Career Crossroads

RayzeRayze Registered User regular
edited July 2017 in Help / Advice Forum
I was laid off from my job last year (a few days off to the day, in fact), and I haven't been able to land anything since. As a background, I graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice and while I liked what I learned, I had/have no idea what to do with it. Didn't want to be a cop/correctional officer, lawyer, paralegal, etc. I thought I might do something in administration or maybe the FBI since I've had people tell me my disposition suits it, but no luck.

I was mired in depression for about a year and a half until my husband (then fiancé) told me to apply for a QA position at a video game studio. I happened to play the game the opening was for and he thought I would be great at the job. I got it and was pretty happy for around two years but then the layoffs started and morale started going down. I eventually stopped caring for what I was doing and sought to move around but opportunities were very scarce. In the end, I did QA for 5 years until I got the boot. I thought I would be ok, especially since I didn't want to go back to the video game industry, but I realized perhaps too late that my previous position made me ill-prepared for the outside world. We did all manual testing that didn't involve coding and automation experience, which is what many companies today require in a candidate.

Now the thing is, my heart isn't in QA, though that's where my experience lies. The most likely option is to go back to school and while I have the funding for it, I'm absolutely petrified because 1) I have no idea what to go back for and 2) I'm afraid of wasting money since my original degree was useless. Another big issue is a lack of passion and motivation. I'm not motivated by anything, except perhaps spite. I procrastinate and only get things done in fits and spurts, unless something pisses me off enough to do something immediately. As for passion, nothing sticks out. I seem to come up with more reasons why not to do something instead of doing it.

So what do I do? I'm analytical, forthright, efficient (I've been affectionately called a robot a few times), and everything else that would be suitable for office work. I'm the type of person that probably excels better when someone tells me to do something and then leaves me alone to do it, though I'm comfortable in a collaborative setting. I'm also pretty nosy and love it when I can learn something new (one of the things that saved my sanity at my QA job for a while was learning some of the proprietary software the developers used and helping them fix bugs without having to write bug reports).

Some of the things that I've been looking into lately include: Analytics, Python, SQL, a bit of project management (though I've pretty much ruled that one out because it looks boring), and how to get into the FBI without becoming a special agent. Nothing is jumping out at me and I've currently resorted to applying for part-time office jobs because I need to get the hell out of the house.

If anyone has some magical insights, dear sweet god please lay it on me. It's been a pretty bad couple of years and it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.


Some other things to note that may not be related but you might want to know anyway:
- I live in Massachusetts and am not looking to move out of the state since that's where my family is.
- My support network is very limited. I don't have any close friends and I'm currently separated from my husband (he's a great person though and is the only one I can really rely on outside my family.
- I currently live with my parents.
- Why yes, I do have anxiety and depression. My anxiety is a constant and the depression is situational though near a constant. I used to see a therapist and take meds but had to stop since they wouldn't take my insurance after I switched. I will be going on a new insurance soon and hope to start things back up again.
- I have used a life coach once for multiple sessions but it was a complete waste of time and am hesitant to use one again.
- I know networking is a necessity but I'd like to figure out a path first before I go mingle with people that I don't really want to talk to.

Link to my cat because I love showing her off:
http://i.imgur.com/Avl1qCp.jpg

Rayze on

Posts

  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    I'm not equipped to assist with the anxiety or depression stuff, I would speak with your therapist once your insurance comes back as it is always helpful. I can talk a bit about the job hunt and some notes on things.

    Disclaimer: I am a former licensed CDF (career development facilitator), which is like a life coach in that it is a dumb title anyone can get with 4 months of work. I have been an academic advisor for students in English, Rhetoric, Psychology, Forensic Science, Chemistry, Biology, and a number of other social and natural sciences for about 8 years now and currently do academic administration. For those years, helping students plan their careers was my main job and while this last year I do new things, I still do this stuff occasionally. That said, I don't live in your state and don't know your field. This information should be taken as random advice from an internet stranger.

    So, first up: Your original degree wasn't useless, you just haven't identified what skills it has given you. All degrees have some form of soft skills you can glean from your work in them. If your program had a strong research or writing component, that could be something to leverage. If it had a strong legal angle that might also be something to tack on to. If you retained anything from those years (or even if you can just pull up your degree audit or transcripts) try to go back through each class and write yourself a list of what you covered in that class and what transferable skills you might have gained from it.

    This, too, applies to your QA experience. Did you work in a team? In a high-speed environment? Did you learn to communicate across disciplines (from layman QA folk to more technical communication with your programmers)? Did you lead any projects or teams? If not, did you contribute to any projects or games that you can use on your resume?

    As far as going back to school, even though I work within a state university system I strongly do not recommend going back for a second bachelors unless you have a specific, focused goal that absolutely, positively requires a degree. You won't get much out of a second bachelors for the cost without those two things focused in on.

