Advice on career

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Delighted, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. Delighted macrumors 6502

    Delighted

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    Feb 25, 2012
    #1
    Hi, I have a BA in Psychology which I got like two years ago. Since then I started working as an IT assistant(through a friend). As of now I am pretty sick of my job. I get paid very little, the hours are horrible, and I'm just ready to move on. I have applied for graduate school twice and was not able to get in(my GPA isn't that great, GRE was very average).

    I was wondering if anybody know of possible career options I have right now that I can start pursuing. Thanks.
     
  2. ender land macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    I hate to break it to you but a psychology degree isn't too useful.

    Do you enjoy IT types of work? Perhaps look for a better job in that sort of field.
     
  3. dontwalkhand macrumors 601

    dontwalkhand

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    #4
    If you EVER feel that you're getting paid too little, the job is getting too boring, or you just feel you need a fresh start, and your employer refuses to do anything about it, the best thing to do is actually pursue a new employer. And it should be a lot easier now that you have your foot in the door in the field. I found a new job (new clients), and couldn't be happier :).
     
  4. acidfast7, Mar 11, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012

    acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

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    #5
    also, I wouldn't rush back to university to continue your education (unless it's free.)

    one other thing, if you don't bring the desire/passion (start by choosing what you want to do then asking for suggestions about how to get there) to what you're doing, you'll end just as frustrated.

    personally, i'd get out of IT ASAP, because it's totally unregulated until higher levels therefore competition for the good positions is quite intense.

    on a very positive note (surprise from me), you're extremely portable meaning several countries have special residence permits rules for IT people. for example, Denmark just started a new system, where skilled professionals can move/work there hassle free.

    System: http://www.nyidanmark.dk/en-us/coming_to_dk/work/greencard-scheme/greencard-scheme.htm
    The "positive list" of career options: http://www.nyidanmark.dk/en-us/coming_to_dk/work/positivelist/positive_list_overview.htm

    The reason I mention this, is that IT people tend to get better pay/more respect in Scandinavia than in the US (the countries are significantly more tech-oriented ... think about 4G roll-outs for example.)
     
  5. Delighted thread starter macrumors 6502

    Delighted

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    Feb 25, 2012
    #6
    It's alright I suppose, it's a bit simple and boring. I guess I majored in the wrong thing.

    You got me a little more hopeful. Suppose I should find a new job, but I'm hoping I don't have to start over completely.

    yeah, university tuition is ridiculous.
     
  6. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #7
    Only you know if your major was the wrong thing. The last I heard one of the very best majors, as far as pay, is being a chemical engineer. But if it's not what you like or what you are good at, then it's probably the "wrong" major.

    In the end, you didn't waste your time, and you may not see it right now, but you will be glad you stuck it out for four years and got your bachelor's degree.

    Maybe the smart thing to do is first see what other employers you can get in your current field of IT before checking out graduate school. If you are still bored with the field after a great effort, then by then you will have more than enough drive to get good scores on grad entrance exams and get into a program which will suit you.

    The good thing is that it's not high school with the expectation to finish at 17 or 18. You can work for a few years, see how you like it, and if you want to do graduate school a couple of years from now, or twenty years from now, it's all good. I am coming on 20 years since I finished and graduate school is still a viable option so long as I have the energy and desire.

    College may or may not increase your ability to make more money or get a good job in what field you choose, and graduate school may not help any more either, but education is never a waste of time. Eventually, you will catch up from lost pay if you do school and whatever the loan (if you go that route), you can pay it off over a long time. Of course, when you are in school, and not making money, then the debt seems impossible but anything worthwhile usually isn't done overnight.
     
  7. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

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    #8
    This was true in the past, but is no longer true. Recently it was shown that a BS life scientist and a PhD life scientist have similar earning over their career (1.3 vs. 1.4M USD). Although the salary is higher for the PhD holder, the 7.1 years on average spend in the doctorate really cuts into one's earning power.

    I'm heavily pro-education, but absolutely not due to monetary aspects. I think higher education (beyond MA/MS/MEd/etc...) is one of the worst long-term decisions one can make to increase earning potential. Including really restricting the overall number of open positions and usually forcing more long-distance relocations to maintain upward career progression.

    Also from a salary standpoint, Petroleum Engineering tended to have the highest earning potential (in the US) from what I remember, closely followed (-20%) by Chemical Engineering.
     
  8. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #9
    Citations needed.

