What is a good path for a young man?

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Submitted by scaredyclassic on January 17, 2021 - 1:39pm

My middle son recently graduated wuth a BS in construction mgt and is having some difficulty finding any job.

I find myself with no advice or insight.

What path or advice might be good for such a young man. Hes a bit confused.

Submitted by barnaby33 on January 17, 2021 - 2:26pm.

West? All jokes aside, I'm not sure anyone will have a good suggestion. Not since the Great Depression has our economy and culture been so turn asunder. I'd make one of three suggestions.

1)If he loves construction or the world of building buildings, stick with it. Take a job swinging a hammer or as a plumber for a year or two. It won't hurt his long term prospects.

2) If not use this time to find out what you love. Too many of us graduated uni with no idea what we wanted to do. Peace corps? The civil engineer corps in the Seabees, both could be options to explore figuring it out.

3) Learn to code. The construction industry like every industry is undergoing radical change and software will be at the vanguard. Learning to program can help almost anyone in almost any career.
Josh

Submitted by zk on January 17, 2021 - 2:33pm.

I was an air traffic controller for 35 years. I very highly recommend that as a career path for anyone who has the aptitude.

It's a bit hard to tell whether a person has the aptitude or not without giving it try. But if a person is intelligent and quick-thinking, that's a very good start. By quick thinking, I don't mean witty or even good on his feet (in conversation). I mean just being a fast thinker. Flexibility (the willingness to change the plan) is also very important.

With a BS degree he is qualified to apply. No specific training or education is required to apply. Although if he does get the job, I'd recommend learning as much as he can about flying and aviation in general (most applicants don't do that, but they should). Open bids come out every so often. The last one was about 2 or 3 years ago, I think, so the next one might be soon. They have in the past gone a decade between open bids, so if he's interested, be sure to jump on the first bid that comes out.

There is a period of training in Oklahoma City, then on-the-job training at an actual facility. If he doesn't have the aptitude, he will probably fail one of those two training programs. (I say probably because some with very weak aptitude do make it through, unfortunately. If you don't have the aptitude and you do make it through, you might not enjoy the job all that much.) If he fails then he'll have to fall back on his degree.

The pay is very good (more than most college graduates), and the job security and pension are fantastic. You work with sharp, fun, and very interesting people. There is never work to take home. When your shift is over, you're done. The work itself is very rewarding and, for me (and for the majority of controllers who are good at their job), extremely fun. I really, really loved it. If I had to do it over again, and my options didn't include things like baseball player or internet billionaire, I'd pick the same career.

Feel free to ask me any questions here or via pm.

Submitted by svelte on January 17, 2021 - 8:41pm.

scaredyclassic wrote:
My middle son recently graduated wuth a BS in construction mgt and is having some difficulty finding any job.

I find myself with no advice or insight.

First commenters have given some good advice already.

Did he choose construction management because he likes hands-on construction, or because he likes to manage?

If he likes hands on construction, I think Josh is on the money. Do a year or two of framing, etc...then when the economy turns around he'll have a degree *and* real-world experience. If it takes awhile to turn around, he can always choose the path of this guy:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtXVIqk...

I watch his videos a lot and he explains how he got to where he's at. I believe he says he makes six figures now as a handyman and doesn't even have to find new customers - he has a large client base and can pick his work. He is based out of Denver I believe.

If he doesn't like hands-on construction, then he needs to figure out what he does like to do. That may take awhile and require multiple fresh starts. Not so much recently but a couple of decades ago most of the software developers I knew had a degree in something else, and it varied quite a bit from psychology to HW engineering and even business management. Having the degree and experience are the key things. He has the degree. Now he has to decide what experience to start working on.

When my sons graduated high school, one of them thought he wanted to be an auto mechanic. He showed us a brochure for a school up in LA that wanted like $40K a year to teach him. We told him: tell you what, get yourself a job as a mechanic right now, hold the job a year and if you like it, we'll spring for that school next year. He made it six months and decided it wasn't for him. Cha-ching saved myself $40K. He is now in college working towards an engineering degree.

Submitted by Coronita on January 18, 2021 - 7:40am.

I don't think the degree matters as much as him self figuring out what he wants to do. For some people, they are lucky what they studied in college is what they ended up doing. For a lot of people that wasn't the case...

