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Old 01-19-2016, 08:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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What Should I Do With My Life?

I'm getting out of the Army this summer and I'm still not sure what I want to do with my life. My current plan is to "go to school", but I haven't decided where, what to study, or what kind of job to shoot for. I'll have the GI Bill for school, which will pretty much cover a 4 year degree. I was hoping you guys could give me some ideas of what to study or jobs that are available since my interests are probably similar to most people here.

My main interests are EVs, renewable energy, and efficiency. Naturally, electrical and mechanical engineering are up for consideration. Anyone know of other options or have anything to say about these ones? Idealy I'd be doing a mix of desk work and hands on.

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Old 01-19-2016, 10:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You could probably use my life as a case study of what NOT to do. :/
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Old 01-19-2016, 10:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Utility industry is interesting. I sort of "accidentally" got into it through an internship but i do enjoy it quite a bit. Very secure/stable position.
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Old 01-20-2016, 01:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Home : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics might be useful. Though I don't know if they are considering the effects of automation (because of all the wankers that need a self driving car so they don't have to stop wanking)
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Old 01-20-2016, 02:59 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Industrial electrician. Companies in my area are having to look in a multi-state radius to find qualified electricians. High demand = high pay and job security.

If my current employer ever goes belly up I'll be trying my hardest to get an apprenticeship with the IBEW.
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Old 01-20-2016, 11:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Can't go wrong with an engineering degree, especially if it's actually interesting to you!

Ideally: make good professional money doing interesting stuff in an affordable location while putting away much of it and avoiding the siren call of the consumer treadmill/debt lifestyle once the money starts rolling in.

Then "retire" 10-15 years later to do whatever you want! (Which might include continuing to work, but with the freedom/security to walk away from it whenever you wish and pursue other interests.)
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Old 01-20-2016, 02:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I've thought about electrician and HVAC a bit. However, a friend pointed out that going to college and switching to electrician down the road would be much easier than becoming an electrician now and trying to do school later when we might have children. So trade type jobs with apprenticeships/short schooling aren't my main focus right now.

Already planning on retiring early, I've just haven't been doing enough planning on the income side. Saving 50+% of zero doesn't get you very far.
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Old 01-20-2016, 03:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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your friend is right, but electrician doesn't require a degree either, so maybe that is a fallback plan if your selected major doesn't pan out, and the demand is increasing there.

Electrical engineering pays better, requires a degree, but the market is only showing < 5000 new jobs next year, so not the biggest growth field, and according to this, there were about 10,000 EE grads in 2011. But you should sail through electrician training if it doesn't pan out and you will have a STEM degree and be able to make your own products and whatnot.

it isn't trivial though, lots of math and logic, overall engineering has a %50 dropout rate, and ~%60 of the ones who make it through take 6 years to do so.

You ever take an aptitude test? You really want to make the most of those 4 years the GI bill will cover.
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Old 01-20-2016, 04:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'd have to second Frank Lee's comment.

What was your M.O.S.?
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Old 01-20-2016, 07:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Here's my take.

Going to school for engineering is fine as long as that is your passion. Having the GI Bill pay your way is a big plus. However, it's four or more years of lost or little income. Having a degree and getting a job in your desired field doesn't always happen right away which can lead to more money lost.

But, learning a trade "hands on" will start paying you on day one.

Should you choose HVAC as a trade, you could still use the GI Bill to take night courses to learn theory while you work as a apprentice.

Learning and getting licensed in HVAC can earn you a lot of money. Especially
if you decide to do our own thing later down the road.


I can see it now... (future)


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