I used to work as an astrophysicist: Neutron stars, X-ray bursts, white dwarfs, origin of the elements, that kind of stuff.
What kind of work/job do/did you guys all do?(154 posts)
I've worked in electronics all my life.
When I started out in the field as a kid, hardware meant vacuum tubes, software meant punch cards, and calculators meant slide rules.
Telephone signals traveled through cables and television signals traveled through the air.
Retirement was something you did at age 65 after working for the same company for 40 years.
A lot has changed over the years.
I'm employed as roaming consultant for a big American tech company.
I've always been in IT area, as I used to be passionate about what I was doing.
Not anymore, but still good money and challenging enough :)
I'm a journalist.
For years I worked on Capitol Hill covering tax legislation for tax newsletters. I loved that work.
However, my experiences covering tax and budget bills led me to the conclusion that politics is not the answer to our problems. I elected to direct my remaining energies to helping people handle their personal finances more effectively. I see huge potential in this area as much of the material available today is sub-par and overly influenced by marketing considerations, in my assessment.
I'm only partially retired. I am "retired" from corporate work. But I need to build up my internet business to cover my long-term expenses. I left corporate employment in 2000 with enough saved to go many years without bringing in a steady income. I now write on saving and investing at my web site and in internet columns and that sort of thing. I've published a book on saving (Passion Saving: The Path to Plentiful Free Time and Soul-Satisfying Work) and am working on one on investing (Investing for Humans: How to Get What Works on Paper to Work in Real Life).
Programmer. I've been writing web apps professionally since high school. I've worked in a variety of places from tiny startups to massive corporations to my current remote gig. I really loved programming when I started out, but now I'm less fond of it. I don't know if having to do it all day for a living has sucked the fun out or if I'm just ready to move on to spending more time on other interests.
I was a payroll clerk for 20 years in the Navy. It sounds boring as hell, but the military payroll system was as complex as the tax code and it could be fun in a wonky sort of way. Also, twenty years of explaining to people why they were getting paid what they were getting paid or why they were overpaid and that they had to pay back the overpayment gave me some fantastic communication skills that really paid off in my second career.
After leaving the service, I leveraged my paperwork administrative skills over a two year period into a computer network administrator position. Then in 2002 I used those skills to start my own sole prop. IT consulting gig. Basically I'm an out-sourced IT department for lots of small to medium size businesses who don't want to hire someone full time. This is where those communication skills I learned earlier really come in handy. Most IT guys have a very difficult time communicating with end users as hilariously displayed in the Saturday Night Live skits and in the Brit sitcom "The IT Crowd". So my clients are very happy with my work.
The great thing about having the IT skills (as I mentioned before) is that even after I decide to "retire" from my clients, I can use my skills for barter any time I feel like it.
Edit: Like HSpencer, at 50, I'm way past ERE, but it's fun reading and learning along with everyone else.
I helped design the Pyramids--no not really!
I spent 30 years in the US Army, Field Artillery, and Logistics.
After the army, wife and I and some partners bought four apartment complexes for the elderly and handicapped. Wife and I ran these for seven years until present when we retired. That and some jobs prior to the army gave me about 44 working years, which does not qualify me at all for ERE, but I am just along here for the ride.
@Robert: Nick Burns? "Move!"... So very true.
Systems analyst... hopefully, part time consulting by 2011.
After receiving J.D. and taking the Bar, I immediately entered a monastery. Six years later, I realized I wasn't a very good monk; so I became a prosecutor instead. For the past nine years I've worked as an in-house counsel for a non-profit association. I am working now only because of all those years with $0 income (drat that vow of poverty). As soon as I can retire, I plan to do so.
"After receiving J.D. and taking the Bar, I immediately entered a monastery."
I've participated in thousands of threads over the years. I am confident that this is the first one I have been on that contained comments by both a former astrophysicist and a former monk! What are the odds?
I also have a J.D. And I can say that doing what it takes to get a J.D. caused me to give some serious thought to joining a monastery too!
CPA since 2004 (in public accounting since 98) - employed by a small firm with 10 employees. I do mostly tax work for small businesses and individuals along with some financial accounting. I've done just about every tax return possible - non-profit, estate tax, gift tax, corporate, S corp, partnership, payroll, etc.
I've probably read a lot of the newsletters Rob used to write for :)
I'm a civil servant. Master in Law. Used to work in IT.
lol.. you guys are really making me want to get a J.D.
I used to be a computer programmer, lost interest in it as soon as it became a job, then did software architecture/design stuff, tried consulting, got bored, did an MBA (in finance -loved the courses, hated the thought of becoming a corporate rat), did a bit of digital marketing, and now work as a technology strategist (aka a powerpoint pusher). Now seriously considering going back into software architecture consulting in order to make the money and go ER.