     
  9. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

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    #10
  10. Delighted thread starter macrumors 6502

    Delighted

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    #11
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    hmm maybe I misread(and please correct me if I got it wrong) but what I got was that higher education is good but it doesn't make a big enough difference to spend the extra couple of years in school. What alternative would you suggest?
     
  11. Delighted thread starter macrumors 6502

    Delighted

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    #12
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    I certainly dont feel that in terms of interest, Psychology was the wrong major, I have a huge passion for it and really enjor learning the theories. But in terms of job opportunities, I definitely could use a MA to have a broader career option.
     
  12. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #13
    A Bachelors in Psychology is, as mentioned above, not a useful degree per se, unless you are going to pursue a career in Psych, in which case you will need to go to Grad School.

    The necessary degree for a career in Psych is a Doctoral degree, whether in Clinical, or for an academic career. Even a Master's in Psych is pretty much useless. Most properly accredited graduate programs in Psych will not accept you as a Master's student, only Doctoral student. (In my program, you were allowed to take a Masters if you were going to be terminated from the program for academic deficiencies or other reasons.)

    Truthfully, I'm not sure what you can do with an undergraduate Psych degree unless you go into some other field.
     
  13. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

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    #14


    In the US, there is an correlation between absolute annual earnings and level of education ... in addition to an inverse correlation between level of education and unemployment.

    however, I would never suggest additional education for employment security or increased income. in addition, university is not free (or even low-cost) in the US, which makes the decision more difficult.

    i would figure out what you want to do, and start there. in addition, I say screw employment and follow what you enjoy. if you're good, you make money and have secure employment.

    it's more of a philosophical issue than a pragmatic one.
     

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  14. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #15
    You need to ask yourself what you are actually interested in. If you want to be involved in therapy in a clinical setting but don't want to pursue a PhD, you might consider a master's degree in Social Work. Do some research before you jump to conclusions about what social workers do.

    What do you like to do? What do you want to do? This is the first step. It is hard to give suggestions if you don't have answers to those.

    Don't go to grad school if you just want to make more money.
     
  15. GoCubsGo, Mar 12, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2012

    GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #16
    I guess sage advice based on opinion needs citation whereas sarcastic advice needs nothing.
     
  16. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #17
    That is ok. If offsets the countless other useless things you say, I believe I carry a similar balance. :D
     
  17. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #18
    MOD NOTE

    The thread was cleaned up as the discussions was derailed to the OP's gender and was not on topic

    Please stay on topic.
     
  18. h1r0ll3r macrumors 68040

    h1r0ll3r

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    #19
    First option would be to find another employer/job. If the one you're at now is no fun, not interesting or whatever, perhaps a change of scenery might be what you need. While your current position might be somewhat comfortable, you'll most likely wind up staying there way too long, regretting your current situation and that attitude will seep its way into your demeanor while at work. Trust me. While the thought of a new job or even the process for applying for a new job might seem unfavorable, it's your best bet at this point. Who knows, maybe your next IT assistant bit at another place might be more interesting than you know.

    If your heart is set on doing something Psych related then, yeah, a MA might help out quite a bit in landing a position somewhere doing that kind of work. BUT, you'll be putting yourself in more debt (assuming you're going the school loan route). Not to sound too negative but this may or may not work out in the end but you'll still be left with a mountain of loans to pay back.

    I think finding a new position at another company would be ideal at this point in time. I'm assuming you're pretty young so you have the flexibility to look around a bit and see where you'd like to be which is nice. If you find a new gig that pays better, perhaps then you could attend night school/online college to attain your MA that way.
     
  19. darngooddesign macrumors G3

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    Atlanta, GA
    #20
    If you're a bit of a thrill seeker and like heights, in the US, since you never said where you live, wind power technicians can make a good living. Sitting 300 feet in the air is never boring.
     
  20. Tsuchiya macrumors 68020

    Tsuchiya

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    #21
    A relative of mine has a BSc in Psychology and decided to go into Psychiatry. Have you considered it? It's an extreme and expensive option sure, and over here it means at least 4 years of medical-school then further training. But if you have an interest in the subject and want to take it in another direction then it's there.
     
  21. And macrumors 6502

    And

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    #22
    The OP indicated they didn't have great grades, I doubt they would manage to get a place on a medical conversion course then into the very competitive world of psychiatry.

    Personally, I think the suggestion of training in Social Work is a good one. There is bound to be more need for this sort of work in the future with the world economic situation and associated deprivation.

    Do you have access to career advice at your old uni? It might be worth seeing if you can access services from them?
     