I graduated with a EE degree thinking I would work on communication systems and digital signal processing and almost no practical software experience...But after 2 years out of college, my entire software career was based on 2 UCSD extension classes I took in C++ on Qualcomm's dime, and a lot of books I read myself...That and moving to the bay area for some time to work with the jobs that I wanted to do at companies were willing to take a chance on a new kid with very little prior experience...

Unfortunately, there are some careers these days that ridiculously require more advanced studies/degrees, for the sake of advanced degrees.. For example, it use to be you could be a physical therapist with a bachelors. But my understanding is those days are long gone...

Submitted by Coronita on January 18, 2021 - 7:38am.

svelte wrote:
scaredyclassic wrote:
My middle son recently graduated wuth a BS in construction mgt and is having some difficulty finding any job.

I find myself with no advice or insight.

First commenters have given some good advice already.

Did he choose construction management because he likes hands-on construction, or because he likes to manage?

If he likes hands on construction, I think Josh is on the money. Do a year or two of framing, etc...then when the economy turns around he'll have a degree *and* real-world experience. If it takes awhile to turn around, he can always choose the path of this guy:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtXVIqk...

I watch his videos a lot and he explains how he got to where he's at. I believe he says he makes six figures now as a handyman and doesn't even have to find new customers - he has a large client base and can pick his work. He is based out of Denver I believe.

If he doesn't like hands-on construction, then he needs to figure out what he does like to do. That may take awhile and require multiple fresh starts. Not so much recently but a couple of decades ago most of the software developers I knew had a degree in something else, and it varied quite a bit from psychology to HW engineering and even business management. Having the degree and experience are the key things. He has the degree. Now he has to decide what experience to start working on.

When my sons graduated high school, one of them thought he wanted to be an auto mechanic. He showed us a brochure for a school up in LA that wanted like $40K a year to teach him. We told him: tell you what, get yourself a job as a mechanic right now, hold the job a year and if you like it, we'll spring for that school next year. He made it six months and decided it wasn't for him. Cha-ching saved myself $40K. He is now in college working towards an engineering degree.

Being a car mechanic is only fun when it's only your car. Most of the time, it sucks when you have to fix other people's problem and your life depends on it. People that do well care more about running the business than actually doing the hands on work...

Submitted by scaredyclassic on January 18, 2021 - 9:18am.

Thanks, friends.

I will give him this thread.

Painful to watch. I now see how uncomfortable my parents must've been as i struggled to find my way. For so incredibly long. Floundering. dejected. Lonely. I was fixated on myself. I didnt care how they felt about my problems.

Submitted by Coronita on January 18, 2021 - 9:35am.

I tell my daughter all the time...

"If you don't know what you want to do, that's fine. But you at least should try "something" and figure out if this is something you definitely don't want to do...The dirty secret is that the majority of the people out there don't have an extreme passion for what they are doing or extremely hate what they are doing...So you might as well pick the highest paying career/job/business you can obtain that is "tolerable" until you find what you really want to do or until you need to make changes to accommodate your lifestyle... if you ever are lucky enough to figure what your real passion is during your lifetime... All this emphasis of "follow your passion" frankly is bullshit. most people don't have that extreme passion in anything, and if that is what you are counting on to motivate to do anything, there's a high probability you won't do anything for a long time...I mean, it's not like you came running to us and said mom and dad I got to learn how to play the violin or I will die!!!! It was probably more like, ok I'll do it because you forced me to at gunpoint the first year despite my kicking and screaming, and after about 2-3 years fortunately you didn't think it was that bad and wanted to continue with it, unlike your ice skating lessons I wasted my money on which in the end you decided you didn't want to be the next Michele Kwan...wish you told me before all those years of private lessons, lol "

I hate how my kid says how much she dislikes something even before trying...we never did that...we didn't have a choice when we were their age.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on January 18, 2021 - 10:17am.

It only took me 60 years, but i can finally relate to my dad.

I thought he was so boring, stable, anxious, fearful, cautious, repressed, irritating, obvious, habitprone.

Pot meet kettle.

It strikes me that my 60 years, if it didnt overlap with his 60 years, and his 60 years, had it not overlapped with his father, would stretch back 180 years, or back to 1840. Im not sure why this fascinates and alarms me. Maybe its another way of saying, TOO SOON OLD, TOO LATE SMART.

Or this sense that we stumble through life with no experience, led by parents who have us when they are no more than children themselves.

