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Old 06-04-2008, 10:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
career/school question

I've dug myself quite a hole in my career. I'm 28 years old, I turn 29 next month. I currently work for an automotive warranty call center and I hate every second of it. I got into the automotive industry almost by accident since I liked racing and cars, and I had drifted aimlessly through high school with no ambition of going to college. For the first few years after high school I worked as a mechanic, while I also got an associate degree during that time in automotive service technology. I found liking cars and working on them for a living proved to be incompatible for me. When I made the decision to go to college to get my Bachelors Degree in Automotive Industry Management seven years ago it was to get a better job in the auto industry since I still wanted to work in the industry. Unfortunately after graduating in the fall of '03 I found out the career prospects for such a specialized fluff degree aren't that good.

But now I don't want to work in the automotive industry anymore. I don't like that the job prospects don't seem to be that great, and the industry as a whole does not seem to be particularly healthy. I don't like that every customer I've ever dealt with in this industry feels like I am screwing them over at every opportunity. I don't know of any other job in this industry I would find fulfilling either.

I'm thinking about perhaps going back to school, to get a different Bachelors Degree but what would I go to school for? I know I'm smart, yet I have not been able to harness my brain power due to my lack of quality education. My poor education is a result of both not going to particularly good schools and a lack of effort on my part. This has left me in a position where if I tried to get any sort of technically challenging degree or career that requires a lot of math and science I would probably need to start all over with basic 8th grade Algebra and work my way up. That would take such a long time to basically redo 9 years worth of schooling just to get back to having a second Bachelors Degree. I'd have to support myself during this whole time, most likely working part time and living off ramen again. I don't know if I could do that again, since I wouldn't be receiving support from my parents, and I'd be living in a higher rent area than the last time I went to college. And getting another degree wouldn't necessarily guarantee a job that I would enjoy. Although I think if I can find something, anything that I am good at, and pays reasonably well, and doesn't involve dealing with the general public as part of my normal duties I could be satisfied.

I guess my question is how do I find what I'm looking for? When I was in high school my teachers would always give learning style inventory tests which told me I'm a hands on learner. But how does that translate into finding what I really want to do and am good at too? Would going to school even be a good idea? How do people pay for school? I never had financial aid my first time through college, other than the HOPE tax credit and Lifelong Learning Credit on my taxes. How do you get aid? Do colleges even admit people that already have one Bachelors Degree that need to start from scratch and get a different unrelated degree? And what degrees are good as far as having good solid job prospects that aren't necessarily confined to one industry? I just feel like the clock is running out if I am ever going to do anything other than work in one shitty dead end job after another, but I don't know how to make my situation better.
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Old 06-05-2008, 01:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Central Central Florida
I think that's something only you can decide.

What was it that attracted you to the auto industry in the first place? The glam, the cars, the smell of gasoline? Find that and see what might relate.

What are you good at that you can utilize and enjoy? What would you find fulfilling?

Oh ... and what is it (health ??) about the auto industry that's repulsed you? I didn't quite get what you meant, but it's possible that most business enterprises may leave you feeling the same way, since they all run on the same basic principles.

Maybe a good chat with a guidance counselor might help.

Good luck. I hope you find something you truly enjoy.
We are always more anxious to be distinguished for a talent which we do not possess, than to be praised for the fifteen which we do possess.
Mark Twain
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Old 06-05-2008, 03:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
You might want to check out a local community college. This way, you can try out a few classes to see what you may or may not like and not have to pay anywhere near as much for it. Most courses that you will take will be transferable to a major university so once you've found something that you like, you won't have to retake the intro level courses.
"Fuck these chains
No goddamn slave
I will be different"
~ Machine Head
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Old 06-05-2008, 04:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
Knight of the Old Republic
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Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Oh come on man, you're not a screw-up. You have your bachelor's degree. Regardless of what it's in, it took effort and work to get it and it's proof that you're a strong worker that is motivated. The fact that you're trying to find another career is proof that you're motivated and care about your quality of life. I wouldn't call any of this a hole in your career.

What else are you good at? Writing? Computers? What hobbies do you have? Does anything else interest you besides cars?

I agree about the automotive industry. My dad has owned a bodyshop for 30 years and he refuses to let me get involved due to the stress and how purely hateful the general public is about automotive repairs. Every customer thinks they're right in every case and that the bodyshop is wrong in every case and just out there to steal from you. It's truly a terrible industry to be in unless assholes don't affect you.

