Author Topic: Seeking Employment/Life Advice from Brilliant Mustachians  (Read 2656 times)

pbnjpeg

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Seeking Employment/Life Advice from Brilliant Mustachians
« on: October 02, 2017, 10:38:36 AM »
Hello handsome, kind, rugged, beautiful, intelligent, influential, rich people,

I made a post a couple months ago asking for advice regarding a move from my hometown (Atlanta) to Denver that I have coming up. Anyway, the move is rapidly approaching (within the next 6 months or so) and so now I have some employment questions that I hope you guys can help me out with.

I currently work for Starbucks. Which, while it doesn't sound like a great job on the surface, is a job that has treated me quite well for five years. They offer a relatively new benefit called the Starbucks College Achievement Plan (SCAP), where they reimburse you fully for any tuition costs you incur while getting an online degree through Arizona State University, provided you pass all your courses. Anyway, the second I heard about this benefit I pounced on it and I recently completed all my coursework with a 4.22 GPA and have a shiny, new Liberal Studies degree (not an engineering or computer science degree, I know, I'm sorry) and zero student loans. I plan to use my job at Starbucks to get a transfer to the Denver area, but then my task becomes to find better, more fulfilling, more world-saving employment.

A bit about me: I'm 28, male, an introvert with social skills, approximately 785 credit score, currently have about $35k split between an employer 401(k), Roth IRA, and individual taxable index fund holdings, plus about $5k in an emergency fund. Pretty basic and unimpressive, but I'm proud of what I've accomplished working near minimum wage. I guess I'm a fairly typical Mustachian as far as lifestyle optimization goes.

But I need a better job and my plan is to get one. I really should have done research before getting this degree, but what's past is prologue. What kind of work would such a degree make me eligible for? I know it's a very general degree, but that generality must come with some benefits. I ideally want to do something that will help people (non-profit, social work, etc.) or help the environment (I've heard Denver is a big hub for the solar industry), and I've always been interested in learning some sort of trade skill. Where can I start looking once I've settled in my new home? Is anyone familiar with the Denver job market? Any tips on how to get into any of the jobs/industries I mentioned? Any general tips on what to do with a Liberal Studies degree? Suggestions for possible fallback careers, etc., or just general job-hunting advice. Anything will be better than Starbucks or waiting tables.

Thank you guys so much in advance for being so awesome.

mozar

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Re: Seeking Employment/Life Advice from Brilliant Mustachians
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2017, 06:10:40 PM »
Look at craigslist for jobs, you can also look up temp agencies and start there.

Quote
What kind of work would such a degree make me eligible for?

Nothing probably. A general bachelor's degree doesn't set you up on a particular path. Criminology, business, accounting, sports medicine...those are the types of bachelor's degree that put you on a particular path. And most employers don't consider an online degree a "real degree" but of course your company isn't going to tell you that.
The good news is that you are not in debt.

If you are interested in the solar industry start googling things like "work in the solar industry." You need to narrow your focus first and then come back with more questions.

EarthSurfer

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Re: Seeking Employment/Life Advice from Brilliant Mustachians
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2017, 06:34:15 PM »
Lipoleumhat, there are lots of opportunities in Denver at present since the unemployment rate is effectively 0% for those who wish to work. The issue with a 'liberal studies' degree is you can learn to do most anything (non-tech), but probably have no specific skills that would qualify you for a specific job.

Hopefully, you can find a way to use your *$ experience as leverage for another position, and avoid the truly entry-level positions that would cause you to have lower pay and benefits than your current position.

My Ex got a great start as an installer with Elon's solar company, and has progressed up to a team lead / manager with almost double his starting hourly rate. The benefits are solid, and the work can be a bit exhausting during the temperature extremes along the Front Range.


YoungInvestor

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Re: Seeking Employment/Life Advice from Brilliant Mustachians
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2017, 07:49:25 PM »
GPA is solid, but liberal arts are what they are. Couldn't you use the same benefit to get a degree in something that will offer better options?

chasesfish

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Re: Seeking Employment/Life Advice from Brilliant Mustachians
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2017, 05:13:01 AM »
What do you enjoy doing every day?  The good news is you're with a nice company and making good money.  Is there a reason Starbucks/You haven't been interested in store management?

If you can live on $40,000 and have a college degree, your opportunities are endless.  Your challenge is finding the right company/industry that you enjoy and has the upside of earning $100,000+

I have this belief about human capital - There's really only three things that make you immensely valuable to an employer:

- Marketable Skill(s) (Computer Science, Engineering, Accounting, HVAC Technichian/Home Trades, Mechanic)
- The ability to lead and inspire people
- The ability to present/sell/speak publically

You need to work on all three to increase your earnings potential.   Most people lean heavily towards one then hone the other skills over time.   

