Career advice - pick one?

So, Dopers, I ask that age old question. What should I do for a living? I originally went into teaching, but before I finished my first year of college I hated the way I had to spend my time in a kindergarten classroom (yes, I would even student teach in that room) to be certified to teach grades 7-12. I also wanted to finish my BA because I had a few ideas about what to do regardless of what my BA was in, which included graduate school.

So Dopers, what should I do? I don’t want to be in school for any more than a Master’s once I finish this degree (a BA in English), and I will have a job through the Master’s. I’m not saying that I will pick whatever is mentioned here, I’m just looking for ideas other than education (I was raised in a family of 3 teachers and a nurse - I’m the only career-less one).

So far, these are the things I have considered:

Being a mailman: Pros - outside, exercise at work, job security. Cons - limited job market, work outside in snow and rain.

Working at the library: this was one of my Master’s ideas, an MLS, which I am very interested in. I could work at a college or public library, and do more than just shelve books. The only guy with this degree I know is a director of a county library system in Ohio.

Going into education anyways: not my first choice, but depending on ODE requirements, I would have a job and get to teach kids (this would probably involve ODE alternative license and a M.Ed. - but that is irrelevant.)

So dopers, pick me a career…
I’m looking for anything - suggest what you think might be a fun job, suggest the same thing you do, I just want options…

Brendon Small


I thought I was in IMHO. Sorry MPSIMS - did not mean for this thread to come here.

Would a kindly mod please kick me over to IMHO. Thank you…

I guess my job shouldn’t be remembering what forum I am in, huh?

Brendon Small

Since it is Nurse’s Week…
I’m RN case manager for our county’s preschool/ kindergarten readiness program. I educate parents/grandparents and 3-5 year olds on the same general topics, so I have to present my material on many different levels. Encouraging physical activity, cutting down on sugar and fat, realistic weight expectaions and the importance of dental care are things I teach just about daily. It’s a very different kind of nursing from what I did for years in the hospital as a staff nurse and I really like it.
Getting your RN is great for job diversity. Adrenaline junky? Trauma triage. Like your ducks in a row? Surgery center. Desk job? Evaluate insurance / workman’s comp claims. Rolling stone? Travel nurse. Interesting clients? Psych floor!

You’ve given up your dream of being a filmmaker!? Do Jason and Melissa know!?


Here’s a crazy idea: why don’t you try being a mailman. If you don’t like it, quit and get a job in a library. If you don’t like that, quit. Repeat as necessary.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with trying jobs out and quitting if they aren’t for you. Experience is the best teacher.

You’re doing just the right thing in comparing pros and cons. If you want to consider other options, try brainstorming - for instance, could you find a career that would allow you to combine interests - like teaching library science or being a school librarian?

Barbara Sher’s online free book Wishcraft is a useful tool to help you explore other options.

Man, just today I was driving by a mail truck and I thought “it’d be pretty cool to be a mail carrier.”

I think it’s fate, brendon. You must be a mailman! (if the film thing doesn’t work out.)

Thank so far guys! I’m thinking about the mailman thing a lot. I have been studying for the test and all. Right now, I quit my restaurant work and moved back to my old job at a new company, working for a hotel. I took this one mostly because we plan on moving back toward Athens, Ohio (where my family is from) and I found out that the guy in charge here will transfer me up there when I graduate college, so I will have a full-time, decent paying job at graduation, but no plans for the future, just hourly wage and such, but I am definitely looking into ideas. I had planned on getting a masters, but if I don’t, I’m not too worried about it.

I am sorry about giving up on film, but Jason and Melissa are just not that great…(just kidding, definitely the best responses ever!)

Teaching library science was definitely an option (It was brought up to me from a friend before, he said he wanted to do that before he got into law school.) The education system has kind of failed me - I am just not up to getting through all the license program and all. It doesn’t seem worth it.

Tomorrow - since I’m off work, I’ll talk to my mailman and see what he says.

Brendon Small

Sorry, missed the edit window…

Anyways, about the school librarian thing. I looked into being an Athletic Director at one point, on a recommendation from my father. It is one of those jobs (as is librarian) where you have to have a teaching certificate anyways, or you have to be in the “right district” and know the "right people…

Brendon Small

About the latter; much of the careers literature I’ve read lately has emphasized the shortage of workers in all fields that is about to happen as the boomers retire. It may have been the case before that you had to be in the ‘right’ place, etc. but those things will be changing in the next 5-15 years. In some fields, it’s already begun.

I may have to look into that more. I would love an AD job just because I have helped do all that work before - My dad was good friends with our AD and our school wanted us to have internship hours if we didn’t have enough classes, so I always helped him out with daily tasks.

I will keep my eyes open and my chin up!


brendon, try PM’ing Sampiro? Our Southernest of writers is a librarian!

I heard that piano tuners make good money and it’s very stress-free. You don’t even need to know how to play the piano.

Around here I see lots and lots of airplanes flying, so it might be cool to be a pilot for UPS or one of a million other types of plane jobs.

To me, this is the last thing I’d do - mainly because I don’t want to get a Ph.D. in Library Science.