You have your 4-year degree already so you're ahead of a lot of people as it is. You need to sit down and think about what you'd be good at.
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Old 06-09-2008, 12:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
Part of the problem I'm having is I don't know what else I'm good at, or what else I'd like to do. I don't really have any hobbies, I watch way too much porn but that is it. Thinking back, I took auto mechanics class just because I wanted to know more about cars since I was really into racing at the time.
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Old 06-09-2008, 12:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
Kick Ass Kunoichi
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Location: Oregon
Spec is right--start with community college. That way, you can take a variety of classes in a variety of subjects and figure out what you want to do. Call your local community college and ask to meet with 1) an admissions counselor, and 2) a financial aid counselor. File your FAFSA now, even before calling.

Use the community college's resources while you're there--meet with department advisors in majors you might be interested in pursuing, and meet with a career counselor at the college to figure out what the job prospects are for the fields you have in mind. The great thing about CC is that it really is for people of all ability levels--so if you decide you want to brush up on your math skills, they definitely offer the courses to help you do so, because in some respects CC is meant to be a stepping stone to a four-year school for people who aren't prepared to go straight to a four-year school. Plus, they almost always offer a good array of vocational and technical education as well, if you are interested in learning another trade.

To get into the CC here, even for casual classes, I had to take an assessment in reading and math; many schools do the same thing. The assessment will give you a better idea of what classes to take. I'd really recommend sticking with a general "arts" course your first couple terms--whatever the basic writing class is, whatever math class you get placed in, and electives. An advisor at the college can tell you more, but that's generally how they like students to start off.
If I am not better, at least I am different. --Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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Old 06-09-2008, 12:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: reykjavík, iceland
heh the 28 going on 29 is the same deal here. also found that enjoying cars didn´t translate to enjoying working in the auto industry. when i found myself in the situation i had a total change of scenery, including country and have been able to refocus and assess what i want and how i can use what i already have. for me the picture is still not clear but it´s nowhere near as grim as 2 years ago. to quote thom yorke: "do yourself a favour and pack your bags, buy a ticket and get on a train." i don´t mean migrate across the world, just freshen yourself up a bit.
mother nature made the aeroplane, and the submarine sandwich, with the steady hands and dead eye of a remarkable sculptor.
she shed her mountain turning training wheels, for the convenience of the moving sidewalk, that delivers the magnetic monkey children through the mouth of impossible calendar clock, into the devil's manhole cauldron.
physics of a bicycle, isn't it remarkable?
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Old 06-09-2008, 01:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
Confused Adult
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Location: Spokane, WA
eh, same story here, only I don't have any sort of degree, I have a GED, a healthy hobbyist interest in music, computers and web design (do all my own layouts pretty much) and networking. Networking seems to be the best one to get in to for me, just everything available under the sun for computers is daunting, all the programming languages, some for programs, some for scripts, some for animation, hell one could say even flash has it's own language.

all that aside, I need to learn a lot more before I get to that point where anyone takes me seriously. but meh, thats a matter of motivation. I have a hard time motivating myself to go to a college and start it all. I dont know why.
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Old 06-13-2008, 10:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
Meat Popsicle
Location: Left Coast
Why not go for an MBA? I should think that would open up some other opportunities.
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
Young Crumudgeon
Martian's Avatar
Location: Canada
I like to use my mother as an example for this. She went to university for a degree in sociology at the age of thirty one, as a single mother supporting three children. She can do that, you can manage at 29 with no dependants (I'm assuming).

If you want it, you'll do it. If engineering is what interests you, then go find out what it's gonna take to do that. Once you know exactly what's required, you can formulate a game plan and figure out whether or not it's feasible. Until then you have no idea and speculating that it's going to be too hard is just so much self-pity.

You're not happy where you are. Neither are a .lot of people. Are you going to sit and complain, or are you going to get off your ass and do something about it?

Putting yourself in a position to do what you want to do is surprisingly easy. It's figuring out what it is that's the hard part, and for that I can offer no advice.
I wake up in the morning more tired than before I slept
I get through cryin' and I'm sadder than before I wept
I get through thinkin' now, and the thoughts have left my head
I get through speakin' and I can't remember, not a word that I said

- Ben Harper, Show Me A Little Shame
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