    I would suggest that, at your stage in things, browsing onetonline.org for job classifications and browse through interests. I talked about Onetonline in another thread earlier on how it works and what it can tell you about your job markets. There is a lot of useful information there to get started.

    You might also try something like doing the four core MyPlan assessments and looking at the job recommendation results to start thinking about what kind of jobs you want to do. The four career assessment tests cost a bit of money if you aren't attached to a school, but they provide you with a few nice things. One is a strong interest inventory, one is a myers briggs, both of which are useful for thinking about what you want and need from a job to be successful. All four will link you to careers at various levels of education that would align with what most people with similar scores have done as a way to start thinking about what types of work could be useful. These are not diagnostic tools, but discussion tools. If you take one of these and it says "with a bachelors degree being a [JOB] matches with 98% of people" that means that a lot of people in that field had similar results to you, not that you would necessarily be happy in that field. Treat these tests as things to sit back afterwards and think "well, what do I think about these" and then look at the matching jobs and what you like and don't like about each.

    Doing the MyPlan first and then going to Onetonline to take a deeper look at things is the way I would go, and the way I recommend students I work with. That said, my students get access to it MyPlan for free through a university license, so the 26 bucks or so would have to come out of pocket for you.

    Graduate school might be a good call once you know what you want to do and if it is there. Graduate school is even more of a DO NOT DO THIS UNLESS YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO DO AND THAT WHAT YOU WANT TO DO REQUIRES IT as it is super expensive and the loans required will set you back for years. If interested in graduate school, I have some information in a previous thread that I wrote about how to go about getting into graduate school.

    Concerning the FBI, I don't see how your focus on that specific organization will be helpful to you as an overall career path. The FBI hires a ton of people to do a ton of things, but usually either by hiring people directly out of school (through internship path programs) or after they have an established career in their field. That is a mid-career goal and at this stage you are looking to start a career. More important for now is establishing what you want to do and how it will bring you joy and contentment over time.

    This:
    Another big issue is a lack of passion and motivation. I'm not motivated by anything, except perhaps spite. I procrastinate and only get things done in fits and spurts, unless something pisses me off enough to do something immediately. As for passion, nothing sticks out. I seem to come up with more reasons why not to do something instead of doing it.

    Will prevent you from ever having steady work in any field. We all have this to some extent, and a lot of us have different terms for it. Writers call it writers block, for example. I just call it avoidance. I try to identify it whenever it occurs. Hey, I don't want to do this job. Well, if its part of what I'm being paid for I guess I might as well dive into it and get it done. Strategies for dealing with avoidance are something your therapist might be able to help you with, but it is something you really have to work to fix. There is not magic bullet, and saying "well just do it" is something that sounds easy when I type it but in reality takes a massive amount of willpower for me to overcome. There aren't really tricks or secrets to doing it that work for everyone, just resolve ad what eventually works for you (in my experience). That said, depression and other chemical imbalances can wreak havoc on your ability to muster that resolve, so once you have the ability bring it up with your therapist.

    Enc on
    HefflingtynicBouwsTGMaster7Zek
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    One last thing, working with the SMART goal system is something you probably wan't to start doing. Yeah, yeah. Its another one of those crappy sounding, jargony things but I have found this one actually, truly works and has a lot of data showing both psychological and career benefits. SMART in this context stands for:
    • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
    • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
    • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
    • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
    • Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

    So, for instance, getting hired at the FBI probably wouldn't be a SMART goal at this stage in your career as it isn't specific (is not simple enough to plan for), achievable (too big to be motivatable for rather than daydreaming), relevant (the resources required are not possible where you presently are), or time bound (there is no specific timeframe you could set that would be achievable), even though you can measure it (am I employed by them?). This is not to say aiming for the FBI isn't a great idea, long term. Just your SMART goal would need to be smaller and more immediate, such as:

    "By the end of this weekend, I want to identify three specific job classification codes on onetonline that interest me and then be able to reflect verbally to a friend/family member why I like each and what skills I would need to follow through with each."

    This is specific, measurable (three jobs identified, reflected with a friend/family about each), achievable (2-4 hours could be more than enough to get some basic stuff, though you can certainly spend more), relevant (this is a needed first step to organizing your thoughts for what's next in your career), and time bound (you have 4 days to do this).

    Once you complete that, you would then set another SMART goal towards perhaps looking at those skills and how you would go about getting them, then taking time to do research on getting them, etc. Each of these little goals are achievable, but if you keep making them and make sure they are relevant (not just rehashing work without taking action to move forward) you will keep making momentum forward.

    Heffling
  • RayzeRayze Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    Thank you for the advice. I'll take a look at the links you provided and go from there (I'm a regular lurker in the job thread so I have seen your post before and it's quite awesome).

