Join Date: Sep 2008
"Low stress decent job"? Hate to break it to you, but any job will carry its fair share of stress. Of course, it's all relative. For example, a paramedic trying to revive an unconscious person and rushing them to the hospital is probably experiencing a lot more stress than, say, a person trying to sell clothes at a retail store. However, I've worked a basic job like a grocery store cashier to my current and definitely more complex job as a hospital bedside nurse, and I've been stressed in both jobs. All employers want the most bang for their buck, and so will demand the very best and the most they can out of their employees, and that's stressful!
That being said, I've got to echo a lot of what's already been said in this thread.
1) Choose something that will help you get an actual job in the end. It used to be that, if you had a degree - any degree - you were pretty much guaranteed a job, even if it wasn't within your field (for example, my dad has a Bachelor's degree in history, but got a job as a science teacher and then an accountant, but that was like 40 years ago). NOT ANYMORE. Nowadays, you need to know what career path you want first, and then choose which educational requirements you need for said career path. The job market is oversaturated with people with degrees, so employers can be a lot choosier about who they hire, and they will choose the people with the right qualifications first.
2) That being said, be realistic about job prospects. For example, one of the reasons why I became a nurse was because there is a need for nurses, no matter where you go, and the hospital I work at is so short-staffed that I have excellent job security (of course, I wanted to be a nurse for other reasons too, not just for the job prospects!) But, I've known people get degrees in the fine arts and ended up still working in retail or sorting beer bottles at the liquor store. In general, programs that are more about application (i.e. engineering, business, nursing) have better job prospects than more theoretical programs (i.e. the "pure" sciences, psychology), the arts being an exception. If you want to do something artsy and creative, just keep in mind that you'll have to work extremely hard to get head-and-shoulders above the crowd (because there a lot of arts students in any college/university and in the world in general) to get yourself noticed, to build the right connections, and as a result, do well and potentially land yourself a job.
3) College is not the be all, end all. As people have mentioned already, you do not necessarily need a degree to get a job. One does not need a degree to fix a car as a licensed mechanic or to work in a kitchen as a chef. There are many jobs out there that are better suited for apprenticeships or community college diplomas. Look up some community colleges and flip through their program listings and see if anything sounds interesting to you.
4) Definitely don't go into something you'll hate or regret, despite the two points above. Life is too short to do something you hate for a living, unless you absolutely must to scrape by.
5) As some others have said, look at your strengths, your likes and dislikes. All of that will help you decide. For example, when I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronomer. I found out that you needed a lot of math and physics to be an astronomer, and I hated both so I figured I'd head down a different path. Then, I found I was good at biology and actually enjoyed it, which partly led me to nursing. Also, I like doing hands-on stuff and being able to move, rather than sitting at a desk all day. I'd hate an office job, I think.
6) Think outside the box. Just because a specific career is thought of one way doesn't mean there aren't a dozen other ways it can be done. I'm going to use nursing again as an example because I'm most familiar with it xD The traditional idea of a nurse is at the bedside in a hospital, caring for very sick people. However, nurses fulfill a vast array of positions, such as organizing services in the community, public health nurses, nurse educators, nurse researchers, and some even playing more political roles, such as in unions or other organizations. Another example would be a cousin of mine, who has majored in 3D animation. In the course of her career, she's created short films shown in film festivals worldwide, worked on video game animations in Japan, and taught 3D animation at a community college.
7) Take your time to think about things, but my suggestion is not to wait too, too long. There's no rush to dive into college right out of high school - I knew several people who took an extra year in-between - but I've found that people who have been out of school for 2+ years find it quite difficult to go back to being a student. It's just a big shift in gears, so to speak.
P.S. Sorry for the wall-of-text D: I just know/ have known so many people who have gone down different life paths and, thanks to Facebook, know where they've ended up so far. In some cases, people have done some brilliant things, while in others...it's, well, less impressive.
Last edited by Aeternus : 08-24-2012 at 11:40 PM.