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What do you do? WHY?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Melch, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. Melch

    Melch
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    Village Idiot

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    Like a lot of people on this board, I'm a student. And like all students, I'm dimly aware that for whatever reason, real people in the real world probably won't want to pay me to get drunk and read books all day. This is a problem. Yeah, I should have done a useful degree. And yeah, I should have done some internships over the holidays before I got to my last year. Whatever, I've been having fun.

    This isn't to ask the internet what I should do with my life, we had quite enough of those threads on the old advice board. We don't need another six pages of people telling each other to grow some balls and go out to follow their dreams, good advice as it is.

    But, there's probably a lot of people here who are eventually going to graduate and need jobs. There's probably a lot of people who already have a job, and need jobs they don't fucking hate. And a bunch more people who are either doing exactly what they always wanted to, or fell arse-first into what turned out to be their perfect job.

    So, I want to hear about what you do all day. How did you end up doing what you do? If it's shit, how are you gonna go about finding the right one? And if you've made it, what advice would you give to newbies on your sector? Whether it's nepotism, fellating the interviewer, or you had to resort to talent and dedication, tell us your secrets.
     
  2. silway

    silway
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    I'm a lawyer about a year and a half post-graduation. About which has been written a million pages of stuff about how much it sucks and how much of an idiot you have to be to be one.

    So here's the thing, right now it kinda sucks. I work document review so all day long. I flip through documents on annoying software to tag them for responsiveness and privilege as part of giant discovery productions for massive corporations. This is not what I want to be doing with my life.

    But recently I spent a few hours helping a company analyze a dispute to see if they had grounds to sue and what their rights were and so on. I talked to their CEO and IT Director on a conference call and gave them advice and insight. That was a monumentally awesome feeling. To use my expertise and training to help other people better understand what they could or should do and why and how. I hope to be able to do more of that.

    And you know what? Until that day comes as I send out resumes and look for my chance to get the job I want, this doc review pays ok and lets me sit around on the internet all day. The cafeteria is decent with good prices, and my weekends and weeknights are dependably free for whatever plans I want to make. I also loved my legal education and am fascinated by the law and how it works and the theories behind it and all that stuff.

    As for how I wound up where I am, after graduating I took the NY and MA Bars. I passed both and got my results in November '08, just as the economy seriously tanked. I spent about 6 months looking for any job while doing some picture taking for mortgage companies as a day job (this job will make you cry). I finally found some temp work through a legal temp agency and that led to more at a different agency and so here I am. I am registered with like half a dozen agencies. In the meantime I look for permanent jobs, which really, I need to be less complacent about just because I am currently on an assignment that will likely last awhile.

    In the end, I guess I'm the lawyer who fell through the law-firm/government lawyer cracks. Which kind of sucks, but I think I will be able to persevere through it. Hope that helps somehow.
     
  3. OBY

    OBY
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    I work for my dad. He is a Chiropractor and I do therapy and exams on people. You don't really need schooling, just in office training and take a test from the board of chiropractics. I like the job, lots of weird ass people show up in our office so there are always interesting days. We see almost 300 people a week with only my dad as the Doctor.

    I am lucky to have a family business to work for during this time of joblessness.

    If this job doesn't work out, my family also owns a couple 24 hour gyms called anytime fitness that I could help out at. Again, I am extremely lucky to have the family businesses available.
     
  4. The Village Idiot

    The Village Idiot
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    Porn Worthy, Bitches

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    I am also a practicing attorney, and until recently a part-time cook (that right there should tell you something).

    Pros of practicing law: there are moments when it's ok.

    You achieve a good result for a client.
    Your clients avoid a catastrophic result (sometimes this is the best you can do).

    Cons of practicing law:

    Contrary to popular belief, you do not make very good money, especially in today's market.
    It is a profession that has become a business in the past 20 years, and like all businesses, especially ones reliant on the insurance industry, bottom line is more important than doing the right thing.
    It is rare that your advice is followed.
    The work is exceedingly detail oriented and incredibly tedious.
    There are very few trials.
    Clients can be demanding. Clients can also be liars. Clients can also be douchebags. A surprising amount of the time all three categories are present in the same client.
    If you're in a position of some authority, you invariably are told how to practice law by non-lawyers - usually insurance adjusters.
    Most of the work you do on a daily basis is completely meaningless.
    The industry is dying, and it won't be coming back any time soon.
    If you're not established in the industry already, you will not have any opportunities for advancement in probably the next ten years.
    You will be saddled with debt and be expendable.

