays well - whether you "enjoy" it is secondary. Or, have an enjoyable job and make less money. It's really that simple.
I know I'm going to get flamed for saying that, and there are always some lucky, anectodal exceptions to the rule, but it really is that simple for 90% of us.

I know plenty of people who work basically 9-5 jobs for 50-60k. Now, those people have STEM degrees...
Exectly my point. Getting a STEM degree is not easy, therefore it pays well.

samburger

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2015, 08:39:43 AM »
As others have said, you will almost certainly have to sacrifice passion for pay. It's a tough pill to swallow, I know. I'm right there with you. I sacrificed doing what I love for a higher-paying career in business (think $30k starting salary vs $70k starting salary...). I'm hoping to be FI by my early-mid 30s (~10 years in this career), and then I'll be free to pursue my passions, regardless of pay.

And, by the way, once I got into business, I found that I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. It's not the love of my life or anything, but my work is challenging and stimulating. It's tough to know what you like without giving it a shot.

possumjaw

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2015, 03:33:54 PM »
All right...I am going to try to reply to folks in one message, which may be difficult, so I'll try not to be too vague.

-  STEM...ahhh, STEM.  Yeah.  Yeah to everything here.  And I guess I don't so much mind hard work or boring work as I mind having a steady schedule, doing work I don't make enough mistakes to get fired at doing, and doing work I find to be ethical.  And women going into psych as a non-choice...um...yes, sometimes.  I was hard-set on experimental psych, maxed out my studies options, even studied abroad at a top university to take more rigorous course work...so, some people are legitimately interested.  About four years ago, though, I looked at the job prospects with higher degrees, realized how scarce they were, and focused more on finding financial independence asap.  I also can't count the number of geeky STEM guys I've known who just went into it because they didn't know what to do or because their dads wanted them to work at the family materials plant.

-  Not going to reply concerning capitalism.  Off-topic.

-  As for that post from Learner:  No!  Had not found it!  Thanks much :D

-  Louisville, nah, I hear where you're coming from.  In my experience, this is somewhat true...but considering that most people in my job work 60-80+ hours per week...many nights or a revolving schedule...and we deal with people with aggression and self-injury, sickness, heavy lifting, and biohazards...I kind of feel like this just really isn't the rule.  From what I've seen in life, there is definitely a gradient in job ease to job pay, but there is also a certain gradient of poverty and privilege working arm-in-arm with that.  Sooooo....*pshhhht, fwoosh* eat the fire!  haha...Just kidding.  I am a terrible arguer...in that most times I see no reason to argue or seriously invest in taking people down on message boards :)

-  jzb11:  Have seriously considered trade work.  I was pushed from forever to go be the hot-shot phD somethingrother...so I never really got the chance to investigate trade school/trades.  My father was a mechanic and large vehicle driver for most of his life, and trade work always has seemed wonderful to me. 

Thanks so much for all the replies.  At a certain point, I also feel like we only each have so much effect on societal/economic structuring...and we all have to kind of find some way to deal with our lives within that structure.  I'm not always the best at seeing all my options though, so it's awesome to hear what others' perspectives are!

coachese

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2015, 03:45:07 PM »
How does one go about obtaining a job which has an income large enough to save for early retirement?

Join a union apprenticeship - electrician, welder, diesel mechanic, etc.

Not only will they pay you to learn a new job, you get full benefits and a tidy pension all while making really good money.

abhe8

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2015, 03:52:10 PM »
How about a matters in social work?  lots of job options in a hospital setting, 8 to 5 or weekends if you want. Pay is much better then what you have now.

whydavid

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2015, 04:04:05 PM »
How about a matters in social work?  lots of job options in a hospital setting, 8 to 5 or weekends if you want. Pay is much better then what you have now.

This.  You might look into becoming a Child Life Specialist.  Pay is better and you would probably find it very rewarding.

possumjaw

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2015, 04:31:28 PM »
From friends, have heard trade school and getting into jobs from there is pretty well-set-up, financially-wise.

Child Life Specialist??  Interesting...Do you know roughly how much income a job such as that would bring?  I could just google rough estimates, but I don't trust those that much...

