Career options for a 30 year old woman with a B.A. in Spanish?
September 30, 2019 5:17 PM   Subscribe

Since graduating college in 2014, I have worked as a high school teacher and then administrative assistant/office manager. I'm pretty unhappy with where I have ended up. I'm looking for suggestions for new job/career ideas that could jive with my education, experience, and personality. I'm open to new industries, and anything totally unrelated to teacher or administrative work. A big issue is that I am a low energy person and have depression.

My Ideal Job:
Something that helps the world somehow or something to do with Spanish. I haven't had luck applying to nonprofits but maybe there's something out there that I'm overlooking.

As far as translation goes, I enjoy it enough. However it seems like a shrinking field that is tough to break into. I didn't grow up bilingual so I think I'm at a disadvantage.

I'm not sure what is a good fit for my personality. I'm a low energy person, I struggle on and off with depression (I do take meds/see a therapist), I get overwhelmed easy. I'm pretty good at writing and doing analytical things.

Another thing is that I'm wary of joining a male dominated field such as computer science or engineering, and having to deal with sexism. I grew up in a macho male-dominated household and want to stay as far away from that type of environment as possible.

Things I've done and don't want to do again:
1. Volunteer to test another field out
2. See a career counselor/ Attend a career finder workshop (done both)
3. Apply to grad school (I applied for Library Science but decided against it due to $$$)
4. Work with kids
5. Customer service jobs, unless these customers are super chill

I'm thinking the reality is, I don't have many options without going to Grad School. I was interested in Library Science or Industrial Psychology, but the cost of grad school and job outlook for those put me off. But, maybe I'm missing something.
posted by Finch to Work & Money (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Teach English to adults in a Spanish speaking country.
posted by unreasonable at 5:45 PM on September 30, 2019 [5 favorites]

I don't have any specific suggestions for you, but I am an engineer and would whole-heartedly encourage women to go into the field. While I have of course experienced some sexism, and there have been some annoying cultural things, my experience in my field is NOTHING like what you read about the tech industry, for example. And with one exception at one job that had a somewhat "macho" environment, I knew that going in and it was really just a couple of A-type a-hole dudes that I had to deal with. My other jobs were not like this.

That being said, if it's the ratio itself that bothers you, yeah maybe skip something like engineering unless you go into a more female-dominated sub-field (biomedical engineering attracts a lot of women but I'm not sure what the ratio looks like after college). I have often - but not always! - been the only female engineer.
posted by sillysally at 7:12 PM on September 30, 2019

I can think of a lot of jobs that match your skills and experience, but none that don't require an entry on your "don't want to do again" list.

Ex, bilingual speech pathologists are in huge demand...but you would have to go to grad school. If you were willing to stay in education, teachers who want out of the classroom can become instructional designers, school administrators (not just principals and vice principals), corporate trainers. Lots of human services fields have a high demand for Spanish-speaking entry-level case workers, but those are not "super chill."

In my experience, when I feel like I have No Options At All, and nothing will work, and everything has problems I can't fix, it's because my mental health is not well-managed. Reading your question sounds like that to me. I think the problem is the depression and not the career.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:12 PM on September 30, 2019 [5 favorites]

As far as translation goes, I enjoy it enough. However it seems like a shrinking field that is tough to break into. I didn't grow up bilingual so I think I'm at a disadvantage.

The people I know who tried to get work as translators told me they found that native speakers got all the work. One guy ended up moving to Russia and becoming a translator from Russian to English.
posted by thelonius at 7:53 PM on September 30, 2019

You can find a job in the public sector as a bilingual advocate either for taxpayers, hospital patients, 911 callers, any public use entity really. Not much more to your job than that, except maybe bilingual data entry or transcription from spanish to english. A fairly high starting salary in those fields with a good retirement and very low energy offices.
posted by The_imp_inimpossible at 10:26 PM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

This may be too close to your don't want list, but I'll throw it out there: Are there any colleges or universities nearby? Higher ed institutions, especially schools designated as Hispanic Serving-Institutions, need multi-lingual staff in almost all areas, such as leading tours, running new student orientation sessions, academic advising, organizing multicultural activities, outreach and recruiting in Spanish-speaking communities, and working in a student advocacy role (like the Dean of Students Office or similar).
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:03 AM on October 1, 2019

I work at a behavioral health non-profit/for profit in a mid sized city and trouble finding spanish-speaking staff to deliver services. If you don't want to go back for a formal degree, you could try to get a job doing anything at an organization like this or you go to a few day or week long trainings and offer that up to prospective employers. If I were you, I would find out which positions are in demand in an organization, ask what are good trainings to get and from where, get them and come back to apply. It's basically networking with specific people so that they know you and you know what they are looking for. There are also paid apprenticeships in this field that you could research.
posted by ColdIcedT at 9:57 AM on October 1, 2019

Depends on your location and what you think you can handle in terms of how related to administrative or customer service these are, but some ideas:

What about something education adjacent, like Education First? Here's just one example bilingual role.

Could you use your teaching experience and edit Spanish texbooks or educational materials? One example here for inspiration but more exist in the school publishing industry.

Could you try out Spanish writing/editing/proofreading or translation/interpretation work on a freelance/flexible basis to build experience and get a sense of the field?

How about an EdTech company, giving feedback or designing a curriculum? Or other nonteaching alternatives?

Maybe there are potential opportunities for bilingual/Spanish-lanaguage immigration paralegals or something similar?

Otherwise there are of course nonprofit roles that don't necessarily use Spanish but could "help the world" somehow and don't have to be admin, e.g. communications. That requires some breaking into and transitioning as well, but teaching and admin skills should help - what specific issues have you run into when applying?

Good luck with the depression and career exploration, ánimo!
posted by eyeball at 1:03 PM on October 1, 2019

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