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What Do You Do For a Living?

Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
edited May 2009 in Debate and/or Discourse
I'm in college and am having trouble deciding on a major. In order to gain a better understanding of the many types of professions out there I thought I could ask what sort of jobs the people on this forum have.

So, what type of job do you have, what's the most interesting thing about your job, and do you ever wish you had chosen a different career path?

Hexmage-PA on


  • DmanDman Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I'd love to say I design water treatment plants, but mostly I just review water quality and consumption logs and do lame calculations to determine if the proposed system will meet water quality objectives and meet peak demand.
    Dealing with clients, contractors and bosses sucks major ass. And I'm in a cubicle.

    My job pays the bills but I dream of quitting and doing something I enjoy.

    Unfortunately having scrubbed dishes and worked as a cook I appreciate that I could have a much shittier job so I'm actually afraid of losing the one I have.

    Dman on
  • THEPAIN73THEPAIN73 Shiny. Real shiny.Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I work as a parts consultant at an Acura dealership.

    It's fun. Boring, cause of no business however.

    THEPAIN73 on
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  • BedigunzBedigunz Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Accounting/Finance double major.

    My primary major was accounting, which is what I do now. It sucked through college because everyone fails the class (but they are all curved). Also, its tax season and I'm working 65 hour weeks from January - April 15th.

    There are definite perks, but the best one is that I have a lot more job security right now than all other business majors. On a micro level, there is a risk that I'll be laid off from the big accounting firms. Fortunately if you have work experience and a CPA then you'll have no trouble finding a job, even in this economy.

    Bedigunz on
    Coran Attack!
  • Professor PhobosProfessor Phobos Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I create thin intellectual justifications for Republican party talking points.

    Professor Phobos on
  • citizen059citizen059 hello my name is citizen I'm from the InternetRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I'm the lead PC support technician at my company.

    During high school and the first couple years of college, my original intent was to get into programming. Unfortunately, my college plans were shot down due to financial issues, so rather than transferring from the local community college to a 4-year uni, I went to a technical school and got a degree in PC support and network administration.

    I graduated from there in 1999 and spent the next 6 years hating my chosen path. My first job out of school was with a company that did network installs & support. I was told that if I ever wanted to get in on the "computer" side I had to work a few months with the cable crews to "understand" how network cabling is done. Well, that was a lie, they had no intention of ever switching me over, I was an $8 an hour CAT5 installer. Worked there five months before getting laid off when business went slack after the Y2K panic was over.

    Worked a retail job for a couple of months while job searching, then started my next IT related job as a desktop support tech for an AutoCAD dealer. We primarily sold & trained people in CAD, but also sold & supported PCs and network solutions. I was there almost two-and-a-half years, and admittedly I was near worthless as an employee. My primary job function was to keep up with the preventive maintenance contracts we had with customers - essentially amounting to visiting them every 3 months to vacuum the dust out of their PCs. I hated it, felt it was an insult to my talents, and I slacked off horribly. The rest of my job duties were your typical support stuff.

    I got laid off when the company's business dropped off.

    I can't say I'm particularly proud of how I acted there - I was young and still somewhat immature, yes, but honestly that's not an excuse. When you take a job you should do the best work you're capable of regardless of what you think of it. After all, that's essentially what you agree to when you take the job in the first place.

    After losing that job, I had a hell of a time finding another one like it. I was unemployed for about 6 months, finally got a job around the holiday season at the local Gateway store selling computers part-time. They kept me on after the holidays and I wound up working there almost a year-and-a-half until Gateway shut down all the stores in 2004.

    During our "going out of business" phase, a number of us were approached by the manager of a local car dealership - we were heading into summer and he needed some fresh bodies to throw at customers. I went in for an interview and it wasn't an interview so much as it was a "welcome to the company we're glad to have you" kind of thing. I have to hand it to the guy - he was a salesman through and through, because he convinced me that selling cars was so easy anyone could do it.


