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Help me evaluate career options

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BRG253
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I'm in the midst of some intensive career research. I've been in school for a year and a half but have struggled badly with indecision and have not made progress toward a specific degree due to having changed course several times. I wish I could take a long period off from school to figure it out, but due to the rapidly failing economy, I feel a sense of urgency to get establisihed in a suitable field as soon as possible. So I have to make a decision based on limited exposure.

Basically, I want to major in a practical field that will give me a strong chance of finding a good job after graduation. Of course, it should be interesting also. So far I've identified the following as serious candidates:

Accounting: I feel fairly confident that I can do this well, and it seems like a soild, respectable career. Since it is offered at the satelite campus near my parents' house, I can save $7000 a year in living expenses by staying with them while I finish. Some say it's on the dull side, but it seems attractive because it's at the core of any business operation and an accountant can work in any industry. My major reservation is that I have no idea how this field is going to do in a bad economy. I think the accountants employed in the stronger industries will have jobs, but those employed in the weaker service economy and the accounting firms will be laid off in large numbers and flood the market.

Computer science: I'm sure this will always be a very strong field and that software engineering will always be one of the best jobs out there, but I don't know whether it's a fit for me. I love using computers but have never done anything on the technical side. Seems that it would take a certain type of personality to be really good at it - a type who would never have to wonder if he was cut out for it. I guess the only way to find out whether it's right is to get in there and try it.

Agricultural science: the job prospects in this field are excellent and I love science, especially chemistry and biology, so it seems a good fit, but then again it's a field that I simply don't know much about. There is supposedly a huge demand for agronomists, but I wonder, if there are so many jobs in this field, why are they unoccupied? Is this line of work unattactive for some reason? Would also require me to transfer to a different school.

Engineering/construction: I know I wouldbe proud to be an engineer and their work seems very interesting. I don't know which area of engineering I would go into, but I could take a bunch of math and sciences prerequisites while figuring it out. The time frame is heart breakingly long (3-4 years).

Any thoughts on these or the decision making process in general?

Edited by BRG253
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Im a third year engineering student myself. I would take the most challenging path you can reasonably afford. Accounting and computer science are good careers but to me are mind numbingly boring. And Bio and agricultural science is somewhat an engineering major. Find some good college sites and read up about their majors there. Do what makes you happy and keeps you challenged.

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You should think about what are the most important values to you. If it's the joy you'll get out of the job, go with your favorite one. If it's the money, go for the one that is most needed and pays the most (probably engineering). Regardless, you need to hierarchize your values.

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If you just care about getting and keeping a job, you might look here at a top-50 list (not compiled by Letterman). The recommendations are somewhat false, i.e. I would not suggest "college professor" since the job market sucks. Overall, it looks like health and IT are the best employment areas. OTOH, your question is founded on a false premise about the nature of a career. A career is not just "whatever job pays the rent", it is your central purpose in life. You need to understand your own nature better, in order to know what exactly that is. If indeed you really love chemistry and biology, then you should pursue that interest to determine what it is about those areas that appeal to you. (Personally, I was very interested in chemistry and biology in junior high school, but it turns out that the interest was not about the subject matter itself, it was about 'doing science', i.e. the method, which I found could be applied to lots of other areas).

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You should think about what are the most important values to you. If it's the joy you'll get out of the job, go with your favorite one. If it's the money, go for the one that is most needed and pays the most (probably engineering). Regardless, you need to hierarchize your values.

I had a most important value, but it was permanently destroyed and cannot be restored. I nearly ended my life over it. I feel like I'm living the epilogue of my life without my highest value. I wish I had time to discover a new highest value, but it's a matter of urgent necessity to find a way to make money while enjoying life as much as possible in the wake of an utter life-altering catastrophe.

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