    I'll address some of your points:

    - I kind of wanted to head off people saying to go see a therapist so that's why I included it. My anxiety is definitely playing a part in all this crap so while it's part of the problem, it's not the main problem I need addressed
    - I know the Criminal Justice degree isn't useless; I'm just really frustrated by my situation and used it as an excuse. I graduated 8 years ago so I don't remember much of what I learned but my favorite class by far was Criminal Investigation
    - I did learn some good skills from QA, such as cross-team communication, maintaining documentation, talking directly to players and getting their feedback, etc. All of that and more is on my resume but it's what I don't have (coding/automation) that has hurt me, and quite frankly the reticence of learning the skills because of my lack of interest in QA is more of a hindrance than anything (I have a big problem in starting things on my own and finishing them, if the interest isn't there. I do much better in a classroom setting since I know I have to be there and it's much more structured).
    - I'm pretty sure coming from a video game background hasn't helped. It has never been brought up in any of my interviews but I know that some people don't take it as seriously as other fields and trying to convince them that I have the goods obviously hasn't been successful
    - The FBI thing isn't a very serious thought at the moment. It's just been running through my head from time to time and I'm pretty desperate right now so I'm latching onto whatever job-related thing has sprung into my mind over the years


    Edit: Took a look at your second post and dear god did I hate SMART. We used it for our annual reviews at my previous job and I thought it was useless (my bias really comes from hating the whole review process though). In general, how do I use it without just giving up? My immediate response to your reasonable advice to say, "Nah, I'm not going to do that." Like you said, it will help me keep momentum but as I said, if it doesn't interest me, it's hard for me to start/finish.

    Rayze on
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    You seem like you'd make a good developer if you can get a handle on the mental issues, which are what are really holding you back. Could you take a really cheap introduction to coding class and see if you like it? There are online ones.

  • RayzeRayze Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    You seem like you'd make a good developer if you can get a handle on the mental issues, which are what are really holding you back. Could you take a really cheap introduction to coding class and see if you like it? There are online ones.

    My husband had been trying for years to get me to code but it wasn't interesting to me. Still isn't, though I started learning Python and SQL recently via Codeacademy to be more marketable for QA positions. I'm not at a point yet where I can add them to my resume but I don't know when I'd really be able to do that. Definitely not SQL because the course seemed very sparse and from what I've seen around online, there's a lot more to it.

    Yup, the mental stuff is definitely holding me back, though I'm trying to do at least one section of Python or this Intro to Statistics (Udacity) course I recently started a day, just to say I did something productive.

    Rayze on
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    Rayze wrote: »
    Edit: Took a look at your second post and dear god did I hate SMART. We used it for our annual reviews at my previous job and I thought it was useless (my bias really comes from hating the whole review process though). In general, how do I use it without just giving up? My immediate response to your reasonable advice to say, "Nah, I'm not going to do that." Like you said, it will help me keep momentum but as I said, if it doesn't interest me, it's hard for me to start/finish.

    In an ideal world, the idea here would be to set SMART goals that actually do interest you. Think of it like a microwave. You can use it to reheat week-old leftovers or to make that popcorn you've been craving. Go with the thing that interests you, and let the system help you get into the thing that interests you in an intentional way.

    Intentionality vs unfocused interest can really hold you back. There have been a bunch of times in both my career and hobbies where I just aimlessly tried things. But my biggest breakthroughs were when I sat down and planned for what I wanted to accomplish. It does help. I'ts also super hard to stick with (and I will admit, I don't always stick with it myself - or even most of the time. Just when I really need to get something done).

    Re: preparation, things like Udemy and open MOOC courses (massive online open courses) through major universities like Purdue can give you a formal classroom to dip your toe in without paying for tuition straight out. I've used Udemy a bunch for a range of topics over the years, and found them fairly neat in a webcourse-kind-of-way.

    Enc on
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    As far as how to use it without giving up, if you set a SMART goal you shouldn't have to give up. Its ok (and encouraged) to set the bar low. A bunch of little goals that you can hit are the goal, because over time they work out.

    So I'm going to bring in my hobby of map making. I had been given a commission to make a bar, and it was super beyond anything I had worked on before. I didn't know how I would do any of it. I did know how to make a crate, though. So I sat down in my 3d engine and on day one I set the goal for myself that I would make a few types of crates by the end of my work session. And in doing those crates, I figured out a texture I wanted to use, and even made a little chair using one of the crates to help. The next session I deiced that I probably needed a table, so I said I'll just build the table. This repeated for a while, until I had all the pieces I needed to assemble that image (which the assembly only took a few hours). If I had just focused on the big picture, I probably never would have got it done.