    I worked there two months and got fired because I only managed to sell four cars in that time frame. Needless to say that was not what I was cut out for.

    So after spending most of the rest of the year unemployed again, I grabbed a part time job at Office Max, because the manager there was my old manager from Gateway. Worked there for two months before finding the job I currently have.

    Up to that point I was pretty down about myself and my career path, because I'd had no real success to speak of.

    But, that was four years ago. Now, I'm the lead support tech for a large retail/mailorder company and it's the best place I've ever worked. I'm finally in the right place, my skills are progressing and I enjoy what I do.

    Environment is just as important as job function. In order to truly enjoy what you do, you have to be happy where you're doing it.

    citizen059 on
  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I create thin intellectual justifications for Republican party talking points.
    That sounds pretty recession proof.

    redx on
    They moistly come out at night, moistly.
  • YamiNoSenshiYamiNoSenshi A point called Z In the complex planeRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Software testing on IP enabled radios for the US/UK military. For now. There's really nothing fantastically interesting about it. "I do government military defense work" sounds a lot more awesome than it really it. But it's also not really boring, and it's a well paying, mostly recession proof line of work. So I'd have to say I'm happy with it/

    YamiNoSenshi on
  • brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I was hoping another one of these threads would come along. I enjoyed the last one and its always been a curiosity of mine to know what others do for a living.

    I'm an information systems security officer. I basically do light to heavy IT work, I also write up security plans for the systems under my cognizance. Each one of these plans consists of about 25-50 pages of do and don't that have to get approved by various members of my company and the government.

    The pay is good and the jobs are usually in demand. One problem is that the skill levels associated with these jobs vary drastically. One could call for the very basic of the basic IT knowledge and experience, while others like AT&T and Verizon call for an insane amount of experience and education (something like 10 years exp with a masters). If you want to pursue a job in this avenue, I guess you would major in Information Systems (if there is a caveat of security that would be a plus) and the rest would have to be taught through experience.

    brandotheninjamaster on
  • QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I'm taking an intensive language course to become (nearly) fluent in Chinese so I can go listen to radios in Hawaii. My biggest regret is fucking up the test for this job five years ago because hot damn is this school awesome and everything I've wanted out of a language class.

    Quid on
  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Was in architecture, but the market for designing and building things kind of tanked. Plus the bitchwork that they have you do as you work towards licensure (and the necessary bitch work that still has to be done after being licensed just to build a building) wasn't really my thing. I loved the research and design aspect more so than the CAD work. So I'm heading back to grad school for a degree in library and information science. Yeah, I'm going to become a librarian. Fingers crossed I'll manage to get a job at one of the architectural society type things around Chicago, or at the Art Institute which has the Burnham Library, or in an architectural firm. Failing that there's always story time at the local library I can fall back on.

    moniker on
  • zipidideezipididee Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Went to college for 5 years learning computer sciencey stuff. I was getting pretty burned out on the whole college experience towards the end. I then got a job as a system administrator for a small non profit that actually paid pretty well. I was there for two years, enjoyed the job for a while, but that burn out I had started to feel in college really kicked in. I finally realized I was sick to death of working with computers and no longer wanted to do it professionally. So I joined the air force, am currently learning to be a weatherman, and am having a blast. Yeah it was a pretty hard left from what I had been doing, but I'm pretty happy about it so far.

    zipididee on
    *ching ching* Just my two cents
  • Fallout2manFallout2man Vault Dweller Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I do a combination of customer service, sales, web programming, and proof-reading documents/product descriptions for a small e-commerce company. The job may stress the hell out of me, but it pays $9.50 an hour, and they still give me a solid 40 despite the seeing as I have no car the only other job I could expect would be menial labor at either a gas station, fast food place, or grocery store, for minimum wage with no benefits.

    Fallout2man on
    On Ignorance:
    Kana wrote:
    If the best you can come up with against someone who's patently ignorant is to yell back at him, "Yeah? Well there's BOOKS, and they say you're WRONG!"

