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24 y/o dealing w career dissatisfaction
Old 01-13-2014, 08:56 PM   #1
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24 y/o dealing w career dissatisfaction

There is currently a similar thread started "Checking out at age 40...." to this one, but I thought I'd post a new one since I'm in somewhat different shoes than the OP.

I am 24 and have been working for almost 3 years now. I've managed to save greater than 18% of my gross income since graduating, and combined with a UTMA my parents funded for me as I was growing up, I have a NW of about $325K.

I am not satisfied with my career, and have been thinking of new career paths. My job is not challenging, not engaging, not stimulating, and not exciting. The only thing holding me back from really diving into finding a new career is laziness and overall convenience in my lifestyle. I get in such a "comfortable" routine - grind out the 9 - 5 (work out usually over lunch), maintain a social life on the weekend and occasional week nights, and do it all over again every week. My job is easy - sitting behind a desk everyday (albeit boring) Is comfortable (non-strenuous), and I can save $10-12K every year on top of my NW. I don't deal with difficult people, and can work on my own terms for the most part.

But I find myself frustrated at work because I don't take anything away from it. I just crunch numbers in a cube all day. I often think about how much more exciting and engaging my life would be in other careers such as teaching, nursing, owning a business, or even other analytical type-office roles that require more engagement with others and persuasion.

I think if I could get into a position I truly valued, I wouldn't be so caught up with saving and FIRE. I have the net worth to peruse this, but my frugal self does not want to fork up a ton of money for another degree.

I've thought about pursuing teaching, but I don't even know where to start. Do I need to just get a teaching certificate, or do I have to go back to school?

I've also been contemplating buying a two or three flat - to live in one unit and rent the others out - but these would run north of $500-700K. I've thought if I can slowly acquire more real estate, combined with my current NW, and savings, maybe in 10-15 years I can live off my real estate. But I am not handy at all, and 10-15 years is a long time.

Or maybe I should appreciate the position I am in. If I continue to save, I could be FI at a young age.

Sorry for the long post, but I just feel like I am too young to be experiencing these thoughts. I have contemplated paying to take an advanced career placement test to see potential good fields for me to go into, but keep making excuses.
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:35 PM   #2
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Nothing wrong with w#rking a relatively easy j#b to earn a living. Some find challenge & fulfillment outside their employment in social/athletic activities, furthering education (whether j#b related or not), volunteering, etc. Others look for challenges in their career. Still others seek a balance. Very personal decision as to which path(s) to choose...and no single 'right' answer.
BTW- I once dreamed about managing real estate to achieve FI. But only some people are successful at real estate, and experience taught me I am NOT one of those people
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:51 PM   #3
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To be honest, I think it is way to young at 24 to "check out" and coast for another 20 or so years. But rather than totally change 180 from what you do now are there job/career changes that you might find more interesting that would leverage your education and experience but in a different way? Are there other branches of your profession that might be more interesting to you?

Do you think your managers jobs are interesting? If so, you may have to pay your dues to be able to get to do that work.

For what it is worth, I retired and still haven''t figured out what i want to be when I grow up.
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:18 AM   #4
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Life is too short to be dissatisfied with your career at 24, sorry to hear that but it's probably,not unusual.

In my view you should take advantage of the job you have for as long as it takes...to prepare for and land another job/career that will be more satisfying. You can take as much time as needed to transition, that's good. In the interim, the dissatisfaction will be a lot easier to take if you know you're working toward something better suited to your needs.

Too many people just accept being bored, even miserable at work, you really don't want to accept that for 20-40 years.
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:28 AM   #5
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It is not as easy to get teaching credentials as it might have been; you probably would need at least a year's worth of classes, student teaching, etc., and there is not really a teacher shortage. Not sure about the other fields you mentioned.

In an earlier thread you commented, "I have worked in analytical accounting/finance type "back office" roles at larger companies." Every organization of every size has these jobs. Why not look for the same kind of job at a different kind of company, maybe at start-up companies or not-for-profits or even school systems, etc.? You might find more purpose there and find new doors opened to you.
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:35 AM   #6
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Here are a few past threads that discussed career satisfaction

Why were so many smart members of FIRE so clueless about their careers?

Engineers and Computer Professionals- Help Please!

Aptitude guidance is not a bad idea. Here's another interesting discussion you may find helpful. Career/Aptitude Guidance

Keep in mind that entry level jobs are often like freshman level college classes. They are part filter, designed to weed out the not really serious or less capable students. Before abandoning your current career choice look at the senior professionals in your workplace to see if their work is also uninspiring to you.
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Old 01-14-2014, 09:04 AM   #7
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Why do you think they call it "work?" The all-satisfying, fabulous, engaging job does not exist. You are unicorn hunting. You will be more or less miserable your whole career. Make sure you get paid extremely well for it and make damn sure you keep every possible penny to be invested.
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Old 01-14-2014, 09:27 AM   #8
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Why do you think they call it "work?" The all-satisfying, fabulous, engaging job does not exist. You are unicorn hunting. You will be more or less miserable your whole career. Make sure you get paid extremely well for it and make damn sure you keep every possible penny to be invested.
Yikes. Are you drinking your brew a bit early this morning brewer?

I thoroughly enjoyed every position I've had since I graduated from college. When I got burned out from what I was doing, I moved on to the next thing. Sometimes I waited a year or two longer than I should have, but I did always eventually move on to something better and more enjoyable.

