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I seem to be lacking insight on where to focus my future career plans.  If I had a strong science background, I think the decisions are a bit clearer on the path one would take.

I enjoy:



  • Managing a team
  • Having a decent amount of decision making authority (e.g. hiring, firing, training, trinity roll-out, etc.)
  • Creating new policies / procedures
  • Finding ways to be more effective and efficient
  • Location does not matter - I would welcome overseas (Currently in USA)
  • Salary: $80-120k a year

Not really sure what job titles are out there that would be a good match.

  • Project Manager
  • Logistics
  • Business Consulting

Are the few that come to mind, however, I am sure that is not scratching the surface.

I freely admit to not having a clue of what is available, how to find it, and what is a realistic salary to seek/ask for.


Need some brainstorming help and advice, thank you.


JRJensen's picture
Licensee Badge

 This is where you start using your network.  Start doing informational meetings with them, with the intention of finding out where your skills and desires are applicable.  Ask for their advice on how to proceed.  Ask them who else would they recommend you talk to.  

Regarding business title, they often are ambiguous.  Your networking can more likely lead you to the right position, no matter the title.

mmann's picture
Licensee Badge

The former CEO of GE had a few things to say about this subject in his book "Winning."  Even if you don't agree with him, it's a good read when it comes to differentiation and the importance of [good] Human Resources.



KCoklas's picture

Let's assume I have zero network and no spare cash to purchase a book.

superjac's picture
Training Badge

I suppose I feel the same way sometimes. However, I often find that I can read through job descriptions and get some ideas. Sometimes you read a job description and think, "Oh man I'm so there." Having said that JRJENSEN is right, and the titles used can mean a number of different things. I don't think you can use them as guidance too much, so I wouldn't focus on making a list.

You listed what you enjoyed but these are, except for your salary, pretty generic ideas. If my job was to find you a job that matched those qualities, I could fairly suggest (excluding the salary again):

  • Running a volunteer group for Habitat for Humanity
  • Starting up your own dog poop scooping business
  • Taking over Ford Motor Co.

So I think you need to dig a little deeper. What activities do you enjoy, hobbies or interests? What work experience do you have already and what did that tell you?

I am in engineering, but I just heard that one of my favorite health podcasts is looking for a new producer. I briefly toyed with the idea of making a large change because this is something that I like to spend my free time doing. You might find the same things are true for you.

Zero network? Surely not. I'd say ask your family, but to this day my mother insists I should be a journalist. I do not share this idea.

There was also an interesting article in the October 2011 issue of Oprah that had a workbook for "finding your passion." You can find the issue for free at a library. The article can be read in 20 minutes, though the step-by-step exercise, done well, will take days.

naraa's picture
Training Badge

 I work in engineering, in a company that grew exponentially based on its recognized technical expertise and which hás had the vision to strucute itself for growth.  Só it is structured, it is solid, and it continues to put enphasis on the technical quality of the work produced.  It is now putting more enphasis as well on being more efficient and profitable.  But given the option between being more profitable or increasing the technical quality of the work we go with the later, because we are all technical people.  Finding people who will understand the technical work but who will focus on the money side and who can make and lead the decisions to those that do not compromise the essence of the technical solution but which also moves towards higher profitability is a challenge.  

This is the experience in the company i work. I have also see it happening in other companies.  My guess is most companies grow from technical knowhow and át.. A certain point need to put more enphasis on administrative issues.

Reading the things you like doing and knowing about this gap, without any further information on your professionals background it seems you could persue opportunities in contract administration,  project planning and control of engineering or construction projects.  You dont need to be able to do the technical work but you will need to know, understand it and talk in the same language of the technical people for your decisions and directions to be listen to and respected.  Depending on your background it can be a long road and you may need to stay belos 80k, but it can rise above 120k.


KCoklas's picture

My background is all over the place (un)fortunately.

37 yrs old: I have spent a lot of time working for temporary agencies in the past due to the ease of finding work and moving from city-to-city. I also have recently co-owned a small retail chain of stores that went horribly sour in the end.

Experience / Background:

Warehouse - All lower level poistions
Factory - Entry level machining
Office - AP (Construction), Office Manager, Department Manager / Client Services (Order Dept QA)
Call Center - QA
Small business owner/operator of 4 retail stores in Minnesota

Graduating Oklahoma State University December 2011 with Bachelors in Business.

As one can see, I have a wide familiarity and yet not a specialization. On one hand I have a very strong grasp as to how all the levels work and the employee mentality in those positions. On the other hand, I do not have years in any one field.

My friends and family are great for a network in an entry level job at a warehouse. I am the first in my family to have a degree and seek the 'professional career' status. Or, another way of saying it is, most of the family thinks $50,000 a year is a dream job that is hard to obtain and find.

I do not have a current passion or interest in any particular field as of yet. I enjoy the challenge more than the actual industry.

That may have been more information that one may have wanted, but I understand that my background and networks are 'unique' and it causes some stumbling blocks.

Contract Administration is a new term to me as well as project planning. - Thank you

Willing to start at a lower salary if the position itself has will lead to higher rewards. Obviously a dog poop business would not. (chuckle) I do understand the concept that SuperJac was making though.

Any other ideas? Or company / job leads?