I do, however, have a Master’s in Information Science (the school changed the name from MLS) and I’m an academic librarian currently in NE Ohio. At this point, if I were you, I’d do those informational interviews - talking to people in the various fields.

In librarianship, this might mean talking to people in school, public and academic libraries as the daily life of a librarian in each of those will be different. In an academic library, I can tell you that teaching is still part of what I do - but it’s teaching the library instruction/information literacy sessions instead of full courses.

Anyway, e-mail me if you have specific questions about librarianship or academic librarians.

I’ve been leaning further away from the library science degree. I think it would be a great job, and I think it would be interesting, but I’m thinking about the masters program. I have helped my mother with her work at Kent State’s program, basically just because she hadn’t been at school in years and needed help adjusting to the distance learning type program. I have emailed the person back home who is a director of a library and does part-time work at a college library. Also, I have started looking more into postal service, as well as other things, such as Fed Ex or UPS. I figure the transition between the three probably isn’t horrible, so if I like the job but can’t do it because of logistics (or some other reason) then I could try to move across from one to the other.

Thanks for all the help everyone! I started this afternoon on making a large list of jobs that interest me (and that are practical in this area) and listing pros, cons, job availability, and education or outside training required. I figure that means me and my wife will get to talk about the list I made when she gets home from work tonight.

Thanks everyone! (I may be sending out PM’s, or emails, asking questions if I think of some specific ones…)

Brendon Small

I’m an archivist, so I’ve gotta choose the library route. There are a lot of different types of libraries and collections out there, so it wouldn’t just be Dewey Decimal/Late Fee-ville, if that’s what you’re afraid of*. It is a pretty competitive field, though, but if you’re flexible and resourceful, you should be able to find a good job with an MLS.
*not that there’s anything wrong with that

I know that there are a lot of types of jobs available with an MLS, but I’m in an area that is slightly different. I thought (when we were looking into moving) that we could go to a larger city, but my wife has her heart set on moving back toward her hometown. I don’t blame her, it’s a nice community, a good school district (in our opinion), and our son can grow up spending time with his extended family, not just his brothers/sisters (if we end up with more than one child).

In a county of 20k people, there is one public library, and the closest college is 35 minutes away - hell, the closest McDonald’s is 30 minutes, Starbucks is at least 40-45. It is a little secluded.

I’ll look in to it some more though. I’m sure I have enough time - I don’t graduate here until spring of 2008 because they are not offering full-time this summer. We’re switching to semesters, which is awkward to switch, and the summer is the “trial run” - they are offering two-three classes in each department only. Kind of slowed my graduation down at least 3-4 months.

Brendon Small

Amen. I have no idea how anybody survived the boredom of getting a Ph.D. in the subject. (Being a librarian can be interesting; library grad school is about as exciting as watching snails contemplate maybe mating.)

The best things about a MLS/MLIS/Whatever the degree is called this week are:

*It’s very portable- public libraries, academic libraries, private companies, media centers, etc…

*Work’s fairly plentiful- I needed to move to Montgomery, AL due to a family emergency, I found a job making the same as I was making before within 2 weeks

*It only takes about a year or two years, depending on whether you do MayMester and summer, to get the degree

*You don’t get rich but you don’t starve and the benefits are usually really good (city or college)

*The work can be interesting and gives a good creative outlet

An advantage of any health related career, of course, is there are tons of funding sources. Most of the people I know who are in nursing didn’t pay a dime in tuition (though they sometimes had to work in less than glamorous places). The big advantage is that anybody I know who’s in a health related field and is unemployed is unemployed because they want to be, are on maternity leave, or have some rather major extenuating circumstances. (My siblings are pharmacists- that is a bloody bloody bloody lucrative career, but getting into a pharmacy program is, I’m told, as difficult as getting into medical school.)

Becoming a realtor can take weeks or years depending on where you live, but also a transportable degree. Lots of cycles of course, but one boom near said secluded town could set you up for a while.

I’ve known several people who worked at the post office. None ever “went postal” or worked with anybody who did, but other than the letter carriers all said the work was just incredibly boring and that you’ll hate Christmas with a passion. I’d consider UPS or (what’s the German company that’s growing? ah yes, DHL or FedEx (which is commonly considered one of the best companies to work for as far as benefits and promotion) before the USPS.

Good luck in whatever you decide.

PS- I was surprised to learn how much many paralegals make. A good one can earn 6 figures (though that’s very rare), but most are middle class at least.

Library science would be a good route; however, depending on the area, there may be a LOT of competition coming in. A good deal of boomers are going to be retiring later due to retirement savings/pension issues (it affects a lot of people), so those spaces will stay occupied for longer. There’s also the issue that there are now more library science graduates because of the now plentiful distance learning programs. I’m going down this route via the University of South Florida (distance program there’s a little different than the traditional “online university” route), and should be able to have a reasonably good chance of getting a job right out of college. (I’m not counting on it, and thus am trying to get my foot in the door while I’m still a student.)

Considering your geographic issues, I’d go with whatever is going to be most beneficial to finding employment in the area you will be living in since it’s so secluded. Best of luck!