  22. Zerozal macrumors 6502

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    #23
    No offence to the OP, but if they are having trouble with the GRE to get into an MS program, I wouldn't hold a lot of hope on high MCAT scores....
     
  23. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #24
    That's possible but maybe the OP didn't prepare for the GRE. With enough preparation, one could improve any standardized test score. The key is of course to get a high enough score to get into medical school.

    Unlike law school, MBA school, or other graduate programs, med school is the hardest to get into. It's not the case of which is the best school you can get into with a good score, it's that all medical schools require a good score.

    The battle more than any other advanced degree is just getting in. So that being said the OP needs to prepare, as does any MCAT test taker, more than any other test out there. This is not meant to scare people away from MCAT, but that this is the most grueling entrance exam.
     
  24. stonyc macrumors 65816

    stonyc

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    #25
    I have experience with both medical school (tried and couldn't get in, as well as married to a doc), as well as graduate school (PhD student now), so I'll separate this into two parts...

    Medical School
    Applying (and getting in) to med school is not as easy as just deciding to do it and taking the MCATs.

    The MCATs themselves will take weeks, if not months, of preparation... not knowing how long ago the OP graduated from university, but in the space of a few years science can change... a lot. Which brings me to my second point... again, not knowing how long ago the OP finished their undergrad... but the pre-requisites for getting the OP's psych degree may not overlap completely, if at all (depending on the institution) with the pre-requisites for medical school.

    If the OP hasn't taken them, most medical schools are going to be looking for something like this:
    - 1 year of Calculus
    - 1 year of General Chemistry + 1 year of Organic Chemistry + other electives
    - 1 year of General Biology + Biochemistry + other electives like Genetics + Cell/Molecular Biology

    Keeping in mind what I remember from my undergrad institution's pre-med and psychology tracks... there wasn't much overlap between the two (perhaps 2-3 classes were common to both), meaning that the OP could be in for a year or more of taking pre-requisites just to meet the base requirements of most medical schools.

    Then, depending on the medical school, most are going to want to see extensive experience in the medical field (eg. volunteering at a clinic, or shadowing a physician) or strong experiences or even better, a record of publishing peer-reviewed research... or even a combination of both. Some schools are going to be heavily focused primary care (Michigan State), others are going to be much more research-oriented, and others are going to want people who excel at everything (grades, volunteerism, research).

    Then (yes, there are a lot of "then's"...), keep in mind that medical school itself is 4 years. Then, add 3 years minimum for your residency. Then, assuming you want to do some kind of specialty... tack on another 1 to 5+ years to the end of that. This isn't meant to discourage anyone from the medical profession, but you have to know what you're getting into...

    And frankly, there are lots of easier ways out there to make your $150-500k per year salary without the headaches of 60-80 hour weeks, having to be on call, and having to explain to patients the benefits of paying a $20 co-pay to see their physician instead of spending that money on lap dances (yes, true story).

    Grad School
    Speaking as a grad student in bioinformatics, I can't speak for every other field, but getting into grad school is no walk in the park either.

    But, since I was in a similar position as the OP (less-than-stellar undergrad grades), and having seen some of the admissions stuff from the school's side as well, I feel that I can offer some advice.

    1) Take the GRE again, but actually prepare and improve your score. Most schools are going to have some kind of cut-off that is a combination of your undergrad GPA, your post-baccalaureate GPA, and your GRE.

    There's nothing you can do about your undergrad GPA, but what you can do is take additional classes, or even re-take some of the classes that you did poorly in at your local community college or somewhere similar. Doing this and improving your GRE scores should hopefully "get your feet in the door".

    2) Once you have your "foot in the door", you need to distinguish yourself from the dozens, if not hundreds, of your fellow applicants who also have their "feet in the door".

    Again, your undergrad GPA isn't going to be your friend... so you need to do other things to help you stand out from the crowd. Speaking as pure science-y student, the answer is: research. Ideally, do research at the university you're most interested in. It's no guarantee of admission, but if you were on the admissions committee, how nice would it look to see a recommendation from one of the major players in your own department? If you do the work and can get your name on a publication, or two, or three... even better!

    Finally, put some thought into your personal statement. Don't use it as a forum to explain why your grades in undergrad were so bad... mention it, and briefly explain what happened and the steps you took to better yourself, but don't use it as a crutch. I can give more advice related to the personal statement, but PM for more please... would prefer to not share every detail in public. :)

    If grad school is your goal, let me just say... given my situation, I truly believe that anyone can get in to grad school... you just need to do the work, and find the right fit.
     

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