I need to find the perfect job for me...
December 19, 2011 6:42 PM   Subscribe

I'm a creative/analytical individual who thrives in an environment where I can tweak and testdrive many variables/things/ideas/etc in a creative way and put them to use for profit/critique/judgement/etc. I have all the time in the world to figure this out, but I want to get it right and I want to find a career I will love the rest of my life.

I'm intensely invent/analytical, but analysis itself does not satisfy me.
I'm highly creative, creating things satisfies me, but I'm not the kind that could be a great painter or writer or musician, I don't think...
I'm an amazing writer, I could probably be a very successful novelist if I could think of plots, and was better at developing larger number of characters. (I'm not just saying I'm a good writer like lots of the trash writers out there, I actually am, promise).
I am very visually oriented.
I am extremely smart.
I have a very keen aesthetic eye.
I am competitive.
I like traveling.
I like trying new things.
I like thinking of new ways things could be done.
I like being around people, but appreciate the occasional alone time.
I like reading, but I never read for some reason.
I like the outdoors.
I like being in foreign places.
I like teaching others.
I like the idea of compensation based on merit.
I'm probably too good at arguing....
I thrive in a setting where I can experiment with many variables in a creative way, test drive them, and put them to use.

Areas that interest me right now writing novels, equities/futures trading, film editing, architecture, semipro poker, teaching English overseas, consulting, editor/publisher, and i guess that last thing I would choose to be is a touring musician, but I hate the band I'm in.

Also, if it matters, I like all people have the secret desire to be a pirate or spy. HAHAHA

I just turned 23, I have a degree in Economics from a top 40 school. Grad school isn't out of the question, but being a lawyer does not interest me.
posted by sawyerrrr to Work & Money (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Writing is the specific skill you mention closest to the top, and I'm going to infer from that placement that writing is what you're really, really good at.

If you're really an amazing writer, and if your educational background so far equips you to be a trader, I think you should try being a trader and then write about it. I can tell you from experience that there is no shortage of work for people with experience and credentials in a technical area and the verbal ability to explain that area to a broad audience. That's how Michael Lewis got started, and I'm not sure the second Michael Lewis has really arrived yet. Maybe it could be you!
posted by escabeche at 6:49 PM on December 19, 2011

Response by poster: Instructive writing/blogs might be an area to look into. But if I had the ability to be a decent trader, I don't think I'd waste my time writing. My only problem with trading is that it's stressful, it's hard to break into, and theres alot of hatred going on towards "speculators" today that I foresee will continue and I don't want to be tarred and feathered....
posted by sawyerrrr at 7:01 PM on December 19, 2011

If your view is that writing would be a waste of time as compared to trading, then I would definitely cross writing off the list of perfect jobs for you!
posted by escabeche at 7:17 PM on December 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Why the pressure to get it right now? You are just starting out, and there are no demerits for taking a job that isn't just right.

What if you don't have a job "soulmate" waiting for you? I'm not trying to be a big Debbie Downer, but every job has drawbacks.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:55 PM on December 19, 2011

Response by poster: Because I'm mobile now, I'm unemployed, I'm young. It's much harder to make a switch later than it is to figure it out and get it right the first time.
posted by sawyerrrr at 8:16 PM on December 19, 2011

A lot of the careers you mentioned tend to be pretty short term, actually, especially trading and consulting. Many people from my graduating class (6 or so years ago) who were in one of these arenas right after college have since segued into something else.

This is sort of in contrast to your last point, incidentally. As a further example there are plenty of people from my relatively specialized grad program who have since fled to perfectly happy and fulfilled lives in completely unrelated industries. One went to program computer games. So I wouldn't stress too much about finding the one, perfect job -- it can easily become a paralyzing distraction. (Cal Newport has some things to say about this approach to finding a job you might find relevant.)
posted by en forme de poire at 9:44 PM on December 19, 2011

Check out the Design focused MBA at CCA in San Francisco. We tend to like the grads (at a notable design agency) that come out of it, they're from all sorts of varied backgrounds.

Also, it's tough to break into the creative field without either requisite experience or some formal background in art to demonstrate your ability. There's copywriting at an ad agency but I don't think that's gonna satisfy your other goals outside of writing.

