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Old 11-17-2016, 11:30 AM   #21
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Here you go--I found this page from the Jackson State Community College website that discusses testing at the career counseling services office, to help focus in majors and careers that might fit with your interests: Jackson State Community College - Career Resource Center

Community college is a great place to start--take a class or two and I am sure you will find you do much better gradewise than you did in high school.
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Old 11-17-2016, 02:17 PM   #22
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A good book reference is "What Color is Your Parachute?". Your library probably has a copy but if not get it used or new on Amazon.

A job I did that can be very solitary is a police officer. Clearly this depends on the area, big cities are out of the question, but in areas that are either wealthy and have low crime rates or are sparsely populated, often there wasn't much to do but drive around and "show the flag" and be visible. I actually started to feel little guilty when I'd go two weeks or more and never get a call. Then I realized that I wasn't getting paid for what I did. I was getting paid for what I could do. There are of course times when one has to be more aggressive than one's nature might normally be but this can be learned. A lot of guys had that issue at first but it never held them back.

A neighbor works for the U.S. Border Patrol, now an instructor, but when he was in Texas very often his job was simply to park were the vehicle was visible on the Mexican side and just sit there as a deterrent. He said he read a LOT of books.

However, by the time you're 40 the effects of rotating shift work can become a burden and when that happened an office job started looking pretty good. Some places have fixed shifts that don't change from day to evening to midnight and those would be easier on your body. It depends on the agency. Even when I went into the office job (Fraud Section) it was still mostly solitary in nature since everyone had their own cases to work. There was interaction of course but the banter was definitely not constant.

As far as pay and retirement benefits go a lot depends on the area and the financial condition of the government there. (Hint: Don't pick Illinois.) Some agencies don't require education beyond high school but the better ones (and they pay better too) will require at least a two year degree and many require a Bachelor's. The agency I worked for didn't care what the degree was in because they wanted that wide range of expertise.
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Old 11-17-2016, 02:43 PM   #23
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Most engineering is a highly social endeavor, so if you decide to go this route I would check into social anxiety therapies.

If you go into coding, I wouldn't expect do be doing this your entire career. A typical career path would send you into system engineering / architecture or management. In my experience, this can cause problems when the folks with the seniority / power according to the org chart have forgotten what it's like to be in the trenches struggling to get a complex system to work.

Good luck!
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Old 11-17-2016, 06:06 PM   #24
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Wow, first off I just want to say im really impressed by all the helpful information everybody has given me. This is a really awesome and caring online community. I really do appreciate it.

As far as my current job goes im starting to think im going to stick around for a while. Even though I only make 12 an hour now I was told that pay tops out at 22. Also my boss seems to really like me and he said he is going to teach me everything he knows and he would like to see me run the shop some day when he retires.

I think what im going to do for now is look for side and part time jobs that I can do after work. Not necessarily in welding but maybe something different so I can broaden my skillset. I might even try to get a job as a cashier or something similar to help my shyness.

I still havnt ruled out college and I think if I ever do go I'll most likely go with accounting or finance. I lot of people suggested programing and I think for alot of people that would be an excellent choice, I've just never been much of a computer person.

I see where one person said something about becoming a welding inspector and thats something I have been considering. I remember my welding teacher used to say, if your a welder you'll never have trouble finding a job and if your a welding inspector you'll never have trouble finding a high paying job. So I may end up going with that. Thanks again to everyone.
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Old 11-17-2016, 06:48 PM   #25
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Also my boss seems to really like me
This is invaluable.


Continuing education is always helpful whether in your current field or in a different field. Learn new technology.

There was talk on the PBS News Hour as to whether the Trump-promised jobs in coal would come back, and the reply was that automation in coal mining is a big factor.

Good luck.

It sounds like you are way ahead of the game in that you are thinking about your career path.
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Old 11-17-2016, 08:33 PM   #26
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If you're 20, how about joining the military as a skilled welder, while letting them pay for your education, healthcare, retirement, salary, travel and everything else? I'd think welders would be needed for ships, tanks and planes.
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Old 11-17-2016, 08:42 PM   #27
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I think it's a great idea that you are going to stick around doing welding. I looked at welding in your area and it looks like the pay does go up a bit with experience, plus it is great to have a boss who is willing to teach you everything he knows, even if you end up with another shop later on.

BTW, have you considered Toastmasters? It is one thing you can do to help you gain some skills to curve your shyness. Obviously shyness is part of you and your personality, but Toastmasters may help you find ways to deal with your shyness in different situations, and that may open more doors career wise. (It was helpful for me.)

You are still very young and pliable (which is a good thing), so you have time to figure out what you may want to go into. It's always a good idea to see if you can build on what you are currently doing to advance, like you are considering.