    Many of the above are because of the economy, however, due to the plethora of attorneys without jobs, it is a buyer's market. Since there are no indications that law school graduates are declining, and every indication that legal jobs will continue to decline, the market is only going to worsen for most lawyers over the next 2-5 years.

    I fell into it by luck. I was a musician trying to 'make it' and figured that all my friends and family were right, I should give up the dream and go for the security of a law career.

    They were wrong on both counts.

    I was even more wrong for listening to them.

    If you have more questions, feel free to PM me. I also blog about some of this shit.

    EDIT: Most of what I do all day is read correspondence/medical records/book accounts for landfills/speak with clients regarding producing discovery and drafting discovery responses, making phone calls regarding depositions/obtaining discovery/client interviews. You also draft a lot of status reports to clients (usually forms) as well as letters commemorating all the above conversations and reviews of documents above. Tedious doesn't begin to describe it.
     
  5. Ogee

    Ogee
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    I work in structured finance. Its really where structured finance meets IT.

    Honestly, it sucks. The hours are ridiculous. The team is spread around the world, and I routinely am awoken at 3 in the morning because the client's barely literate developers can't keep their grubby paws off the application or Holy, shit! I didnt look at these reports. We've tripped every convenant we had! Who knew about this! And, there haven't been any structured finance deals worth touching in about two years. But there's still money in it. Lots of money. And it's a select group at a very well respected firm.

    How'd I wind up here? I started working in Audit and got very close to slitting my wrists. I took a month off, called a partner I met at an alumni gathering and told him I either needed a new group or a new career. He set me up and, well, it's better than the alternative.

    I think you can't understate the value of networking and a reputation. Do you have to be the hardest working guy out there? No, but you should be known as someone who never misses a deadline or always makes the clutch plays. Thats worth more than 110% utilization or 6 clients per year.

    But what do I know; I'm just some random guy on the internet.
     
  6. effinshenanigans

    effinshenanigans
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    I graduated college with a BA in English. I immediately felt useless as I tried to dive into the job market. But I had held a couple jobs that offered me experience in a bunch of useful areas, so I wasn't completely without hope. After 6 months of doing a bunch of odd jobs and papering the world with a combination of resumes and cover letters, I finally caught a break when staffing agency picked me up. I got a job as a legal assistant for the General Counsel of a large tobacco company. Luckily, fellating anyone was unnecessary.

    My work wasn't anything impressive and wasn't difficult at all, but apparently I was the first person in that role that wasn't a complete fuck up and my boss liked me. He retired 8 months after I had started, but told the family that owns the company that I should be kept around. They created a role for me and brought me on full time with benefits.

    Now that I've been here for a while and they've had a chance to see what I can do outside of filing and writing customer correspondence letters, I'm much more involved in the family's other business ventures. I work in the finance dept. for the tobacco company, handle sales and marketing for a fledgling oyster company, and I'm the editor of a publication for the blind. The jack-of-all-trades role really works for me because I can split my time between those three roles, so there really isn't any boring repetition.

    If I had to give advice to anyone just starting out looking for a job, it would be to get your foot in the door* and work like crazy wherever you end up. [Most] People notice and appreciate hard work and reward it in return.

    *staffing agencies can help
     
  7. Crown Royal

    Crown Royal
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    I'm a marketing talent scout (without a degree in marketing), and I run a grass-roots disc jockey business.

    My new day job is great I can can make my own hours. I have to work to get hours, but the pay is very good and I love driving, which it entails quite a bit of.

    Being a disc jockey is the most fun, easy job in the world and you can make at least $50 an hour doing it. You can get hammered while you worl=k, play music and people like you for it. I haven't grown tired of it in eight years and I don't plan on it (though I do miss the bar and club days, though).
     
  8. Senna Vs. Prost

    Senna Vs. Prost
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    I'm an "automotive journalist". The pay is not enough to live on, and very inconsistent, but as a student, it's enough to get by. I've gone from writing for a startup consumer advice site, to interning at a men's lifestyle/auto magazine to doing research for a very well known auto writer/columnist.

    The perks, however, are great. One track near me lets me attend lapping days and get intstruction for free. I'll get press cars from manufacturers, which range from the mundane to the unattainable. Most importantly, I've met a great group of people, journalists, race car drivers, PR folks and car nuts. Finding a way to make it a regular career is going to be the challenge.

    If you want to get into this business:

    1) Write well

    2) Drive on a track as much as you can. Most journalists are hack drivers and you can't trust their opinion on how a car performs at the limit.

