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  #1  
Old 07-07-2010, 05:23 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is online now
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How do you find a job outside of your field of study

I am under the impression that millions find jobs that have nothing to do with their degree and that still offer some job satisfaction, security and potential for a better life. There are tons of people who studied history, poly science, english, etc. and many of them ended up doing ok. I am also under the impression that their 4 year degrees actually offered them something in the job market, even if the field they ended up working in had nothing to do with what they studied (largely due to the transferable skills you gain in college).

So what do they do? Do you end up in white collar jobs? Is that the main direction people with degrees who cannot find work in their field end up doing because the skills they gained in college (typing, meeting deadlines, working in groups, etc) come in handy for white collar work?

There has to be an area between finding a job in your field vs. working in low wage, part time, no room for advancement service sector work.

That is what I am tripped up on. I feel my only two options are work in my field of study (which I like, but the jobs really aren't there right now. However right now I am luckily working part time in my field. But a full time job with a future or benefits is elusive) or low wage service sector work where I never needed a degree to begin with.

So how do you find job fields that offer decent standards of living where a BA or BS matters or makes a difference, even if it isn't directly related to the job at hand?

Last edited by Wesley Clark; 07-07-2010 at 05:24 PM..
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  #2  
Old 07-07-2010, 06:06 PM
Hello Again Hello Again is online now
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Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
I am under the impression that millions find jobs that have nothing to do with their degree and that still offer some job satisfaction, security and potential for a better life. There are tons of people who studied history, poly science, english, etc. and many of them ended up doing ok. I am also under the impression that their 4 year degrees actually offered them something in the job market, even if the field they ended up working in had nothing to do with what they studied (largely due to the transferable skills you gain in college).

So what do they do? Do you end up in white collar jobs? Is that the main direction people with degrees who cannot find work in their field end up doing because the skills they gained in college (typing, meeting deadlines, working in groups, etc) come in handy for white collar work?

There has to be an area between finding a job in your field vs. working in low wage, part time, no room for advancement service sector work.

That is what I am tripped up on. I feel my only two options are work in my field of study (which I like, but the jobs really aren't there right now. However right now I am luckily working part time in my field. But a full time job with a future or benefits is elusive) or low wage service sector work where I never needed a degree to begin with.

So how do you find job fields that offer decent standards of living where a BA or BS matters or makes a difference, even if it isn't directly related to the job at hand?
I can't really say for others, but for me it was a little thing called "working your way up." Most companies hire current employees preferentially to outside people. I started as a customer service rep; 8 years later I was a marketing copywriter covering genre fiction across 2 large national bookstore chains. My supervisor also worked with me in customer service; previously she had been a manager at oneof the chain's retail stores (among other places, in Anchorage Alaska!)

There were a lot of steps along that path - but the most important thing I did was identify WHO I wanted to work for within the company, rather than WHAT I wanted to do. That's because IMHO there are no bad jobs; only bad bosses. Our whole team traveled with my first boss as he rose and became ultmately, VP of marketing.

I wasn't dead set on a field or even one specific type of work. For example I would have liked to try being a buyer, but that opportunity just didn't come along. Oh well.

I have a BA in Anthropology.

Now I also have a JD & I'm an attorney - went back to school at 30.
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:54 PM
Geek Mecha Geek Mecha is offline
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I'd been interested in another field prior to starting college, so I spent all my high school years gaining experience in that field. I took part in everything my school offered that I thought would look good on a future application or resume.

So naturally, my first semester in, I fell in love with something else and majored in that instead. I didn't go go grad school for it, though, and that greatly limits what you can do in that field.

I wound up using the experience I'd accumulated in my first interest to apply for an entry-level/degree required position at my current employer. I found out about the place from my friend/roommate, who heard about it from his friend, who also worked there. From that entry-level position, I've since changed departments, and thanks to a few technologies and trends, my job has expanded and evolved. I do nothing related to either my first area of interest or my major, and am only peripherally involved with what I was first hired to do here.

I still think I did the right thing changing majors, I still love the field I did major in, I don't regret not having gone to grad school, and I'm fairly stable and mostly content where I am, so I'm happy with the way it worked out.
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:50 PM
dalej42 dalej42 is offline
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I work at a brokerage firm.

We strongly prefer hiring people who have a degree. However, what field of study doesn't matter.