My other suggestion is again move to the Bay Area, and take a stab at start up life. People are willing to take chances on those who are motivated, and the startup culture tends to allow people to wear many hats in their employment rather then be a expert in one area. Good luck.

Also, don't *tell* people you're good at all those things, show them. There's crucial difference in how those two approaches are perceived by potential employers and coworkers
posted by straight_razor at 9:54 PM on December 19, 2011

That said, given the qualities you've mentioned, have you thought about advertising at all?
posted by en forme de poire at 9:54 PM on December 19, 2011

Not to destroy your self-image, but probably most of the people I am friends with would describe themselves very like you have, or at least would have at your age. You're 23, you're smart and good at everything but you did a kind of generic degree that doesn't peg you into any particular job and so you have all the options in the world. My main advice is to just get a job, any job. In six or 12 months when you're 24 and still think you're smart and good at everything but you are no longer a fresh grad, you'll look a lot more like a lazy kid with a generic degree and no work ethic who tells everyone he'd be amazing if he could just pick one of his many talents to focus on. Nobody ever wants to hire that kid.

After skimming your past questions: go teach English overseas. Definitely don't move to New York. And if you're still depressed, get a therapist or a life coach or something.

regarding "it's much harder to make a switch later than to just get it right now" - well, on a scale of difficulty, making a switch from one industry/job to another is exponentially easier than making the switch from never-been-employed dilettante to someone who can get hired. Not to mention the financial difficulties incurred if your parents actually cut you off while you're still thinking.
posted by jacalata at 10:41 PM on December 19, 2011 [5 favorites]

Yeah, go get any job, and while you're doing that, work on what you really want to do. Eventually, you'll discover either that it's marketable and you can make money at it, it's marketable but you'd rather keep it as a hobby, or that it's just a hobby that you do to fulfill yourself. While you're in the process of discovering that, your maybe-unrelated job will be putting you in touch with lots of people, some of whom might be able to help you discover this soulmate-job you're looking for. In my experience, the people with the strange, fulfilling jobs have all gone out and made their jobs for themselves (as opposed to it being offered by a benevolent employer). You may have to do the same thing, and while you're sorting out the specifics, why not develop some solid real-world experience? Worst case scenario, you eliminate things you specifically don't want to do, which still puts you ahead. Oh, and money.

Also, at the beginning of the paragraph where you tell us you're an excellent writer, you say, "I'm intensely invent/analytical," which would be a typo, unless you didn't mean "inventive" and there is a use of the word "invent" I don't know about (not unlikely). I hope this comment won't be misconstrued as cattiness - I'd argue it serves a constructive function.
posted by TangoCharlie at 11:47 PM on December 19, 2011

Response by poster: http://www.whatifinnovation.com/Recruitment_region_role_detail/region---3781/role---3782

Just stumbled upon this and it seems to be pretty much the closest thing to what I'm looking for....
posted by sawyerrrr at 12:29 AM on December 20, 2011

Requirements include "You have experience in business, you know how it works." Do you? It might be a great idea to apply there. Worst case, you don't get it, they might even give you a hint as to why.
posted by jacalata at 12:38 AM on December 20, 2011

To expand on that - check out the profiles of all the people who work there currently, eg this guy: "Prior to joining ?What If!, Alex spent years in Brand Planning at Leo Burnett and DDB, building great, big brands including Lipton, Knorr, Hertz, Pepsi and Hershey's." Or another one says "Before joining ?What If! in 2005, Ara worked for 7 years in the land of advertising." If this kind of place is where you want to end up, then you could do a lot worse than looking at the kind of background that they have in common (maybe even getting an information interview with one of them?) and trying to get a job on the lower levels of that path. My possibly non-representative sample skewed heavily towards advertising, as someone suggested upthread - have you considered that field?
posted by jacalata at 12:45 AM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

You appear to have and express a lot of confidence in your abilities. Have you considered sales? 'Having and expressing a lot of confidence' is basically the job description, and you can be well-compensated while you figure out what you really want to do.
posted by Kwine at 8:44 AM on December 20, 2011

Basically, people with your sort of background go into sales, finance, or work in management consulting straight out of college and then figure out what to do from there.
posted by deanc at 10:04 AM on December 20, 2011

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