    3) Have a background in engineering or racing. This is a corollary to the above, but seriously, as the great Jack Baruth says, most auto writers are failed race car drivers or failed novelists. The shit you read in EVO magazine (especially) about back country blasts and giving the car "a dab of opposite lock" is horse shit. Clarkson is a great driver only because Top Gear has some great editors. You need something to set yourself apart and this will give you legitimacy.
     
  9. dewercs

    dewercs
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    I am a loan officer for a mortgage broker, actually my job title is operations manager but when there are only two people left in the company a title means nothing. I have been working for the same company since 1998, I got into mortgages because I had a friend, whom I still work with, and family start doing mortgages.
    In a nutshell, if someone wants to buy a house, I arrange the financing for them.
    I do productive work maybe one hour a day, the rest of my time is spent surfing the net, fishing, hunting and doing side jobs I get phone service just about anywhere in the state so if I am not in my office I can still work. In the last four years my job has taken about a 75% paycut and gotten about three times harder to do, and because AZ is the one of the worst markets in the US it is even more of a treat.
    I still really enjoy doing mortgages but on the side I bartend and/or barback for events, install woodfloors and fix shit people break and of course fix fishing reels.
     
  10. BrianH

    BrianH
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    I'm in the military.

    I don't know what my "average" day consists of, because there is no average day. Within the past three weeks I've:

    -Inventoried all of my sensitive gear. Twice.
    -Packed all of my gear for our upcoming deployment.
    -Gone to briefs about God-knows-what concerning things that don't pertain to me.
    -Done some pretty awesome, live simulation combat medical training.
    -Gone to the range and shot shit.
    -Gone to the range and blown shit up.
    -Done all the stuff that goes along with the ranges, like setting up communications, doing risk assessments, etc.
    -Gotten a mandatory "there's a new Sergeant Major in town" haircut.
    -Bitched about said haircut.
    -Worked out with my team every morning.
    -Discussed the pros and cons of conducting a war with no mission.
    -Read a big stack of intelligence analysis briefs.
    -Done a bunch of open source research on certain people within my area of operations (you have no idea how much intelligence is gleaned from Wikipedia).
    -Cleaned guns.
    -Gotten immunizations.
    -Filled out packets for all the schools I want to go to.
    -Gotten my team's orders together for going overseas.
    -Gone to a 4-day course on stuff I can't talk about.
    -Gone to a half-day course about Cyber Warfare.

    And a bunch more shit.

    If you are looking for a job you could never master, is never the same, and full of a bunch of nonsense that has nothing to do with your actual job, the military is for you.
     
  11. fleafly

    fleafly
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    I'm a senior systems analyst for a banking software company. I get to travel to small town banks all over the country. I install servers and ensure the banking data is complete and running on said servers. When I started this job over 5 years ago I knew nothing about UNIX, actually most of what I learned in college was pretty much worthless. I learned pretty much everything on the fly through some hard knocks.

    I enjoy my job. I love the people I work with, especially a particular woman. I enjoy the traveling I get to do. My favorite place I've been so far is the big easy! The only thing I don't like about this job is I've hit the advancement ceiling. The only way to move up further is if a manager quits and I don't see that happening anytime soon. For now i'm content but I don't see myself sticking around for much more than a year or two more.
     
  12. Nick

    Nick
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    I'm the VP of M&A and Financial Planning for a large healthcare services company. I have an investment banking/financial consulting background, so in addition to deal-related activities, I play somewhat of a utility role when it comes to the company's planning and corporate finance projects. I am not a CPA, nor do I have an accounting background. I don't know how to do T-accounts and can't run a ledger. In terms of day-to-day stuff, it really varies, but here are a few things I typically do:

    - Deal sourcing - talk to brokers/bankers and potential sellers on a daily basis to generate new leads on potential acquisitions
    - Deal negotiating - pretty self explanitory, but it mostly involves me arguing with a seller as to why I don't think his business is worth as much as he does or why I need more risk protection/indemnity on the terms
    - Deal analysis - provide guidance to my analysts on projection models deal pro-formas and review offering memoranda
    - Due diligence meetings - meet w/ various officers/management at the target company and ask lots of questions, only 15% of which actually matter to me
    - Document review - reviewing and marking up purchase agreements and other deal documents with our attorneys
    - Market analysis - work with our operators to assess need/demand in the markets in which we operate and what the potential opportunities are from a growth stanpoint. Build vs. Buy. Managed care driven market vs. hospital system driven market. Who are the major players. If/why do they outperform us? Where should we use our capital?
    - Travel - Some...usually a couple of times a month. Kind of depends on how busy we are or at what point in a deal I'm at. I usually make an initial visit to meet the management team of a potential seller, but after that, can do much of my work from the office, which is nice. I traveled a lot in a former life. It sucks.