As for the OP, I agree with your own assessment that you are much too young to be settling for something you don't enjoy for the next 20+ years. Keep looking for something you would find more enjoyable to do. It may not necessarily need to involve another degree. You just need to figure out what your passion is, and then try to find something career related that aligns with that. Be patient, stay positive, and it will come to you when you least expect it.
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Old 01-14-2014, 10:20 AM   #9
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Why do you think they call it "work?" The all-satisfying, fabulous, engaging job does not exist. You are unicorn hunting. You will be more or less miserable your whole career. Make sure you get paid extremely well for it and make damn sure you keep every possible penny to be invested.
Reality bites, doesn't it?
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Old 01-14-2014, 10:59 AM   #10
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Why do you think they call it "work?" The all-satisfying, fabulous, engaging job does not exist. You are unicorn hunting. You will be more or less miserable your whole career. Make sure you get paid extremely well for it and make damn sure you keep every possible penny to be invested.
You forgot to add - the glass is half empty.
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:08 AM   #11
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Younginvestor, you're at the point in life where you might benefit from experiences outside your comfort zone. Take a job in a foreign country. Join the Peace Corps (I know several young adults who have done this and found it rewarding). A couple years in faraway places and foreign cultures could relieve your boredom, enhance your resume and make the world a little better place.
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:18 AM   #12
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Consider reading "Finding Your Own North Star" by Martha Beck. She has a follow-up book to that as well.

If you like the numbers part of your job, maybe you need to combine that with more people interaction (budget director at a company or non-profit where you work with the directors or some such...?) And those kinds of jobs can lead you into other positions where you can have an impact on the direction of the organization.

I think a lot of "first jobs" don't meet expectations (esp. for over-achievers.)

Kindest regards.
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:20 AM   #13
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Younginvestor, you're at the point in life where you might benefit from experiences outside your comfort zone. Take a job in a foreign country. Join the Peace Corps (I know several young adults who have done this and found it rewarding). A couple years in faraway places and foreign cultures could relieve your boredom, enhance your resume and make the world a little better place.
Good ideas.
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:37 AM   #14
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Why do you think they call it "work?" The all-satisfying, fabulous, engaging job does not exist. You are unicorn hunting. You will be more or less miserable your whole career. Make sure you get paid extremely well for it and make damn sure you keep every possible penny to be invested.
Unicorn hunting

I prefer to remember the old adage- "Find a j#b you truly love & you'll never w#rk another day in your life". Agree there are those who grind out a miserable career for nothing more than a paycheck, but there are those fortunate souls whose vocation and avocation are one & the same. Everyone else fits somewhere in the middle.
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:52 AM   #15
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I agree that you should definitely explore so many new things. There are all-satisfying, fabulous, engaging jobs out there, but there aren't very many, and what that is to one person might not be that to another person, or even the same person 10 years down the road. If you don't get enough from one job, explore the idea of working more than one at once, or gigs and side jobs.

I'm with Ready. That has been what worked for me too. Do what you enjoy until you don't, then see what else the world has to offer. Many people aren't in a position with multiple options, but it sounds like you have the skills and experience to be more lucky than that.

It's not uncommon for people to just continuously want something new, but it's a good thing there's so much out there to try.
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Old 01-14-2014, 01:54 PM   #16
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Reality bites, doesn't it?
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Old 01-14-2014, 05:08 PM   #17
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DH and I knew we wanted to retire early within 6 months of starting our careers. I spent 8 years bouncing from one engineering job to another before I found an industry and career path that I'm interested in. It also isn't unusual to find your job/career boring for the first few years - you're the low man on the totem pole, you're going to get the drudge work.

The people with jobs they love are the minority, but you shouldn't be miserable either. I agree with the advice to see what the more advanced professionals at your employer are doing, and if it sounds interesting to you. If so, start working with your boss on how to move in that direction.

And yeah, there's a certain amount of "Suck it up, buttercup". Almost no one has a job that is engaging 100% of the time, there's tedium and drudgery in every career. Part of moving through adulthood is determining what your tolerance for tedium is, and how to address it. And there's some things that are absolutely anathema to some while completely tolerable to others.
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Old 01-14-2014, 06:04 PM   #18
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"Find a j#b you truly love & you'll never w#rk another day in your life"
With all due respect, this is pure, unadulterated bullshit and always has been.
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Old 01-14-2014, 06:24 PM   #19
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You forgot to add - the glass is half empty.
Technically, the glass is always full -- some portion with liquid H2O and the balance with a gaseous mixture of N, O, CO2 and various trace gases.
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Old 01-15-2014, 01:13 AM   #20
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Are you motivated to work harder at your job? I suspect shying away from taking on more is what makes your job hum-drum. I would work to take on more responsibility where you are now and see if you enjoy it. If you do like it & it energizes you, then I would think about pursuing your education at the Masters level, which will qualify you to move into higher responsibility roles.

I disagree with brewer's commentary. I've had jobs I loved and ones I hated but every job has been what I made it or allowed it to become. You are not a 'victim of your job' when you have a brain and motivation. With the jobs I hated I always looked for what I could learn and how I could leverage it towards the next job. Sometimes the next job was at the same company & other times I left to find more interesting work.
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