Thanks, folks!

arebelspy

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2015, 04:42:05 PM »
We need teachers.  It doesn't pay much, but it'd at least double what you get now...   :)
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
I (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.

whydavid

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2015, 04:57:51 PM »
From friends, have heard trade school and getting into jobs from there is pretty well-set-up, financially-wise.

Child Life Specialist??  Interesting...Do you know roughly how much income a job such as that would bring?  I could just google rough estimates, but I don't trust those that much...

Thanks, folks!

We pay $35k-$65k where I work, DOE.  This is a lower cost-of-living area, so your mileage may vary.  The only qualification I see on our posting that you don't have would be a 480 hour child life internship.  I'm not totally sure where those are offered, but we've got dozens of these folks on staff so they are obviously offered somewhere.  I always thought this was such an interesting job.

If there is a children's hospital in your area, that would probably be a good place to meet some folks in the field.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2015, 05:39:09 PM »
Nursing seems like a good fit. Is that an option, or too science-y (or too icky)? I know a couple of psych nurses who chose that job because it's portable, the pay is decent, and you don't get peed/puked/bled on as much as other nurses (though it does happen). You would definitely be around a lot of weird people, though.

Pigeon

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2015, 05:55:28 PM »
You might find the Occupational Outlook Handbook helpful.

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/a-z-index.htm

civil

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2015, 06:23:46 PM »

Cons:  While I am fairly skilled in a number of areas, I am not good with small details and hard-sciency-type-stuff.  Example, in math, I am excellent at abstract calculus, but I frequently mistip servers at restaurants, and I have to tape my phone number to the back of my phone to remember it. 

Have you considered re-training in math?? You sound like my co-workers. They mostly have PhDs in areas of math I've never heard of, and am still not convinced exist. (Actually, one has a PhD in philosophy, so I try not to raise the "is math just made up" question often.) Anyway, many of these brilliant people cannot do simple arithmetic to save their lives. As one said, "I think I could pay my bills easier if the math was in letters."

They have federal jobs that, after much wailing / gnashing of teeth / brilliant mathematicians quitting, now pay >$50k for a bachelors degree, $70k for a masters, and $100k for a PhD in the DC area. The feds are fairly PTSD-friendly (we deal with veterans and eccentric mathematicians) and the schedule is fairly flexible, since super-introverts don't really plan around meetings.

expatartist

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2015, 06:29:43 PM »
If you're interested in living abroad again, working with special needs kids could be a great way to do it. International schools can allow you to save a good portion of your salary and provide housing, healthcare, tickets home, etc. In the Middle East and East Asia it's (relatively) easy to save 2k-4k+/month depending on where you end up.

There's a huge need for people who can work in Special Ed. Colleagues recently transferred to Hong Kong mid-contract so their young son could get support for his autism, there simply aren't enough trained people here.

mr threelittlebirds

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2015, 06:30:18 PM »
I agree with looking into Masters in Social work.  It should only be about 2 years full-time or 3-4 part-time depending on program.  You might be able to find a non-profit that will pay for you to go back to school.  I have a Bachelors in psychology and frankly it was useless in getting a job.  You can get a license when a degree in social work and I found it to be a broader range of jobs.  You can work with children, elderly, mental health population, low-income or community agencies, hospitals, VA, etc.  Though I enjoy my work it does not pay well compared to other master level graduates (or even bachelors when you consider nursing, engineering, computer science stuff).  I think the range for masters in social work is $35,000 (Community not-for profit) to $55,000 (working in healthcare or private practice) in my area. 

Seems like you have the decreasing-your-spending part down, now just to find a better paying job! Good Luck!

possumjaw

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2015, 05:11:29 AM »
It's early, and I need to go to work--can't reply right now...but THANKS!!!  These are all awesome ideas!  ..........or maybe I go run off and live my (not-actually-that-great) pipe-dreams of either owning a goat farm or becoming a big-rig-driver...hahaha.  My dad almost taught me to double-clutch, but the city wouldn't allow him to borrow one of their garbage trucks...