Submitted by barnaby33 on January 18, 2021 - 12:17pm.

scaredyclassic wrote:
It only took me 60 years, but i can finally relate to my dad.

You forgot narcissistic. This thread isn't about you. It's about choices that a young man might make post college.
Josh

Submitted by scaredyclassic on January 18, 2021 - 2:04pm.

barnaby33 wrote:
scaredyclassic wrote:
It only took me 60 years, but i can finally relate to my dad.

You forgot narcissistic. This thread isn't about you. It's about choices that a young man might make post college.
Josh

ah, right. Narcissistic. Good point. Narcissistic yet self-loathing. let's get back on track. Suggestions?

Submitted by sdrealtor on January 18, 2021 - 2:43pm.

My advice would be try to figure out what you want to do instead of what you think you are supposed to do sooner than later. I spent a bunch of my early career and education doing things I thought I was supposed to do. Was wasted time. I would also consider entrepreneurialism. Growing up I had no exposure to concept of starting one's own business. I thought you went to school and got a great job. There are so many more and often better options out there

Submitted by svelte on January 18, 2021 - 3:38pm.

Should tell you how I found my career also. When I graduated HS, I was convinced I wanted to be an architect. I was 2 years into a 6 year architecture degree at a major midwest university when I decided I was badly mistaken...didn't like it at all. Kind of like flu said, it's one thing to be drawing/working on your stuff...entirely different when someone else is calling the shots!

So I quit school, quit my job, packed up my bags and moved to California. Still confused as to what to do, I worked odd jobs for a year and basically did nothing but manual labor during the day and play at night. My buddy was a computer science major so I tagged along with him to the computer lab when he worked on projects. That lit my fire, that's what I wanted to do. So I applied to a California university and got in as a computer science major.

That's how I found my niche and I never looked back.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on January 18, 2021 - 5:31pm.

svelte wrote:
Should tell you how I found my career also. When I graduated HS, I was convinced I wanted to be an architect. I was 2 years into a 6 year architecture degree at a major midwest university when I decided I was badly mistaken...didn't like it at all. Kind of like flu said, it's one thing to be drawing/working on your stuff...entirely different when someone else is calling the shots!

So I quit school, quit my job, packed up my bags and moved to California. Still confused as to what to do, I worked odd jobs for a year and basically did nothing but manual labor during the day and play at night. My buddy was a computer science major so I tagged along with him to the computer lab when he worked on projects. That lit my fire, that's what I wanted to do. So I applied to a California university and got in as a computer science major.

That's how I found my niche and I never looked back.

If we could know that everything would work out during our darkest confusion, the ride would be more fun. well, maybe fun is the wrong word. Less scary. less turbulence. I wonder if there is more pressure on young people to feel like they're on the right path from the start nowadays.

Submitted by Coronita on January 18, 2021 - 6:11pm.

Sometimes in life having no choices but one choice is a good thing. My sis listened to my parents and majored in bioengineering at berkeley. She hated it and almost flunked out. transfered to econ... Got a bunch of odd jobs over the summer, nothing major. Had only one interview for a full time job while job hunting. She got the offer and took it because she had no other options... ended being an investment banking at one of the big firms paid crap, but ended up doing M&A so it turned out good. Fast forward to today...same sibling got screwed over by a few companies, including last one who let her go, we think because they found out she was going on maternity...since it wasn't performance related, since she was top performer. Was juggling kids and tried to reenter workforce and again got only one offer from a tiny company that allowed her to work at home... That company just IPOed this last month.

One of my younger cousin was in a similar boat. Wasted dad's money and half way through medical school decided she hated it, lol. Switched into finance and got one interview with one job at the almost failing Barclays, when everyone else was jumping ship. She had no options, so stuck with it. Today she's a Managing Director there...Funny how life screwups always end up working itself out in the long run.

Submitted by 42nate1 on January 18, 2021 - 6:38pm.

ZK. Enjoyed your career story. 18 year old me was offered that path when I was looking at joining the Air Force. I tested really well, so I guess I had the aptitude on paper. I turned it down because it required 6 years of service & I was not sure if I would like the military.

There was no one around that was giving me good advice at that point in my life. I took a different path that worked out well enough. Still, if I could go back in time, I would tell 18 year old me to take that opportunity.

Nice to hear that it would have been a fun career.

Submitted by Escoguy on January 18, 2021 - 8:56pm.