    Another example was when I hit a dead end at a fairly toxic job I had a few years back. I was trapped in a position that was getting worse by the day, and needed to get out of it. So each day I set a goal for myself to try and get out. At first it was just to do one or two things. Maybe update my resume today, or look into credentials I could get in my field that would help. Then it was to find X many job postings that interested me and talk with my wife about them (I really recommend the talking with someone part, often times the people close to us- family or friends- can help identify things we are missing right in front of us). Eventually it was a three day cycle I repeated. Day one: find position. Day two: cater resume and letter with research about the position. Day three apply. Then repeat. Each time investment a day was doable without me getting overwhelmed, and each day I got solid, good work done because I was making the times I was working on applying full-attention.

    I can't really focus on something for 12 hours straight and keep up my A game, so with SMART goal setting I can focus that 2-4 hours I can go all in on to the maximum of my ability.

  • RayzeRayze Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    That's a gorgeous bar. I worked on LotRO so I really appreciate the work that goes into the maps and other artistic details like that.


    I suppose at this point I'm just learning things without a plan. Using the open courses is nice to get a taste but nothing seems to stick and I've been going at it for a while so I don't know what else I can do to figure out what I can do as a career.

    I guess I'll start with MyPlan and see where that leads.

    Rayze on
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Listlessness and lack of interest in things can be a symptom of depression. It sounds like you want a career you can be truly enthusiastic about, but you aren't really a person that gets enthusiastic.

  • RayzeRayze Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    Listlessness and lack of interest in things can be a symptom of depression. It sounds like you want a career you can be truly enthusiastic about, but you aren't really a person that gets enthusiastic.

    I do have depression, no doubt. I have treated it with therapy and meds but go without a job or purpose for a year with a limited support structure and anyone will be depressed.

    I think everyone wants a career they can be truly enthusiastic about but that happens rarely. Ideally, I want something that piques my interest and allows me to learn new things each day. I can do the monotony thing for a while but if something new isn't interspersed in with it, I start to fall off the wagon (I feel like that's common with a lot of people though).

    It was about two years at my job before I started to get bored. I think it was in year 3 that I asked the QA director to move me to a new project. That lasted a few months there but it was a poor fit and I was miserable. Fortunately/unfortunately, there were layoffs and I was moved back to LotRO. I was ok for a while because I was so glad to be back but the lack of of enthusiasm crept back and my work quality started to fall (it appeared to be fine to others' standards but poor to my own). I was briefly saved when I decided to learn the developers' software to help them out and to regain my sanity (it was nice because I could fix text without having to write bug reports and I was taught how to use Photoshop to make item icons). Obviously though, my enthusiasm never truly recovered.

    When I was laid off, I thought it was because the executive producer on the team didn't like me since I didn't agree with his methods but I found out much later that he could sense that I wasn't happy. He was right, but I probably would've stayed and continue to work because I have a weird sense of loyalty and I was good at what I did.

    Rayze on
  • Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    Is there anything at all that you could see yourself being passionate about, or at least derive satisfaction from, outside of the professional world? I ask because I've been in a similar state of mind before. Depression and anxiety played a part in it, but the lack of motivation persisted even after I had mostly recovered from those symptoms. I did not want to go back to my old job, but I couldn't see myself doing anything else either. I considered going back to school as well, but I had no idea what I might study. Nothing seemed interesting at all, and I think I was also afraid of returning to professional life because my depression and anxiety were exacerbated by a dysfunctional work environment. I didn't want to risk letting a new job throw me back into that state.

    Then out of boredom I decided to pick up painting again, a hobby I had abandoned for over 15 years. I am no great artist, but painting still turned out to be incredibly satisfying, and since I was unemployed and had all the time in the world, I painted a lot in one summer. At some point I realized I was once again interested in a ton of other stuff too, including my old job (just preferably without the same people). I think the feeling of accomplishment somehow reminded me of the way I had once been able to derive similar satisfaction from my work. Or maybe a creative hobby just helped heal what remained of my depression, dunno. In any case, after that summer I started enthusiastically looking for work and ended up returning to my old career with vengeance.

    I'm not a psychologist, and I don't know if there actually was a causal relationship between my hobby and becoming professionally motivated, but it certainly felt like that was the case. So maybe it'd be worth a try? For me it happened to be painting, but I imagine it might just as well have been any art or craft, or gardening, or some kind of volunteer work.

    MSL59.jpg
  • RayzeRayze Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    If there is, I haven't discovered it yet. I love cats and dogs and used to volunteer at a cat rescue but I never saw myself wanting to work there nor work full-time with animals (emotional aspect, dealing with the owners, cleaning up after them). I've loved sports since I was a kid but as for a career, I'd be as clueless as I am right now as to what to focus on. As for video games, I love them but am currently treating them more as a way to avoid the real-world, which isn't healthy (I've let my WoW account lapse for that particular reason). There are some things that I'd like to try (like bladesmithing), but I'm trying to keep to a budget.

    My husband recently got back into painting and adores it. I really envy his passion for it and wish I had something I felt the same about.

