I'm about to graduate college and I don't know what I want to do with my life

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by morgothaod, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. morgothaod macrumors regular

    Aug 26, 2009
    So I will have a Marketing degree soon and I absolutely hate Marketing. I chose it because I needed to pick a degree to continue taking classes. I figured a business related degree would give me more career options. Now I'm thinking, I just wasted a lot of time and money. Luckily I have a scholarship, but still... what's the point if I have no plans for the future?

    Anyone else in college/graduated from college and still clueless about what to do for a career? I make good grades in all of my subjects, so nothing jumps out at me. I find Anthropology and Criminology interesting, but I don't know what I can do with a degree in those. I'm good at writing, but I don't want to become a writer (well not for anything with deadlines anyways). I'm really frustrated and I'm afraid about my future.

    Comments and advice are welcomed and appreciated.
  2. Sideonecincy macrumors 6502

    Sep 29, 2003
    Ah I am sorta in the same position as you, except I love what I go to school for.
    I am about to graduate with a degree in Information Technology with a primary in networking and secondary in web technologies. I also have an associates degree in film.

    I just don't know whether I am better off going to graduate school or going into the field. If I go into the field, do I move away to get the job I want or just take a job around here to stay around friends / family. Its alot of personal decisions that I need to figure out soon.

    Advice for you though, alot of people don't work in jobs that they majored in, so I wouldn't be saying you wasted time by going to school.
  3. Decrepit macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2007
    Foothills to the Rocky Mountains
    Boy have you guys come to the right place. :D

    I graduated in 2008 Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelors in Finance...

    BUT, I had 15 years in the IT industry when I went back to finish my degree.

    So I am only 18 months out of college, yet I've been working in the industry since 1992. I started selling computers in the 486 days, worked at the one of the top 3 PC companies in the world for 10 years which got me global travel, and a ridiculous paycheck for somebody who hadn't even graduated college yet. In 2006, my job was sent to India without me. I knew it was coming, saved, and took the severance package to go back and finish my bachelor's in 4 semesters straight. So I took 18 months out of the workforce, living off of stock and cash, focused solely on the degree (no job to distract me) and knocked it out quick.

    Remember, a job is only something that pays you to do what you like. If you get lucky enough to have a job that you enjoy, it's magic. Don't expect that out of school. You're walking into a crap economy with a lot of competition from people who have been working while you were in school.

    That said, when the pendulum swings back, that degree is vital to getting an interview in many types of industries.

    Keep in mind, there is no rule that says you have to be a successful millionaire by 25 years old. Or 50. or 75. What do you want to do?

    You are not going to find a job that you work in for 50 years, so don't try. First thing's first. Get done with school, in good condition. Talk to the professors you like and find out what they recommend, or if based on your work in their class that they'd like to refer you to anybody for a potential interview. I got interviews for stuff that required an MBA solely because of professor recommendations due to my experience in "life" as it were.

    But you have to start somewhere.

    For you Morgo, what is the FULL title of the degree you'll end up with? Will you have international marketing/finance/management coursework in the process? Even though you have a marketing degree, you'll probably actually have a Bachelors of Business Administration, Concentrated in Marketing. The business part will help you in a number of places. That will get you a nearly automatic invite to some management programs at places you'd never think of. Would you be willing to start working at a Walgreen's for instance with the understanding that within 3-5 years you would manage your own store somewhere in the region if possible? I know several guys who did that out of graduation because it was nearly a guarantee of work for X years, even though it was average to crap pay for 3 years, it went to 6 figures before they turned 30 if they made it.

    And you Sid, what do you really want to do? Do you want to code? Be a sysadmin? A netadmin? Consultant? I am living in Corn Country USA because I moved 500 miles from my favorite place on earth to get work for the last 10 months. In two months I will begin hunting hard back in my old place because that's where I want to be. I could have had a job paying 20-50% of what I'm making now and with zero security if I'd stayed. I moved, got decent money, and am exposed to a million things that I wouldn't have had if I'd specialized.