Someone who has shown that they can study and pass difficult tests is likely to pass the Series 7 and 63 exams.
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:01 PM
anu-la1979 anu-la1979 is offline
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Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
I am under the impression that millions find jobs that have nothing to do with their degree and that still offer some job satisfaction, security and potential for a better life. There are tons of people who studied history, poly science, english, etc. and many of them ended up doing ok. I am also under the impression that their 4 year degrees actually offered them something in the job market, even if the field they ended up working in had nothing to do with what they studied (largely due to the transferable skills you gain in college).

So what do they do? Do you end up in white collar jobs? Is that the main direction people with degrees who cannot find work in their field end up doing because the skills they gained in college (typing, meeting deadlines, working in groups, etc) come in handy for white collar work?

There has to be an area between finding a job in your field vs. working in low wage, part time, no room for advancement service sector work.

That is what I am tripped up on. I feel my only two options are work in my field of study (which I like, but the jobs really aren't there right now. However right now I am luckily working part time in my field. But a full time job with a future or benefits is elusive) or low wage service sector work where I never needed a degree to begin with.

So how do you find job fields that offer decent standards of living where a BA or BS matters or makes a difference, even if it isn't directly related to the job at hand?
I've definitely seen people do it. They almost always fall into the following groups.

1) Take extremely low paying and extremely entry level job and work their way up (Staff Ass in DC, more or less admin in "sexy" professions like advertising etc.)

2) Go to a really prestigious undergrad, get good grades (not all that hard unless you're some place like MIT or CalTech or majoring in Math) and take a certain number of quantitative courses even if they pursue a non-quant major. (my friends who were Wall Street analysts do have degrees in things like English and history)

3) Network ass off (alumni, parents' friends, lawn furniture) to get entry level job and move up from there.

I also think there's some luck involved in being in the right place at the right time.

Last edited by anu-la1979; 07-07-2010 at 08:05 PM..
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  #6  
Old 07-07-2010, 08:13 PM
sahar sahar is offline
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Originally Posted by dalej42 View Post
I work at a brokerage firm.

We strongly prefer hiring people who have a degree. However, what field of study doesn't matter.

Someone who has shown that they can study and pass difficult tests is likely to pass the Series 7 and 63 exams.
Ok. I doubt I could get a job in your firm because I suspect it has to do with money matters which I know nothing about.

But how does this work in general? I've never seen an ad for anything that didn't require specific skills or 5 years experience in that particular line of work. I've never seen an ad looking for "intelligent, educated people needed, degree in anything OK, will train on the job".
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:06 PM
Zago Zago is offline
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I'm dealing with the situation now. I have a BArch degree and have worked as an architect for over 20 years. Over the years I gained experience in so many areas that I thought it would be easy to transfer my skills to another career but I'm not finding that at all. Maybe it's because there are so many applicants in the job pool, maybe it's because I'm over 50, but I'm afraid.
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:30 PM
Zago Zago is offline
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I want to add that in this situation, what I'm doing is networking like hell and constantly writing new 'functional resumes' to address specific job openings. In some cases, you need to take the 'requirements' part of a job listing with a grain of salt. Afterall, they can ask for whatever they want - but you may be able to fill their needs even better than the person who has 'xyz'.

Good luck to you and me both!
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Old 07-08-2010, 05:05 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Originally Posted by sahar View Post
But how does this work in general? I've never seen an ad for anything that didn't require specific skills or 5 years experience in that particular line of work. I've never seen an ad looking for "intelligent, educated people needed, degree in anything OK, will train on the job".
Funny, I have seen them in Spain, France, the UK and the US. It often comes under names such as "the recent graduates program". The catch is that they really want people who are barely old enough to shave.

Last edited by Nava; 07-08-2010 at 05:06 AM..
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:37 AM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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I had an "office gopher" sort of job in college. That turned into a job out of college. That I quit and temped for a while. That turned into a job offer, that got me promotions, that I quit and consulted, which got me a job offer, which got me promotions.

But I've never gotten a job from an ad or off Monster. I've gotten jobs by falling into them.
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:20 AM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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Originally Posted by anu-la1979
2) Go to a really prestigious undergrad, get good grades (not all that hard unless you're some place like MIT or CalTech or majoring in Math) and take a certain number of quantitative courses even if they pursue a non-quant major. (my friends who were Wall Street analysts do have degrees in things like English and history)
Well, if it was that easy to get into Harvard or MIT and get good grades, everyone would do it. But otherwise, yes.