Good luck to you.
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Old 11-18-2016, 03:06 AM   #28
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I will try to aim for stars. Growing up, I always focused on a degree that can make me most money and believed that I can learn anything (still do). If you have that kind of mindset (or you are motivated by money) then I would ask you to do any degree in software: Computer Science, Computer Engineering, etc. Even is you are not a good programmer, you will be able to get a job in "Testing" the softwares someone else wrote. The "Testing" job doesn't pay as well as programmer but is still in 60-100K range. In fact I personally know some people who knew nothing about computers (but had some degree) who took a year long training and got a job in testing. But they were at the right place at the right time. All in all, if you can keep an eye on the money and stay motivated then go for something that will have good return on your investment.
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Old 11-18-2016, 04:54 AM   #29
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Skip the degree.

Work some side jobs doing welding on your own. Make some trailers or other items. Perhaps some art or other utility purpose items. Take cash and save the cash.

A degree, and experience, may get you more money, but you could make that kind of money right now, with the skills you have.

No one ever got rich working for someone else.
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Old 11-18-2016, 05:34 AM   #30
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IMO, until you have figured out what type of work you wish to do (which includes considering what pay you'll accept as well as what types of things you enjoy), trying to pick a college degree to pursue is fairly pointless. You first need a destination before you can plan a path to get there. Try out stuff on your own for free (plenty of sources online to try your hand at coding or engineering with free classes etc) and try to imagine yourself doing it all the time. If you think you could be happy with it, then go ahead and figure out if the cost of the degree would be worth it to you.
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:30 AM   #31
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Skip the degree.



Work some side jobs doing welding on your own. Make some trailers or other items. Perhaps some art or other utility purpose items. Take cash and save the cash.



A degree, and experience, may get you more money, but you could make that kind of money right now, with the skills you have.



No one ever got rich working for someone else.

+1
I have an advanced degree, and you can rarely work in a vacuum. It is much harder to succeed if you have a hard time interacting with others.
Work as a welder in a shop and do more welding as a side gig outside work hours, take over the shop down the road, or learn enough from your boss to start your own shop.

Alternatively go to school for a job as plumber, electrician or something like that and be your own boss.
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:33 AM   #32
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Skip the degree.

Work some side jobs doing welding on your own. Make some trailers or other items. Perhaps some art or other utility purpose items. Take cash and save the cash.

A degree, and experience, may get you more money, but you could make that kind of money right now, with the skills you have.

No one ever got rich working for someone else.
My bold...

You must not look at all the people that have worked for Google or Facebook or even way back when with IBM....

I was an intern for IBM in the 70s.... and they had some janitors who were millionaires because of stock options they had.... they had worked for the company for many many years, but still became rich...

I have a niece who has a BF who is rich... works for Facebook... has always worked for Facebook....

I knew many people at my mega who made over $1 million a year.... yep, they are rich....
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:52 AM   #33
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................
As far as my current job goes im starting to think im going to stick around for a while. Even though I only make 12 an hour now I was told that pay tops out at 22. Also my boss seems to really like me and he said he is going to teach me everything he knows and he would like to see me run the shop some day when he retires...............
I can identify with you. I did a number of blue collar jobs between high school and college - not starting college until I was 24. One winter day I was laying on my back putting a hitch on a truck and asked myself if I wanted to be doing this when I was 50. I was making fairly good money, especially because the job was about 60 hours a week by design with overtime rate paid for over 40 hours. My boss liked me. It was tempting to just continue on.

I slogged through engineering school, got a job and then put my then wife thorough nursing school and we saved and invested and I retired at 54. I'll never regret the investment I made in myself. I came to realize that I didn't know how much I didn't know.
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Old 11-18-2016, 12:03 PM   #34
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Skip the degree.

Work some side jobs doing welding on your own. Make some trailers or other items. Perhaps some art or other utility purpose items. Take cash and save the cash.

A degree, and experience, may get you more money, but you could make that kind of money right now, with the skills you have.

No one ever got rich working for someone else.
Or if you enjoy welding, consider an AA degree in welding or even a BS (although not widely offered apparently 5 schools do offer this degree, including Ohio State) or perhaps mechanical engineering with a welding specialization. Note however you will need lots of math in all cases, as well as basic physics and chemistry in any engineering field. (more math for the bachelors than AA however).
So you do have to consider where you sit in math training. If you have to take the what used to be called college algebra, then it can be a lot of math (2 years worth out of 4). A link to a discussion of welding engineering:
Welding Education: A Bachelor of Science in Welding Engineering and what it can do for you - Weld My World

If you can write well and find good tech writing in most engineering disciplines this is very valuable.
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Old 11-18-2016, 12:24 PM   #35
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Another possible option for now or later: Teach welding at a local community college or vocational school. You say you have some social anxiety, but that may not affect your ability to teach.

I have a touch of SA myself, was always a shy, quiet child. My dad would say of me, "She wouldn't say 'sh!t' if she had a mouthful of it!" Yet at age 22, when I accepted an offer to oversee some lab classes at the community college I'd attended, that anxiety didn't bother me a bit. I was just fine interacting with people in a structured environment that provided common goals for communication. So fine in fact that I picked up some classroom teaching assignments, and ended up teaching there for 10 years. The pay was good and I even got a small pension from that gig.
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Old 11-18-2016, 04:40 PM   #36
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You're in somewhat of a dilemma--being married at such a young age to a wife who's got a couple of kids and who's somewhat older than yourself. But I admire that you're wanting something better than working so hard and so long hours as a welder.