    If either of you want more specific info, please PM me with your email addresses and I'd be happy to share more specific details about what I've done, where and what I did to move about.

    Hope that helps, or at least gets you thinking a little. :)
  4. ravenvii macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    I was in the same shoes. So I went to law school.

    Don't do what I did.
  5. Sideonecincy macrumors 6502

    Sep 29, 2003
    I want to specialize in networking/system admin/information security areas.

    I plan on getting my Network+ and Security+ once classes have slowed down.

    Funny thing is, alot of my teachers recommend doing this. My grades aren't good enough to get into law school though ( I have about a 3.2-3.4 )
  6. Decrepit macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2007
    Foothills to the Rocky Mountains
    Net+ is ok. Sec+ is better since it's rarer. If you haven't thought about it, as painful as it is, an A+ is one of those things that might get your resume tossed if it's not on there since it's SO common.

    I do system administration for a bunch of small/medium sized companies. I'm the resident Mac guy. :rolleyes: I also handle all the Linux questions that come in. But obviously, it's a Windows world so the servers I support are all Windows boxes.

    Information Security is massive, so it's something to be keeping up on. If you're thinking networking, then the next thing to consider is where you'd like to be doing it and for who. I say that because if you like small companies, Cisco is a great thing to learn but they're expensive so not deployed as often. If you're looking to go big, or be familiar with the industry king, then start thinking CCNA. Those four letters will help in a lot of places. I'm not a networking ace. I defer my VPN configurations and branch office stuff to the in house CCNA/CCNP guys. They send me their Mac/Linux and the old stuff since I'm older than everybody else there. :)

    Since you're in a big city, you have access to different kinds of jobs than a lot of other folks. You might find your way into some interesting roles. Some companies are always looking for entry level helpdesk drones to help fix/maintain the printers and PCs on the floor. If you get into a spot like that, it lets you start talking to the sysadmins where you can ask if they'll let you listen in/watch sometimes and eventually you might work into a jr. netadmin. Somebody has to run the reports and monitor traffic while the sr. admins are securing it and prepping the next big project...
  7. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    welcome to my world. I got a degree in constuction Engineering and got of school in Dec 2007. Lost my job in Fed 2009. Joys of the economy.

    Now I am going back to school got get an associated degree in computer information system (very broad, little bit everything from programing to networking) because it quick and dirty. Less time in school. Plus it is in the IT field where I wanted to be before I finished off my Bachelors degree. Just when I figure it out I was only a year from finishing and I could not be set back another 3 years.

    So I went that route. From what the career center at Texas Tech told me is going get that associates in a completely unrelated fields than my bachlors in some ways gives me a huge leg for going into the IT field over some one who will be fresh out of school with a 4 year degree related to the same area. Reason being is the associates show desire since it is a 2nd degree. I already have proof of a college degree so I can do that. And the desire will what gives me a job. I am hoping it is true. Because I can not be out of work for that long. Living with my parents sucks.

    I am hoping I went the right route.

    Also like some one else posted. your job does not always need to be something you like to do. It is a huge bonus if it is. A job can be something you use to fund the things you enjoy to do. For example when I was working my job was funding mountain biking for me. It was going to fund other outdoor hobbies that I found a lot more enjoyment in.
  8. Decrepit macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2007
    Foothills to the Rocky Mountains
    I think you'll be in great shape with both degrees. When the economy starts rolling again, construction will move again. If you like the IT side of the house more, you can try to work your way into the IT side of an engineering company. Be the guy who helps the engineers do their job by having solid stable and secure tools. Fast and secure networks, FAST and stable workstations, etc.

    That also lets you work with them to integrate IT into new facilities that are being designed. Plan ahead for wireless infrastructure, fiber to the building, copper to the rooms, etc. I'm not a phone guy, but I'm working with my customers to get them into VOIP phone systems that leverage the work they already did in wiring the place. It saves them a ton of money on the phone system they had and gives them a lot of features that a small business loves.

