What has changed that would make you interested in pursuing a different path given the opportunity to do it over again?
Less parental responsibility and child training, less creative freedom, tons more paperwork (that does not affect or improve the quality of education, but greatly increases teacher workload), shift in staff work ethic generally (maybe a Gen Y/cultural shift), many people use teaching as a second household income rather than as a profession - less invested in what they are doing, many more seriously troubled children in regularly classes with less support staff, crowded classrooms...
This is a general shift country-wide - obviously some work situations are better than others, but as a profession, there have been some broad changes which are deeply impacting the ability to effectively teach and find satisfaction in work. I am considering ESL or adult education, providing parent education courses which would impact student success in school, or research/embarking on a pilot project in an area where they would consider alternatives because other strategies are not working with that demographic.
I get to research a lot in my job. My Tritype is 514, which coincidentally is "The Researcher". But I'm bored out of my mind because as an INTJ I don't get to use most of that. I am currently trying to move to another section that seems to interest me.
My dear, I have no degree. I have no job, either. I was a SAHM for many long years, got divorced, and had to find a way to make a living to support myself and my kids. I'm one of those infamous poor people hard at work milking the system. It's paying off, too. I'll be done with school next May and already going on to UW to finish up with a bachelor's in health informatics. I really want to go into telemedicine...really bad. But I think some personal issues are going to limit my horizons to abstracting registries. That's okay because I can work from home doing this.
If I had it over, I would have stayed my tail in school and finished getting my degree in cytogenetics instead of staying at home with my child to please my ex. Even now, I wish I could do epidemiology but there are life choices and circumstances that limit possibilities. It pinches to know that I've (foolishly) thrown so much away but I'm too pragmatic to cry over that for long.
I took a more roundabout path toward a career planted in the softer sciences, mostly with a psychology and ethics flavor.
My first degrees were technical (engineering), which provided me with a contingency plan and a lucrative start after graduation. I did essentially what I thought I had to do to get ahead, and the work made me want to stab myself through the eye.
My terminal degree places me squarely in those soft sciences, though. It took a while to break into the subject domain that I really wanted to study, but I wound up with a well-rounded, versatile skillset and resume. Can't complain.
Most of those I work with have all of their degrees in the soft sciences. But if I had to do it all over again, I'd take exactly the same path that I took the first time around. Though, it would've been nice to have my future self's reassurance that my current field was actually viable--it would have helped me keep the end in sight and would've made the more soulless work significantly more bearable.
I have 3 degrees, two in social sciences and one in languages (of the delightfully foreign variety... yay for spanish!) and though they have absolutely nothing to do with my job I DO use the mindset that you get from studying social sciences at work all of the fucking time... observation of how things work and experiments in tweaking things to see how to get better results... and keeping stats on it ... mmmm... stats
I use spanish primarily for what all white people fear that spanish speakers are up to... gossipping about mean people when they're present
and though the degrees have nothing directly to do with what I do, I have to have a bachelors... any bachelors will do... in order to work my way higher in the company
Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom? -Terry Pratchett
I don't see how corporate values come into it if you are making your coworkers lives easier and sending the best product you can to the customer.
It's not like the company is forcing you to waterboard Somali children or anything. Working for a company is something to be proud of.
They saw enough value in your skills to choose you over everyone else for your job, and you in turn have improved the products they produce and made it easier for your coworkers to produce them.
You do make a difference. A business difference, a difference in the marketplace. Maybe not a "We are the world" let's all hold hands and save a tree difference, but a difference that can quantified in the betterment of your coworkers and customers' lives.
And that is something to be proud of no matter how you look at it.
I do get positive things out of my job, but the mismatch of values definitely wears on me (I could be more specific in PMs, but I bet you wouldn't be shocked at the specifics). It's partially an Fi thing, I think. I've talked to another INFP at work who has similar reservations.
Given what you've learned since you've been out of school and working, has your Major/Career choice been worth it?
So far? Yeah. I'm right where I want to be doing things I want to do. I haven't graduated yet from nursing, but my career that just ended with the military was a good 8 years long. I liked what I did, I got a ton of experience in the world and in my job, and I feel able to handle anything civilian life throws at me. I got in when it was most beneficial, and I got out right before it stopped being beneficial to my life. I really cannot complain at all.
And school has been absolutely worth the effort. Every bit of it has helped so much.