-pj

thd7t

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2015, 07:05:47 AM »
Given your low cost of living, you might do really well with a side gig.  It wouldn't have to be something you're serious about.  A couple thousand dollars a year would mean a lot at the rate that you spend.

rubybeth

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2015, 07:17:22 AM »
Have you considered getting a master's degree in your current field, which would be higher level work and pay to go with it? Maybe not social work, but become a therapist or counselor who works with young people (my DH is getting his LMFT--licensed marriage and family therapist, but a similar designation in other states is LPC or LPCC--licensed professional counselor or licensed professional clinical counselor). You could work in a hospital or clinic, even a non-profit or not-for-profit org. with one of these degrees, but make significantly more money.

rubybeth

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2015, 07:19:35 AM »
Jobs that pay really well tend to be difficult and stressful. That's why they pay well. There's no magic here. If you want more money, get into something that pays well - whether you "enjoy" it is secondary. Or, have an enjoyable job and make less money. It's really that simple.
I know I'm going to get flamed for saying that, and there are always some lucky, anectodal exceptions to the rule, but it really is that simple for 90% of us.

I know plenty of people who work basically 9-5 jobs for 50-60k. Now, those people have STEM degrees...

Oh, and I work a 9-5 (actually 7-3:30 since I choose my hours) for that pay rate. I'm an administrator for a library system, and it's not all that stressful. I have a library science master's degree, but it isn't required for my position, which I enjoy. :)

Canadian Expat

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2015, 02:58:15 PM »
possum, I read my thoughts in your posts. Do you happen to be an INFJ too?

I have opted to do what you don't want to do. Pursue the higher paying STEM field where I currently work. I get dressed up everyday, and pretend to be interested. When really I'm itching to near FI so I can switch careers and work for non-profits. I yearn to align my work with my values.

If you want to earn more, you could probably tie your current experience to something in the medical/pharma/biotech field. Or to patient advocacy groups (PAGs) that work closely with these fields/are funded by them. Sounds like there could be lots for you to contribute here, especially to the PAGs.

Good luck!

Rika Non

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2015, 05:56:15 PM »
For all the people touting higher degrees in STEM.

Case in point, I have a MS in a STEM field and am well paid.  But on the other hand, my SO who has a 2 year techncial degree from a local community college but worked his way up in a skilled trade type position makes about 25% more than I do.

The downside is the travel for him, but he works less total hours than I do per year also.
STEM is great for people with the engineering / math aptitudes, but it's not the end all be all.

And I do agree, the higher pay you chase the more baggage that comes with it in either workplace potential danger or stress.

DA

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2015, 07:08:30 PM »
Become the first lady plumber in your area. After you retire/achieve FI, you can volunteer to help the autistic or whoever else strikes your fancy.

possumjaw

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2015, 08:58:46 PM »
Thanks for the overwhelming replies, everyone! 

I am indeed an INFJ...although from my knowledge (however limited) of personality tests, I find it to be somewhat hooey.  Can be sometimes useful though, and I don't judge if it helps you!

I have considered getting a masters in my field, but that means taking out loans, stress stress stress, and a statistical unlikelihood of a job.  The counseling/psych jobs in my area seem to be like 85% low-paying with a small handful of old-timers who suck up the good money in private practice and run everyone else out.

I do live near a great specifically pediatric hospital, so I may indeed look into the child life deal...I did do a large portion of my research in the area of bioethics during undergrad.

For a while I considered library sciences!  I pretty much lived in a library as a child, but I do know that librarian jobs require expertise in sorting fine amounts of data, as well as catering to local audiences similar to a small bookstore...I eventually decided it wasn't for me...but good to file away as backup.

Finally, love how ya'll assume my gender is female :)  Though, I should become a lady...That would be so lovely/badass...but stressful. 

On other occupations:  I know I'm not addressing a lot of comments...these were all such awesome ideas though, and I appreciate the feedback.

Most of all, I guess I have a better sense that I am indeed still pretty early in my career years, and I do still have many options.  After all, what does "career" mean if not "to go at top speed in a headlong manner."
« Last Edit: March 13, 2015, 09:00:30 PM by possumjaw »

TheGibberingPotato

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2015, 09:38:48 PM »
Psychology seems like a crappy degree to me; I am doubtful of the usefulness of the subject matter, and on top of that the people that tend to have those degree tend to not be the brightest.  I don't mean this to personally insult you; just my perception of hte field, and probably what a lot of people think of it.