    And yes, living with the folks sucks. But it beats paying rent for a few months and gets you a clean place to sleep while looking for work.
  9. morgothaod thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 26, 2009
    I don't know what the official title will be. I think it's a B.S. in Marketing. As for job experience, I've worked 5.8 years at Albertson's (a grocery store) and a little over a year at a Walmart Supercenter (in the grocery side of the store). So all I know is the grocery business... does that mean I want to be a store manager? I don't know, its a huge responsibility. I don't even think I could fire someone lol. I'm also getting kind of sick of retail.

    I took some personality tests and they said I'm more of an artistic type of person. I don't have any real artistic ability. I can't draw, sing, or dance...

    It may be cool being able to write dialogue for video games, comics, or cartoons.

  10. Decrepit macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2007
    Foothills to the Rocky Mountains
    We had Albertson's where I used to live. Nice stores.

    The grocery business is one that is low margin, but mandatory. So it's going to be around. But there's no reason that you have to work in a store to be part of that industry (as an example). Did you take any supply chain classes in school? That's the key to Dell's and Wal-Mart's successes. It's also the key ingredient in any other manufacturing or retail shop.

    Something else to keep in mind in all this. There is no rule that says you need to have this figured out in about an hour. Do what you want to do. If you're paying the bills and putting some money into savings in a low pressure job, that just gives you time to investigate what you might be more interested in doing and then you can focus on that in some of your free time.

    Since you have been working, you're that much further along than a lot of graduates who were able to spend their time in school and had a free ride. They have to get used to dealing with other people in a work environment, putting up with idiots, dealing with bad managers, etc. You've probably seen all of that in a short time being in a retail spot. I got my trial by fire by taking around 13000 calls one year for technical support. You learn a lot really quickly, and you talk to people from all over the place.

    I'm very very good at working with customers. Although I hate it. It takes 100% of my energy. I'd prefer to be behind the scenes making other folks successful, which is why sysadmin work can be so cool. That said, nobody ever calls tech support to say thank you. If it's broke, you die. If it's working, you're wasting their money just sitting there waiting for it to be broken. Lose lose situation unless you're in a well managed environment.

    And lastly, don't forget that there are millions of people who have no idea what they want to do. It's normal.

    Just make sure you're taking care of yourself as you go. In other words, keep yourself healthy, and keep some emergency savings around. I saw hundreds of people laid off where I used to work, and so many of them (from the kids in their 20's through the folks in their 60's) didn't have enough put away to handle two weeks out of work. Very scary and very depressing.
  11. djellison macrumors 68020

    Feb 2, 2007
    Pasadena CA
    Here's my advice.

    Find your passion. The subject/thing/place etc. you love the most.

    Find your talent. The thing you do better than most people. The thing you're good at. The thing you enjoy doing.

    Now find where those two things cross. THAT is what you want to aim for. THAT is when you are in the magical place when work doesn't even feel like work - but it still pays. THAT is when you get up half an hour early just to start doing your job earlier because you enjoy it. THAT is when the professional part of your life will be as enjoyable and satisfying as it can be.

    You can't get there straight away. I'm 30 and still chasing it - but I AM getting there. I'm currently the multimedia producer at a medical education company. I do enjoy the work, generally, but it's not ideal. Some things in its favour. I've been able to go 4 days a week on a flexible basis so that I can take a few days off every couple of weeks to go and chase the things below. Secondly, I'm good at it - and in this day and age, being in one job for 8 years is a good CV

    My passion is space. Mars rovers, Saturn, Rockets, Engineering, Science.

    My talent is communicating. Giving lectures, creating media, engaging the public.

    So where they cross - is space science outreach.

    Now - I can't quite get science outreach to pay yet, but I do what I can. I give lectures to astronomy societies and schools about the two Mars rovers, about space missions and how they go wrong, etc etc. ( an example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRq0sUP0KbY ) They don't pay, per se, but I get expenses for travelling to do them ( So I've been all around the UK doing it, and Dublin, and Glasgow later this year - for free, which is brilliant ).

