What career would you recommend?

(33 Posts)
Sadusername Thu 25-Feb-16 16:58:51

We have discussed medicine and law. For different reasons, there are a lot of cons for both as well as some pros. But I do wonder what sort of courses leading to what sort of careers do people recommend. What would be a good career to be embarking on? What qualifications are in high demand and lead to well paid jobs that are not ridiculously stressful?

bojorojo Thu 25-Feb-16 19:47:24

Any form of engineering. Not entirely stress free because there are deadlines and accuracy of work is vital, but the work can be varied and interesting. Working for smaller consultancies can involve taking a leading role in the direction of the business. Larger consultancies offer working abroad and work on major projects. There are also options for project management, working for large cutting edge companies, household names or vital academic research. Starting salaries are good and prospects for the best people are rosy. It will be hard work though. Top end salaries and drawings for the self employed are very good.

rightsaidfrederickII Thu 25-Feb-16 22:32:29

Medicine and law are such disparate subjects that my heart always sinks when a prospective student approaches me and tells me that they want to study one of the two subjects.

Invariably, it seems that the student is
a) under the impression that a law degree is a golden ticket to a good job - it isn't, given that demand far outstrips supply of training contracts and pupillages. If you don't get a TC / pupillage, then essentially a law degree is no different to a history, English or politics etc. degree.
b) the student is going for subjects that they think guarantee a good job, without thinking about where their interests and skills lie
c) the student's parents aren't particularly well informed about the graduate careers market in 2016. The reality is that 70% of graduate jobs are happy to take people with a degree in any subject because they are looking for the transferable skills that they've learned on their degree. For instance, I work in marketing and have a degree in a completely different subject.

I would recommend that your DC
a) chooses a degree course that they will enjoy - this is paramount, because if they don't enjoy it, they won't work hard. This invariably ends in disaster, either because they drop out, or they get a low grade. Doing a degree that you don't enjoy is an expensive form of misery, and when it's a vocational degree with a clear career outcome (e.g. medicine), it invariably turns out to lead to a job you don't enjoy.
b) thinks about what career options they might like to consider for the future, and makes sure that they aren't closing off paths that they want to keep open. Don't forget that, for instance, if they did want to go into law then it's entirely acceptable to do any degree subject followed by a GDL conversion course.

Bottom line is, let the DC choose a subject they love. It will turn out fine in the end!

StealthPolarBear Thu 25-Feb-16 22:37:16

Agree with engineering. But if there's uncertainty I'd argue you can't go wrong with a maths degree. I'm 110% certain.

bojorojo Fri 26-Feb-16 01:08:58

Actually a young person I know was unemployed for a year after completing a maths degree at Cambridge. Yes, that sounds surprising, but in this day and age it is not all about what your learn on a degree course. There are other factors that are taken into account.

Many employers are looking for meaningful work experience, volunteering or internships. I know another graduate with a 1st in Sociology from an ex poly who also took a year to get a job. Neither had work experience or volunteering and believed their degrees would guarantee a job. I would doubt that either of them left university with good interviewing skills either. Personality is also important. Employers will always consider, "Will this person fit into my team?" "How well will this person interact with clients and colleagues?" No employer will really care about what modules you did for your History degree! Some students cannot work out what their transferable skills are! If they have actually demonstrated skills in a place of work, the student is more of a complete package.

OzzieFem Fri 26-Feb-16 11:53:57

OP you are looking at this from the wrong end of the stick.

It's pointless going for careers that are "well paid jobs that are not ridiculously stressful" if the student involved has no real interest in the subject. Uni can be extremely stressful and if you are not really interested in the course subjects you might as well forget it.

The student should write down the subjects/areas they are interested in, then go to the various uni websites and take a good hard look at what is being offered that includes their interests. These websites also give some idea of the % of graduates who get employed afterwards, remembering that some of the not employed have stayed on for further study.

At uni interviews they will soon suss out who is really passionate about the course they are applying for, and if it come to a tie decision will take the more interested student.

RhodaBull Fri 26-Feb-16 12:16:18

I think Engineering is the way to go. I know two young engineers who are earning a lot of money and work 9-5. And they enjoy their jobs. The problem is that not everybody has a talent in that direction!

I agree it's vital to give your proposed career a health check. I heard on Woman's Hour a while ago a person lamenting that so many girls say they want to work in "journalism" or "on a magazine". Unfortunately that career is now The Fighting Temeraire being dragged in to be broken up.

PurpleDaisies Fri 26-Feb-16 12:18:59

That's such a broad question it's basically impossible to answer in a meaningful way. My ideal career would be a nightmare for someone else. It totally depends on what you're good at and what you enjoy doing.

Molio Fri 26-Feb-16 12:41:22

It doesn't really matter that a law degree 'is no different' to any random humanities degree. Academic law is a good subject to read in itself.

I think the quest for a stress free job is a dubious one. I agree with PurpleDaisies. There must be countless doctors and lawyers who get enormous satisfaction from their jobs - not everyone is looking to clock in and put their feet up at 5pm, especially not when they're young.

Molio Fri 26-Feb-16 12:42:39

Clock off, not clock in.

mummymeister Fri 26-Feb-16 14:27:23

if anyone knows of a well paid job that isn't stressful, then please could they share it!

look the reason people are well paid is because they shoulder the stress.

why does it have to be a well paid job? is that your definition of success or your DC's?

