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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:57 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 10:59 am
Posts: 255
What an interesting topic.

What do you do for a living? What is your career?

Environmental analytical chemist. My company tells you if you have lead in your drinking water or pesticides in your school's playground. I make ~$18/hr and work a ton of overtime, so my W2 says I make a pretty decent amount, but I live in LA.

How did you get there (ie, what sort of schooling)?

I have a B.S. in Chemistry and B.A. in English. I fully intended to become a science writer, but alas, all jobs for science writers out of college pay very, very little. I love what I do, though, so it all worked out.

And do you think a BA in Accounting is a good degree to have if I want a job that will make decent money?

My mom has a BA in Accounting that she started at 40. She was laid off, so she's not making anything right now. Her work was mostly commission based, so I'm not sure how much she was making. A decent amount, I think.

Or should I choose something else? Will my age hinder me from finding work? (I'm somewhere around middle-aged).

It didn't hinder my mother. It's all in how you spin your previous experience. [/b]


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:03 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:04 pm
Posts: 65
Location: California
Via JD's twitter today (RT of someone else), the top 15 paying careers involve math (according to some study, I'm sure not all studies give same results): http://tinyurl.com/nz4wz6

What do you do for a living? What is your career?
Without being too specific, I work in engineering

Quote:
How did you get there (ie, what sort of schooling)?

B.S. in my specific discipline from an inexpensive state school, and am working towards an MS in the same from a much better school, paid by my employer. I have 3 years of experience. In engineering, your employer nearly always will offer some for of tuition reimbursement.

And do you think a BA in Accounting is a good degree to have if I want a job that will make decent money?
I do think it is a good degree, based on my limited knowledge. Accountants I know seem to have relative job security and decent salary

Or should I choose something else? Will my age hinder me from finding work? (I'm somewhere around middle-aged).
You should certainly explore as many options as you possible can. I can't answer the age question -- I think you could spin it to be a positive thing.

Good luck!

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:45 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:52 pm
Posts: 56
SP wrote:
Via JD's twitter today (RT of someone else), the top 15 paying careers involve math (according to some study, I'm sure not all studies give same results): http://tinyurl.com/nz4wz6

What do you do for a living? What is your career?
Without being too specific, I work in engineering

Quote:
How did you get there (ie, what sort of schooling)?

B.S. in my specific discipline from an inexpensive state school, and am working towards an MS in the same from a much better school, paid by my employer. I have 3 years of experience. In engineering, your employer nearly always will offer some for of tuition reimbursement.

And do you think a BA in Accounting is a good degree to have if I want a job that will make decent money?
I do think it is a good degree, based on my limited knowledge. Accountants I know seem to have relative job security and decent salary

Or should I choose something else? Will my age hinder me from finding work? (I'm somewhere around middle-aged).
You should certainly explore as many options as you possible can. I can't answer the age question -- I think you could spin it to be a positive thing.

Good luck!


Thanks for the link! I did know engineering ranked as one of the top-paying jobs, but I never knew there were so MANY engineering niches.
My dad was an engineer for Contel back in the day when they were still around. He made pretty good money, and always stressed math-based careers to me, but stupid me, I followed my artistic side, since I was so good at art. Still kicking myself for that mistake. 'Doing what you love' isn't always a good thing, if you like eating, and having an apartment to sleep in (and not a freeway underpass).


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:50 am 

Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 12:15 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Sweden
What do you do for a living?
Embedded Computer Graphics

What is your career?
Embedded Programming

How did you get there (ie, what sort of schooling)?
Computer Science, _lots_ of programming outside of school. Honestly, you will not learn to be a good programmer in school, you will learn the theory on _how_ to become a great programmer.

And do you think a BA in Accounting is a good degree to have if I want a job that will make decent money?
No idea, but don't get a job you hate.

Or should I choose something else?
Do what you want, money isn't everything.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:48 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:52 pm
Posts: 56
angrymike wrote:

Or should I choose something else?
Do what you want, money isn't everything.


Ok, since I've been hearing this a lot lately, I gotta address it. People say "money isn't everything", but they're probably saying it from a financially comfortable stance. Money may not be 'everything', but it's a huge deal when it comes to putting a roof over your head and food on the table. "Doing what you want" isn't always the best choice, if you like having a roof over your head and regular meals. I "did what I wanted to", and bounced from low-paying graphic design job to low-paying graphic design job (the companies almost always went under), and got nowhere in life. The last 4 years I've been living at poverty level, relying a lot on the help of friends to not end up homeless, doing sporadic freelance graphic design work and part-time retail work, trying to find a full-time graphic design job with no avail. This is NOT a good way to live. It's not enjoyable, it's miserable, and if I had money, at least enough for a real living wage (instead of trying to survive on an average of $800-$900 a month), then yes, I'd be a lot happier. So a job change is in order. Sure, I'd love to just continue doing art, and print design, but if it doesn't even pay the most basic of bills, it's probably not worth the financial stress and financial sacrifice to 'do what i want'.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:52 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2008 3:29 pm
Posts: 167
I agree Brenda. You can't always have a profession that you love and still pay the bills. I am lucky in that I like math and science so I am an engineer. I did compromise on a little on being an engineer. What I really enjoy is astrophysics but there are not many jobs for that career especially if I don't get a PhD. So I went into engineering which is challenging but not as much as astrophysics. Engineering can also be very stressful at times. You are expected to complete projects and meet deadlines even if the technology is cutting edge. It is difficult to put a time frame on when you will be able to make something work if at all. So there is constant pressure from management to complete things on time and on budget but rarely does that happen. Sometimes I do wish I would have got a PhD in astrophysics and became a professor.

