What should I do when I grow up?
September 28, 2009 9:31 AM Subscribe
The future of my current job is uncertain (familiar story, I'm sure). What should I do to plan for the future? My background is in art, and ... pharmaceutical training and compliance.
posted by LolaGeek to work & money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm a pretty much self-taught graphic designer and web designer. I graduated from college five years ago with a BA in Commercial Art. The program was woefully behind the times, so I actually learned very little about the software side of things, and our training in web design was nonexistent. (I ended up teaching HTML to half my class during that lesson.) While I can write up a nice HTML web page in notepad, and I'd consider myself an above average-level user of most standard design software (e.g. the Adobe Creative Suite), I feel like I'd be totally lost if I walked into a job tomorrow as a "graphic designer." My local community college has a Web Development certificate program that starts with the basics and works up to different server technologies. As a county resident, it would run me ~$4000 to complete, and can supposedly be done in a year, full-time.
On the other hand, for the past five years I've been in the pharmaceutical industry, working in compliance and training. So I'm now very familiar with compliance issues working in a highly regulated industry, and have lots of experience with training development and administration. Part of my job is that I'm the webmaster of a large, unruly intranet site, but that doesn't require too much specialized skill. Another large part of my job is being a glorified administrative assistant, and I do some customer service-type work, communicating with clients about training issues, and troubleshooting their technical problems (so I'm also a technology help desk, sort of).
There's really no specific career I'm interested in switching to (e.g. education, nursing, etc.), though I could if I needed to, if there was someplace my skills would be a good fit. I feel like my general skills (organized, good communication, highly technologically competent, etc.) would be desirable in a lot of areas, but in the current climate I'd want to make myself as marketable as possible. So should I focus on graphic design and/or web development, should I try to stay in the pharma industry, or should I totally change gears? And if so, what should I learn now to help me in a future career?