Your 28, what industries/businesses/not for profits interest you the most?

pbnjpeg

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Re: Seeking Employment/Life Advice from Brilliant Mustachians
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2017, 09:37:50 AM »
Thanks for the replies so far, guys. To answer a few questions posed so far:

About my degree. I earned the degree online, but no employer will know that. The diploma I received is 100% identical to the diploma earned by anyone taking courses fully on-campus at ASU.

About my degree choice. I realize Liberal Studies was not an incredibly useful choice, but I had lots of arts credit hours from an old music degree I had been working on in my early twenties. Choosing Liberal Studies allowed me to finish my degree in three semesters with my accepted transfer credits, while a specialized degree would have taken me two to three times longer (confirmed by ASU admissions staff). I guess I didn't have the energy to basically start my college studies over from the beginning.

Now about what I'm interested in career-wise, which a lot of you have been asking, sensibly... I'm not sure, and that's kind of the problem. I mentioned a few broad fields I'm interested in, but what are some resources I can use to see what types of jobs in those fields are out there? Are there any sure-fire ways to look up entry-level positions, or ways to research different companies, what they do, what they're looking for in potential hires? Craigslist seems like an obvious choice to troll around, but I can only assume there are countless other resources I don't know about.

I'd also be interested in learning about ways to develop marketable skills/knowledge on my own time. For instance, through Khan academy, but would any employer believe that I had a skill if I don't have any official paperwork to prove it?

Also, I think I'd be a-ok making $40,000 a year, honestly, so this is not me searching for a dream job making $100,000+. Maybe my thoughts on the matter will change, but for now I'm okay keeping my expectations low.

Dee18

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Re: Seeking Employment/Life Advice from Brilliant Mustachians
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2017, 09:57:10 AM »
Be candid about getting your degree online.  You have been living in Georgia and working for SB.  Hence the ASU degree must have been online.  When talking about your degree, go ahead and say that you had many music credits from previous courses.  It makes the choice of major more reasonable.  Your high grade point shows that you did not just do the bare minimum in your coursework.

But now you have to decide what you want to do.  Management at SB?  A job that requires physical effort?  Working outside or working inside? Sales?  The old classic book "What Color is Your Parachute" might help you figure that out. 

sparkytheop

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Re: Seeking Employment/Life Advice from Brilliant Mustachians
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2017, 10:00:56 AM »
If you're interested in skilled labor, see if there is a community college there that offers some type of a renewable energy source.  I went through a program at my local CC that had ties to actual jobs (you could work part time while taking the classes, which were required for the job, and then when you graduated you could officially enter the apprenticeship program.)  It was honestly originally set up as a convoluted way to get some boss's kids hired, but hey, I was able to sneak in there...!

The program has since been re-structured/re-titled as "Renewable Energy", which I believe has similar programs throughout the country (the one I went through was special to my CC, not offered anywhere else.)  Most of the people go go through it end up at wind farms, but there are other options as well, from power generation, to relaying, to power distribution, to dispatchers, etc.  The people I graduated with could pick from three paths when finished, electrical/electronic (which is oddly structured at my employer--have to be an electrician before you can be a tech, and techs get paid more, which is backwards from many industries, where electrical and electronic may never combine much), mechanical, and a similar one.  The next year had more options once another agency signed on to hire students.  Age range was from teens through 50s.

So, there is one area to look into.  A good welder can also make some good money and do a wide variety of jobs.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2017, 10:03:29 AM by sparkytheop »

pbnjpeg

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Re: Seeking Employment/Life Advice from Brilliant Mustachians
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2017, 10:28:32 AM »
Thanks, guys. I'll definitely be sure to check out "What Color is Your Parachute" and look into community colleges.

I'll also take another look at moving up to management at Sbux. Managers seem to get a bad deal in Atlanta, but that may be totally different in the Denver area.

humbleMouse

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Re: Seeking Employment/Life Advice from Brilliant Mustachians
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2017, 10:29:40 AM »
Hey OP, I felt compelled to reply to this thread because I think what other people are saying about your online degree is complete bullshit.

You don't need to be "candid" about your online degree or your music credits.  That's terrible advice.  No employer you want to work for is going to give a shit about the details of your degree.  The degree just gets you thru the hiring process and puts you in an interview. 

Like others have said, a liberal arts degree will open doors to pretty much anything you want to get into.  It's up to you to decide what that is.  Find out what you WANT to be doing and start doing the training/things necessary to get there.  For example, find a mentor in that industry and do what they tell you to do.

But again, don't listen to others putting weight on your online degree.  Nobody gives a fuck and there are plenty of highly respected companies hiring workers from other countries with obviously fake degrees....  but that's a whole nother topic.