When I was 17, I spent a year in Germany (1986) as an exchange student.
Took five months to learn the language and that's really all I did.

I then picked a prestigious company E&Y (after college 1991) to do an internship at.
Basically earning enough to pay my rent and plane ticket.

But then I had a foreign language and "experience".

It became much easier to find work, more ponds to fish in.
Because I learned pretty decent German, I was hired first by Price Waterhouse and then by the German Ministry of Privatization (Treuhandanstalt) to help restructure the former GDR economy. If I hadn't done that internship, none of this would have happened.

A few years later, I was inspired to make language learning programs for Mandarin/Portuguese/French and Spanish. Taught myself to program and made 4 CD-roms which my publisher sold in 40 countries.
Didn't get rich off of it, but learned many thing and it was a mark of pride to walk into a shop and point to something and say "I made that".

Overtime, I spent 20 years in 8 foreign countries: Germany, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kuwait, Ukraine, Moldova, UK, Kyrgyzstan. Worked in telecoms/non-proliferation (bio-threat reduction), fast moving consumer goods, energy services, consulting.

I'd tell him go abroad, find a project which is really interesting but be open to new opportunities.

There are more companies than US: German/UK/Australian. etc.

These days learning some data manipulation techniques is also helpful. Start with spreadsheets. If he has good skills and is motivated, there are endless opportunities in the world.

Submitted by svelte on January 19, 2021 - 9:50am.

Coronita wrote:
...Funny how life screwups always end up working itself out in the long run.

You can't keep a good man (or woman) down.

I think that saying is very true. If you're truly a strong performer, you'll eventually find a place that will let you excel if you keep looking for it.

Which goes back to another of my favorite sayings:

Luck = preparation + opportunity

I share both of the sayings above with my kids often.

Submitted by zk on January 19, 2021 - 11:08am.

svelte wrote:
If you're truly a strong performer, you'll eventually find a place that will let you excel if you keep looking for it.

Totally agree. Some people just have great persistence, drive, energy, people skills, creativity, intelligence, etc, and are bound to end up doing well. But if you're an average (or below) performer (which, by definition, at least half the people are (somewhat more if you count the rather large bunch toward the middle of any bell curve as "average")), I think the kinds of questions being asked here are more important.

I say this not to be contrary but to point out that, while truly strong performers will most likely end up doing well (if they keep looking for a place that will let them excel), for most people finding a good landing spot is somewhat harder and will probably require more...I don't know, planning, preparation, searching, knowledge, wisdom etc. Or maybe it will just require more analysis of what their strengths are. I don't really know what it requires; I wish I did. But it seems like it would require more of it for average people than for truly strong performers.

Submitted by utcsox on January 19, 2021 - 11:34am.

Quote:
These days learning some data manipulation techniques is also helpful. Start with spreadsheets. If he has good skills and is motivated, there are endless opportunities in the world.

I am surprise no one offer this advice:

LEARN TO CODE.

Submitted by o2addict on January 19, 2021 - 1:54pm.

utcsox wrote:
Quote:
These days learning some data manipulation techniques is also helpful. Start with spreadsheets. If he has good skills and is motivated, there are endless opportunities in the world.

I am surprise no one offer this advice:

LEARN TO CODE.


In the 1st response.

There's plenty of opportunities in law enforcement.

Or he could get his heavy machinery operator certification and get an entry level job with Caltrans.

Or get an apprenticeship as a bricklayer, and in 10 years or so, start his own company.

Submitted by David J on February 5, 2021 - 1:39pm.

.

Submitted by svelte on January 20, 2021 - 11:35am.

o2addict wrote:

There's plenty of opportunities in law enforcement.

I read somewhere that a policeman's pension was revoked due to a law he broke after retirement. Not sure if it was true nor can I remember where I read it.

I decided right then and there that I didn't want a career in any field where my retirement could be revoked. To me, it is something a person earns due to their years of service and should not be revoke-able based on a future action.

Submitted by o2addict on January 20, 2021 - 12:45pm.

svelte wrote:
o2addict wrote:

There's plenty of opportunities in law enforcement.

I read somewhere that a policeman's pension was revoked due to a law he broke after retirement. Not sure if it was true nor can I remember where I read it.

I decided right then and there that I didn't want a career in any field where my retirement could be revoked. To me, it is something a person earns due to their years of service and should not be revoke-able based on a future action.