- All of the feedback has been greatly appreciated, thank you everyone.

robin_s's picture
Training Badge

Do you have any interest in production or operations management?  With your factory and warehouse experience, and a degree in business, seems like it might be a fit, if it's where your interest lies.  While you probably couldn't expect to get a top job right away, you could start in a supervisory or team lead position and work your way up.  It's a great job for someone who likes to make things happen, find ways to be more efficient, etc... the things you stated. 

I'm an operations manager and I absolutely love my job.

Best of luck to you.

stephenbooth_uk's picture

 I presume you don't live right out in the middle of nowhere.  Somewhere near you there should be a public library.  This will contain books you can read for free and people you can network with.  A good way to start your network would be to find a librarian (try the reference desk) and say "Hi!  I'm looking for a book or something that will help me work out what sort of jobs fit my skills.  Could you help me please?"  If your local public library is anything like the public libraries near me you will be deluged with not just books but also pointers to websites and software that will, for free or very little, skills match you to jobs and probably even groups run within the library to help people change jobs, find work and set up their own business.  Thank them (use their name if you can) and whenever you come back to the library smile and say hi.

If the afore mentioned groups are run within the library try to attend at least one and chat with the people there.  If someone needs help you can provide then provide it.  A lot of networking is about helping others, even if there's no way you can see of them helping you.  You never know who knows someone who might be able to help or might see you helping someone else and thus form a positive impression of you and want to help you.

You could probably apply the same approach in your college's library and have the added advantage of a careers service.  They might be more focused on recent graduates in the 20-25 years old age groupo but they may be able to help.  It's worth finding out.  Here in the UK most universities have reciprocol agreements so people who graduated from any university can use any other universities careers service, might be worth seeing if that is the case with yours for when you move away. 

Don't rule out the dog poop scooping business, someone's got to do it and if no-one else is then you've got a virgin market to exploit and no competitors.  One of my friends from school really stuffed her degree and was only able to get a job as a cleaner in a hospital.  19 years on she's running her own cleaning business specialising in cleaning up blood, excrement and other efluvia of damaged or dead bodies.  Most of her work comes from local councils clearing houses after people have died and not been foundfor a while, after the council's public health department have cleared the house her team comes in to clean it up ready for probate or sale.  Dirty and unpleasent work but she has a local monopoly and can charge a decent fee for doing it.

Relatedly, I received this link in an email today:

What you did doesn't have to dictate what you do.




Skype: stephenbooth_uk  | DiSC: 6137

"Start with the customer and work backwards, not with the tools and work forwards" - James Womack


naraa's picture
Training Badge

 I agree with Robin´s advice.  Operations manager is the one that needs to know:

1 - what needs to get done (so you having done it would be good)

2 - need to deal with people´s issue

3 - need to care and know about QA issues, and establish proceedures

4 - needs to get thing done

5 - needs to make things more efficient and on time

6 - works with a team

I think the field issue is perhaps not that important.  But you passion is.  What drives you, what are you passionate about?  

I agree with Stephen, what you did does not have to dictate what you do.  There is a great book First, Break all the rules, What the World´s greatest managers do differently by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman which talks about the great skill of managers fitting talents to the right position.  And it talks about talent in a broader sence.  Everybody has talents.  You need to identify yours.  And they discuss that this is actually more important than experience.

On the book Good to Great by Jim Collins, he talks about outstanding companies having been able to find the match between what they are passionate about, what they can be the best in the world at and what can bring profit.  That applies to one as a person.  

What do you love doing, and what do you think you can be the best at?  I was recently asking myself whether I was really doing what I could be the best at and what I was passionate about and for me it helped looking into my past, which things did I like to do most when I was young, in high school and at university.  Which things did I use to do when I once knew for sure what I wanted to do in life!  Think about what drove you to study, to persue a carrer, to want more than most of your relatives would settle for.  Think about on which things did you excel at, where you the leader, where you the organiser, were you more talkative than most, which subjects at high school did you like most.  Did you like to be in a familiar environment, or did you like always meeting new people and experiencing new places, things and challenging (consulting).  

For example, I am a chemical engineer.  I always loved chemistry.  I still love it.  I have worked in the petrochemical company for a short time and for various reasons I am now working more in engineering but for the mining industry.  I still see some chemistry, not as much.  But I don´t really like going to the mines.  And I still miss the "beauty" of a petrochemical company!  Odd, to find a petrochemical company beautiful, yes, but I bet most good programers love to see lines of codes, which most of us find odd!  Now, I cannot really picture myself very confortable on a warehouse or on a factory, full of noisy machines, producing say for mechanical parts for cars!  A shopping center full of lights and noise is also something that kills my good humor.  

The point Superjac is making is that you need to be more specific on the list of things you like. That is why he is giving general odd and quite different focus jobs.

Look into your past and visualize your future.  Think about the places, the environment you have felt more confortable with.  Then think about talents, do you have talents with people, do people say you are good with people, do you feel confortable meeting new people, do you like traveling (I  think that goes more into sale). Do you like to see things being constructed, physically constructed, or do you like computer spreadsheets, paper work, etc, etc.

I believe you need to narrow done both the environment you will feel more confortable in, and the tasks you will be doing. 

Good luck,


markbyantaylor's picture

If you are stuggling with a finding your passion - then take some time to look at your passion killers.

What would you not want to do (grading from desperately to prefer not)?  Poop scooping appears to be in your desperately not do list ;)

Might help to narrow down the options.

Sometimes looking into the dark can be just as illumiating as looking into the light.

Good luck,