    Rayze on
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    I think it is common for people to *develop* a passion about the thing they work in, even if it isn't a perfect fit for them at first. My mum got a job out of school which was in a field she had zero interest and experience in, but by becoming expert in the field, she loves the job, even if the subject matter is still completely irrelevant to her life and hobbies. If you ask a plumber about his job, he will probably light up and talk your ear off about pipes and so forth, even if he didn't dream of plumbing as a child and has completely different hobbies in his off-time.

    But it sounds like you have something like "anhedonia" which makes it very hard to take pleasure in anything. Even if you get an ideal job teaching cats to play sports in WoW you will probably find yourself bored and listless in a couple of years. So you need to ask yourself, how do you deal with this?

  • RayzeRayze Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    I think it is common for people to *develop* a passion about the thing they work in, even if it isn't a perfect fit for them at first. My mum got a job out of school which was in a field she had zero interest and experience in, but by becoming expert in the field, she loves the job, even if the subject matter is still completely irrelevant to her life and hobbies. If you ask a plumber about his job, he will probably light up and talk your ear off about pipes and so forth, even if he didn't dream of plumbing as a child and has completely different hobbies in his off-time.

    But it sounds like you have something like "anhedonia" which makes it very hard to take pleasure in anything. Even if you get an ideal job teaching cats to play sports in WoW you will probably find yourself bored and listless in a couple of years. So you need to ask yourself, how do you deal with this?

    I'm pretty sure I'm able to derive pleasure from things, but my anxiety hinders me from taking action Like I said before, I did enjoy QA for a while but after a couple of years, I felt that I learned all that I could from that particular job and there was no opportunity for me to move up into a new role so I became despondent. That seems to be a common occurrence with a lot of people/places, so I'm not particularly worried about it. I'm more concerned about being able to find a new industry that will provide a constant challenge and allow me to grow.

    Rayze on
  • Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    Rayze wrote: »
    I think it is common for people to *develop* a passion about the thing they work in, even if it isn't a perfect fit for them at first. My mum got a job out of school which was in a field she had zero interest and experience in, but by becoming expert in the field, she loves the job, even if the subject matter is still completely irrelevant to her life and hobbies. If you ask a plumber about his job, he will probably light up and talk your ear off about pipes and so forth, even if he didn't dream of plumbing as a child and has completely different hobbies in his off-time.

    But it sounds like you have something like "anhedonia" which makes it very hard to take pleasure in anything. Even if you get an ideal job teaching cats to play sports in WoW you will probably find yourself bored and listless in a couple of years. So you need to ask yourself, how do you deal with this?

    I'm pretty sure I'm able to derive pleasure from things, but my anxiety hinders me from taking action Like I said before, I did enjoy QA for a while but after a couple of years, I felt that I learned all that I could from that particular job and there was no opportunity for me to move up into a new role so I became despondent. That seems to be a common occurrence with a lot of people/places, so I'm not particularly worried about it. I'm more concerned about being able to find a new industry that will provide a constant challenge and allow me to grow.

    Have you considered starting your own company? I realize the stress of running your own business might not be entirely compatible with anxiety, but it sounds like it might otherwise suit your personality.

    MSL59.jpg
  • RayzeRayze Registered User regular
    Bliss 101 wrote: »
    Have you considered starting your own company? I realize the stress of running your own business might not be entirely compatible with anxiety, but it sounds like it might otherwise suit your personality.

    Absolutely not. I don't have any big ideas, nor do I want to deal with all the hassles of creating and running a business. While I'm capable of leadership and have led in the past, I'd rather be given a task and just go with it. I'd prefer to continue the process instead of create, if you get my meaning.

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    Rayze wrote: »
    I think it is common for people to *develop* a passion about the thing they work in, even if it isn't a perfect fit for them at first. My mum got a job out of school which was in a field she had zero interest and experience in, but by becoming expert in the field, she loves the job, even if the subject matter is still completely irrelevant to her life and hobbies. If you ask a plumber about his job, he will probably light up and talk your ear off about pipes and so forth, even if he didn't dream of plumbing as a child and has completely different hobbies in his off-time.

    But it sounds like you have something like "anhedonia" which makes it very hard to take pleasure in anything. Even if you get an ideal job teaching cats to play sports in WoW you will probably find yourself bored and listless in a couple of years. So you need to ask yourself, how do you deal with this?

    I'm pretty sure I'm able to derive pleasure from things, but my anxiety hinders me from taking action Like I said before, I did enjoy QA for a while but after a couple of years, I felt that I learned all that I could from that particular job and there was no opportunity for me to move up into a new role so I became despondent. That seems to be a common occurrence with a lot of people/places, so I'm not particularly worried about it. I'm more concerned about being able to find a new industry that will provide a constant challenge and allow me to grow.

    Sometimes you can't have it all, so you may be able to get a job that provides constant challenges, but not in a field in which you have existing personal interest.