    Then honestly you're not coming out of this looking great either.
  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    English BA and MA; I now work as a communications coordinator (soon to be re-identified as a "writing specialist") at a writing centre on a university campus. I design publicity material like posters and brochures, I write all the technical and publicity documents that help students write their papers, I work with disabled students or particularly belligerent students that none of the student tutors want to deal with, and I supervise and assist in coordinating the team of student tutors that staffs the centre. Writing documents like "How to write a good thesis statement" or "How to reference in MLA style" takes up most of my time, but I spend a lot of it giving advice and answers to students coming in with questions, and tutors who are stumped by a particularly challenging problem.

    I take home about 28 dollars an hour, if you were to break my salary down that way, and it's a very enjoyable job. It keeps me busy, it's not that stressful unless you're dealing with irritating or belligerent students, and the work itself is fun and interesting most of the time.

    Evil Multifarious on
  • YamiNoSenshiYamiNoSenshi A point called Z In the complex planeRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I think zip and EM bring up very important points when deciding about what to do with your life. Make sure to choose something that you actually want to do, on an average day to day basis. Yes, it's important to pay the bills and any job is going to be "work", and therefore not sunshine and unicorns every day. But if you do something you don't enjoy just for the money or a misplaced sense of "I should", you'll be miserable pretty much 100% of the time.

    YamiNoSenshi on
  • GooeyGooey (\/)┌¶─¶┐(\/) pinch pinchRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I'm a project manager at a (relatively) small oil company. I say relatively because we're still huge, just not an Exxon or Chevron. Most people outside the industry have never heard of us because we don't deal with the general public. The most interesting thing about my job is the versatility. I've worked on everything from implementing new computer systems and designing new records management policies to poking holes in the ground looking for black stuff. The pay is great, it's never boring and I have lots and lots of responsibility. So no, I have no regrets.

    e: My degree is BS Information Management which is kind of a b-school Comp Sci. I'm returning for my MBA in the fall.

    Gooey on
  • oldmankenoldmanken Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Political Science/History BA. Currently unemployed but will be returning overseas to Korea soon to teach English. Slowly realizing that I may have to make a career out of this, and actually not too bothered by it.

    oldmanken on
  • NightslyrNightslyr Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I'm unemployed at the moment, currently enrolled in a for-credit online ASP.NET/C# course given by the local technical college. I'm self-taught in PHP, JavaScript, and the basic web stuff (HTML, CSS).

    A couple years ago, I worked part-time for a local computing solutions start-up. It was a nightmare. I used to bitch about it in the "Complain about your work/co-workers" thread we used to have here. I was basically thrust into the position of being in charge of all of our website business when I was nowhere near ready. It eventually boiled down to me being the only guy actually working on my boss' hair-brained money making schemes. Keep in mind, he didn't have any kind of technical degree. No, his degree was in social work. Unsurprisingly, the company imploded shortly after.

    During my time there, I learned that I absolutely loathe clients. So I'm hoping that I'll find a position somewhere that will give me as little interaction with them as possible. I like collaborating with others, but most clients are fucking mouth-breathing morons who would likely starve to death in other countries.

    Nightslyr on
  • PongePonge Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I do architectural visualisation. I have an M.A in Architectural Design, but I realised I never really wanted to build anything, so I started teaching myself 3D programmes (Max, Vray) and have done okay the last 2 years (my company paid to transfer me to their Hong Kong office, which is very nice).

    Architecture is dead at the moment though, and there have been a lot of people laid off. Our department has survived (barely) although we're pretty busy at the moment with all of the bids for competitions and stuff that our company is doing to drum up some work.

    I do mostly enjoy it, my 3d 'skills' are kind of stagnating at the moment as it's not as intensive or creative as animation or VFX so I'm planning on going back to university this year to do an MA in Visual Effects so that I can hopefully get a job in a decent film/3d studio. Fingers crossed.

    Ponge on
  • Cyd CycloneCyd Cyclone Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I'm the Director of Inventory at one of the largest used bookstore chains in Alberta. It's insanely frustrating on a daily basis. I don't advise anyone be a bookman.