Lawyer, recent grad. Not so sure I chose the right career, but I'm not complaining. My job as a clerk to a federal judge is fairly boring, but maybe the actual practice of law will be more fun. I didn't particularly enjoy my summer associate position either. Only time will tell. If I find I can't take the boredom, I may apply to a certain federal agency to become a field agent.
Electrical designer, technical writer, and government IT analyst. As an IT analyst, I've been in user support, server support, programmer, and helpdesk. Currently am team lead for the helpdesk of a 6,000 employee local government.
When I was in college, I knew that I didn't want to be a programmer because of how often programmers have to reinvent the wheel (seriously, very few applications are new and often new programs of old applications have not even been improvements). I was also certain I wouldn't end up working for the government, but... well that went by the wayside as soon as I realized that local government work offered the highest stable income.
I am currently working as a technical consultant that implements software interfaces for systems using one of the most widespread ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) packages. Before i was writing programs/creating reports and documents inside that ERP package.
Originally i was only participating in projects in my home country, but the last 4 years my assignments bring me all over Europe and Canada.
I'm a chemical engineer in the health care industry, specifically manufacturing UV-curing dental fillings and adhesives. I've also worked in a statistical analysis consulting group.
My first career was High School English teacher. That didn't work out so well. :p While temping during summer break some umpteen years ago, I applied for a technical writing job at a large financial services IT group. I've been there ever since and graduated from writer to business/process analyst.
I'm planning to move to project management within the next year. I will get to use all my scheduling and controlling processes. Muhaha! I just finished my prep course for the PMP certification exam and looking to pass the exam later this year.
Eventually I will contract cross country in a PM capacity until RE is achieved. (I won't qualify for ERE; I'm already 41.)I'm looking forward to the change!
I'm an entrepreneur--I have a small transcription company in Manhattan. We do transcription and translation for lots of different clients--attorneys, filmmakers, journalists, etc. I've never had a boss since finishing my History B.A. seven years ago, and will retire in five, when I'm 37.
I did my business as a side thing through my 20s while basically slacking off and doing creative projects. The business isn't my passion, but I'm going to ride it to ERE.
I am still working as a Design Engineer (Mechanical). I spend most of my time creating concepts in metallics and non-metallics (injection molding, etc).
I enjoy the creative side, but I resent the minimal amount of vacation time (and I have always taken the max allowed) specified by company policy. They don't let us buy weeks off.
Throughout my life, I have always taken time out for myself (summer vacations, etc.) and made life/job changes to keep it interesting. The lack of this has made the last seven years of short vacations less than two weeks difficult to bare and I dare say it is starting to make me crazy! Luckily, I get three weeks next year...tear
The lack of freedom in this area is making me want to be a contract engineer and has kept me focused on ER. Only this year have I started taking true ERE measures by selling the house!
I'm a mechanical engineer, just started my professional career a year and a half ago with a powered wheelchair company. I did product design up until 2 months ago when I got transferred to the motors department. Now I have to help Chinese vendors understand that choosing between "aluminum and metal" isn't really a choice. *sigh* I'm looking to ER before I'm 30.
My first job was in planning for a communications/arms manufacturer. I've also worked in retail, catering, scaffolding, teaching, as a labourer and worked clearing up after a bomb explosion.
I'm currently a full-time Japanese-English translator. Mainly I do technical stuff for construction, power/HVAC systems, green technology and architecture. I hope to be good enough to go freelance in a couple of years.
I also teach corporate English classes on the side.
My plan is to freelance as a teacher and translator. Of course with much lower working hours.
I used to be a chemist / nanotechnologist. I was developing assays to detect sub-attomolar amounts of DNA.
Currently working in operations management for a small company that owns retirement communities. I loathe my job and most paid work in general. I bartended for a few years and fell in love with it--the only job I've enjoyed so far. I'm well on track to purchasing a turn-key establishment within the next year (at the ripe old age of 26!). I'm beyond excited for this next chapter of life and "work". The income potential within 3-5 years will put me well on track to ERE and if I play my cards well I could have a very healthy sum coming my way for as long as I wish past ERE/ER. Either way, I'm putting the foundation in place to phase out of day-to-day work by the time I'm 35-38.
I'm beyond lucky to have found this site to inspire me. Jacob, you started a snowball effect with me. Thank you.
Envious of Redsted and his bar. Bartending class is on the list! Just need to free up some time after work to drive to San Francisco for two weeks.
I do inspections (something that can't be exported) on systems within buildings (high-rise, hospital, etc).
Pay's alright, lots of OT, and a good amount of perks.
I used to test (manage testing) video games, and prior to/after that, retail. Also, I worked in a coffee shop which was the most relaxing job ever - almost zero stress.
Current gigs - one of several maintenance technicians for a 500-unit apartment complex, high school track and cross country coach, pizza delivery (just got back in the game last weekend).