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Originally Posted by sahar View Post
Ok. I doubt I could get a job in your firm because I suspect it has to do with money matters which I know nothing about.

But how does this work in general? I've never seen an ad for anything that didn't require specific skills or 5 years experience in that particular line of work. I've never seen an ad looking for "intelligent, educated people needed, degree in anything OK, will train on the job".
There's usually a shitload of "intelligent, educated people needed, degree in anything OK, will train" jobs on Monster and Careerbuilder. They are usually "churn and burn" jobs for commission sales, "financial advisors" (AKA cold-calling stockbrokers) and multi-tier marketing programs (AKA pyramid schemes).

Different broker firms have different levels of scrutiny, but many of the "Boiler Room" style firms don't really care about your background, other than maybe having a degree. I went on one of those interviews years ago and it was basically like the film. All they really care about is if you can answer a phone and pass the Series 7. They pay you almost nothing until you pass the exam, and then you basically go out and make money on commissions. If you don't make your quotas. they just fire you.

Zago - It's very difficult to change into a completely new career once you have been doing it for 20 years. It's usually better to try and transition it into something related.


The way you find jobs outside your field of study is the same way you find jobs in your field of study. You try to network with people.
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:24 AM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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The old adage of "it's not what you know, it's who you know" tends to hold true in these cases. However, I would add a caveat: it's not what you know, it's what other people think you can do. In the examples above, people worked their way up in a particular company. I really doubt that any of them had degrees in business management. However, they got promoted because enough people thought that they could be good managers.
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:37 AM
SanVito SanVito is offline
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Major national and international corporations have graduate recruitment programmes. They spend a bunch of money and time targeting undergraduates to try and attract the best, regardless of degree. Most colleges in the UK, for example, have this thing called the 'milkround', when employers have a stand at a recruitment fair at colleges up and down the country.

Many of these employers are more interested in your personal skilset/personality/intelligence than your degree subject. For an example, check out Ernst & Young, who specifically state they do NOT recruit on degree subject: http://www.ey.com/eyinsight/index.html
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:10 AM
anu-la1979 anu-la1979 is offline
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Well, if it was that easy to get into Harvard or MIT and get good grades, everyone would do it. But otherwise, yes.
I didn't say it was easy. I said that the people I know who switch fields fall into one of 3 categories. And getting good grades at Harvard really isn't all that hard, they used to be notorious for GPA padding-at MIT it's still pretty difficult. Switching fields is a difficult endeavour to begin with, it's not like there's some easy route you can take to do it.

There's a meme on the Straight Dope that it's better to be a plumber than to get an English degree (even from a prestigious college) because liberal arts degrees don't qualify you for anything corporate. Or, I don't know, maybe it's at the point where any educational opportunity is deemed to be "not worth it".

Personally, I think it depends on what you're combining your fluff degree with and if you're lucky enough to graduate in a good economy. If you have enough math on your transcript and you're at a target school, it's not that hard to get a reasonable job after college even if your major was in something like Philosophy. I feel really bad for the kids graduating from college now because they just had the bad luck to graduate near the bottom of a trough but would have been okay if they'd been a little older. It's exactly what happened to me (mediocre undergrad student, pre dot com bust graduate) and my sister (outstanding undergrad student, post dot com bust graduate).

My personal feeling is that it's harder to switch industries when you're a bit more advanced in your career because nearly every industry seems to enjoy pigeonholing people and they either mass hire really junior people (creating an incoming "class") or selectively hire extremely experienced people and it's hard to sell them on "I'm in the middle, can I be junior again?"
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Old 07-08-2010, 04:56 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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Many of these employers are more interested in your personal skilset/personality/intelligence than your degree subject. For an example, check out Ernst & Young, who specifically state they do NOT recruit on degree subject: http://www.ey.com/eyinsight/index.html
Having been a management consultant most of my career, I can tell you it makes it a lot easier to transition to different corporate careers. But the problem is that they are all different flavors of what I call "Financiaccountechnolawperations". In other words, it doesn't matter if you are doing project finance, implementing SAP systems, forensic accounting, risk management, SOX advisory, actual accounting or corporate law, it's all various flavors of sitting in a cube with a laptop grinding through data and rules to support business decisions (in Powerpoint decks). Doesn't even matter what industry it is.

