Help me figure out my future.
March 26, 2012 2:56 PM   Subscribe

A bit panicky: What do I do with my life after graduation? (A question old as time, of course, but one with its own distinct circumstances. My prospects aren't dire - I just don't know what I should be looking to do.)

I'm graduating this semester with a degree in economics, and minors in psychology and sociology.

I've heard back "no" from three of the five graduate schools I applied to. Two others still haven't gotten back to me either way - I'm told it's a good sign if they take this long to reply, but I'm still not going to make any assumptions about whether I'll get in.

More importantly: I've somehow managed to miss all the deadlines for major summer activities, in part because I forgot I'm still technically going to be an undergraduate over the summer.

How do I go about:

- finding something fun or productive to do for the summer?
- finding a job for the future, using my skills?

All the jobs I've seen ask for some amount of experience which I don't have. My only experience relavant to a career is about 15 months of undergraduate research in social psychology, which is great, but not what jobs are asking for.

If it helps, I'm enthusiastic about multiple hobbies, to the point that I set aside at least 30 minutes each day to sit down with them. These include the following three:

short-form playwriting
playing the accordion
board game design

I would love to publish a board game, and will likely do so regardless of what else I do, but it's not a realistic route to a living and won't pay any dividends for a fair amount of time.

I want to take off the parental safety net and be able to pay off my loans ("only" $20,000) in around 5 years if possible.
posted by LSK to Work & Money (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Go talk to the career center at your college or university.
Think about these questions:

-Do you have geographic limitations? Do you definitely want to live in a particular city, or a particular part of the country, etc?

-What types of work have you both been good at and enjoyed? (writing research papers, solving problems with multiple data sources, public speaking, managing a group of peers toward a practical goal...)

-What skills do you have that employers value? Quantitative skills, software skills, language skills, ...?
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:09 PM on March 26, 2012

I have no geographical limitations. I would enjoy living in another country if the opportunity came up.

I'm interested in specific suggestions where possible. I'm asking on MeFi because I know people here are aware of specific opportunities that I wouldn't be able to discover on my own.
posted by LSK at 3:24 PM on March 26, 2012

Apply for everything and anything you can find out about. Look for stuff that is related to your degree, even if it isn't quite where you want to be in the future. Often first jobs are just a stepping stone to the next one. I know a lot of people want to start out in a high paid position, but reality is that doesn't always happen right away.
Also, don't be afraid to apply for jobs where you have no experience, unless it explicitly says "2 years experience, min." or similar. If you have a degree that might get you in the door. My current job, I applied online and never thought that I would get it, since I had very little work experience and was currently working in a low paying, un-related job. But my boss took a chance on me and I learned as i went.
Sorry, but hobbies don't count for much on a resume, unless directly related to the job. (At least from my experience.)
Where do you envision yourself when you have finished graduate school? Take steps in that direction, even if it means working for a bit less than you would like. Look for jobs that will get you into the field. Do want to stay in economics?
posted by randomgirl at 3:31 PM on March 26, 2012

I'm graduating this semester with a degree in economics, and minors in psychology and sociology. ... All the jobs I've seen ask for some amount of experience which I don't have.

This is why "consulting" and other "entry level" jobs that companies recruit for on campus were invented. Walk into your college's career office, get in touch with someone from Accenture, and apply.
posted by deanc at 3:33 PM on March 26, 2012

First, get a busking license so you can rock your accordian on the street and get paid on your nights off. Board games: complicated work, huge rejection rate. Flash games: accessible, easy to format, big audience who will tell you what they think, lots of room for innovation. I would be happy to put in a rec for a place on a political science fellowship in London for you. You could intern at Westminster and probably land a job in the City afterward.
posted by parmanparman at 3:33 PM on March 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

Also, don't get discouraged. You will hear a lot of "no", eventually you will get a "Yes".

Happy job searching :)
posted by randomgirl at 3:35 PM on March 26, 2012

(ms. Veg)
Any interest in insurance?
posted by a robot made out of meat at 3:56 PM on March 26, 2012

Any interest in insurance?

No particular interest in it. I could be persuaded, but I have nothing pushing me towards it.
posted by LSK at 4:15 PM on March 26, 2012

I'm interested in specific suggestions

Right, but your question at this point is: what are some jobs?

You need to narrow it down some, give us something to work with, by listing something more specific about what you'd like to look into -- otherwise people won't be inspired to come up with specific suggestions. So think about what kind of features you would like a job to have:

long hours/ intense work environment?
learning some particular skill?
working outdoors?
working with the public?
working on a team?
working alone?
working with kids?
sets you up to do something specific in the future?
involves travel?
would you like to live in a city or a rural area?
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:44 PM on March 26, 2012

what do you like about economics? what have been your favorite things in your courses?
what would you be focusing on if you went to grad school?
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:45 PM on March 26, 2012

I could be persuaded, but I have nothing pushing me towards it.

Well, you get to help people protect things that are valuable to them and recover after something bad happens. People (and businesses) come to you at a tough time in their lives and if everything goes well you help them.

I found it wicked helpful to brainstorm about jobs this way when everything sounded kind of "blah."
posted by Snarl Furillo at 6:46 PM on March 26, 2012

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