Author Topic: Young Mustachian looking for career advice  (Read 3498 times)

NotAWitch

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Young Mustachian looking for career advice
« on: March 21, 2014, 09:32:02 AM »
Hey guys, I am a young Mustachian looking for career advice.

I graduated with a BS in biochemistry in 2013, and due to crippling depression around the time of graduation, I ended up accepting a low-paying part-time teacher position for the 13-14 school year. My ultimate goal was to go to graduate school in biochemistry, which could possibly lead to a fruitful career, but only after many years of training (at least 5 for graduate school.) I am now considering going back to school for chemical engineering instead, which would lead to (hopefully) an immediate, high-paying career after roughly 2 years of school. The tuition would only be around $6,000 per year, and I would live by Mustachian standards (with my parents) to minimize the lost time and wages. Even if ChemE is not my dream career, I guess I could use it as a starting point and then later study biochemistry if it is really my heartís desire.

Other considered career options included lawyer and computer programmer. I am sufficiently scared away from law school, though, due to the current saturation of the field (50% with no job placement after graduation.) I know that I would have potential with computers, but so far, my only training is a few dozen hours on codeacademy.com, so Iím far from achieving any employability any time soon.

I am set on any geographical location, so that is one variable I have working in my favor.

So, fellow Mustachians, what do you advise?

Frankies Girl

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Re: Young Mustachian looking for career advice
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2014, 09:44:52 AM »
Chemical engineering is a hot field for the oil and gas branch in my neck of the woods (SE Texas). They've been talking about the "big crew change" for years as the older chemist and geologist trained workers are retiring and there just aren't enough young people going into the field, so it is a great time to go into O&G.

You'd probably be moving around a bunch (the big oil companies tend to send their people to the hot U.S. plays and oil developing countries) so if you like travel, that's also a bonus. Pay and benefits should be pretty great, too. The other big hubs for O&G would be Denver/Colorado and Pennsylvania that I know of.

I have no idea what the degree requirements are, so not even sure if you'd have to go back to school if you've already got a biochemistry degree... wouldn't hurt to do some research and see what the job market is like and if it sounds interesting.

nereo

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Re: Young Mustachian looking for career advice
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2014, 09:45:48 AM »
"NotaWitch":  I may be in the minority here, but I'm of the opinion that you should choose a field that you really want to do.  Otherwise you'll get burned out in just a few years, never enjoy your time there and loose a lot of opportunities.

Also, having gone through academia I wouldn't let lower employment in your field scare you off completely.  Sure, take it as a factor, but look at it another way.  If "Profession X" has 50% of its graduates working in that field after graduation, then you just need to make sure you are among the top of your class and you will be picked up.  Good people always get hired.  In whatever field you choose do whatever is needed to maximize your skill set and resume.  Network and pick up internships/part-time work whenever you can and you'll get a leg up on everyone.

Then, you just continue to live the mustachian lifestyle and you'll be free-and-clear in a decade, and you won't have to feel like you had to do something you hated for 8-10 years in order to get there.

good luck!

NotAWitch

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Re: Young Mustachian looking for career advice
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2014, 09:54:26 AM »
@nereo: I don't think that I would "hate" chemical engineering, but it wouldn't be as enjoyable as something more people-oriented (for example, I really like teaching, it's just that the pay is abyssmal.) I totally agree with your advice to not do what you hate! Thanks for your reply!

@Frankie's Girl: I haven't been able to get oil field jobs so far in the oil field with my degree, but that could have been because my depression kept me from really hunting. I think that at least a year of ChemE classes would give me a leg up. Thanks for the pointers!

Frankies Girl

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Re: Young Mustachian looking for career advice
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2014, 10:10:16 AM »
@nereo: I don't think that I would "hate" chemical engineering, but it wouldn't be as enjoyable as something more people-oriented (for example, I really like teaching, it's just that the pay is abyssmal.) I totally agree with your advice to not do what you hate! Thanks for your reply!

@Frankie's Girl: I haven't been able to get oil field jobs so far in the oil field with my degree, but that could have been because my depression kept me from really hunting. I think that at least a year of ChemE classes would give me a leg up. Thanks for the pointers!

Good luck! I hope you're doing better with the depression too.

I would think that if you could find a decently paying (or awesome paying) job in O&G, you could put in some time there for 5-10 years and as long as you were saving and investing at a mustachian rate, you could quit and go back into teaching without worrying too much about the pay.

Quark

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Re: Young Mustachian looking for career advice
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2014, 12:48:19 PM »
Either computer programming or o&g. I work in o&g and just got a new job that pays $100k. I'm only 27, female. I have a bachelor in physics. Engineering pays like 100-200k after a few years easy.

anisotropy

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Re: Young Mustachian looking for career advice
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2014, 12:59:59 PM »
@Quark: is your new position in geophysics?

Here in Canada ChemEngg usually requires a degree in it (you gotta be licensed as an engg to practice), not sure how it works in the States.

Seems to me biochem might be more med/pharmacy related but I am not sure.

phred

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Re: Young Mustachian looking for career advice
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2014, 01:41:57 PM »
Instead of chemical engineering, have you considered biomedical engineering with a concentration in biochemistry?  In any case, try your darndest to get some kind of summer internship in one of these engineering disciplines; get the facts.

I've been at CA and really enjoyed it - had great fun.  I finished HTML, CSS, PHP and Javascript.  I figure what I learned from them is about 10% of what I need to know about PHP and Javascript

Prairie Stash

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Re: Young Mustachian looking for career advice
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2014, 03:21:02 PM »
I majored in Chem. Eng., with a biochem option.

Job options include: oil and gas, environmental, plant or process engineer etc.  I have classmates working on 4 continents (class of 40). Some of us still do engineering, some run facilities, research, teach or do other fun things. 

My point is there's a wide variety of careers with the degree. I agree with nereo, find something you enjoy. Keep in mind there's a lot of options if you work hard. Best advice is to talk to several people with degrees and see if you could handle their life.

ch12

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Re: Young Mustachian looking for career advice
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2014, 05:46:42 PM »

My point is there's a wide variety of careers with the degree. I agree with nereo, find something you enjoy. Keep in mind there's a lot of options if you work hard. Best advice is to talk to several people with degrees and see if you could handle their life.

This. +1

There's absolutely no reason why you can't hunt down people who have taken the paths that you may take and ask them questions about their lives and the choices they've made. A huge reason why I'm not in law school right now involves a brilliant law professor, who encouraged me to go out and get more work experience before going to law school. So I'm getting work experience. Ask.

There's an absolute mint to be made in the American oil industry right now. Just sayin'.