    This is probably just the tip of the iceberg, but that is technically what I should be doing every day. If it involves anything corporate-finance related, I'm usually asked for input. So I'd categorize 40% of what I actually do as "other".
     
  13. TX.

    TX.
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    The Mad Pooper

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    I'm a physical therapy tech in an orthopedic out-patient facility. I'm also a student, but I work there full-time and I've been there over a year.

    I ended up in PT through Pilates. I was a professional dancer and dance teacher, and practiced Pilates as part of my conditioning/injury-prevention since I was 16. I enjoyed it, and I wanted to became an instructor. So, I took a Pilates instructor course. This particular method is geared towards people of all walks of life and capabilities, and a strong emphasis is placed on anatomy, body types and injuries. I thrived in these courses and discovered a passion for helping people with somewhat-limiting conditions exercise. I followed the path and decided I wanted to be a physical therapist. I ended up in my clinic because of my background as an athlete, a teacher, and having decent people skills. Also, my facility only has techs who are applying to PT/OT school.

    An average day consists of working with about 40 patients. They range from pro/college athletes to 88 year olds. Some are there post-op, some are pre-op, some just have a nagging issue that disrupts their daily activities. I don't do exactly the same thing every day, but basically my job is acting as an extention of the PTs. I correct people's form, teach exercises, set up modalities like ultrasound and electrical stimulation, etc. Also, I teach Pilates to people who are coming out of PT and still want to work out with someone who's knowledgeable about their specific injury/issue. The only crappy part is I have to do laundry and clean tables after people leave. That part kinda sucks, but it's not so bad.

    I think necessary skills for my job are knowledge about anatomy and body mechanics, an ability to talk/work with a wide variety of populations, an ability to problem solve on the fly, work at a fast pace and multi-task. Also, good communication skills are really important.

    I love what I do. I don't want to be a tech forever, but until I'm in grad school it's a perfect fit for me.
     
  14. Porkins

    Porkins
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    Average Idiot

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    I'm an analyst at an economic and financial consulting firm. We 'support' expert witnesses in large civil litigation matters that require an authoritative voice on anything ranging from accounting practices to efficient markets, and everything in between. Ostensibly this means gathering research on whatever the expert is retained to opine on and presenting it to them to draw from it what conclusions they will, but in actuality it means collecting any and all academic and statistical evidence favorable to our client, ignoring that which isn't, and affixing the expert's signature page to the report that we have written.

    Day to day for me is a lot of searching for data on the internet, putting said data into pretty charts and tables in excel, or reading through documents varying in length from 500 - 10,000 pages looking for particular words, phrases or charts/tables. Today, our managers are in a meeting and I'm 'on call' to send them any documents or analyses they might need.
     
  15. carpenter

    carpenter
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    Disturbed

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    I'm a carpenter. No education is necessary. None, save for being able to read and follow instruction.
    It's fairly easy to join your local carpenter's union and get all the basic training you need.
    Mostly, you learn on the job. You'll get paired up with a journeyman who (hopefully) will know what he/she is doing, and they'll tell you what to do.
    You'll have to purchase your own hand tools and take care of them. (If you pull out a rusty-ass hammer to work with, you're probably in for some shit about it.)
    For the most part, it's common sense. Other things, you have to learn. How to use a table-saw safely comes to mind.

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.carpenters.org/Home.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.carpenters.org/Home.aspx</a>

    It's the same for every trade profession, the better you are, the more you can get paid.
    I specialize in finish work. Hanging cabinets, crown molding etc.
    There are definite perks, but it's not for everyone.
    PM me for questions.
     
  16. scotchcrotch

    scotchcrotch
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    Emotionally Jaded

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    I own a freight brokerage business.

    I went into the real world wanting to be a stock broker. After speaking with several people/businesses, I took a chance on freight brokerage.

    2 years in, I was promoted to manager, a year later I left and started my own brokerage.

    The business is much more stable than stocks, the money is similar, and I work less hours now than I ever have in my life.

    The simplest way to put what I do- I supply the customer service that truck drivers do not possess. I speak on their behalf to manufacturers, I schedule appointments, and I negotiate rates.

    Every day is different, it's got the same high intensity that the stock market has, and I don't have to worry about the next Enron closing my shop.
     