FLBiker

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Re: Seeking Employment/Life Advice from Brilliant Mustachians
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2017, 12:22:28 PM »
Hey OP, I felt compelled to reply to this thread because I think what other people are saying about your online degree is complete bullshit.

You don't need to be "candid" about your online degree or your music credits.  That's terrible advice.  No employer you want to work for is going to give a shit about the details of your degree.  The degree just gets you thru the hiring process and puts you in an interview. 

Like others have said, a liberal arts degree will open doors to pretty much anything you want to get into.  It's up to you to decide what that is.  Find out what you WANT to be doing and start doing the training/things necessary to get there.  For example, find a mentor in that industry and do what they tell you to do.

But again, don't listen to others putting weight on your online degree.  Nobody gives a fuck and there are plenty of highly respected companies hiring workers from other countries with obviously fake degrees....  but that's a whole nother topic.

+1

I'm in admin in higher ed, and have been on a ton of search committees.  We look askance (some more than others) at degrees from places that are exclusively / primarily online, but degrees from real schools where you do the coursework online are fine.

fluffmuffin

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Re: Seeking Employment/Life Advice from Brilliant Mustachians
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2017, 12:59:42 PM »
Hey OP, I felt compelled to reply to this thread because I think what other people are saying about your online degree is complete bullshit.

You don't need to be "candid" about your online degree or your music credits.  That's terrible advice.  No employer you want to work for is going to give a shit about the details of your degree.  The degree just gets you thru the hiring process and puts you in an interview. 

Like others have said, a liberal arts degree will open doors to pretty much anything you want to get into.  It's up to you to decide what that is.  Find out what you WANT to be doing and start doing the training/things necessary to get there.  For example, find a mentor in that industry and do what they tell you to do.

But again, don't listen to others putting weight on your online degree.  Nobody gives a fuck and there are plenty of highly respected companies hiring workers from other countries with obviously fake degrees....  but that's a whole nother topic.

Agreed.

I can't comment on the trade side of your interests, but if you want to work in social services or a helping profession, I'd suggest googling around to see what kinds of community, nonprofit, and governmental organizations in Boulder are working on the types of programming you're most interested in. A lot of them will have entry-level positions that a liberal arts degree qualifies you for. The pay and benefits are likely to suck, and you may still have to work some hours at Sbux for extra money and health insurance, but it will get you a foot in the door and your first professional experience. AmeriCorps could also be an option for you (especially if you're interested in grad school--their educational benefits are nothing to sneeze at). You're unlikely to ever make big bucks going this route, but the world needs social workers and WIC administrators as much as it needs heritage carpenters.

Miss Tash

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Re: Seeking Employment/Life Advice from Brilliant Mustachians
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2017, 04:03:49 PM »
There's a lot of solar and wind energy work in Denver.  A little north of the city is a Vestas plant that makes turbine blades.  They're always hiring as are a number of smaller solar outfits (Namaste, Golden Solar, etc.).  They have a lot of jobs for solar engineers but also for site surveyors and jobs that they'll train you to do.   Right now all the insurance and storm restoration places are hiring; almost no experience necessary as they will train.  However, this is due to a huge hailstorm so might not be sustainable going forward.
We have a couple good community colleges in the area:  Front Range and Red Rocks.  Front Range tends to be geared more toward the trades: welding, CNC programming, etc.  While Red Rocks offers more college prep courses but also has woodworking and furniture making courses. 
I would noodle around on Indeed.com using whatever key words interest you.  I'll echo previous posters in saying that Denver/Boulder/Fort Collins is hiring.  Help wanted signs are everywhere and my friends in remodeling/construction can't find reliable help anywhere.  Best of luck.

Hargrove

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Re: Seeking Employment/Life Advice from Brilliant Mustachians
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2017, 08:08:41 PM »
Degrees without obvious career paths do not open doors. What they do is prevent doors from being slammed shut on you. You still have to figure out what doorways you want to walk through.

Google aptitude tests. You'll get results you probably already know about yourself, but maybe not. Think about workplace environments you enjoy (clerical/active, autonomous/supervised, managerial/subordinate, employed/entrepreneurial). Find basically anything at all you're interested in. Narrow it to 1-3 jobs and look for those specific jobs (your search will dramatically improve with more narrow results because you'll find more useful and specific jobs). Try to get work there or figure out how to get a cert, like CPA training, that opens a new door. If you do the entry level for a while at many jobs, you'll usually find the next tier requires a degree.

I knew a retail beer guy who got in distribution management with only a few years' experience and a music degree. Silly as it seems sometimes, no candidate without that degree was considered.

I guess my point is that you can't expect your degree to give you clues to what's next - it's not the sort that does that.