I would imagine that there would be some pressure with being an accountant. Making the budgets balance and that sort of thing. I would think about how you would respond to being on a strict deadline and management always wanting you to be on time. Sometimes it can be a real downer when that happens day in an day out.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 9:12 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:22 pm
Posts: 548
Location: Northern CA
Brenda, I'm not an accountant, but I run a budget of $5M+ for work. :)

I have a liberal arts degree, but I'm sensible with money and planning. To me, running a business account is not unlike your personal finances, just with a lot more zeros behind the initial number. :)

While there are deadlines, they are usually communicated some time in advance, and there's a lot of flexibility and built-in job tools that help in the reporting. Where we lack is in forecasting, so we've devised Excel spreadsheets and summaries for the executive briefings.

It's an art, more than a science, and I do enjoy it. I like taking scarce resources and stretching them. At its best, budgeting and accounting can be about funding your priorities, and making excellent choices with the scarce resources at hand. It's satisfying.

So yes, I'd say accounting could be a very good job. As can Human Resources. It's funny how many people THINK they know that accounting = math (you have tools to do the calculating, so it's more about accuracy and detail orientation); and HR = conflict (usually it's more about writing good job cards, paying people reasonably to limit turnover, and investing in assessment and training).

When you get into management, you do need to be able to stand your ground and explain your positions. So more than anything, I think public speaking skills and conflict resolution training/communication training has been useful.

FTR, I work for a nationally-known university, and starting salaries for budget analysts/HR analysts run ~ $45K. If you're gifted, and willing to supervise, you can make $75-$100K with 5+ years of experience. And the benefits are good.

Sandi


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:17 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:52 pm
Posts: 56
Sandi, thanks for the great tips and information! :)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:29 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:32 am
Posts: 13
What do you do for a living?
I'm a data scientist and trainer. In short, I teach other people how to make better decisions with data, and increase their familiarity with common tools, such as Excel.

And yes, I work full time and have a decent income for the area of the country I choose to live in.

What is your career?
Changing the world by changing how individuals and communities make decisions. I'm interested in finding the lever to move away from gut-driven decisions and towards data-driven decisions.

How did you get there (ie, what sort of schooling)?
I have a MS from Carnegie Mellon in Logic and Computation, and two BA's from the University of Oklahoma in Mathematics and Philosophy.

And do you think a BA in Accounting is a good degree to have if I want a job that will make decent money?
Sure. My sister is an accountant, and makes decent money for her area of the country.


Or should I choose something else?

My sister seems to enjoy the work. Another friend, who majored in economics, is doing virtually the same job. And he absolutely loaths it. So, I guess, be sure that you'll enjoy the work.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:07 am 

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:03 am
Posts: 82
Location: UK
What do you do for a living?
I work as a Waste Services Business Support Officer (just started, about 4 weeks in!) Prior to that I was temping and doing freelance web design work.

What is your career?
I seem to be split 50-50 between Waste Management and Web Design. I would also like to make some money from writing one day. I see myself more as a person who does lots of things that each make a little money.

How did you get there (ie, what sort of schooling)?
I have a university degree from the University of Wales, in English & Creative Writing. That didn't really contribute to getting the job though, which was more about experience. The temping I did mattered far more.

And do you think a BA in Accounting is a good degree to have if I want a job that will make decent money?
I don't know about the US, but in the UK accounting has become a really popular course suddenly, as a bunch of people try to go into a field that hasn't been hit by the recession. I estimate that we're going to have way too many plumbers and accountants in about 3 years.


Or should I choose something else?

Choose something that you will both enjoy and that will make money. And think about what the job market is going to be like in a few years, not what it is like right now.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 3:19 pm
Posts: 620
What do you do for a living? What is your career?
I work in information security for very large corporations. I analyze their information systems and tell them if they're hot or not. Well, secure or not. For a long time, I loved my career (I like protecting people and being analytical and stuff) but hated my jobs (they were horrible). But now I love both, and it's awesome.

How did you get there (ie, what sort of schooling)?
My undergraduate BA is in Literature/Chemistry. I got into this via technical writing, and I have a mentor who is kind of a guru in the field -- I osmosed a lot. I realized that I understood the subject well enough to do it, rather than write documentation about it. Then I got the professional certifications to prove this to others (CISSP, CISA) through work. Now I'm in graduate school (a business program) so I can do better at the "very large corporation" part of my job. I will probably always have to work for large corps, simply because I'm too specialized for most small businesses to support me, unless they are especially about security (and themselves serve large organizations).

And do you think a BA in Accounting is a good degree to have if I want a job that will make decent money?
Yup, as long as you like the kind of work you get. People who hate their jobs tend not to do as well at them.