I have very different DC's. who is the most successful? the one who is happiest in their life.

I did environmental health and became an EHO for over 20 years. I did this because I liked the mix of science and law enforcement. I liked the flexibility to go out on the district all day and work at my own pace and in my own way to get the job done. it was well paid - the last job exceptionally so - but the stress increased as I went up the ladder.

don't think so hard about the jobs but think about what your dc enjoy doing, what they are good at and what they can succeed in. schools and unis are full of kids doing medicine and other degrees just because their parents are doctors and wanted them to do it as well.

bojorojo Fri 26-Feb-16 16:11:57

Stress can be positive too. Some people produce their best work under pressure. Some people buckle if they are asked to do anything outside their normal routine and hate having their thought patterns disrupted. Most employees these days are expected to be flexible in their attitude to work and the hours they work.

I do think it can be more difficult for Arts graduates to know which way to go. Some of my DDs girl friends are working in PR, film production, selling advertising space, HR etc. They also seem to be rather girly jobs but these girls have degrees from Manchester, Durham, Exeter, Bristol, Cambridge so not low level universities or degrees. I think, apart from the two in film production (although one has just been made redundant - Cambridge degree) the others were never sure what they wanted to do. They did know they did not want the pressure of a city job. None of them have a huge amount of pressure at work, but none are well paid either.

I tend to think that knowing what you want to do and making sure you are best placed to get the job you want is a route to fulfilment. More of the boys with arts degrees appear to have been more focused and have gone into graduate training schemes. Some of the girls have too, but far fewer in number. I have found that surprising.

Headofthehive55 Sat 27-Feb-16 08:15:43

I think it also depends on what else you want from life. If you want to work part time while you have young children, some careers are more do able than others. Also if you think you might move location, to move near parents, or to live near a partner or indeed if his work requires movement if might affect what career you think is best.

some career structures are flat and most of you will earn a reasonable wage etc but some others e.g. Opera singing you earn loads or a pittance for example.

I have a good chemistry degree from a RG uni, been through a grad training scheme with household name employer. However it was much less flexible than nursing which I do at the moment. I've regularly been in the job market I've the last twenty years in new areas for a new job. Always found a nursing job, very rarely (although have done) a chemistry orientated job. Earn more as a nurse too which I find surprising. But that's the job market for you.

Salene Sat 27-Feb-16 08:18:55

Engineering and ideally oil & gas once the oil price rises again

The wages you can command are easily into the 6 figures once you are experienced if you go day rate.

Headofthehive55 Sat 27-Feb-16 08:31:19

I think engineering is a good one.

lljkk Sat 27-Feb-16 09:59:12

How do you define "well paid", Saduser ?

Foginthehills Sat 27-Feb-16 11:11:26

Wrong question basically OP. And frankly good rewarding work (well paid or not) will, at times, be stressful.

Are you in the workforce yourself? What do you do? What are you modelling for your child?

And the most important thing. What is your child good at? What does she enjoy doing? What does she enjoy learning about?

insancerre Sat 27-Feb-16 11:24:42

I have a hugely rewarding job that is at times incredibly stressful. But its so undervalued and underpaid even though I have a degree and a post grad professional qualification
I'm a nursery manager and I absolutely love it
I would hate to be doing a job I hated just because it was well paid
DH is in engineering, in a fairly specialised field, he hates it but it is very well paid, even tough he gets no job satisfaction whatsoever

AyeAmarok Sat 27-Feb-16 11:34:05

Agree you are looking at this the wrong way. Plus being a lawyer has such a wide range of job roles, stresses, hours and salaries. Ditto engineering. They cover such a wide spectrum.

What subjects does the DC enjoy most and excel at?

Headofthehive55 Sat 27-Feb-16 11:44:09

I think it's important to do something as people have said that you like, feel good at and don't mind going everyday.

lljkk Sat 27-Feb-16 16:27:51

DD loves art but she knows it's lousy opportunity for making a secure living.
Plus she excels at almost everything lots of things so may as well pick a specialism that also has lucrative opportunities.
Then she can afford to buy all the nice art... She intends to support the struggling artists. Win-Win.

Foginthehills Sat 27-Feb-16 19:54:27

Also, lots of the jobs that graduates will be recruited for in even just five years' time haven't been invented yet.

jeanne16 Sun 28-Feb-16 11:58:06

Actually a lot of engineering jobs are not massively well paid in this country. Traditionally Graduates with engineering degrees from top UK unis have tended to avoid engineering jobs and opt for jobs elsewhere. This seems to be mainly a UK phenomenon. Engineers are more respected in other countries.

BeaufortBelle Sun 28-Feb-16 12:05:06

What does the son or daughter want? I'd do some sort of careers counselling/psychometry if the choices are so disparate.

I can't remember who said it but "a man will never make a fortune doing something he doesn't love" rings true.

bojorojo Sun 28-Feb-16 15:17:11

Because so many engineers opt for something else, the good engineers that stay in engineering are well paid. They have to be good at what they do though. If someone does not like engineering, there are other alternatives, as so many engineers have discovered. My DH has earned vast amounts as an engineer, but he runs the company. If an engineer is able and willing to run a company the rewards are higher, but so is the stress level. However, people with these qualities are few and far between. They tend to have gone to PWC or Deloitte.

Engineers are more highly valued abroad, but engineers need to work at improving their image here and making sure people actually know what a chartered engineers is and does. They are not coming to repair the washing machine.

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