1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Thinking about changing careers- need advice!!!

Discussion in 'Chit-Chat' started by LukeZero, Jul 17, 2005.

  1. LukeZero

    LukeZero

    Messages:
    1,705
    Likes Received:
    18
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Location:
    Elkhart, Indiana
    Hey everyone... I'm thinking about changing my work career and would like to have your input... I know, I know, asking this group for career advice may be a dumb thing to do. Anyway, here's the scoop, I hope you all have your counselors hats on.

    I had no idea in high-school what I wanted to do for a living, but I was a really good smartass- so I went to a liberal arts college and got a degree in Philosophy (I never knew you could major in asking questions that no one knew the answer to) :)- then I got married to the wrong woman and that lasted about 7 months, moved home and went to work in the family business (plumbing and heating), basically I've been there ever since, not particularly happy with it and my current wife ( much better choice) can tell that I'm not content with this. She keeps encouraging me to figure out what I want to do.

    I'm 32, have high mechanical aptitude (I've scored off the charts on the Bennet Mechanical Aptitude tests), I score ENTP on the Myers-Briggs, I have an IQ somewhere between 145 and 155 depending on which test I take. I have a BA In Philosophy. My wife is on faculty at Notre Dame and I can get either free classes or half-price classes depending on which department.

    Problem is, we have lots 'o debt. I don't know if we could keep our current house if I went back to school. Maybe that shouldn't be part of the big picture.

    I'm thinking about Law school or Mechanical engineering. If you guys were in my shoes- what would you do?

    Or I could just stay put and inherit a business that seems to continue to grow. I know, it seems like I'm whining about too many choices, but in reality I've never done the career choosing thing that most people do in high school and college. I guess I jacked around and drank too much. :)

    Luke
     
  2. IDave

    IDave

    Messages:
    7,167
    Media:
    1
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Location:
    McCall, ID
    Luke, life's too short to spend it doing something you are bored with, if you have the capability to go beyond, and it certainly sounds like you do.

    I am neither a lawyer or a mechanical engineer, but if I was, I know which one I wouldn't be. ;)

    My job is interesting every day. It isn't perfect, but it is challenging and provides the occasional adrenalin rush. That's good.
     
  3. LukeZero

    LukeZero

    Messages:
    1,705
    Likes Received:
    18
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Location:
    Elkhart, Indiana
    So what do you do Dave? And did you get that heat riser stop?
     
  4. IDave

    IDave

    Messages:
    7,167
    Media:
    1
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Location:
    McCall, ID
    I'm an internist, Luke. And yes, I got the stop, blasted it, and installed yesterday. Thanks!
     
  5. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

    Messages:
    16,612
    Likes Received:
    502
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2003
    Location:
    US
    Mechanical engineering is a great degree. Opens lots of doors.
    However, that does not necessarily mean you would work a lot with hands-on mechanical stuff. A lot of mechanical engineers do a lot of design, computer stuff etc and have never seen an engine or A/C in real life. So ME would be great but you would still need to be careful what area of ME you'd specialize in. Interestingly, though, I was told by folks in that field that there is a lot of demand for MEs that know about HVAC. Not to put systems together at somebody's place, obviously but to design, test, manufacture, sells systems etc, even to do research on the topic.
    Your philosophy degree would not help you much besides maybe getting credit for some GE classes, however, having worked in HVAC you'd be a shoo-in to work in some prof's lab from day one and get $$ or do interesting stuff. You'd be easily accepted in many programs too.
    PM me if you want to talk.
     
  6. FineWynsFJ40

    FineWynsFJ40 Eff-Jay-Farty

    Messages:
    1,380
    Media:
    9
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    38
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Location:
    Spring Lake, MI
    An engineer who knows how to work a screwdriver is a valuable one. Too many have never worked on anything in their lives and design things that are impossible to do. Take for example, the Northstar V8 - the starter is in the middle of the frickin' engine. Great idea, efficient, but a PITA to work on, and to replace the starter, a mild engine overhaul is needed. This is a great example of an engineer who doesn't know anything about servicing or practicality. You, from what it sounds like, have plenty of experience, and with a ME degree can probably find an exciting career doing something fun.
     