  17. Diablo

    Diablo
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    Emotionally Jaded

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    I, like BrianH, am in the Military also.

    I'm a 2LT in the Marine Corps in the very beginning of my flight school career. My current days consist of waking up around 6, going to base and swimming in a pool for an hour with a bunch of Seamen (read Navy guys), going to classes about aerodynamics, weather, engines, navigation, and flight rules and regulations. After about 5 more weeks of this, I'll join a training squadron at a base near by and actually start flying some trainer airplanes. I'll be there for 6 or so months then move on to a specific flying platform: Helo's, Jets, or Tilt rotor. Each one of those takes me to a different part of the country to learn how to fly a more specific aircraft. Eventually I'll get either F-18's or F-35's and deploy to some shitty country a couple times in order to drop some bombs and shoot some stuff. Good times.

    Also, I graduated with a BA in Economics, which frankly is of little to no use to me at the moment. I had fun in college instead of worked hard.
     
  18. shegirl

    shegirl
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    Redemption Seeking Whore

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    I think most know I'm in insurance. I fell into it after a stint in food service as a Dairy Queen Drive Thru Girl, out of high school. Next was retail which was hell. I did some random temp work and then happened across where I'm at now. I've been in the industry for 15 years in April. I like it some days, love it others and loathe it on some. I help people protect things they've worked their entire life to obtain. I also see them at their worst after some sort of loss be it an accident, fire, theft or even the death of a loved one. I am often the voice they know at the end of the line when they need it most and it's a pretty good feeling knowing, I help.

    If your collection really is worth that much I hope your parents have spoken to their agent about special coverage or raised limits beyond the very little one that is part of every normal Homeowners policy.
     
  19. Fernanthonies

    Fernanthonies
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    I'm a software engineer, although I am nowhere near Nettdata's level.

    I did the normal Bachelors in Computer Science at a four year state school where I learned a great deal of theoretical knowledge but pretty much dick about anything practical. After that I deviated from the norm and spent 1.5 years at a graduate school in Dallas for videogame design where I focused on software design for games (real-time rendering, 3D programming and shit tons of math).

    Graduated from there just over a year ago, and I am just about to hit the one year mark at my current job. Although I ended up working for a company that does nothing even remotely related to video games, I feel grad school wasn't a waste since I ended up getting a ton of practical programming experience.

    When I realized that the economy had gone to shit and I wasn't having much luck getting a job for a game development studio, I just started applying everywhere. I lucked out when I landed a full time job, with benefits, at a manufacturing company in central Oklahoma. We basically write all of the in house software that the engineers use to do their shit and the shop uses to build parts. Its a good job, I have a great boss, I enjoy the people I work with, and I get to write code all day (which I love) including branching out on my own if I have time with new projects and technologies.

    It doesn't pay as well as I had hoped and there doesn't seem to be really any room for advancement, but I've only been here for 11 months. Its a healthy company, and most of my fellow employees have been here for 10-20+ years. Like I said, I feel like I lucked out.
     
  20. Frebis

    Frebis
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    I too have a four year degree in Computer Science. I've wanted to program computers since I was 10, and I learned how to program my calculator. Now I work as an SAP consultant. I quickly learned programming on a macro level isn't nearly as fun as it is on a micro level.

    Pros of the job-
    -They pay to fly me in every week. Meaning I bank the frequent flyer miles.
    -I live in four star hotels throughout the week. And bank hotel points. I haven't paid for a vacation since I began doing this.
    -They will fly me anywhere for the weekend I want to go. Every other week I head to somewhere fun for a party, or to ski, or to a beach, etc...
    -I get paid really well. I make more than any other 25 year old I know.
    -When I'm actually coding I get a rush like no other when I actually solve a problem.

    Cons-
    -Only about 20% of my job is actually coding. the rest of it is documenting, testing, and requirements gathering. I loathe these tasks. So I only have fun at work maybe 10 hours per week at most.
    -I work 50-60 hours a week. In a basement. Toward the end of our last build I went 4 days without seeing daylight.
    -It is slowly causing me to go crazy.
    -Im never home. This blizzard has grounded me this week. I dont keep food in my house since I only live here 5 days a month. I hate ramen noodles and a can of tuna for lunch.

    The perks are really the only thing that keep me coming in day by day. If I had to do it over again I would go back and get a degree in culinary arts. Or some other discipline that doesn't land me behind a desk all day every day. in fact I may still do this. Mainly because I love cooking, and love impressing people with what I make.