    There are plenty of challenging careers in QA - but for the better ones you probably need a computing degree to work with automated testing. Try browsing the QA section on Monster.com and seeing what sounds promising as a long-term career to you, and working towards being the person they want.

    CelestialBadger on
    Enc
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    I mean, no entry level job is going to be great or perfect. A career is more like some kind of military campaign or a football charge from the 1 yard line in your enemy's territory. Each job and each day you try to push a bit father and a bit closer to your goal, and sometimes it sucks and you get knocked on your ass or backwards.

    My first career-job in my current field was a literal nightmare that I took out of desperation after my previous career field collapsed during the 2007 market crash. During the slow climb I had jobs I liked, ones I didn't but always ones that got me what I needed to by happy. Sometimes what you do can make you happy. My current job Im always looking forward to doing! I love it! But lots of jobs I had so they could fund things that made me happy, like hobbies and being able to go out with friends and such.

    Everyone wants a job where they get paid well to do something that doesn't put them out of their comfort zone, ask them to create or improve things, and allows them to be enthusiastic about things every day. That job doesn't exist. In order to get the jobs where some of those things can exist some of the time, you have to do jobs that are harder.

    I mean, you could work at a cannery and probably not be required to create or improve workflow and just continue the process. But it won't pay well and you wont be enthusiastic about it.

    You probably could find work doing contract-based code off of something you are familiar with, but in order to make money (if you can consistently) you would have to be enthusiastic about it all the time and close contracts with great speed (and you'd have to be your own boss probably).

    You also mentioned wanting a consistent challenge and being able to grow, but not taking on leadership or developing new ideas and concepts. Those things don't happen in tandem.

    I guess what I'm saying here is that you have to be able to accept a job that is "better" rather than "perfect" and just keep taking work that takes you on a path of "better" until you get to a place you like.

    Darkewolfe
  • RayzeRayze Registered User regular
    I didn't say I didn't want to take on leadership and development of new ideas/concepts - I've done both in the past. My predilection is towards the follower role and it's hard to get out of that comfort zone.

    I'm not looking for the perfect job (which so few are able to experience anyway) - I'm just looking for a direction and ways to work towards it. At this current moment, I'm learning about string looping in Python on Codeacademy while looking for part-time jobs through Craigslist and Indeed and feeling like a useless blob who isn't making process. Putting aside the obvious need to see a therapist, I have no clue how to get my stuff together and just decide on something.


    I'm sorry, I don't mean to be combative, but I feel like I'm not being understood (which is probably my fault anyway since I'm not great at explaining situations).

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Rayze wrote: »
    I'm sorry, I don't mean to be combative, but I feel like I'm not being understood (which is probably my fault anyway since I'm not great at explaining situations).

    The problem is that you have counted out vast swathes of jobs. You don't want to be a leader, so management is out. You don't want a people job, so they are all out. You don't want a rote job, so factory work and QA drone is out. You don't want to do anything to do with your degree, so you can't apply for "relevant degree required" jobs. You want a job that is continually changing and challenging. You don't want to be a coder. What does that leave? Very few jobs. You might have to relax a bit on one of those requirements.

    How about finance?

    EncElvenshaeDarkewolfe
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    Rayze wrote: »
    I have no clue how to get my stuff together and just decide on something.

    You have some suggestions in here of how to do that, though they don't seem to be what you are looking for. I do suggest taking a look at the MyPlan and OnetOnline resources seriously. They aren't the only things like that on the internet, but they can be pretty useful in wrestling with these questions.

    Beyond that, will there be any answer that a stranger on the internet can give you that will be satisfactory to you? These sorts of things have to come from you, even if we magically knew the best career path for you and presented it before you, if would be ultimately meaningless because someone else would be robbing your self agency in choosing what you want to do.

    CelestialBadger
  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    Something to keep in mind, is that you don't have to be passionate about your job or career.

    I am perfectly okay with my job, but I would never call it a passion. I don't dread waking up and going in, but once I clock out my work is the farthest thing out of my mind until I clock back in.

    And that's perfectly fine! I have tons of other things I'm passionate about in my life, outlets that make me feel like I'm doing something with it.

    Work to live and what not.

    CelestialBadgerdispatch.oDarkewolfe
  • RayzeRayze Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    Rayze wrote: »
    I'm sorry, I don't mean to be combative, but I feel like I'm not being understood (which is probably my fault anyway since I'm not great at explaining situations).

    The problem is that you have counted out vast swathes of jobs. You don't want to be a leader, so management is out. You don't want a people job, so they are all out. You don't want a rote job, so factory work and QA drone is out. You don't want to do anything to do with your degree, so you can't apply for "relevant degree required" jobs. You want a job that is continually changing and challenging. You don't want to be a coder. What does that leave? Very few jobs. You might have to relax a bit on one of those requirements.

    How about finance?