@ Q: Don't go to bartending school, it's not worth the money, I promise. You can get on the job training almost anywhere and of course it's better than free--you get paid. Bartending is very much like a trade, and not as easy to get into as many would like you to believe. Your best bet is to start out as a busser/waiter if you're in a restaurant or a barback is even a better bet if you're working at a full-on drinking establishment (i.e. clubs, lounges, pubs, pool halls, taverns, etc.). Another big thing to remember: it's ALL about who you know. Work your connections, almost every bartender I know that has a killer job situation got it because they knew someone (similar to the "real" world). If you're at the right bar you should make $800-1000+ in cash every week in tips alone + paychecks (varying from state-to-state due to minimum wage laws of tipped workers.).
Might not be a bad idea to get into owning a coffee stand, sounds like you're passionate about it and I know the profit margins on coffee are off the charts, not to mention it is far less regulated than beer/liquor/wine and gambling (pull tabs). Just my $.02. :)
@Redsted1 - I'm intrigued by the little coffee stands too. We have some around here that are basically like backyard shed size and sit in parking lots. People drive through and get their coffee. Seems like it would be a low investment - few thousand to get up and running. I don't know what equipment you would need, but like you said the margins are high.
Complicated story... engineering degree, then worked as a business analyst / project management in corporate HQ, then worked as a high school teacher, now looking for the next thing.
I'm drawn to entrepreneurship and leaving my mark, and I was disappointed with how I could contribute in my corporate staff job (think: do-not-try-to-change-the-system, focus-on-grunt-work-and-trivia). My next job (teaching) was awesome, despite the $25k pay, but what I really want is building a business and living in different countries. So what's next? Maybe I'll help a business owner build his small company, but that means I'm stuck in one country. Maybe I'll become an engineer in the natural resources sector (excites me; outdoors; different countries). Maybe I'll go back to banking and become an account manager (I love dealing with business owners & entrepreneurs, and I would build contacts and join them after a year or two).
Bureaucrat. Sort of like Robert Muir's first job--complex and fun explaining the complexity to people who think it's too hard--but this will be my last job.
I wanted to be a teacher, but didn't look like a good disciplinarian. I no longer look 12, but as a student teacher I slept only 4 hours a night on week nights. I'm settling for my cushy 40-hours-a-week job. I don't get summers off, but I'm up to 4.5 weeks vacation plus state holidays (plus sick leave). After all these years, I even get paid as much as a first-year teacher in my town.
Professional pilot. Both airline and corporate flying. I need to "drive the bus" about 3 more years for ERE at 35.
I'm a medical coder and a musician, finally making decent pay at both. In the past, I've been a musician making little to no money, and a library aide, marketing assistant, factory worker, insurance claims analyst, and a safety technician/educator for a trucking company.
WOW! ERE has an excellent cross-section of the employment sector. Albeit maybe slightly heavy on the engineer side. I've been wanting to say that for awhile.
A couple lawyers, a pilot, accountants, musicians, teachers, builders, leaders. It's great - to me, almost like the college friendships and what not that I never experienced because I withdrew.
@Redsted - Thank you for support and excellent suggestions. Funny you should mention coffee. I used to work at a chinese coffee shop and it was the best job ever - super relaxing, no stress, no nada.
Right now SO has a dream of owning one...and there happens to be a pre-decked out crepe, yogurt, etc shop that's closed nearby. It doesn't have coffee, but easy add...the leap is hard to stomach because the rent expanded out over the lease is close to 180k...6 years left on the lease which is good, but that 180k scares me out.
If I did what I do for a living on my own, I would probably take the chance because I could go after more jobs to increase the income...
Anyways, maybe vegas will pay off next month and that'll work too :)
naval logistician/accountant (tracking spares, intersquadron jet fuel transfers inflight, monthly squadron budget reporting)
generalist software engineer (lots of software folks here, so this is for them: some SQL procedural, some object / relational persistence, fair amount of mini-grid computing, lots of algorithmic implementation, good bit of rule-based / declarative coding, very little front-end work though I admit truly enjoying using the Processing IDE as a proxy for developing an independent front-end for a project)
Hasn't this tiny coffee hut reached saturation? I live in a town of 2,000 and there are 3 here!
Depends, do any of them advertise bikini baristas? You're not to the saturation point 'til you have that. :)
LOL!!! So true... the attractive young women bring in much capital and expand the male market. To the power of 2 this when they're partially clothed!
Electrical Engineer. I work on the control systems for submarines. Mostly programming (ada, c and matlab), with some signal processing.
Applied researcher in data analysis. I got my Ph.d in computer science (specializing in data mining) and moved to industry. Managing a bunch of geeks and haven't touched Matlab in a few years :-(
Worked in construction, truck driver, retail, warehouse.
Currently registered nurse working for state government. Seems to be one of the best paying jobs you can get with an Associate degree.
457b and 401k plan = room to tax defer lots of money
Vested Pension plan at 5 years service
Politics / Full of management that just don't seem to care
Don't plan to stay forever, but have about 10 years until youngest son is out of the house. After that, who knows?
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