I think nursing counts as soft science... Anyways, I have friends in English majors being teachers in debt to their eyeballs happy with their lives and careers. Same with art teaching. Neither of them have regrets about the path they chose despite the debt and little pay.
Kantgirl: Just say "I'm feminine and I'll punch anyone who says otherwise!"
Halla74: Think your way through the world. Feel your way through life.
Cimarron: maybe Prpl will be your girl-bud
prplchknz: i don't like it
Given what you've learned since you've been out of school and working, has your Major/Career choice been worth it?
Yes, absolutely - I have no regrets whatsoever.
My undergraduate degree is a B.S. in Management Information Systems (MIS).
Initially I pursued a B.S. in Biology, but switched majors at the end of my junior year.
The reason I think a MIS degree is a good bet for anyone is as follows.
Like any degree, the first 60 hours are the same, essentially what constitutes an A.A. at most community colleges - or "general education requirements" at 4-year universities.
The MIS major (~60 hours) is most easily defined as follows:
--> (~40%) Like any degree from a university's college of business there are core requirements (accounting, finance, marketing, management, business law, etc)
--> (~60%) Core classes specific to application of computer science toward solving business problems (Systems analysis & design, telecommunications, relational database theory, COBOL, C, C++, Visual Basic, Java, Website administration, etc.)
POTENTIAL CAREER PATHS:
Most people who get a MIS degree wind up working in the IT (information technology) industry in some capacity.
Here's what I really like about MIS/IT - The beauty of IT is that it truly takes every skill set imaginable to successfully pull off (and do it well) all phases of the systems development life cycle (planning, analysis, design, build, test, implement, and support).
You need "people people" (artisans!), you need techies (rationals!), you need regimented administrators (guardians!) and you also need intuitive dreamers (idylllics!) to help people strive for the perfect "big blue sky" solution that does everything their clients could ever need it to.
It doesn't matter if you're a writer, a mathematician, a coach & referee, or a visionary - if you have mastery of the core MIS skillset, then you have a place in the IT industry.
You will have a well paying job with fairly good job security, you can work in a myriad of industries, and you have a lot of flexibility and upward mobility if you work hard, be open minded and keep learning.
REFLECTING on MY CAREER THUS FAR:
I began working for a software company that specialized in development of document imaging, records management, and workflow applications (client server and web-based).
After about a decade I had my fill of "pure" software development & integration projects and jumped into the health care industry largely by happenchance.
I was recruited as a project manager by the Florida Medicaid program for their statewide health care reform project.
It was an epic crash course of a career change; I went from being one of the better versed people in the room to a complete newbie overnight.
But, one thing you learn as a techie, is to figure things out - so being dropped into a whole new world in an industry you have little to no experience in and having to produce quickly is par for the course.
After 6 years I realized that my public sector health care experience complimented my MIS background and that I had new options in the private sector.
Now I work for a private sector health insurer.
Currently I'm a technical lead for IT implementations.
When a health plan needs to be setup in a new state, or a new type of coverage is being offered in an existing market I'm responsible for making sure that systems, databases, portals and interfaces satisfy the needs of all stakeholders (customers, co-workers, company, and citizens).
My projects are fast paced, they are complicated, and they are typically high pressure - but that's the type of environment where I am truly at my best, so I love it.
My first job in the IT industry was as an entry level technician, but each year I acquired new skills (technical writer, instructor, developer, business analyst, project manager, etc.) I took on new roles, learned more and ultimately made more money.
Yes, it took me some time to find my niche in my career - but I can honestly say that I have never been bored, and I've learned so many things that I never thought I would be exposed to as part of any career in a traditional industry.
However, the biggest win for me was finding jobs/projects that allowed me to use my natural skills along with my career experience as a techie.
My advice to anyone is to know yourself, understand your natural skills, and capitalize on your strengths.
I found these things out along the way; save yourself some time and don't be like me!
Figure out which job types (project coordinator, field technician, network engineer, database administrator, developer, business analyst, or project manager) will allow you to utilize your natural strengths. Tinker with technological tools to solve problems, build a website for fun, just explore and have fun with any tools you have access to - so much amazing stuff is free to use nowadays, it's unbelievable!
Then, get a job, any IT job you can, and try to get onboard with a good company - one known for the quality of its work, and for treating their people well.
If you can do that then you will have more room to grow an amazing career in less time than you ever imagined.