    I've also been a guest-blogger for Planetary.org and article writer for The Planetary Report. Again - that hasn't paid, but they did cover my expenses for a trip to Valencia, Darmstadt, Potsdam and Munster. Again - it doesn't 'pay' - but it was experience of what I want to do, in places I want to be, and didn't cost me very much to do.

    A friend of mine works down at UCL in the Planetary Science division. A colleague of his is working on a spectrometer on an Indian spacecraft orbiting the moon. They needed a publicity animation of what the instrument does - but didn't have the money. I made them one over a few weekends. They LOVED it. I got to see the actual instrument and visit cool things at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the name of research ( http://www.sstd.rl.ac.uk/c1xs/C1_Launch.htm )

    I was asked to appear on The Sky at Night to talk about amateurs working with images from Spacecraft, so for 60 glorious seconds ( or I think 90 seconds if you watched the BBC4 repeat ) I was on TV. I set up a forum 5 years ago for people to talk about doing just that - working with images from spacecraft. It's done quite well, but is never going to make me money, but it does keep me in touch with interesting people.

    And - I've started working on a book, with a friend from SF. I approached a small publisher of science themed books - and he's taking it onboard and pitching it to various big mainstream publishers and hopefully by Christmas I'll be signed up to actually do it for real.

    So - I'm getting paid to do something that's not too shabby. I chase my dream job on multiple angles in my spare time. It's frustrating to not be there yet, but I know it will come and when it does it'll be all the sweeter for it.

    Find your passion, then chase the hell out of it.

    Here's the problem.

    The only person in the entire world who will be able to tell you what it is...

    ..is you.
  12. Marcus263 macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2009
    If you have a Bachelors degree then things are easier. You do NOT need to go by what you studied at college/university. Graduate schemes are often broad and they're often looking for people with aptitude to fit into a relevant industry. For instance, with a marketing degree at Accenture, Siemens, PWC etc you can pretty much apply for any Business related employment. The reason for this is that you get 6 - 18 months in-house training with these organisations.

    Blatantly put, graduate schemes understand that graduates don't know crap about crap, so they'll work out (together with you) what area you best fit into.

    It's not the end of the world. I graduated Summa Cum Laude and went through all of this crap.
  13. morgothaod thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 26, 2009
    Don't get me started on the education system down here. I wish school's better prepared us for life. I wish they got students involved in career exploration at an early age. If they did, I bet there would be much less clueless students in college and lot less dropouts.

    I don't know if I'll be making more than my total expenses. Right now I live with my mom, so I don't have to pay anything (I will give her a large sum when I move out though). With rent, energy, water, food, gas, internet, etc. I calculated my expenses to be about $1300/ a month. I had to go by my mom's bills and make some adjustments. I could be off about the numbers, but if I'm not then I'll be making about $100-200 less than my expenses per month. Walmart doesn't pay much after all...

    As for my passion, I honestly don't know what it is. I'm pretty much a hermit, so answering the question: What do you like to do for fun is difficult for me. I like bowling, disc golf, first person shooters, watching horror and animated movies, and The Golden Girls. Thats about it heh...
  14. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Apr 10, 2003
    The "Garden" state
    If it helps, I work in the business world and have a BA in Philosophy with a minor in Women's Studies.

    And post-college I worked as a manager for Borders for a few years, so I understand the "sick of retail" thing.

    Go work in any job that seems mildly interesting. Your first job doesn't have to be your career. Maybe something will strike your interest, maybe a hobby will turn into a career. But you just need to get some experience and find out.

    And make a list of what you've learned from your marketing degree that you could use in another career. It could be helpful in interviews, etc.
  15. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    All I can say is WOW.

    I would have figured people going for a degree in marketing, or finance or what ever, would want to work in that area. Especially given the fact that your taking classes and seeing what that's about.

    Well, you at least have a business degree so its not a waste, but find out what you like to do and try to find a job doing that. It could be accounting, finance, IT or what have you. The only advice I really want to impress upon you is do something you like. Life is too short to waste your life and career doing something you hate.
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Do you know why it doesn't matter whether you work in marketing or another field? Because during an interview for the position of _______ at XYZ Corporation, you can tell them that while your degree may not be directly related to the field you're applying for, you can utilise the skills and knowledge you learnt while studying marketing in any situation. Plus, you are capable of learning new concepts and ideas, so you're quite adaptable, and would be an asset for them.