It isn't like a real career change into something totally different like architecture, nursing, or running a restaurant.




Quote:
Originally Posted by anu-la1979
My personal feeling is that it's harder to switch industries when you're a bit more advanced in your career because nearly every industry seems to enjoy pigeonholing people and they either mass hire really junior people (creating an incoming "class") or selectively hire extremely experienced people and it's hard to sell them on "I'm in the middle, can I be junior again?"

Sure. Case in point, I graduated business school into one of the Big-4 (rhymes with Toilet & Douche) with a class of 20 in my local NYC office and probably 200 in the "National Practice Area". I had a background in Civil Engineering, a few years of IT consulting experience and an MBA which made me eminantly qualified for their "Performance Improvement" practice (they all have stupid names with words like "Advisory" or "Risk" or "Delivery" in their names. Did that for a few years, then moved to a smaller firm's "Litigation and Forensics" practice. Tried "Software License Management" for a bit. Now I'm looking for my next former employer. Maybe something with "Strategy" or "Knowledge" in the title.

Basically it's all just SQL queries, Viso process flows and Powerpoint decks stating very obvious things in the most pompous way possible.
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Old 07-10-2010, 09:29 AM
SanVito SanVito is offline
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Having been a management consultant most of my career, I can tell you it makes it a lot easier to transition to different corporate careers. But the problem is that they are all different flavors of what I call "Financiaccountechnolawperations". In other words, it doesn't matter if you are doing project finance, implementing SAP systems, forensic accounting, risk management, SOX advisory, actual accounting or corporate law, it's all various flavors of sitting in a cube with a laptop grinding through data and rules to support business decisions (in Powerpoint decks). Doesn't even matter what industry it is.

It isn't like a real career change into something totally different like architecture, nursing, or running a restaurant.
Well obviously, but those type of careers require professional training. Many corporate positions will take any degree and train you on the job.

Example: my best friend studied product design, but at the end of her degree decided she didn't want to be a product designer. So she applied for the graduate trainee programme for British Telecom (UK equivalent of AT&T). As is standard on these type of programmes, she spent about two years on secondment to a bunch of different departments, eventually settling in marketing. She's now a group account director for an advertising agency.
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Old 07-10-2010, 11:59 AM
LurkMeister LurkMeister is offline
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But how does this work in general? I've never seen an ad for anything that didn't require specific skills or 5 years experience in that particular line of work. I've never seen an ad looking for "intelligent, educated people needed, degree in anything OK, will train on the job".
I don't think this is still an option, but in my senior year of college I took the Federal Service Entrance Exam (which was shortly thereafter replaced by the PACE) which put me on a notification list for federal jobs nationwide. While some of those jobs required specific skills, many of them only required a college degree and/or a minimum FSEE score. My degree in Theater qualified me for the job I eventually got working for Social Security, where I stayed for thirty years.
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Old 07-10-2010, 12:20 PM
Kyla Kyla is offline
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I have a BA in anthropology. I worked in the financial industry for about five years after college. It wasn't intentional - I needed a job and applied to everything I was remotely qualified for. I ended up being hired as an administrative assistant at a mortgage brokerage, and learned enough to keep getting jobs in the field. I didn't have much work experience when I started, and no one's really out there looking for people with degrees in anthropology.

This would have been awesome except that I hated it and felt trapped because it was the only thing I really knew about. Eventually I quit and went back to school to do a masters degree because it seemed like the only way to do something I actually wanted to do.

YMMV.
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:19 PM
sharding sharding is offline
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Correlation between field of study and career is vastly overrated, IMHO (except for professional degrees like MD, JD, etc., which are truly prerequisites for the job).

I'd also like to point out that for many careers, it's not strictly necessary to have a job in the field to gain experience. Use your free time to become proficient in the skills you need for the job you want. That may mean taking classes at night, it may mean doing personal projects or volunteering somewhere. Yes, it will still be hard to get past the resume screen stage if you don't have previous professional experience. But it's not impossible, and once you're past that first stage, having concrete skills will help a lot (and possibly let you avoid starting at the absolute bottom rung).

More importantly, this kind of preparation helps immensely with networking, which is almost always the best way to find a job. Classes, side projects and volunteer work can help you meet people in the field while simultaneously showing them that you know what you're doing. Additionally, if you meet someone in the field in any context (even if it's standing in line at the grocery store), it's going to be much easier for them to help you if you actually have some relevant skills. Many people are happy to help friends get jobs at their company, but if you don't have the necessary skills, there's not much they can do.