I would probably try to train up a new skill.  A lot of people on this forum do very very well with computer programming.  I even know of people that take crash courses (10 week) programs in it, and have landed high paying (70-90k) jobs very fast. 

Psychology degrees probably are in high supply, have little demand, or both.  Programming degrees, and maybe a lot of engineering degrees, are the opposite apparently.

As other people have suggested, another possibility is to learn a trade skill; one that is in high demand, or tends to make a lot of money.

If you really wanted to practice psychology, then it seems the best option is to be the best at what you do and keep pushing. 

Oh, and I disagree with the above poster; do not get a graduate degree in psychology.  That is not going to help your situation.

Hi there, folks!

I am relatively new, and am seeking advice.  This is roughly a case study type situation, but saving is not my issue, so I am not breaking down finances here for brevity's sake, (if that would be helpful, can easily do so).  Here is my question:

How does one go about obtaining a job which has an income large enough to save for early retirement?

My current yearly spending:  about $12,000/year.
My current yearly saving:  about $4,000/year.

I am very frugal.  I grew up sort of "land rich/money poor" and the favorite insult in my house was that someone was "one of those people who squeezes their toothpaste from the middle," as opposed to the end.  I do have a bit of extra in my budget right now, and I am working on cutting that down, but I'm pretty tight. 

I am 24, two years out working, moved out from a bad family situation and straight into any steady job I could find. 

Assets:  Have B.A. in psychology, am currently working as a support person for adults with autism in my area.  I love my work, but the pay is practically nothing, (darn non-profits), and it is somewhat stressful, though is in my field.  I graduated with honors from a reputable state university on full scholarship, debt-free, have work experience in several areas, and am pretty good at most skills.  Have excelled working as:  receptionist in tourist destination hair salon (dealing with large numbers of bride-zillas...think Las Vegas), felling trees by hand to build bridges out of them, doing historical interpretation and archival work for the National Park Service, weaving/spinning by hand and selling crafts, teaching karate classes to small children, and doing psych research studies. 

Cons:  While I am fairly skilled in a number of areas, I am not good with small details and hard-sciency-type-stuff.  Example, in math, I am excellent at abstract calculus, but I frequently mistip servers at restaurants, and I have to tape my phone number to the back of my phone to remember it.  I did data management work for a while and hated it.  I also detest marketing of all sorts and capitalist scams, (yeah, I'm sure there are many die-hard capitalism supporters on this forum...and that is fine...ya'll are entitled to your opinions...and I, mine.  I'm not trying to start beef here with economic system discussion).  I cannot do the dress uber-professional everyday and glad-hand-my-way-to-linear-happiness thing, although I do love connecting people to community resources and do have excellent people skills.  I also have ptsd and am frequently tired/stressed, so most 40hr/week jobs I can do, but some I may not. 

I am having a hard time seeing myself finding a job which would give me the income to save in order to move towards early retirement.  Most jobs seem to be in medicine, marketing/business, hard science, or politics.  I just am not really sure what I could feasibly move towards.  Some of this may just be due to mental health and social work jobs being undervalued, (from my perspective), in our society, but I really don't want to compromise my financial well-being just to pursue a job in a field in which I got a degree.  I do volunteer work in the area of social work in my free time...that is something I can do alongside a job.

Okay, thanks if you've made it through my ramblings.  I appreciate all constructive feedback.  Please let me know if you think I'm missing something.

Best,
-possum
« Last Edit: March 13, 2015, 09:40:36 PM by 17oclockshadow »

Canadian Expat

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2015, 07:11:17 AM »
For all the people touting higher degrees in STEM.

Case in point, I have a MS in a STEM field and am well paid.  But on the other hand, my SO who has a 2 year techncial degree from a local community college but worked his way up in a skilled trade type position makes about 25% more than I do.

STEM is a big, multidisciplinary field. I also work in STEM but don't hold a STEM degree, and so do many of my STEM colleagues.