    Cyd Cyclone on
  • MrMonroeMrMonroe passed out on the floor nowRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I do tech support for a small software company.

    And thus, I return to school next year to study law.

    MrMonroe on
  • AlejandroDaJAlejandroDaJ Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    BA in International Relations, Minor in History

    I work for the Department of Labor in DC as an analyst/accountant/data guy. Always wanted to do civil service, and Int'l Relations, Poli Sci, Public Policy, or a J.D. are great ways to get in. No official background in Computer Sci, but people quickly figure out who the nerds are and ask them to do non-IT related stuff (read: data and accounting).

    AlejandroDaJ on
  • variantvariant Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Accounting/Audit only. I just "get it," so I majored in it. The coolest thing was having employers court you rather than the other way around.
    Hell, I got my job offer a year before I even graduated.

    variant on
  • SkannerJATSkannerJAT Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Real Estate Appraiser.

    Was out of work for about 6 months last year. The firm I was with called me back a few months ago but Im severely limited compared to what I had before the housing market collapsed. The guy I got my license under, as well as currently working for, is pretty much an insult to bosses everywhere. Not to mention his business practices with concern to ethics and morality.

    The good news is that the market in my area is looking to be coming back fairly strong so I will be leaving the firm soon ( will be evaluating the decision over the next 6 months or so )and start my own.

    With concern to education, the job requires a two year degree along with the pre-requisites for your state. I have no college education as I was grand-fathered in before the changes but alot of service companies have reviewer positions open requiring the two year degree and a license usually starting between $60-$70k a year depending on the locale.

    SkannerJAT on
  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    unemployed, woo!

    Pi-r8 on
  • ThemindtakerThemindtaker Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    graduated in '08 with a BS in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. I work in the Energy and Resource Management group of an Engineering/Architecture firm.

    Not an exciting job, expecially the work I've done so far (HVAC systems piping), but the firm has lots of room for movement, both laterally and vertically, so I'm shooting for a transfer to the west coast or out of the US once I'm no longer a n00b and have my student loans paid off (should be done with those before the end of the year). On the upside, I have gotten to travel a bit even in my menial position.

    I constantly wish I'd chosen a different career path, but I'm not done choosing yet: I'm planning on going back to school for a Master's in either Physics or Education, so I can teach the former.

    Themindtaker on
  • chamberlainchamberlain Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    BA in music education and have never used it. Fell into retail right after college and managed stores for 10+ years before realizing it was time to grow up and maybe make a little more money. Went back to school, got a few MS certifications and got a job as desktop support for a title company. It was an excellent first IT job: I was the only IT person at that particular site, but I had great support from the home office and go to play with all sorts of different things. When the sub-prime market started to tank, the layoffs started. I held on until there were only 20 of us left before looking for the next job.

    I got really lucky, or so I thought, and landed a network admin position at a 100 person lawfirm. Bad drive, but a good job, at least at first. I though I wanted a netadmin position, but I was either wrong or not ready because I was miserable. I was worried all the time, had tiny internal breakdowns over trivial problems, and in general was not myself. The final straw was losing a nights sleep over something I knew I could fix but that had to wait until morning.

    When I left after three months they offered me a $10,000 raise to stay, so I guess they liked me, but it was not worth it. Now I work for a small company that sells ticket validators to casinos, cash dispensers to banks, check imaging equipment to credit unions, and scheduling software to anyone. In a given week I can be in a casino, bank, and then some random metalworking plant and it is awesome. I also have pretty much free reign over the internal IT because I know more about it then anyone else. Someone else is actually 'in charge,' but I still get to play with the servers whenever I want. Just spent two weeks figuring out how external DNS actually works with internal routing (with some help from Infidel here). Because there was no deadline it was fun instead of stressfull.

    The lesson, I suppose, is be careful what you wish for. You may get it.

    chamberlain on
  • descdesc Goretexing to death Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I work for a winery. I'm allergic to something in most red wines.