    The only things I've completely ruled out are front-line customer facing positions (marketing, retail), and video game QA. I think you came to that conclusion with the others because of my extreme hesitance, which comes from indecision and of not wanting to feel like I'm going to waste the next couple years of my life like I feel I did with the past eight.
    Enc wrote: »
    Rayze wrote: »
    I have no clue how to get my stuff together and just decide on something.

    You have some suggestions in here of how to do that, though they don't seem to be what you are looking for. I do suggest taking a look at the MyPlan and OnetOnline resources seriously. They aren't the only things like that on the internet, but they can be pretty useful in wrestling with these questions.

    Beyond that, will there be any answer that a stranger on the internet can give you that will be satisfactory to you? These sorts of things have to come from you, even if we magically knew the best career path for you and presented it before you, if would be ultimately meaningless because someone else would be robbing your self agency in choosing what you want to do.

    You did provide some first-step suggestions, which I do appreciate. To answer your question though, I don't know. I was unsure about making this thread in the first place but I needed some outside perspective. I'm a person that gets in my head too much and overthinks the crap out of things. Also, being unable to land a job after a year does a number to your self-esteem, so I don't really trust myself at this moment.
    Kyougu wrote: »
    Something to keep in mind, is that you don't have to be passionate about your job or career.

    I am perfectly okay with my job, but I would never call it a passion. I don't dread waking up and going in, but once I clock out my work is the farthest thing out of my mind until I clock back in.

    And that's perfectly fine! I have tons of other things I'm passionate about in my life, outlets that make me feel like I'm doing something with it.

    Work to live and what not.

    That's the goal. I'd definitely be more content with something like that.

    Rayze on
  • RayzeRayze Registered User regular
    Sorry to double post but I took the MyPlan assessments (came to $20), and here's what I got:
    • Career Personality: ISTJ (I got this from a Myers Briggs test I took 7 years ago, so no surprise there)
    • Personal Interest: Top two scored were Investigative and Conventional (out of six. Other four are Realistic, Enterprising, Artistic, Social).
    • Skills Profiler: This one I'm more dubious about because my top three matches are things I've never really been interested in, or at least thought about seriously (Engineering & Architecture (81%), Healthcare Practitioners & Technical (79%), Life, Physical, & Social Sciences (76%))

    @Enc, I know you said they should be used as discussion points and not taken at face value, but when I use the CareerMatch against each test, I get a lot of science-based results (scientists, engineers, technicians). I don't even care for science in the first place (that and math were my least favorite subjects in school).

    I wish I could share my results so you could see but overall, I feel that I didn't get any tangible data to work with.

  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    Each of those results have pages with breakdowns of the skills they use and common workplace requirements. The overlapping areas of those are what you should be discussing, not the specific jobs themselves. Also things like:
    • what do each of those jobs types have in common as far as their details (use things like onetonline for that)
    • are there tanget jobs that come up with these that do interest you? When you do an onetonline search you get lists of "related positions" that can be helpful
    • Why do you think people with your skillsets do well in those positions? What about them do you like? What do you not like?
    The idea is to do meaningful reflection as you look through the results, not look at them as a prescription on paper. Not caring for "science" isn't really a useful line of thought compared to considering why those positions might be attractive to people with similar job and personality preferences to yourself. For example, all three of those you list might be viable for ISTJs because you tend to work in either small groups or individual positions where judgement calls based upon tangible data are used.

    Concerning the skills profiler, what about each of those things align with things you enjoy doing? Why do you think those match the answers you gave?

    Again, do meaningful reflection on these things. Don't just get the results and say "well that's dumb" and be frustrated it didn't give you a slip of paper telling you what job you should do. That's not what they are, nor what they are designed to do. Bring in a person close to you to discuss the results as well, its usually helpful to reflect with someone who knows you and cares about you in thinking about these things.

    Enc on
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    Also, re science & math. A very loose statistic that bounces around higher ed is something like: only 10% of the population report enjoying mathematics classes in their education and only 40% report natural sciences as being enjoyable in classes. Despite that, most of jobs require considerable amount of mathematics on a weekly basis, and far more people go into STEM fields than enjoy their K-12 or college general education curriculum. Those are very different things. Studies vary on the exact veracity of those numbers, but the trend somewhat follows

    I hate statistics. That's a fact. I also do it as about 30% of my day job, do it well, and can run assessment and educational analytics with the best of them. That doesn't mean I don't groan immediately when I have to read about some poorly done T test run by an undergraduate student, but I do it anyway to make sure that the things about the job I do enjoy are getting properly supported.

    This isn't to say you should immediately go jump into a STEM field, because that would be bad advice. But considering what you enjoyed in QA, your coding skills, and the list of things you want in your job there seems like there can be some useful discussions of where those things come up in those jobs you are uninterested in. Identify the skills and needs of those, and think what a similar job would be in a different field.