  7. Liam

    Liam

    Messages:
    4,548
    Media:
    31
    Albums:
    4
    Likes Received:
    11
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Location:
    in the nappy dugout
    liten here...become a pimp....

    that is the best advice i can give........carry on
     
  8. PolterGeist

    PolterGeist

    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Harvard, IL USA
    You're never too old to go back to school. It took my wife to convince me of that...

    I went to engineering school cause my dad told me too, and I hated it. I'm not saying you will, It just wasn't for me. I dropped engineering school and got a history degree so I could just be done with school.

    I always wanted to be a doctor, but my old man convinced me that studying pre-med or biology was a waste of time, cause "you can't get a high paying job with nothing but a pre-med degree. You see all those guys at Dr. MuckMuck's (A family friend, Dr. MuckMuck was his nickname) office peddling prescription drugs? They're all med school dropouts and that's all they're good for. You don't want to end up like that, do you?" He told me I could get into med school with an engineering degree, and that degree would be useful in case med school didn't work out....

    He was kind of right-- 1 in every thousand medical students who get into med school might have an engineering degree. :) But that notwithstanding, an engineering degree is very useful-- I'll give him that much.

    It took me a while to figure out for myself what I wanted to do, and I'm nearly your age and am in Med school now. Most of my classmates are younger than 25, so I feel old. But you know what? I'm smarter and wiser, cause I've been around the block a few more times. Nothing wrong with that.

    So go for it. As far as debt and finances, talk to the financial aid department at the school you choose. There is plenty of money --both free money in form of grants, and scholarships and deferred payment loans -- that are available to people like you and I who are older, have families, homes, bills and are returning to school. I know someone who gets like $2500 a month in free money cause she's in med school and is a single mother... And that on top of all the other money she gets to pay her tuition and other expenses... Free daycare at the University, free health insurance at the University Hospital -- you name it.

    Even though I personally hated engineering, I'd say go for that. You should talk to some lawyers before commiting to that field. A couple of friends of mine at the UW are law students. They are under huge stress these days. There are so many lawyers graduating law school that you have to go to a top 10% law school and graduate in the top 10% of your class to get one of those high-paying jobs with a high powered firm. And when you get into that firm, you will work 80 hours a week for the first 5 years until you make partner. The ones that don't go to a top 10% Law school and/or dont graduate top 10% of their class wind up chasing bad check writers for K-Mart or something.

    Not to dissuade you from that if that's what your heart is set on, you just might want to talk to some people about it first.

    Steve
     
  9. Mr. Toad

    Mr. Toad

    Messages:
    1,704
    Media:
    3
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    69
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Hey PolterGeist, those guys and gals hawking pharms at Dr. MuckMuck's have business degrees and supermodel looks. They never saw the inside of a chem lab in undergrad, much less dropped out of med school.

    And you, LukeZero, of your two options, you'll probably make the most $$ inheriting the family business. Make money from your job, and enjoy doing something else. Don't ever listen to anyone who says, "Do what you love and you'll love what you do," because what really happens when you "do what you love" is that you turn what you love into work. And you don't want to do that.

    You could go to med school like PolterGeist; you'll probably make more dough than in the fam business (doctors work till they die) and enjoy the highest public esteem, but you probably will have less time to do what you like to do. Unless you become board certified in teenage gyno.

    Last advice--spend less than you make and you won't have debt issues. Jesus, every white American fawker thinks he's entitled to live like his chiseled mug is in the Star every week...
     
  10. IDave

    IDave

    Messages:
    7,167
    Media:
    1
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Location:
    McCall, ID
    Toad, you make some very good points. But any one who owns his/her own business and is de Boss has the opportunity to work until they die. It certainly doesn't exclude plumbing/heating businesses. Trick is to make sure that isn't all you do.