    I guess this works out well, though.

    desc on
  • DanHibikiDanHibiki Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Senior 3d Animator at a Medical Animation company.

    We mostly do trade show animations, educational games and training aids for doctors and some for patients (it's a bit easier on patients if they see an animation of the surgical procedure rather then what we see... the invasive mutilation of headless torsos).

    It's a mix of fun work and some tedious stuff, all depends on which agency we have to go through.

    DanHibiki on
  • truck-a-saurastruck-a-sauras Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Another software guy here. If you take any over the counter or prescription drugs, I help keep it safe. Can't discuss too much, but again I love software work. It can be boring and fun, but overall I enjoy it.

    If you want to be rolling in money, than I'd say sales. Everybody else puts in all the hard work to create said product, then all you need to do is go schmooze, take clients out to dinners and drinks, and take all the credit and money for everything. Yeah I've got a bias and jealousy against sales people :P. I wouldn't ever want to do the amount of travel or off normal business hours work they do as that is the hard work they put in.

    truck-a-sauras on
  • Professor PhobosProfessor Phobos Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    redx wrote: »
    I create thin intellectual justifications for Republican party talking points.
    That sounds pretty recession proof.

    That's pretty much the only virtue, other than the work being exactly what I needed for career purposes. I'm looking for something I can actually feel passionate about.

    I do kind of wish I had chosen a different career path- I care about science more than anything, so I should have specialized in Science and Technology policy rather than Conflict and Security Studies, but it's key to remember:

    -Very few people do exactly what they studied to do; you're goal in college is to get a broad set of flexible skills rather than a narrow range of dedicated skills.

    -Life will take you strange, strange places. Your college major will not change this nor determine the entire course of the rest of your life.

    Professor Phobos on
  • BedigunzBedigunz Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    variant wrote: »
    Accounting/Audit only. I just "get it," so I majored in it. The coolest thing was having employers court you rather than the other way around.
    Hell, I got my job offer a year before I even graduated.

    You workin at a Big 4 Variant or a private company?

    Bedigunz on
    Coran Attack!
  • TaximesTaximes Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Electrical Engineer here.

    Though, I spent my first year of college studying journalism, of all things. That's actually worked out for me pretty well so far because it's a nice way for my resume to say, "I'm a good engineer, but I'm not a horribly awkward social introvert (...not all the time ;-))." So, don't worry too much about picking the right major the first time around - there's a good chance that even studying the wrong thing can help you in the long run. :P

    I actually haven't graduated yet, but we get to do three semesters work co-ops (paid internships, basically). My first one involved the selling and supporting of large industrial electrical equipment, like panelboards, transformers, etc.

    Taximes on
  • LeitnerLeitner Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Two jobs right now to help support me in getting my degree (well more realistically more spending money). First is as an RA, it's a real cushy job that effectively means I get paid to sit around and post on forums/Play Halo/Read for 99% of the time. Though it is very occasionally interspersed with getting called at four in the morning, and serious incidents (suicide attempts etc). And the weekend shifts can leave me rather stir crazy (can't leave the building for three days straight).

    The other is as part of a team that improves the web community for a fair sized company. Which can at times be really fascinating. None are things I'm going to be doing long term, but the latter has possibly opened up some real opportunities for me. Which is good, since I'm doing english/philosophy as my degree and so I really need that.

    Leitner on
  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I started as a computer science major, failed out of school, came back as Computational Media, a new major which was still sort of cs based, but focused more on design, artsy fartsy stuff, etc, instead of math and theory.

    While I enjoy programming, I don't really think I'd be happy doing it for the rest of my life, so I had left college pretty much expecting I would not do any. I took a job with a technical writing company, but it ultimately ended up with me working full time at a certain large client, working on an internal programming project. I enjoy it a lot more than I think I would at an actual software house, since i'm on a team of two with a single manager who makes decisions. It's good for now.

