It seems like ever since my sophomore year at college, I have tried to do different things to try and find the right career path for me. I was an average student in high school and I grew up wanting to be in sports media. I tried journalism and broadcasting out a bit more in college after liking it in high school and found out it wasn’t for me. The life of a reporter, the uncertain job prospects and salary and writing or doing radio or TV for a living just didn’t seem like a fit. I also thought about becoming an English teacher because I loved writing and reading autobiography books, but I didn’t care much for literature, so I felt education wasn’t the fit for me either. Some days I have I thought teaching business or PE or being a guidance counselor might have been a fit and that maybe I was in the wrong content area. But my wife is a teacher and after hearing from her, it doesn’t seem like I would fit well with kids. I also observed guidance counseling and think it takes a certain kind of person to work in that role and I don’t think I am that person.
I switched majors, went to a different school and finished my degree in business administration/management. I reached out to the White Sox about jobs in sports and spoke to Boyer about opportunities and interned with the St. Louis Rams, but nothing ended up coming from those opportunities. I tried my hand at PR, worked at a start up and interned at a PR agency and didn’t like pitching to reporters. I needed a job with a salary to support myself as the other jobs didn’t pay anything. So I did FMLA administration for a few years, but it was call center work and I hated the pay that I got even after being promoted and felt I would be a better fit elsewhere since I didn’t like the company or work.
So I have been working at an insurance carrier, where I work with underwriters and sales representatives to get proposals out to brokers. The pay got better and the work had been okay, but I felt that I could do more, but I didn’t know what to do. So I heard about Data Science being a good field and the my company’s tuition reimbursement program and thought I would try that, since the program was online, I could also take electives in MBA or Health Care Administration courses and I wouldn’t hurt financially as long as I passed.
Fast forward to today, where I have three more courses until I graduate with the master’s degree, but I need to take one that is an elective this fall and two more next year so my employer can pay for the two remaining courses. The problem I have is that after doing some of the work with actuaries and analysts at my company, there appears to be a learning curve with learning from them remotely, since our main offices aren’t in Chicago and I am no where near where they are at with their analytical abilities. (We have a small office in Chicago but nobody is really on the same team and we all work from home a few days each week.) I am not a math person, but I work hard to try and learn things. I am not big on being in a small office and learning a new role remotely.
I have to stay until the end of July so that I don’t owe my company anything, but I also don’t know if I want an analyst position, to try to work in health care on the business side (something in either purchasing or with data, for instance) and use my data science training to solve business problems at a hospital or insurer and if I should get a job at a Chicago based organization so I can be around people more often, learn from others in an office, earn more so I can support a family (my wife and I bought a house last year), see if the next company will pay for the two remaining courses and hopefully have more job satisfaction.
There are times where I wish I figured things out earlier in life and that I wish I could be on my feet for a living or help people doing something like nursing, counseling or physical therapy, but I don’t know how I would make a living to support our responsibilities if I retrained (my wife will also be doing a graduate program to boost her earnings and she wants kids soon) and if I would even be good at those things (I was a C+/B- student at best in those courses in high school). These are also jobs people that I know have and have enjoyed success in terms of job satisfaction and financially, but these are just recent thoughts in the past year or so and weren’t things I really considered until then.
Long story short, I guess I am wondering if I should make the job change soon and if I am going about things in a good way by reaching out to people in different industries in health care, am working on data science projects and am trying to learn coding on my own, even if I will never be a data scientist and would use the skills I have in a different role. I would love to have job satisfaction, make more money and keep my options open in case I decide to do a career change in the future. I have also done several informational interviews with the industries I am interested in and will continue to do so. I’m also open to suggestions if anyone has any.