Providing for your wife and those two kids is of utmost importance at this time. It will be extremely hard or maybe impossible to go to college working the hours you've found yourself working.

I am completely familiar with Jackson, Tennessee and the type of industries that are there. At one time, the city had good manufacturing economy and a pretty good wage structure. But the economy of Jackson and West Tennessee as a whole has not been good--with the really great jobs consolidating in Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

Being a welder is an honorable profession. If you're not making a truly "living wage" working a 40 hour week, you really should consider moving to where you can increase your pay.

An alternative would be to go into a skilled trades apprenticeship (6 years) where you get paid and there is no tuition or costs to learn that trade. The Plumbers and Steamfitters Union is always looking for apprentices. Boilermakers is another profession that's especially high paid, however they have to live where the jobs are.

Best of luck to you in your search.
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Old 11-19-2016, 12:18 PM   #37
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As far as my current job goes im starting to think im going to stick around for a while. Even though I only make 12 an hour now I was told that pay tops out at 22. Also my boss seems to really like me and he said he is going to teach me everything he knows and he would like to see me run the shop some day when he retires.

...

I remember my welding teacher used to say, if your a welder you'll never have trouble finding a job and if your a welding inspector you'll never have trouble finding a high paying job. So I may end up going with that.
You have identified some excellent career paths for yourself at a very young age: (1) an ability to increase your pay by almost 60% over time; and (2) your boss has expressed interest in teaching you everything about his business and even having you take it over after he retires.

For most people over the age of 30, a degree has historically represented an automatic path to security, meaning, and progression. This has dissolved over the past 30 or so years as these same individuals over the age of 30 are finding their degrees--even advanced degrees--have failed to provide security or meaning. The worst position to be in is to have one's position "eliminated" in one's 50's after 30 years with the company, having on counted on being there until retirement, and being unable to find a comparable position, either in pay or in status. Counting on a degree for security in the employment market is the very condition of anti-fragility as discussed by Nassim Taleb.

People in your generation are discovering the value proposition of a degree, considering the financing, opportunity cost, and value received (i.e., 50% of newly minted B.A. degrees are working in jobs that don't require a degree) has diminished markedly. A degree is nothing more than an investment, and like all investments, should be considered very carefully in terms of expected return before venturing into it.

Taylor Pearson, who is in his late 20's, has this to say about education (he's one sharp guy and you might also might want to read his book, "The End of Jobs"):

Quote:
In 1980, a 40 year old parent who grew up around successful lawyers says to his five year old daugher: “you should become a lawyer!” Law, at the time, was probably in the sensible/popular range. Law had just become an accessible career to a large swath of the American middle class as a Post-WWII boom had made higher education more attainable.

His daughter studied hard to become a lawyer. By the time she graduated, she was a dime a dozen. It’s only gotten worse.

Starting salaries for lawyers fell to $62,000 from $72,000 from 2008 to 2014, down 13%.

At the same time as salaries are falling, lawyers’ student debts are piling up. From 2008 to 2013 the annual tuition of law school went up by almost 70% for public law schools from $16,836 to $23,879 2

Individuals are paying more and more for something that’s going down in value.
https://taylorpearson.me/overton/
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Old 11-19-2016, 01:34 PM   #38
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Consider becoming the best welder in the State. Read everything you can lay your hands on about that trade. If your boss is considering you to run the shop try to find some on-line courses for supervisors.

Learn all you can about the tools, products and materials your employer needs to run the shop. Keep in mind the fact that manufacturers need reps to sell their products. Get to know them. They know what is going on in the field.

If you are considering changing your trade consider diesel mechanic, certificate programs are offered at many community colleges.

There are many free educational programs on line. Yes, few lead to an academic degree but what is important is what you know. If you want to pursue a degree often you can test out of courses such as mathematics.
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Old 11-19-2016, 05:20 PM   #39
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If I were a welder, I might look for a job in a shipyard or a nuclear plant.
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Old 11-19-2016, 09:48 PM   #40
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I'm late to this thread, but put me in the camp of encouraging you to investigate the welding career more thoroughly. Sure, college degrees are great, and work out well for many people, but it's not the only path, and certainly not the best path for everyone.

As some others have said, you have the encouragement of your boss (that is HUGE - assuming he is in a good position for you to learn from) - and there is welding and then there is welding. Some if it basic 'stick two pieces of metal together (or cut them apart)', and some of it gets very sophisticated. If you can become an expert in some area, or develop a wide range of knowledge, you may be able to leverage that skill set more than any college degree might help you. And it sounds like it might be an easier path for you.

So don't discount the college route, but take a very close look at the opportunities in the welding field. I think you could do very well for yourself there.

Either way - good luck! You are smart to seek out the advice. Do with it as you see fit.

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