    However, I also want to try my hand at being an actor, after spending all my high school and college years doing amateur shows, so I'm gearing up to try that out. I have my headshot and resume all made up, I'm taking classes at a local actor's studio, etc.

    I had also thought about going into law, I took the lsat last year just to try it out, without applying to any colleges. I got a 160 which is pretty good, but I decided that I'd rather try out acting first to see if I could get into that. I figure I can always go back to law school, and doing it later in life probably increases my chances of getting in and doing well - whereas the opposite might be true of acting.

    So yeah, even though I'm done with school and working full time, I'm still figuring out what I'm doing with my life. Just try out lots of types of classes and take ones you enjoy. Don't be afraid to try out things that you think might be boring, like coding, or high level math, or economics, or whatever. Give them a fair shake, actually work at them, and see if you like doing it.

    SageinaRage on
  • PaperPrittPaperPritt Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I'm the intercompany accountant for a very large maretking firm. Most people would probably find it horribly dry, and truth be told, it probably is, but i kinda enjoy it anyway.

    Note: i had to wadlle through 6 year of temp-jobs bullshit to get that position. But life is good now.

    edit: nice to see lots of people working in the financial/audit/accounting! i'm not alone , whooo! ^5

    PaperPritt on
  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I work in healthcare IT as a Systems admin specializing in several COTS imaging and EDMS products. It's dreadfully boring work that leaves me lots of time to goof off on the internets. I'm considering going to law school to do something that leverages my joy of arguing and desire to do something more meaningful with my life. Given my pretty bad study habits and my young daughter, though, I'm not sure if I'll manage that.

    wwtMask on
    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
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  • SolandraSolandra Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I have a BA in Literature, which I enjoyed earning immensely. I didn't want to teach immediately after I graduated, so after a period of hemming and hawing doing a lot of different things, I wound up learning Microsoft Access, which was my threshold drug where database software is concerned. I tinkered with the hardware a bit over several years, got a Microsoft certification to add something educational to my resume other than that Lit degree. I've found that computers and networks, and making them "go" for people, is something I really enjoy.

    I'm a Systems Support Specialist, which is a pretty euphemism for "Help Desk," for a large electrical parts distributor (we have around 1300 associates). I'm paid reasonably well, have good benefits, I like my job and can leave at the end of the day knowing that I've made a difference to somebody somewhere, or several somebodies in several states. Sure, it's silly inane stuff about half the time, and hair-raisingly busy the rest of the time, but it's almost never boring.

    Solandra on
  • freelancerbobfreelancerbob UKRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Accounting can be good money I hear.

    I'm a College librarian, but since we handle computer drop in centres as well, I basically help students with low-tier IT assistance, as well as issue books and such. Kinda like sales in many ways, but less douchy customers than the average public, since most people in colleges are there to learn stuff and I can actually help them to some degree.

    pay is crap, job alternates between boring as hell and deeply satisfying.

    freelancerbob on
    What is this thing that is happening here.
  • DynagripDynagrip Break me a million hearts HoustonRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    I post and read random crap on the web for a living.

    Dynagrip on
  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I have a BA in English and I am currently a commercial real estate appraiser. We are up to our eyeballs in work at the moment, unlike the residential people allegedly are.

    I was half of the publications department of the financial aid office at my college, then the entire department. For four years I put together all the letters and brochures that went out, and I helped move the department to about 50% paperless in addition to reducing the amount of paper that went out in the first place. I also managed the website.

    When I graduated, I worked as the managing editor for a small newspaper for a while, but it was a nightmare and I quit as quickly as possible. Then I was the office manager for a test prep company, eventually taking on the tutoring director portion of the business and doing a pretty good job with it.

    I got into my current job by first being the copy editor for my present employer, and being sharp enough that they sent me to school to get my appraiser license. I'm technically still a trainee but the work is no different, and in the next few years I should be getting my certified general license. The money is good and when I stress out about the quantity of work, my boss laughs and calls it job security. He's totally right, though.

    Quoth on
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