Obviously this all has to be adjusted for the specific field you're considering.
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:29 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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Originally Posted by SanVito View Post
Well obviously, but those type of careers require professional training. Many corporate positions will take any degree and train you on the job.

Example: my best friend studied product design, but at the end of her degree decided she didn't want to be a product designer. So she applied for the graduate trainee programme for British Telecom (UK equivalent of AT&T). As is standard on these type of programmes, she spent about two years on secondment to a bunch of different departments, eventually settling in marketing. She's now a group account director for an advertising agency.
Or more often than not, they will give you zero training beyond a few days of "Here's Why It's Awesome to Work Here!" presentations.

The training program you describe sounds similar to the management training program at GE I applied to after college. Basically, these are highly competetive programs where they take top students and rotate them through different business units or departments over several years.

It sort of seems like the higher up the ladder you go, the less you actually need to know about how stuff gets done. Companies seem to think that for certain positions, it's better to hire "smart" people with good grades from top schools and big name companies on their resume, regardless of the actual work performed or subjects studied.
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Old 07-10-2010, 03:28 PM
kayT kayT is offline
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Many govt. jobs involve taking a test. If you test well, this might be your in. I was over 40 years old and out of work (I have a masters in English; really a useful degree...) when I took a test for a clerical position at a local school district. I spent 15 years in a series of medium-paying jobs at the district (including excellent benefits) and am now retired with a nice pension. All because I take tests well! (It's true that many of these jobs have been eliminated in the poor economy, they do still exist.)
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Old 07-10-2010, 09:31 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
Having been a management consultant most of my career, I can tell you it makes it a lot easier to transition to different corporate careers. But the problem is that they are all different flavors of what I call "Financiaccountechnolawperations". In other words, it doesn't matter if you are doing project finance, implementing SAP systems, forensic accounting, risk management, SOX advisory, actual accounting or corporate law, it's all various flavors of sitting in a cube with a laptop grinding through data and rules to support business decisions (in Powerpoint decks). Doesn't even matter what industry it is.

It isn't like a real career change into something totally different like architecture, nursing, or running a restaurant.

Sure. Case in point, I graduated business school into one of the Big-4 (rhymes with Toilet & Douche) with a class of 20 in my local NYC office and probably 200 in the "National Practice Area". I had a background in Civil Engineering, a few years of IT consulting experience and an MBA which made me eminantly qualified for their "Performance Improvement" practice (they all have stupid names with words like "Advisory" or "Risk" or "Delivery" in their names. Did that for a few years, then moved to a smaller firm's "Litigation and Forensics" practice. Tried "Software License Management" for a bit. Now I'm looking for my next former employer. Maybe something with "Strategy" or "Knowledge" in the title.

Basically it's all just SQL queries, Viso process flows and Powerpoint decks stating very obvious things in the most pompous way possible.
I am with you on that one and I am sick of it as well. All big companies are fundamentally the same. It is just the details that change. That is why comic strips like Dlibert and shows like The Office can have a wide audience and they often aren't that far off. I want out, out, out of the corporate world. I can retire forever before I am 50 and I don't even know if I can make it nearly that long.

I graduated from college at the right time to hit the IT and web boom dead on although my degree was unrelated. They hired most anyone with an interest in it at that point. Lots of people made stupid decisions to go into flashy things like web design or internet startup and the vast majority of them are gone from those days.

I went with the really boring technology like giant databases, spreadsheets, and project management that big companies depend on. I have worked in lots of different industries since then and got laid off from my last job in HR systems management consulting by choice about a year ago. I didn't know what I was going to do but I renewed my resume online in December.

I got a call the next morning basically offering me a job being head of technology for a very famous brand pharmaceutical factory starting the next Monday. How in the fuck am I qualified to hold such a position you might ask? Your guess is as good as mine but apparently I was the most qualified person available that day in the Greater Boston area so there I am and the place stays running the vast majority of the time and everyone has gotten their essential surgeries so far but I am on call almost all the time and it gets used. Sorry kids, I won't be seeing you much for the next few years unless I can find a way out of this trap in general. Love ya.
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:26 PM
dalej42 dalej42 is offline
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Ok. I doubt I could get a job in your firm because I suspect it has to do with money matters which I know nothing about.