Absent any other concern, basing your decision on a single anecdote you don't even know is true is . . . odd. Hopefully the OP's son has the common sense to conduct a bit more due diligence.

Submitted by David J on January 20, 2021 - 1:11pm.
Submitted by scaredyclassic on January 20, 2021 - 1:26pm.

o2addict wrote:
svelte wrote:
o2addict wrote:

There's plenty of opportunities in law enforcement.

I read somewhere that a policeman's pension was revoked due to a law he broke after retirement. Not sure if it was true nor can I remember where I read it.

I decided right then and there that I didn't want a career in any field where my retirement could be revoked. To me, it is something a person earns due to their years of service and should not be revoke-able based on a future action.

Absent any other concern, basing your decision on a single anecdote you don't even know is true is . . . odd. Hopefully the OP's son has the common sense to conduct a bit more due diligence.

Cop could be fun.

One thing i didnt really think about is friends. Its good to have work if possible where you can make friends. Some jobs better than others.

Submitted by Snick on January 20, 2021 - 4:22pm.

Residential and commercial property maintenance manager might be of interest. I became friends with the maintenance supervisor of an apartment complex and he had a decent life. He managed a crew of 20 and, IMO, performed better than any of his predecessors. Discounted and sometimes free housing was one of the perks. He also moved around quite often within the parent company's portfolio of properties. He's currently at one of Irvine Company's properties in LA.

Submitted by XBoxBoy on January 20, 2021 - 5:21pm.

The biggest piece of advice you can give anyone regarding careers is, "Go into something you are good at." Don't recommend being x or y because you are passionate, passion will fade. Don't recommend being x or y because it is a good stable job, the tedium could well destroy that person's spirit. But if you are good at something you will be successful at it, and that success will bring you happiness and fulfillment. Always, the answer to this question is "Go into something you are good at." (Knowing what you're good at can be a problem though...)

Submitted by svelte on January 20, 2021 - 8:00pm.

o2addict wrote:
svelte wrote:

I decided right then and there that I didn't want a career in any field where my retirement could be revoked. To me, it is something a person earns due to their years of service and should not be revoke-able based on a future action.

Absent any other concern, basing your decision on a single anecdote you don't even know is true is . . . odd. Hopefully the OP's son has the common sense to conduct a bit more due diligence.

Not sure if you thought that response through well. I didn't say I wouldn't be a cop based on a single unconfirmed anecdote. I said that I wouldn't choose a career where my pension could be revoked by a future action. I would certainly do my due diligence to see if the career had that potential issue before ruling it out.

I stand by that statement.

Submitted by sdrealtor on January 21, 2021 - 11:18am.

XBoxBoy wrote:
The biggest piece of advice you can give anyone regarding careers is, "Go into something you are good at." Don't recommend being x or y because you are passionate, passion will fade. Don't recommend being x or y because it is a good stable job, the tedium could well destroy that person's spirit. But if you are good at something you will be successful at it, and that success will bring you happiness and fulfillment. Always, the answer to this question is "Go into something you are good at." (Knowing what you're good at can be a problem though...)

Great advice

Submitted by scaredyclassic on January 21, 2021 - 1:03pm.

sdrealtor wrote:
XBoxBoy wrote:
The biggest piece of advice you can give anyone regarding careers is, "Go into something you are good at." Don't recommend being x or y because you are passionate, passion will fade. Don't recommend being x or y because it is a good stable job, the tedium could well destroy that person's spirit. But if you are good at something you will be successful at it, and that success will bring you happiness and fulfillment. Always, the answer to this question is "Go into something you are good at." (Knowing what you're good at can be a problem though...)

Great advice

I took the johnson oconnor aptitude test while in high school. https://www.jocrf.org/testing/scheduling...

it was a full day of testing, in a fancy brownstone in Mahattan, so incrediblyupper class. I'm not exactly sure how I was selected, there were some "scholarships" at my high school. I took the test, excited to get my results. They recommended "lawyer"; I said no way. not for me.

Not only can it be difficult to know what one is good at, even with a sophisticated expensive aptitude testing company, but it can be difficult to see the connection between a particular aptitude and a job. or one may have several aptitudes, some greater than others, and a job may utilize some of them in various quantities. where does that leave one?

Still, I think the advice is spot on--better to honestly evaluate yourself, and try to do something that seems like you'd be good at.

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