    Also, the salesfolks who visit my office have RN degrees and are ex-pro football players as well as other things, so you need to add a few to your list! :grinpimp:
     
  11. TJDIV

    TJDIV Back in The U.P.

    Messages:
    2,063
    Media:
    9
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2003
    Location:
    Upper Michigan
    I like the family business idea.


    You'll never regret it if it does continue to grow, and to do it with family is great.


    It would take a LOT of "the bad" to get me to walk away from that.......
     
  12. PolterGeist

    PolterGeist

    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Harvard, IL USA
    I never said my dad was right, only that it's what he told me. And it worked for a long time.

    Steve
     
  13. patpend2000

    patpend2000

    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    combine both degrees as I did, ME and JD. I am a patent attorney working for a medical device company. You get to see really cool stuff years before it's on the market. I hang out in the labs with the engineers and the machinists.

    Kelly
     
  14. PolterGeist

    PolterGeist

    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Harvard, IL USA

    Sounds like you actually talk to them. Dr. MuckMuck used to say "I've got 30 patients to see, and I'm scheduled to do a mitral valve replacement at 3 PM. Leave the literature and your free pens and other crap, and get the hell out of here and leave me alone."

    He was busy. And crotchety. And didn't mince words. He retired a few years back. Owns half the rental apartments in Tampa, FL. (an exagerration, but not much of one it seems)

    Steve
     
  15. LukeZero

    LukeZero

    Messages:
    1,705
    Likes Received:
    18
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Location:
    Elkhart, Indiana
    Working with family isn't all its cracked up to be... that's part of the problem...


    "The only thing more overrated than natural childbirth- is the joy of owning your own business."

    Keep it coming, this helps.

    Luke
     
  16. Jim_Phillips

    Jim_Phillips

    Messages:
    723
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Location:
    Ingerland
    Sounds to me like you don't know what you want to do. If you had a burning ambition to train in something particular then I would say do it.

    Life doesn't sound too bad for you. Secure job, nice wife , nice house. Those are the big three taken care of already.

    If you think that something else would be better then think again. Whatever you do becomes a job after a while unless you are somehow born to it. I ran safaris in Africa for 8 years - even driving a Landcruiser all day in the Serengeti became tedious after a while.

    Count you blessings. Stick with what you know. Try to get better at what you do. If you want to take up something new then try it as a hobby first. If you can't think what it is that you would enjoy more than your current job then you have the answer to your question.

    :beer:
     
  17. ken_79-fj40

    ken_79-fj40

    Messages:
    1,424
    Likes Received:
    40
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    New Hampshire

    Family business, especially a growing one, is tough to beat. Two of my fiance's brothers are taking over a plumbing and heating business that is currently owned by a family friend in a few years. They both make good money, and will make even more once they are in control of it. One of them actually has a masters degree in forensic science. He wanted to be an FBI agent, but couldn't get hired by any local police departments for their required 2 yrs prior experience. He was told by a half dozen departments he was overqualified. Now he's a plumber, go figure.
     
  18. FLFJ40

    FLFJ40

    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    One of the great things about owning your own business is you KNOW you will never get fired, laid off, out sourced or any of the othe million things that can happen to you if you collect a paycheck. Think about the long term, if the economy was to tank, who would they fire first? The new guy. If you lost your job and had to come crawling back to the family, how would you feel then?
     
  19. ozarkcruiser

    ozarkcruiser

    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Location:
    Little Rock, Arkansas
    Become a Firefighter! Very rewarding job.
     
  20. alia176

    alia176

    Messages:
    10,462
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    872
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Location:
    Tijeras, NM
    How about some sort of a vo-tech program that specializes in HVAC and ME stuff? I'm an EE, but personally, I didn't really care about all of the other crap like english/chemistry/etc. This way, you can attain your cert in two years vs the usual 4-5 years. Since you have real life stuff to worry about, I wouldn't be too crazy about going to school while maintaining a full time job. That just plain sucks. Your income level may increase if you backup your life experiences in HVAC with a formal certificate of some sort.