But how does this work in general? I've never seen an ad for anything that didn't require specific skills or 5 years experience in that particular line of work. I've never seen an ad looking for "intelligent, educated people needed, degree in anything OK, will train on the job".
Well, if you're interested in the exact job, I'll send you more information.

Here's a sample from the ad. No cold calling or anything like that.

You will be on the “fast-track” to becoming a licensed brokerage representative and will also be responsible for delivering outstanding service to our clients in order to build and maintain client loyalty. Specifically, you will:

Receive paid training (under a Condition of Employment) to acquire the knowledge for, and obtain, Series 7 and 63 broker licenses.

Utilize a passion for customer service, positive energy, and problem solving skills to connect with existing clients via the phone (this is not a face-to-face position)

Discuss financial products with clients, including stocks and options, bonds and fixed income products,, mutual funds, ETFs, CDs & money markets, margin loans, and annuities

Place trades, discuss the latest market trends, and provide investment information to clients to empower them to make well informed financial decisions.
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  #24  
Old 07-10-2010, 10:33 PM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
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My degrees were a start, then I just sort of drifted into other areas, due to the particular sets of circumstances I encountered. Then becoming proficient in those areas led to other things and so on until I ended up completely outside of what I studied.
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Old 07-11-2010, 01:07 AM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is online now
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post

I went with the really boring technology like giant databases, spreadsheets, and project management that big companies depend on. I have worked in lots of different industries since then and got laid off from my last job in HR systems management consulting by choice about a year ago. I didn't know what I was going to do but I renewed my resume online in December.

I got a call the next morning basically offering me a job being head of technology for a very famous brand pharmaceutical factory starting the next Monday. How in the fuck am I qualified to hold such a position you might ask? Your guess is as good as mine but apparently I was the most qualified person available that day in the Greater Boston area so there I am and the place stays running the vast majority of the time and everyone has gotten their essential surgeries so far but I am on call almost all the time and it gets used. Sorry kids, I won't be seeing you much for the next few years unless I can find a way out of this trap in general. Love ya.
If they are hiring chemists and biochemists at the plant in Boston let me know.
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Old 07-11-2010, 06:12 AM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
I graduated from college at the right time to hit the IT and web boom dead on although my degree was unrelated. They hired most anyone with an interest in it at that point. Lots of people made stupid decisions to go into flashy things like web design or internet startup and the vast majority of them are gone from those days.
For a lot of us, I think this was a big part of it. Timing wasn't quite everything for those of us lucky enough to take advantage of the IT Tech Boom, but it was how a lot of us got started. I went from basically a secretary into IT because "I understood computers." From there it was a combination of making choices and falling in directions that have kept me employed and promotable. My husband has a similar career path.

There are not nearly as many of those opportunities as there were, but they exist.

Another thing is flexibility. I got my first IT job because someone needed to run the Netware server.....We needed a database to track PC and software installations, I wrote one (in Paradox - I'm old). When directories became big, I did that. Then we needed someone to do analysis - I became a Six Sigma blackbelt. If I'd moved into IT and said "I do Netware" - I wouldn't be terribly employable right now.
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Old 07-11-2010, 08:18 AM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
I graduated from college at the right time to hit the IT and web boom dead on although my degree was unrelated. They hired most anyone with an interest in it at that point.
That's pretty much how I got into it (around roughly the same time). I didn't care for my original career path of structural engineering and I had an aptitude for computer programming. One of my best friends from high school's roomate worked for a small IT consulting firm and after a few months of networking and interviews, landed a job there. Once I had a little experience on my resume, it became relatively easy to find jobs in that field.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
Lots of people made stupid decisions to go into flashy things like web design or internet startup and the vast majority of them are gone from those days.

In the 90s, that was the field you wanted to be in. People were leaving lucrative jobs at Goldman Sachs to go join internet startups. Everyone thought every tech company was going to be the next Microsoft.
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Old 07-11-2010, 07:30 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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Going back to the OPs question, there are two components to any job - industry and functional area.

Industry is what the company does to make money:
-aviation
-energy
-financial services
-manufacturing
etc, etc

Functional area is your job within the company:
-sales
-finance
-accounting
-law
-IT
-etc

If you are looking to find a career outside your field of study, it's usually better to change either industry or functional area, but not both at the same time.

