At a loss for a job!
January 29, 2012 5:23 PM   Subscribe

Need a Job Filter: Need help with recommendations for some jobs I can look into soon, with the degree(s) I have, and the work experience I have. Some fun and snowflakey details await you!

HALP MEH MetaFilter hive mind!! I've been looking through jobs in the classifieds of our local papers, on Craigslist, etc. and have had NO luck finding anything I want to get into. I am not sure what kinds of jobs/what places I could apply for/at that aren't typically listed in classifieds and the like, or if there are even such jobs around me. Some snowflake details and other useful info about myself:

-I'm in my late 20s, female, in relatively great health, and while I don't love being sweaty, I'm not opposed to physical labor. Though I can't lift all that much, 50-60 pounds max. (Yeah, I'm a weenie.)
-I have an associate of science degree from a local community college and my bachelor's of psychology from the University of Tennessee. (FWIW, I am 3 credit hours away from getting my minor in anthropology, which I would like to do but [financially] was not able when I was still in school.) I have ridiculous student debts right now which are becoming almost impossible to pay monthly because the minimum payment is still close to $200. I've looked into deferment for them, but interest rates would cause more problems down the road.
-I have a car, reliable transportation if said car malfunctions, and no criminal record or anything that would be an issue for a background check.
-My job experiences are all related to serving/waiting tables. Hooters (most fun job I've ever had!), a local marina restaurant (very casual atmosphere, but serving a lot of upper middle class and high class folks), a local upscale restaurant (which was technically a BBQ place but known for more upscale service, basically the total opposite of Hooters) and working the skyboxes for the UT football games (my floor was the 'big name people' floor with the president/chancellor/athletic director/other coaches/copious amounts of insanely rich people who donated to the university...another VERY fun but also very physically demanding job.) I'm so sick of it (after 6 years plus) and am desperately wanting a job not in the restaurant industry.
-I have some unresolved issues with chronic headaches that I'm literally unable to afford to get investigated or fixed (my insurance benefit rider will not cover headache/migraine treatments). These are somewhat treated by medicine which I CAN get and afford, but might still be an issue at any job. (Preferably don't want to take the temporary disability route but am thinking I might have to in order to afford the few different medicines I take, or any other treatments.)
-My passions are both abnormal and social psychology, and anything law enforcement/criminal related. My father has been a deputy for years and I have looked into working through our local law branches, but I'm not interested in dispatch (I don't think I could handle things quite well enough, having sat in on many days of work in local dispatch) or patrol work (mostly the 'danger' factor, which is more my fiance's concern than mine...but understandable none the less). But I've been around law enforcement my whole life, it's very interesting to me and I know quite a bit about it for someone not directly involved. The psychology part...both social and abnormal are fascinating to me. A close relative of mine passed with mental issues that were still undiagnosed and he was the reason I was hugely passionate about abnormal psych to begin with. When taking classes, the social psych sort of integrated into my interests.
-I love writing (as is obvious LOL) and reading, I'm a slight grammar Nazi, I love people and talking to people, and I don't think I could abide sitting at a desk and doing nothing else every day. I really need the option to be moving or be up-and-down a little bit. I'm fairly computer-literate on a Mac, and could still deal well on a Windows based PC if needed.

TL;DR - WTF kind of jobs can I get RIGHT NOW, what kind of jobs would I be able to work that (would possibly/probably) help pay for additional schooling, should I just bypass working for now and go back to school for my masters? Or what other options are there? My fiance has by no means a HUGE income, but can afford to keep us both afloat for the time being.

I love you people for reading this and giving any insight you can. Email me at of you'd like any additional info (I promise I'll be as concise as possible!) or if you've got any other questions. THANK YOU!!!
posted by PeppahCat to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am going to recommend a place of employment but you will need to do more research after that.Check out employment listings at nearby universities or med schools (or even consider moving to a location that has these).These jobs are usually posted online at the university or medical school website.

Here is why I think that it could be a good position for you:1) there are labs or studies usually with PIs who are psychiatrists,etc.; 2) a frequent job benefit (after3 months or so many months) are a given # of free classes per yr; 3) there are often opportunities to get published(posters,manuscripts), which would be a plus for grad school; and 4)if you really look around,there are lectures/libraries,just material that you should look at for this field.

