another thirty-something with only a bachelor's degree uncertain about what to do career-wise. Also uncertain as to what transferable skill(s) to highlight, if any, were I to apply for a job. What should I do with myself? (longgggggggggggg, slightly snowflake-y post ahead)
posted by ditto75 to work & money (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Hi all, and thanks in advance for reading this and attempting to help me.
For starters, I'm 32 years old, male, and living in the southeastern US. I had a low point 2 weeks ago and just don't know what to do at this juncture.
1) should I go back to school?
Here's my history:
I feel as though my education has been useless and that all these years after college, I still have nothing to show for my life. My high school record is quite awesome -- I took a lot of AP courses and did well in almost all of them -- but as a starry-eyed undergrad, I believed the lie that "it doesn't matter what you major in; people will see what you have to offer". So, I studied something useless and, after graduating in 2002 and unable to find a job, I started volunteering. This I did for 3 years, until I felt that nowhere in the country could I be useful.
So I did what many idealistic college grads do nowadays: teach English overseas. In my case, I left for China and intended to stay for only one year -- but ended up staying for five. It was just really refreshing to leave my unemployed, friendless, depressing life behind, to escape the American capitalistic culture , to adapt to a new place and make great friends. (Because I had no job, I had no money and few means of making friends stateside, which in turn destroyed my self-esteem.) I had studied a bit of Chinese while in school, but the courses only taught scant material, barely enough to converse. On top of that, my major focused on ethnomusicology and I was / am fascinated by traditional Chinese music. So my goals in going there (and in staying five years!) were to learn more language, study the music, absorb local culture (this was a part of China unfamiliar to most people in the West) and generally escape life for a while.
I returned home in 2010, having accomplished much of what I planned and returning with ideas for the future. Although I enjoyed teaching and engaging, guiding and mentoring, by that point I was tired of it and wanted to try something new. With such a lengthy background in one country overseas, I thought I could head towards an international career and get more schooling in law or business towards that aim. But here is what is holding me back:
*business school - doesn't quite fit my personality: I'm not driven only by profits nor am I good at butt-kissing just to keep my job / get a raise, course topics don't interest me much
*law school - I like working with abstract ideas, so this could be a decent fit, but I don't like how law is taught, and the law field is a mess in the country anyways
I have thought about getting a professional degree, but those are specific to one area, and I like to have flexibility in what I do. For example, I've thought about going into audiology, since as a music lover I care very much about my ears. But as a Gemini I tend to be fickle and indecisive; I worry that I won't enjoy it, that I will grow tired quickly of working only with old deaf people. And 4 years spent working towards that undergrad degree was pain enough -- I can't imagine going through so much more education just to land a job.
Yet I feel that I need more schooling. I worry that having only a bachelor's degree is not enough to get me anywhere. Others my age have already amassed lots of experience or advanced degrees. There's also all the fresh meat straight from the college dorm. I suppose I fit somewhere in between them on the "experience ladder". One good reason for me to go back to school are my test scores: my GMAT is decent and my GRE kicked butt! (Since the law industry is a mess I have opted not to take the LSAT yet.)
(I would like to mention that I would rather not do anything related to my "field", ie my major. No music teacher, no music lessons. Also, I have taught Chinese stateside and would like to try something else.)
But preferably I would not yet return to school -- I'd rather get some experience stateside and hopefully save up enough money to pay my way through a program, if need be.
Which leads me to this question:
2) Do I have any skills that would be useful / might be impressive? How do I highlight these on my resume? Would they be enough to get me a job reasonably quickly, in this job environment?
I would think that I have something I could bring to the table, but what? They are all soft skills associated with teaching, ie communication, can explain well, yada yada. And they are things done without quantifiable or even qualifiable results, so they look rather meh on paper. How can I make them "pop" or seem better than they are?
I currently live with the fam in a relatively small city (I'm very lucky to have very patient and caring parents who have fed and housed me all these years), and I understand that job opportunities might be better for me if I were to move away. But that is another issue altogether, one that I will have to ask about later.
It might also help to talk about what kind of job I would like to have, but again, that might be better for another question.
I realize this post is very long and perhaps unclear. If anything doesn't make sense, just ask and I will clarify. You're helping me, after all, so it's only fair that I help you do that! lol
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this and giving advice. I really need some suggestions.