For example, if you are an IT person in an insurance company, you might want to learn as much about some other area of the business as possible and then talk to people in those groups.
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Old 07-17-2010, 04:18 PM
Zago Zago is offline
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I'm an unemployed architect and the latest news from my professional organization (American Institute of Architects) is forecasting construction to pick up mid 2011! That's right, a year from now!
I'm trying to use all of my 'transferable skills' to land a job in another field but in this market it's hard to sell my skills when there are so many people who have even a little specific experience or who can demonstrate a focus in their studies relating to a particular position. I have done so much as an architect besides designing, documenting and supervising the construction of buildings. I point out my skills in sales/marketing/client relations/research/computer graphics/enviromemntal issues - and on and on, I wore many hats.
It's a tough time to find a job in a field that you either haven't worked in before or don't have the specific degree/training for. Without a contact (why networking is so important) your application may be tossed aside before it's even considered. Cultivate your contacts, know your strengths and be able to articulate how you've applied them in a different field.
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Old 07-17-2010, 04:29 PM
PsyXe PsyXe is offline
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Heh. I have an MA in ancient languages and now I'm a botanical illustrator. I'm even planning on combining the two fields in my doctorate (don't ask). Do you have anything you really enjoy and are good at that you did not use in your degree? Something you used to like when you were a kid and then forgot about? If you're good enough, they won't worry that it isn't what you got the degree in. And msmith537 has a very good point. You can hop to something completely unrelated, if that's what you want, in two steps that way.
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  #31  
Old 07-18-2010, 09:10 AM
Perciful Perciful is offline
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Look for a niche market that has not been hit by the economy. Fake it till you make it. Get references. All hospitals are expanding to ramp up for the aging Baby Boomer's who will soon be spending a lot more time there. Elders are staying in their homes longer and have the money to do so. A profitable market is helping the elderly that no longer drive. Usually 80 and up. They won't take a cab when they can pay by the hour. They all need drivers, landscapers and companions.

Coffee shops are getting to be popular hang outs with expensive veggie sandwiches and strong coffee and laptops to use. The unemployed hang out in them to make contacts. The unemployment rate is rising and the coffee shops are full. A friend recently started one and is doing great with a cheap rent.

As always. It's a good idea to get bonded and insured when doing anything that you could be sued for. Some people are suing for insurance fraud and you can't be too careful.

Think outside the box. If I was your age I would start my own business in a niche market expected to grow. There are segments of the economy that remain strong even during a recession. People still need a place to live, to eat, to get around.

Any type of housing is still going to be necessary. My landlord uses a real estate care company that handles my rental. What a racket! They get your apartment rented, collect rents, paint and get it ready for the next tenant. All phone calls and concerns go to the care company, not the landlord. They pay laborers to do the hard work and sit back and collect the rent. They do the dirty work of handling evictions and any court related paperwork. They charge the landlord and he does not have to worry about his rentals. One thing about my area is as bad as the economy is the rents are stable. They are above inflation and rarely go down only up. There is however a lot of turn over so rental care companies are doing well.

You never make any real money working for someone else unless your a crooked banker. You need to own your own business or real estate to take advantage of every tax write off known to man. Done right you can live almost for free. My Dad amassed a small fortune this way. He wrote it all off and was above board. His way was Real Estate but that is bust now. Just start an LLC and your eligible for all the freebies. Even dying of cancer he was too stubborn to quit. He started a taxi business with one car and he was the driver! I still have a letter written on his old company letter head. My Dad the taxi driver is funny but you would have to know him. He had his foot in everything and was a business major with a state job, buying and selling real estate and retired to start a taxi business! He sold the business three years later as his cancer had progressed.

Sorry so long but I love to remember my father and his entrepreneurial spirit.
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  #32  
Old 07-18-2010, 11:08 AM
China Guy China Guy is offline
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Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 9,384
First, you just have to keep looking and not allow yourself to be typecast. Most HR, job placement type people just want to plug and play. You've been selling widget x for 5 years, I'll try to place you in the same widget x sales job somewhere else. You need to convince them, and usually you can't so you have to find someone with a brain that's in the hiring process, that you have sales skills (not widget x sales skills).

You have to highlight your skills and whatever experience you have that is relevant to the new position/field. Or demonstrate how you can ramp up quickly in the new role.
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