What I meant was that if someone wants to work in the STEM field, they should first try to apply for jobs in those fields and not feel limited by a lack of a STEM degree.

purplish

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2015, 07:42:43 AM »
Psychology seems like a crappy degree to me; I am doubtful of the usefulness of the subject matter, and on top of that the people that tend to have those degree tend to not be the brightest.  I don't mean this to personally insult you; just my perception of hte field, and probably what a lot of people think of it.

Wow that's offensive. I guess having a Masters or Doctorate means someone's pretty dumb! 

Anyway, as a professional in the field- yeah, to make any kind of money you need a Masters degree. It still doesn't pay lots, however you can move up into management, work at a hospital or at a school. Also having your own private practice I think you can do well, depending on how you market youself. I plan on going that route once I am licensed.

zinnie

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2015, 09:02:53 AM »
Psychology seems like a crappy degree to me; I am doubtful of the usefulness of the subject matter, and on top of that the people that tend to have those degree tend to not be the brightest.  I don't mean this to personally insult you; just my perception of hte field, and probably what a lot of people think of it.

I would probably try to train up a new skill.  A lot of people on this forum do very very well with computer programming.  I even know of people that take crash courses (10 week) programs in it, and have landed high paying (70-90k) jobs very fast. 

Psychology degrees probably are in high supply, have little demand, or both.  Programming degrees, and maybe a lot of engineering degrees, are the opposite apparently.

As other people have suggested, another possibility is to learn a trade skill; one that is in high demand, or tends to make a lot of money.

If you really wanted to practice psychology, then it seems the best option is to be the best at what you do and keep pushing. 

Oh, and I disagree with the above poster; do not get a graduate degree in psychology.  That is not going to help your situation.

Wow. You do know that psychology and social work are completely different fields, right? And that counseling is a different field as well? Within psychology, I assume you are thinking of clinical psychology, i.e. working with clients as a psychologist, which you need much more than a B.A. to practice with. Within the field of psychology are some of the smartest minds of our time working on the latest research. You really think Philip Zimbardo, Elizabeth Loftus, Daniel Kahneman, Jonathan Haight are all "not the brightest"? Understanding how human beings work and why they do the things they do is one of the most relevant things I can think of to be knowledgeable about if you want to work in many areas of society.

Undergrad degrees in psychology actually fare pretty well when you look at unemployment rates among recent graduates. The 2012 Georgetown report that everyone cites on this subject had undergrad psychology or social work degrees at about 7.3% unemployment, with things like architecture (13%), arts (11%), humanities (9.4%), and even business (8.4) and STEM (7.5-8.2%) all higher. Full report: https://www.cgsnet.org/ckfinder/userfiles/files/Unemployment_Final_update1.pdf


Janie

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #33 on: March 14, 2015, 09:17:38 AM »
How many hours are you working? It seems like fewer than 40/week (or you're getting paid less than minimum wage). There's a lot of enthusiasm for STEM here, but there are well compensated jobs in lots of fields.

Aloysius_Poutine

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #34 on: March 14, 2015, 09:18:33 AM »
Being an accountant is a pretty good gig. If you already have a degree you could easily pick up some accounting courses via correspondence and work towards getting a CPA designation. The pay is generally in the range of good to excellent, and you get a lot of career flexibility. You can work in public accounting doing work for small to medium businesses, or you can work in industry, or you could work at a big firm (which I would hate). Accountants are always in demand. A lot of people I work with are CPA contractors who work a few days a week and play in bands on the side.

As for the actual work, well there is a steep learning curve, but it's not all that difficult if you like challenging work. It's kind of like coding computers in a way. It's not math heavy like most people think - it's more about organization, communication, and problem solving. You might consider contacting a small accounting firm and asking if you can spend an afternoon there shadowing to get a feel for what the work is like. Accounting has a bad  rap, but it's not as bad as people think. I have always considered myself math-dumb (like you, I cant calculate server's tips in my head), but even that stuff is a skill you can learn. We use calculators for a reason :)

« Last Edit: March 14, 2015, 09:21:59 AM by Aloysius_Poutine »

TheGibberingPotato

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #35 on: March 14, 2015, 10:10:49 AM »
Psychology seems like a crappy degree to me; I am doubtful of the usefulness of the subject matter, and on top of that the people that tend to have those degree tend to not be the brightest.  I don't mean this to personally insult you; just my perception of hte field, and probably what a lot of people think of it.