Or should I choose something else? Will my age hinder me from finding work? (I'm somewhere around middle-aged).
Choose something that you love and that you will be brilliant at.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:06 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:58 am
Posts: 12
Location: Philippines
What do you do for a living? What is your career?
I'm a college instructor and I do hotel and restaurant consultation at the side.

How did you get there (ie, what sort of schooling)?
A graduate in BS in Hotel and Restaurant Management. I'm into my MA in Business Major in HRM. Have some side courses like finished my certificate in Nursing Assistant took a few studies in in Special Education. My uncle owns a resort hotel and have relatives in the restaurant business. Classified info though. 8) Funny, :lol: my family has been in the agriculture and seafood business. Just didn't manage to follow that footstep. :lol:

And do you think a BA in Accounting is a good degree to have if I want a job that will make decent money?
Not necessarily. One can always hire an accountant. :lol: If one thinks it's important enough, then take it.

Or should I choose something else? Will my age hinder me from finding work? (I'm somewhere around middle-aged).
I believe that if you happen to like something, you do it well but if you happen to love what you do, you do it beautifully. Not necessarily. If one is resourceful and happens to get the right contacts and connections, it's easy. Just make sure not to tarnish your reputation or you'll loose those people who rely on your judgment.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:05 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 7:33 am
Posts: 37
Location: Baltimore, MD
What do you do for a living?
Now, I'm a personal finance blogger, but I was once a consultant in the defense industry, writing software that helped make things more efficient and traceable (had plenty of work, as you can imagine!).

What is your career?
Now I write about personal finance, this is a guy who needed lots of tutoring to get a respectable score on the SAT II Writing exam.

How did you get there (ie, what sort of schooling)?
BS in Computer Science/Economics, MS in Software Engineering, MBA... all of which are not qualifications necessary in a personal finance blogger. :)

And do you think a BA in Accounting is a good degree to have if I want a job that will make decent money?
If not good, at least reliable and dependable money that is largely immune to economic forces.

Or should I choose something else?
It depends a bit on why you chose graphic design in the first place, is that your passion? If so, you should focus your energy on trying to find work in that field. Can you freelance? If so, have you tried networking with local businesses that may need your skills? How about trying to find freelance work online?

I think trying to choose a profession based on income alone is dangerous but you are definitely asking the right questions.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:39 am 

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:47 am
Posts: 170
Location: FL
What do you do for a living? What is your career?
I'm a first year Audit Staff at a medium sized regional accounting firm, looking to follow the path to the top.

How did you get there (ie, what sort of schooling)?
BS in accounting, studying for the CPA exam, eventually will have to get 150 credit hours completed (currently only at about 128 i think)

And do you think a BA in Accounting is a good degree to have if I want a job that will make decent money?
Accounting will make you plenty of money (im starting at over 50k and within 5-7 years could be well over 125k), but you have to like it or you will be miserable, I happen to like sorting through financials, figuring out if things are right and fixing them. I had an internship in Tax and you could not pay me enough to be a tax professional for a career. In my opinion, like most others on here, happiness first, money second. Of course if you feel you need money to be happy, its a whole different story.

Or should I choose something else? Will my age hinder me from finding work? (I'm somewhere around middle-aged).
Set out on a mission and with a good effort I'm sure you can do anything you put your mind to.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:57 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:52 pm
Posts: 56
pfblueprint wrote:
Or should I choose something else?
It depends a bit on why you chose graphic design in the first place, is that your passion? If so, you should focus your energy on trying to find work in that field. Can you freelance? If so, have you tried networking with local businesses that may need your skills? How about trying to find freelance work online?

I think trying to choose a profession based on income alone is dangerous but you are definitely asking the right questions.


I chose Graphic Design because it really was a passion when I first started. I was good at it, I loved to design, and it was fun.
Then, years and years of people looking down on my profession of choice (Oh, you're a Graphic Designer? Geez, you should be paying the company for getting to sit around and color all day), and companies declaring my skill set is worthless (Graphic Designers? We pay 'em 8 bucks an hour cause hell, anyone can do it. My 8 year old kid LOVES to design on the computer, I should just let him do it) made me enjoy it less and less. Add to that the stress of work always being difficult to find and the stress of knowing designers get laid off *first* during a crunch period and the stress of knowing that more and more companies were farming design work out the freelancers rather than have full-time employees, and it just isn't worth it any more.

I do freelance now, because it's all I've been able to obtain, but there are no benefits, and the taxes are very high (15.2% automatic self-employment tax, plus any federal taxes). It's not fun when you're not making ends meet.

And this is why I'm beginning to think that one *should* choose a profession based heavily on income. Yes, they should be proficient at it, and enjoy it somewhat, but I'd rather take a job I only enjoy 'somewhat' and that I'm 'pretty good at' and be able to pay my bills with ease (and have savings left over!), than take a job I totally am passionate about only to have people determine that my career choice is not even worth a bare living wage.

As always, thank you everyone for your input and comments!!
I've already gathered all my past college transcripts, and will most likely be starting the application process, barring any other miracles.


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