Research and Problem Solving Careers
June 21, 2018 6:42 AM   Subscribe

Looking for career ideas that play to my strengths: very, very curious, likes to find information, and enjoys problem solving.

I took the Clifton StrengthsFinder quiz and got Input and Restorative as my top strengths. Input: curious, likes finding and storing information and Restorative: loves to solve problems, finds problem solving energizing. (My third strongest theme was Connectedness.)

I also love talking to people, and I would especially love it if I didn't have to sit at a computer all day. What are some less obvious careers are out there for someone who enjoys research and problem solving?

Bonus if it's something I could use my MLIS for or slightly re-train for (please don't say librarian lol thx). My favorite jobs were customer facing - loved the fast pace and every day was different - but too low paying to stay in. I'm currently a prospect researcher, but it's not a long term career for me.
posted by pumpkinlatte to Work & Money (17 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Design researcher (here's one example:
posted by pinochiette at 7:01 AM on June 21, 2018 [6 favorites]

I've got the same interests and goals as you, and I'm starting to see that a business consultant might be the right career path. Going into a business, learning all about it and talking to the staff, then compiling a report of recommendations - that's the dream(? current dream anyway, these things could change!). I'm working my way there, via a portmanteu of roles including Government analyst and communications officer. In my current role I'm pretending that I am both the consultant and the implementer, since i've not quite got to the consulting phase by itself. Happy to chat if you want to memail.
posted by london explorer girl at 7:02 AM on June 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

You might find instructional design interesting.
posted by angiep at 7:04 AM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't know if this is too librarian for you, but based on your description of suggest looking at competitive intelligence. CI had been a really growth field within special libraries the last decade or so. The Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals site is down right now, but you could check out the SLA CI division for more info.

Actually I know a lot of special librarians who do similar work though not totally focused on CI. Research analyst gigs, or similar positions embedded in research groups is a fairly common model for corporate libraries now.
posted by kendrak at 7:05 AM on June 21, 2018

Programming is essentially continual puzzle solving that gets more and more systemic.
posted by flippant at 7:10 AM on June 21, 2018 [3 favorites]

I have an MSLIS and have ended up as a product owner for a suite of data centric, often interagency, web applications at a federal science agency. My entire job is interacting with stakeholders and developers to solve problems.
posted by rockindata at 7:18 AM on June 21, 2018

Former librarian now working in user research for a digital product team at a bank, AMA! Seriously, I love to talk about design research and user-centered design, and its relationship to librarianship. PM me, I’d love to talk.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:29 AM on June 21, 2018 [3 favorites]

Systems analyst or business analyst. If you find the right job, you can get the problem solving aspects of programming while also having to interact with clients.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:07 AM on June 21, 2018

+1 to programming. It does involve (much) more screen time than I would like, but at the startup where I work it also entails lots of face to face engagement with my colleagues, finding information and problem solving across teams. I never dreamed I’d be a software engineer, but after 12 years in a completey unrelated and ill-paying field that I eventually came to loathe, it’s been pretty effing great.
posted by STFUDonnie at 8:14 AM on June 21, 2018

+1 for design research, also called user research. Your existing research experience, combined with your MLIS, and your resume could be tailored for many types of UX jobs without too much work.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 8:57 AM on June 21, 2018

Landscape architecture will tick all your boxes, it does for me.
posted by unearthed at 10:01 AM on June 21, 2018

I'm a contracts manager at an NGO that receives funding from a lot of sources, including federal, which means large bodies of applicable regulations. Researching/information gathering and problem solving are a pretty solid six-word description of the work. It does tend to include a lot of computer time, though.
posted by solotoro at 10:18 AM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

+1 to Design Researcher or UX Researcher. I have an MLIS and have been a UX Researcher for 20 years now. Happy to take questions.
posted by joan_holloway at 1:11 PM on June 21, 2018 [3 favorites]

One of my childhood friends had a job, perhaps at the Library of Congress, researching questions for members of Congress and, maybe, the White House.
posted by SemiSalt at 1:22 PM on June 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by 8603 at 7:47 PM on June 21, 2018

Project management would fit the bill - your project is basics one big problem to solve.
posted by coffee_monster at 10:32 PM on June 21, 2018

Response by poster: Thank you all for your fantastic answers! You've given me a lot to think about.
posted by pumpkinlatte at 8:09 AM on June 26, 2018

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