Wow that's offensive. I guess having a Masters or Doctorate means someone's pretty dumb! 

Anyway, as a professional in the field- yeah, to make any kind of money you need a Masters degree. It still doesn't pay lots, however you can move up into management, work at a hospital or at a school. Also having your own private practice I think you can do well, depending on how you market youself. I plan on going that route once I am licensed.

Yea, it was, sorry about that.

I have not read significant data on the topic of the type of people who go into psychology; that said, my personal observations while in undergraduate education was that it was an 'easier' subject that a lot of people defaulted in when they wanted an easy degree or didn't know what they wanted.  Same thing for sociology.

How long would it take you to get your own practice established?  Would you need to apprentice in an established practice for a couple of years?

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #36 on: March 14, 2015, 04:57:50 PM »
Ooohh, accounting.  Haha.  I really do think it's not as bad as people make it to be.  Had a friend during university who was in accounting, so I draw most of my impressions from that, but I am just not sure it's for me.  And I can't pinpoint precisely why...it is more a gut-feeling.  Perhaps that just means I should go check it out more.  Thanks for the thoughts.

As for work hours:  I try really hard to work just 40.  Usually I work more like 50ish, (at roughly $9.5/hr).  I do get paid 1.5x for overtime hours.  I also am compensated for my gas spent transporting people I support at a reasonable rate which covers me.  I think the main discrepancy you may be seeing is that my income/savings estimates are based off of last year's earnings, which were a bit less than full-time for some of the early spring months, during which I moved from working two part-time jobs to just this one full-time. 

possumjaw

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #37 on: March 14, 2015, 05:00:04 PM »
Also, Canadian Expat, thanks!  That's encouraging.  I have tried to ignore as many job myths as possible, but plunging into applying to jobs without traditionally required degrees is still something of which I'm wary. 

amyable

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2015, 05:22:07 PM »
Have you considered getting a master's degree in your current field, which would be higher level work and pay to go with it? Maybe not social work, but become a therapist or counselor who works with young people (my DH is getting his LMFT--licensed marriage and family therapist, but a similar designation in other states is LPC or LPCC--licensed professional counselor or licensed professional clinical counselor). You could work in a hospital or clinic, even a non-profit or not-for-profit org. with one of these degrees, but make significantly more money.

I'm training for a LPC, but I work as a school counselor--I would advise a MSW above an LPC or master's in counseling because it's typically a more versatile degree / liscense.

I'm basically getting my LPC because I needed a M.A. in School Counseling anyways;  it was only 3 more classes to get the LPC, and I can make about $75 an hour on a side gig I really enjoy when I finish my internship.

use2betrix

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2015, 06:00:22 PM »
For all the people touting higher degrees in STEM.

Case in point, I have a MS in a STEM field and am well paid.  But on the other hand, my SO who has a 2 year techncial degree from a local community college but worked his way up in a skilled trade type position makes about 25% more than I do.

The downside is the travel for him, but he works less total hours than I do per year also.
STEM is great for people with the engineering / math aptitudes, but it's not the end all be all.

And I do agree, the higher pay you chase the more baggage that comes with it in either workplace potential danger or stress.

I agree with the 2 year technical degree portion. However, they do often require actual work and sometimes physically demanding, for those that can cut the initial hard work the long term pay can be far more rewarding.

crispy

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #40 on: March 14, 2015, 06:16:12 PM »
I have a dual degree in sociology and communication.  My last FT position was working as a career counselor at a government agency.  It was basically a case manager position where I helped people put together their résumés, learn how to job search, etc.  Our agency also handled grants that would allow them to get short term training (think basic computer skills or getting a CDL) to help them increase their employability.  It was really a rewarding position and no advanced degree was required.  I left about 9 years ago to become a SAHM, but I was making in the mid-30's then and we are in a LCOL.  My main clientele tended to be older workers who had been downsized, but there are agencies devoted to helping those with disabilities or other employment barriers (like those with addiction issues or a criminal record) gain employment.

