Monday, April 27, 2009

My midlife crisis

Okay so I turned 30 last week - gah I feel so OLD!!!! And 1 day before I turned 30 I started a new job. That part is a YAY, but it's for at least 5 bucks an hour less than what I was making before. I knew I'd have to come down a lot because I worked at KPMG, and the Big 4 do pay their admin staff pretty much at the top of the payscale for things like that. I was still broke but now I REALLY am broke, but I knew I couldn't expect that again. My new job is as the receptionist (blah) at UAA (University of Alaska Anchorage) in the School of Nursing. Good thing about that is that the people seem nice so far, and it's not stressful, and as one of my friends kindly reminded me - it will be a well funded department so there should be some job security there. Another perk is that as an employee of the University I can take up to 6 credits per semester (up to 12 per year) for free (which is very nice) so it's got me thinking about going back to school. When I was last in school for real - I was attending BYU and studying GIS (Geographic Information Systems) which is just playing on computers and making and analyzing maps - it's actually incredibly interesting in my opinion since I LOVE maps and am good at navigating and hardly ever get lost. HOWEVER I did not finish my degree and apparently GIS is one of those things where you have to constantly use it or else you can't ever find work using it. I have been out of school for 7 years and have not used it in the work arena since a summer internship in 2001 - the year I got married.

So keeping that in mind, and the economy being what it is, I have been thinking about what I want to do with my life - what I want to be when I grow up if you will. Fascinating as it is, GIS isn't as high paying as other things - and I've been broke for so long I'm being a bit mercenary here. With the economy in the crapper, I've been checking into things that are pretty "recession proof" and not that anyone's interested here is what I've been tossing around in my head and my thoughts on them:
1. Accounting - yes I worked for a Big 4 firm, and Yes I saw how worked to the bone people were - but I also heard that they were well paid, and the internal firm documents on their career site bore this out - they had a graph showing how within a few years a new associate would have their salary doubled there - and here in AK I'd bet dollars to donuts that would be nearly 6 figures. Then do the math on the likely jump for managers and partners and it's highly lucrative after you've been in it a while. Plus I'm very detail oriented and anal so it might not be too HORRIBLE....
2. Law School - I've always been one to disagree with EVERYTHING. I always am arguing something so perhaps this would be a natural. This would be one of the closest things cause I would just need to FINISH my degree somehow in whatever and then just take the LSAT and go to Law School - however competition is fierce for that and my GPA isn't that hot thanks to Freshman year and the semester I was engaged and thought it would be a great idea to take 18 credits...all my other semesters had well over a 3.0 GPA except those 3. Plus there are no Law Schools in Alaska and it's one of those professions where you can't do the education online.

Now come the strange ones (to me at any rate):
3. Pharmacy school - I would have to take a ton of prequisite math and science courses, and somehow find several related letters of recommendation - perhaps volunteer at Providence? However this is another one with STIFF competition to get in, and there are none in Alaska but Creighton University has the only distance option so MAYBE I could still do it here. But for those that do it, you have nearly 6 figure income right off the bat, so that is attractive. Plus being in the medical arena it is recession proof because people get sick and need meds no matter what the economy is doing.
4. Ultrasonography technician - again it's medically related so it should continue to have growth and be recession proof. Plus, these guys make GOOD money - in the neighorhood of at least 50K to 80K - nothing to sneeze at I'd say. But again, Alaska has no program. There are 3 distance options but it looks like to be the most competitive I would need to already have a Radiography tech license or something like that (which UAA actually does have so maybe I could do that first and then continue my education with this). This program also doesn't always require a 4 year degree, lots are certificate programs or Associates programs.
5. Radiography tech - see above, but Alaska does have a program, but it's highly competitive, but it is an Associates. They make good money, but not as much as Ultrasonographers.
6. Nursing - but I HATE needles and blood and bodily fluids...ugh...makes me wanna barf. But they have the most flexible schedules and they are well paid - at least here in Alaska. But again, highly competitive to get into the programs. If I did this, I would want to definitely stay pediatric and specialize in pedatric cardiac care so I could be on the other side of the hospital room and being the one telling parents and kids that hey "you can do this!!! I've been where you are and it will turn out" cause I honestly have been in their shoes with Zoe. In fact, when she was in the infant ICU at Seattle Childrens, one of her first nurses the first couple nights had been a cardiac nurse for a while before she went to the infant ICU and I tell ya, James and I just PUMPED her for information about everything she knew, and it was so great. She was the best. And I don't remember her name now, but I do remember that.
7. Paralegal - Legal related but definitely not as highly paid - around 40 to 50K I would think is the general range. However they get to do the tasks that the lawyers don't want to do like all the research and stuff, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE to find things out and research and make lists and play in databases and stuff. UAA has a certificate for this but you have to earn it in conjunction with another degree, it's not standalone.

So the bottom line is I'm in a quandary and I don't know what I want to be when I grow up!