It would take quite some time to go over all of my career goals. That’s because, over the last seven years, they have changed a lot.
One day I wanted to be an accountant, another day a financial planner, sometimes a small business owner, and now a freelance writer. But, most of these jobs do relate in a lot of different ways.
I am not highly educated. My college experience consisted of dropping out twice when I was right out of high school. A couple years ago I decided to take my education seriously and go back to school to get my accounting degree. Even with my determination to go full force this time, I caught a snag. I got divorced and decided to put my college degree on hold until I could get my feet planted.
So, I thought it would be good to work jobs that would get my foot in the door until I was able to finish my degree. I left my bookkeeping job for a job with a financial services group.
I’ve realized that when you are still working on your degree or are fresh out of college, you’re not going to get your ideal job. Face it: the job market is still on a decline and depending where you live it can be nonexistent.
Getting Your Foot in the Door
I thought giving up my flexible bookkeeping job for a local department store to take a job with a popular financial services business would be a great idea. After all, this business offered accounting, financial planning, and insurance services. The first two were exactly what I was interested in!
When I had my interview with the owner, he immediately hired me. I was going to be a property and casualty insurance agent and he promised that there was all kinds of room for growth and a possible position change. He lied.
Over one year later, I am still a property and casualty insurance agent and still make the same pathetic pay. There is no room for growth and my position will never change. If anything, I feel dumb. I hate insurance and only took the job with the hopes of switching to a better position. I feel like I have fully proved my skills, but there’s just no hope of moving up.
So, when it comes to getting your foot in the door, be careful. In a big company where you know there’s room for growth, go for it. If your job opportunity is with a small three or four man locally-owned business, be careful. Your growth may be limited to your starting pay.
Living in a Small Town
Another problem that I have faced, and that you may also face, is living in a small town or somewhere that simply has no job openings. If this is the case, you may have to take whatever job you can get — even if it’s in an unrelated field.
Look at the map below. If you don't live in one of the black highlights, chances are your job prospects are going to be a lot more challenging than if you move to a larger, metropolitan area.
In these instances you have three choices:
- You can move to a bigger city to get a start at your desired career.
- Stay where you are and work a crappy job.
For me, the latter of the three options is the most appealing. This could be totally different for you.
Welcome to Freelancing
I take full responsibility for my life. It’s a fact that I work a crappy job now. Low pay, no vacation or sick time, and absolutely zero benefits. But, I’m all about taking control and changing my life for the better. That’s why I think freelancing is such a great option.
You can do anything with freelancing. If you have knowledge or a specialized skill, other people will pay you for it. From my experience, it definitely takes some time to build up a freelancing career. There will be a ton of failures before there are any successes.
New skills have to be learned. When you freelance, you are your business. That meanings marketing, dealing with clients, scheduling, and taking care of the financial aspects. But, it’s totally worth it.
The internet makes freelancing a lot easier too. Social media is the perfect marketing weapon. If you’re like me with an unfinished degree and live in a small town, freelancing could be a good option for you as well.
With freelancing your income is really limitless. You get out what you put in. Nothing more, nothing less. If you’ve always wanted to be a small business owner, freelancing is your chance to test your skills.
I still work my day job and freelance on the side. The goal is to quit the day job in six months, but it looks like freelancing could take over much, much sooner giving me the pay and stability that I crave.
I think getting a degree is very, very important. But, if you’re not willing to live in an area that has a good job market, your degree may not do a thing for you. And, even if you think you have your foot in the door, things might not pan out like you hope.
If you’re like me with an unfinished degree and limited job options, you’re going to have to think outside of the box. You need to sacrifice or start your own business.
If you’ve been in my position before, what did you do?
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