Career confusion (money, root of evil)

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Scheherazade
Snowy Owl
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18 Apr 2007, 8:40 pm

As a student, I was interested in a million different things, but as an employee, it seems like I can't do anything. I always thought that being smart and staying in school would reward me with a good income and a job I like but it seems the opposite is true.

I did a Bachelors in biology - thought about doing biomedical research or becoming a doctor, but I like the freedom of NOT being that high up in the hierarchy. I miss the lab, but I'm also afraid of a lot of the tools we used (acid, radiation, viruses, etc).

I did a Masters in health policy. Thought I'd get a nice, easy desk job, but now that I have it I'm horribly bored and feel too weird and divergent to really fit in with the square pegs at work. They're too conventional. My work is tremendosly NOT interesting to me. It's fairly high level, but I hate having to pay attention to stuff that isn't relevant. Health services research, blah. I would MUCH MUCH MUCH rather answer phones or sort mail or type letters. Then I can daydream about actually interesting stuff - stories I'd like to write, or whatever.

I like writing but I don't want to have to whore my interest out to make a living out of it. I'd like to do some freelance writing or editing on the side, to make extra money, but I don't want to depend on it to pay my rent. I'd rather focus on writing a novel than obsess over technical manuals or writing articles all the time.

So I have to find a day job that will allow me to write on the side. I thought about doing a Masters in lab medicine research, but I found out that with that degree, you'd make about what a good waitress makes ($35,000 in Canada, just for comparison's sake). Meanwhile, I found out that nurses, who have 2-4 years of education, earn $65,000 (more with overtime); they can move to any town and get exposure to tons of characters and story ideas that would be an incredible opportunity for a writer - too bad my personality is the exact opposite of what a nurse should be. Meanwhile, I find out that a lab technologist - usually a person who didn't have the grades to go to university and spent 3 years at community college - earns about $40-50,000 a year (and yet the MSc lab technician, who actually knows what she's doing, earns 25% less). I considered doing a 1-year diploma to become a lab technologist, but I think I'd feel ashamed telling people what I do. Because if I'm not smart and an achiever, then I have no sense of pride when comparing myself to more socially competent people who picked on me all my life.

But it's weird. every job that interests me and demands achievement pays about $40,000 max. Meanwhile, secretaries at my workplace earn $40-50,000. I used to think money didn't matter, but given that I have to pay $600 a month just to pay off my student loans, and given that I have no plans to ever live with a roommate or lover, my cost of living is significantly higher than your average NT who lives with a bunch of roommates before moving in with the girlfriend/boyfriend and can share the cost of rent, groceries, vacations, and everything else that get cheaper in bulk.

So I'm very confused. The only thing I've ever been proud of is my accomplishments. But there is only so high you can ascend without having to deal with meetings and managing people and holding committee meetings, ,etc. I'm tempted to move back to my parents' basement and just write, but I'd still need to work 20 hours a week just to pay the monthly loan payments (and still be broke). I can stay at my current (mind numbing, soul crushing, alienating) office job for another year - but I have to tell my boss soon if I want to renew my contract (and I get the sense he doesn't expect me to renew - perhaps because I don't exactly hide the fact that I'm not happy there). But given that I have no alternatives and no savings, the alternative isn't any better.

What shoudl I do?



newaspie
Deinonychus
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18 Apr 2007, 10:21 pm

Perhaps you can find work you can do at home in your field. Even consulting? I do some part-time consulting in my area and have just started healthcare recruiting all from home. Lots of phone (which I don't always like but you talk business, not personal, so much easier) but no face to face or office politics. Plus I can make my own hours and work endlessly at it one day and a few hours the next, if I so choose.

I've also started freelance writing and copywrite/editing from home offering my services, which will eventually be incorporated into a home-based company marketed via the internet.

Working from home and bringing money in that way will afford me much more time and flexibility to pursue my main interest of research and writing books in my areas of interest as well other book-length projects I have on the agenda.

I am much happier now with this than I was or ever would have been going to the office every day, even with the prestige of managing my own prominant area practice. And I never would have had the free time nor the mental ability after coming home from continually stressful and exhausting days from the office to be able to do that.



newaspie
Deinonychus
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18 Apr 2007, 10:25 pm

Actually, with a masters in Health Policy, you are even MUCH MORE QUALIFIED than me to be a Healthcare Consultant. You would just have to have the ambition and be able to market your talent but that could become a great home-based business with more money making potential in the long run than working for someone else.



the-over-analyzed
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08 May 2007, 5:57 am

Is there any way you could get the debt discharged in a bancrupty due to Aspergers?