I am actually interviewing for a similar position with a non-profit now for a similar position so I know it's still a viable option.  Just another idea to throw in the mix!


mozar

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #41 on: March 14, 2015, 09:38:53 PM »
+1 for accounting. My undergrad is in psychology. When I didn't get into any psychology grad school programs I applied to I decided to switch gears. I got a masters degree at a fancy school when I was 25. It cost me 35k. I'm glad I did it but it is also possible to just take a few online classes and get a job. I work 9-5 year round. I work in Federal Advisory. A couple weeks ago I had to stay about 10 minutes late and I was pretty upset about it.I don't have to think about capitalism at work at all. I rarely do math at work, mostly I do research on accounting laws and write papers about them. I'm 32 and I make 75k. I don't have the cpa certificate.

 I would be making a lot more money than I do but it has taken me awhile to recover from my ptsd. That and graduating in 2008 didn't help. I recently read Feeling Good and that has helped with my ptsd. I also take melatonin at night to help me sleep. I am terrible at entry level math but I have gradually gotten better at it. I still use my calculator to calculate tips though! Whenever I get flack I tell people that because I am an accountant I want the tip to be precise.
Other professions that come to mind: speech pathology, actuary, and recruiting.

Cressida

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #42 on: March 14, 2015, 11:56:12 PM »
I'm kind of surprised that any accountants would recommend an accounting career to a person who specifically in their first post said "I'm not good with small details." "Detail-oriented" is kind of requirement #1 in my opinion. I'm a CPA.

chasesfish

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #43 on: March 15, 2015, 06:46:38 AM »

Given your low cost of living, you might do really well with a side gig.  It wouldn't have to be something you're serious about.  A couple thousand dollars a year would mean a lot at the rate that you spend.

I would recommend this as well.  At 24 it's easy to spend a couple nights a week waiting tables and earn and extra $600 - $1000/mo you can save and invest.  (It may be too much of a capitalist thing to do)

Trade school is dead on, if it's about the money and you're good with math, there are a lot of trades desperate for people.  Lots of manufacturing, electrical  and even welding now requires some high level math skills to run the equipment doing the actual work. 

You mentioned a hair salon in the past, while it goes completely against everyone on this board, if you live in a high income area you can make serious money in that business if you get to the top of your game.  Having a psychology degree would probably be very useful when you have someone in your chair for 30 minutes!

Melody

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #44 on: March 15, 2015, 07:56:22 AM »
The other way to make money quick is to work in a less desirable location ... oil rigs, mine sites, less desirable countries, remote indigenous  communities etc. Not a long term solution but can be a great kick start for a young unattached person. I know 28 year olds who have FIRE'd from working on the rigs. Other than that anything that includes free rent and food can be a win if it pays an acceptable but not great salary it could be possible to save nearly all of that salary (nanny, campground or trailer park manager, bartender in country pub). Again nothing you would want to do forever but could be a good kick start before returning to persue your interests and could be an adventure.

Melody

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #45 on: March 15, 2015, 08:00:00 AM »
Also here (Australia) plembotomists (no idea how to spell it, but the people who do blood tests) get paid super well and its only a 6 week course.

rubybeth

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #46 on: March 15, 2015, 08:18:23 AM »
Have you considered getting a master's degree in your current field, which would be higher level work and pay to go with it? Maybe not social work, but become a therapist or counselor who works with young people (my DH is getting his LMFT--licensed marriage and family therapist, but a similar designation in other states is LPC or LPCC--licensed professional counselor or licensed professional clinical counselor). You could work in a hospital or clinic, even a non-profit or not-for-profit org. with one of these degrees, but make significantly more money.

I'm training for a LPC, but I work as a school counselor--I would advise a MSW above an LPC or master's in counseling because it's typically a more versatile degree / liscense.

I'm basically getting my LPC because I needed a M.A. in School Counseling anyways;  it was only 3 more classes to get the LPC, and I can make about $75 an hour on a side gig I really enjoy when I finish my internship.

Yes, it does seem an MSW is a stronger designation, but at least at our local university, that program required full time student status, and DH wanted to keep his job while going to school part time. The LMFT designation is very strong in our state (Minnesota), so it's worth looking into which degree will allow you the various jobs where you want to live. Almost all of the job postings I see list either MSW, LMFT, LPCC, etc. but it seems a lot of the people out there doing the hiring have the LMFT in our state, so they are more inclined to hire other LMFTs. The education is strongly based in psychology and systems theory, and fits well with my DH's experience working in residential treatment with adolescent clients.