    For example: my skillset is great for retail sales, marketing, graphic design, teaching, military service, urban planning, and legal studies. That's a bonkers range of fields at first glance, but when you break it down to its individual parts the skills I use and develop in each tend to overlap in all of those with maybe one exception in each.

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Rayze wrote: »
    @Enc, I know you said they should be used as discussion points and not taken at face value, but when I use the CareerMatch against each test, I get a lot of science-based results (scientists, engineers, technicians). I don't even care for science in the first place (that and math were my least favorite subjects in school).

    You've got a science-y personality, so it's probably picking up on that. You aren't a people person and you like to learn and be challenged. That says science, tech, IT, maths to me.

    Try going methodically through every job category on Monster.com and trying to picture yourself doing the job. Put them in a list of "maybes."

  • LeptonLepton Registered User regular
    I saw that you didn't want to do video game QA anymore (I've read part of The Trenches :P ). However, would you be willing to do QA in a different industry? There are a great many non-video game companies out there with needs for QA and the skills should translate pretty well. My own is one of them, but we're not based in MA. However, QA is incredibly important to what we do.

  • RayzeRayze Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    Lepton wrote: »
    I saw that you didn't want to do video game QA anymore (I've read part of The Trenches :P ). However, would you be willing to do QA in a different industry? There are a great many non-video game companies out there with needs for QA and the skills should translate pretty well. My own is one of them, but we're not based in MA. However, QA is incredibly important to what we do.

    That's what I've been trying to do for a while now (right after I was laid off, I foolishly tried to go for Project Coordinator/entry-level PM positions that got me nowhere). Sadly though, many places want coding/automation experience and I never got to learn that (I was all manual testing). I would like to learn how to do those things but a lot of places don't want to do on-site training. It's hard to convince them that even though I may be deficient in those areas, I'm more than capable to learn and excel.

    I think I experienced at most one or two things that people wrote about in The Trenches, but it's been a long time since I read all the stories. I think my company was the basis of one story but I wasn't involved in the shenanigans.

    Rayze on
  • LeptonLepton Registered User regular
    Rayze wrote: »
    Lepton wrote: »
    I saw that you didn't want to do video game QA anymore (I've read part of The Trenches :P ). However, would you be willing to do QA in a different industry? There are a great many non-video game companies out there with needs for QA and the skills should translate pretty well. My own is one of them, but we're not based in MA. However, QA is incredibly important to what we do.

    That's what I've been trying to do for a while now (right after I was laid off, I foolishly tried to go for Project Coordinator/entry-level PM positions that got me nowhere). Sadly though, many places want coding/automation experience and I never got to learn that (I was all manual testing). I would like to learn how to do those things but a lot of places don't want to do on-site training. It's hard to convince them that even though I may be deficient in those areas, I'm more than capable to learn and excel.

    I think I experienced at most one or two things that people wrote about in The Trenches, but it's been a long time since I read all the stories. I think my company was the basis of one story but I wasn't involved in the shenanigans.

    Yeah, The Trenches thing was a joke on my part. I still think you have some marketable QA skills.

    If you're up for learning some Python, I got started from the Coursera.org Python for Everybody course (it's free, except the last part). There are also a couple of free online books for Python that I recommend: Python for Informatics (by the same guy as the Coursera course) and Automate the Boring Stuff with Python. You may find that you don't enjoy coding for its own sake, but you enjoy it because it allows you to solve problems.

  • RayzeRayze Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    Have you tried the Codeacademy Python course? I'm about halfway done with it but I don't know how it compares with Coursera. Also, I'm sometimes able to move through each section without actually solving the problem so that's rough. It would probably be better if I had someone physically in the same room teaching me instead of being left to my own devices alone.

    To be honest, on its own, it looks like gibberish nonsense but if I learned to use it for a specific purpose, I'd probably be more interested.

    Rayze on
  • LeptonLepton Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    I haven't tried Code Academy, unfortunately. Coursera got me started and now I just google how to do stuff in Python I don't currently know.

    Edit: With Coursera, you do actually have to pass the tests and pass the code tests. Some of the first stuff is a little basic, but it ramps up quickly enough that when you get the right answer you get a "Damn, I'm good" moment or two. But you know, going to the local community college and taking some coding classes is a good way to go, too.

    Lepton on
  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Registered User regular
    If you have a CJ degree and inkling toward tech, you might look into the world of computer security.

  • RayzeRayze Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    If you have a CJ degree and inkling toward tech, you might look into the world of computer security.

    My initial degree was Computer and Digital Forensics but switched over between semesters in my sophomore year. I had taken Networking and Operation Systems classes and found them to be super boring so I switched degrees (we shared classes with the CJ students and found the general CJ content to be more interesting).

    Now granted, it's been 8 years since I graduated and I'm in a different mindset so who knows but it's hard not to get swayed by the bias of the past.

    Rayze on
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