Now how you can sell yourself: 1)you have an undergrad degree in the field (that is all you need as a tech or research assistant); 2) you are probably enthusiastic for this (it is apparent when I read your interests) ;3) sell your editing/writing skill and say that you would like do this too if possible (maybe they will let you review grants,papers,maybe not but you have a skill that can be developed); 4)computer skills are needed to put stuff in for a data base' and 5)your pple skills could really help if you...try to get into studies/labs that do studies with human subjects. As an FYI,I used to see med schools list positions to ...take in human subjects,explain the study,etc....usually good pple skills were desired (and some of the studies were for subjects with psychiatric disorders).

I think that you could get a job like this now. From the things you mention about yourself, I would push for studies with human subjects/clinical studies.
posted by Wolfster at 5:45 PM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

How do you feel about admin work as a launch pad to move into something else? You could try a temp agency or look on sites like for entry level jobs.

If you eventually want to get into mental health services you could always do some volunteering in that area and then pursue grad school - that's where the admin work would come in to pay the bills.

You could also look for entry level editing jobs - again, I'd look on

Writing - you could work on getting into grant writing. That might take some volunteer work to begin with as well.

You sound pretty similar to me as far as late 20s and I used to want to go to grad school to become a therapist but then changed my mind - but I do volunteer as a crisis counselor. You like people and talking to people...I love that too and I have held jobs in human resources type capacities that have required sitting at a desk for sure, but I was also interacting with everyone in our office and everyone who applied to the office, and I liked that a lot.

You could always apply to grad school and try to get an assistantship, but that won't help you right this instant.
posted by fromageball at 5:48 PM on January 29, 2012

For what it's worth, you hold a BA and are qualified for any entry level job that requires (or doesn't require) a degree.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:54 PM on January 29, 2012

Many more jobs aren't posted than are. If you want to get a good job quickly, you need to talk to people in your area about what they do, what they like about it, what you think you're looking for and ask them about their field, their employer, their friends. This is called information interviewing and is really key to getting good, interesting work at all levels.

For example, you could call one of your contacts from the box-level work; maybe the admin person who arranges things?

I would also encourage you to really think more broadly about what you like and what interests you... Your interest in psych and waitressing suggests you like people, and probably helping them.

your campus' career centre will have info about how to think laterally about your interests and skills.

Also, don't dismiss office work... It's not all completely sedentary. Admin/secretarial/temp work is a great way to meet people, see different offices and explore. You've got research and typing skills that people who didn't go to college don't.

Consider writing or reporting for a local blog or newspaper.

Also, customer service can come in many forms... Such as caring for people in seniors homes or community centres.

I actually think you might enjoy dispatch or 911 call centre stuff - remember that you don't have to be an expert when you start! One way to find out more is to set up a proper interview /coffee chat with one of the dispatchers you know to find out more.

Work those networks, it's all about who you know!
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 10:20 AM on January 30, 2012

You certainly qualify for a lot of jobs, but if you want a less-than-obvious avenue to pursue, try knocking on the doors of food distribution companies in your area. You have a college degree, and you have experience working in food service. This may give you a bit of an edge there.
posted by ignignokt at 12:19 PM on January 30, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great info and suggestions, gang! Many things I'd never thought of (or even heard of!) on here to look into. I ran across a local humane society branch that's looking for volunteers so I'm applying there until I can find something and then intend to work there around another job if possible. Also looked into the area nursing homes/assisted living homes for volunteer work as well.
And believe me, Heart_on_Sleeve, I can't dismiss office work! I had gone in and sat with my mom a few times at her former job where she did secretarial work and often helped her with minor stuff...really enjoyed it as she interacted a lot with everyone around her. And I've actually talked quite extensively about dispatch with a close friend who dad. =) Nothing like having nice inside insight into things!

Y'all are a huge help and insight for me! Keep any suggestions coming!
posted by PeppahCat at 8:07 PM on January 30, 2012

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