Good luck on your LPC!

Bicycle_B

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #47 on: March 15, 2015, 03:30:03 PM »
Check out those trades!

I'm basing this primarily on:
1) You appear to have strong emotional reactions to every suggestion, but the only all-positive ones are to things like the trades and the big rig
2) The money's not bad - look at the trades section of the "50 jobs for $50,000" posts. 

Maybe you can get a CDL (Commercial Driver's License) and try that big rig out.  I know a truck driver, there's a lot of turnover in that field.  At least you can get in semi-easily (no pun intended...well, semi-intended...anyway...)

Good luck!

DA

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #48 on: March 16, 2015, 08:23:00 AM »
My father is a CPA and I've personally worked in public accounting firms. I agree that accounting can be a good field. I think the option of working at a medium or large public accounting firm for a few years (learning the ropes) and then opening your own practice is a particularly mustachian one. This is especially obtainable if you consider opening a tax preparation practice.

But becoming an actual CPA (as opposed to working in the accounting field) is a big pain in the ass. It takes a large number of accounting courses from accredited colleges, and then you have to take the CPA exam. Not sure you'd see a whole lot of ROI on all this time and money unless you spent a good amount of time in a Big 4 firm earning a decent salary (or you got lucky and your own practice really took off). On the other hand, it could be difficult to attract clients with the CPA designation.

Villanelle

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Re: Obtaining jobs with income large enough to save?
« Reply #49 on: March 16, 2015, 10:33:30 AM »
Thanks for the overwhelming replies, everyone! 

I am indeed an INFJ...although from my knowledge (however limited) of personality tests, I find it to be somewhat hooey.  Can be sometimes useful though, and I don't judge if it helps you!

I have considered getting a masters in my field, but that means taking out loans, stress stress stress, and a statistical unlikelihood of a job.  The counseling/psych jobs in my area seem to be like 85% low-paying with a small handful of old-timers who suck up the good money in private practice and run everyone else out.

I do live near a great specifically pediatric hospital, so I may indeed look into the child life deal...I did do a large portion of my research in the area of bioethics during undergrad.

For a while I considered library sciences!  I pretty much lived in a library as a child, but I do know that librarian jobs require expertise in sorting fine amounts of data, as well as catering to local audiences similar to a small bookstore...I eventually decided it wasn't for me...but good to file away as backup.

Finally, love how ya'll assume my gender is female :)  Though, I should become a lady...That would be so lovely/badass...but stressful. 

On other occupations:  I know I'm not addressing a lot of comments...these were all such awesome ideas though, and I appreciate the feedback.

Most of all, I guess I have a better sense that I am indeed still pretty early in my career years, and I do still have many options.  After all, what does "career" mean if not "to go at top speed in a headlong manner."

I'm half a semester into a Library and Info Science masters, and while that makes me far from an expert, the bolded is not at all true.  There are so many different types of LIS job, many of which don't even take place in a library.  On the I Need a Library Job website, a hiring site for LIS jobs, I recently saw that the San Francisco Ballet was hiring someone to be an archivist for their costumes.  Large companies often hire LIS grad to design databases (the design, not the coding).  Online shopping sites hire LISers to figure out the most user friendly Information Retrieval System.  There are all sorts of jobs, not all of which involve much sorting of data at all.

Unrelated, but have you considered tutoring as a side hustle?  You could set your own hours, more or less.  There are even online tutoring services that would do all the marketing and client finding for you, though I assume that means you take home less than you would if you offered private tutoring. 

Another option might be to pursue teaching English as a Second Language overseas.  There are tons of companies that hire for this and help with arrangements. 

And yet another option for a side gig would be firing up that loom and selling your craft, and possibly also teaching your craft as well.  Contact local community colleges, craft or yarn stores, and anyone that offered Adult Ed classes in your area To see if they might pay you to teach.  If there is an retirement community (not assisted living, just a 55+ neighborhood) in your area, they might bring you in to teach as well.