    Just because someone majors in Slovakian Literature, does not mean their job has to be related to Slovakian literature. Why do you think Arts majors can still get jobs? ;)
  17. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    Exactly. I went to school for theater, but I'm in advertising. It doesn't matter what you went to school for. A lot people end up in careers that aren't related to their majors. Go explore the world for a while. Do some traveling. Enjoy your youth. Don't be in such a hurry to get locked into a cube.
  18. dmr727 macrumors G3


    Dec 29, 2007
    ^^^ re-read the last two posts. They're right on. My job has absolutely nothing to do with either degree. In fact, I intentionally studied subjects that are unrelated to what I wanted to do. :) You're still crazy young and there's ton of time to figure it all out.
  19. Rt&Dzine macrumors 6502a


    Oct 8, 2008
    My job is exactly what I went to school for, BUT . . . . . .

    I didn't start working in my field for many years after I graduated. I think I was in denial. So I tried a variety of other careers. Eventually I ended in the exact field I got my degree in. Very happy now but have no regrets that I tried other things.
  20. ZachsMacDaddy macrumors 6502


    Dec 24, 2007
    Your degree doesn't have to dictate your future. It's more of a tool to help open doors. A degree can sometimes just be a sign that you have what it takes to commit to a long term goal and be able to achieve that goal.

    I graduated in '95 with a BA in Modern Foreign Languages as well as getting my teaching certifications. I was done as a teacher in a matter of weeks when my first job turned out to be a living hell of a school where my department head was a tyrant who basically told me I would never work in her county again if I left. I almost asked her to put it in writing as a guarantee.

    I ended up at a regional ISP as a retail Internet and PC salesperson. 1 year later I took a Help Desk job and have since worked my way to System Administration and achieved my MCSE:Security (Win 2003).

    In college I thought I knew what I wanted to do, but I was wrong. Luckily my side hobby of computers came into play quickly and turned into a career.

    I still get questioned regarding my degree. I just ask the person if they feel "fluent" in computer use and language. When they look puzzled or say no, I just respond "see, for some people computers ARE a foreign language."
  21. Deefuzz macrumors 6502a


    Jan 27, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    I graduated from college 7 years ago and still don't know what I want to do with my life.

    Been working in my field for close to 7 years as well, and I am pretty sure that there must be something else out there for me.
  22. PCtoMAC? macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2009
    I graduated a little over a year ago and the only advise I can give, which probably wont help, is do something you LIKE! I was an English major because I knew that was what I enjoyed doing in school. I now work in the automotive industry, in a marketing capacity, because when I wasn't nerding out on modernist lit I was going to car shows and working on my car. Its all about taking what you like and striving to make it apart of your day to day life.

    my .02
  23. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away

    My guess is that you found Anthropology and Criminology interesting at a point in time where it was too late to change your major? :confused:

    This isn't the fault of the school system; it's just a product of life itself.

    I'm 40 years old. Thinking back on it, an 18-year-old decided my career path. That's a scary thought.

    With age comes experience, and an 18-year-old inherently has had less experience with life than someone older; and thus, an 18-year-old is inherently ill-prepared (by comparison) to choose a career path.
  24. wvuwhat macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2007
    I graduated in May with a degree in Communication Studies. I did that because it was a broad degree and frankly, was pretty easy. Well...3 months of so later, still no job. Still no idea of what I REALLY want to do. So I picked up community college classes to stay under my parents insurance. Now, I'm doing something I like, learning CS4 for the web. So, 4 years of out of state tuition to the tune of 100K or so with a degree I hate. And now, I'm doing something I like for 1200 for 12 hours. Go figure.

    ...and still no job.
  25. yoppie macrumors 6502a

    Oct 19, 2007
    Haha. This is what I did.

    Ravenvii is right. RUN FAR AWAY.

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