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Help Me Choose Something To Study

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OK, I'm probably going to regret this, but...

...let's say the world doesn't implode in the next few months/years, but that times are going to be getting harder for the foreseeable. Let's also say I've got a bit of spare money and time to devote to training/education, and I've realised that if I'm going to do a job that I don't even like, it might as well be something relatively well paid, and for which there's always likely be a demand, inasmuch as it's even possible to predict that. Also, I'm thinking it's probably a good idea to differentiate myself from all the rest of the people in this country who don't have any useful skills, and soon, being that I'm not getting any younger and we're at the top of a big, scary depression. With all that in mind, I need to decide what to learn.

I've been considering my strengths and weaknesses, and how they impact on my choice, and I wondered if anyone with a few minutes to kill might take a look and see share any ideas on what might suit me, given that a few people on here seem to have done alright for themselves. I think this list pretty much covers everything:

I'm fairly intelligent. Not a genius by any means but bright enough. Having said that, pure brain power - as in mental arithmetic, programming etc - isn't my thing. What I'm good at is remembering stuff - what goes where, how things work, etc. I get paid extra at work for being Mr Fix-it, the person you see if you need a question answered because I remember everything. Also I'm much better at hands-on learning than memorising facts in a classroom; in idle moments I like to think that once upon a time I might have been a craftsman of some sort, gradually building up a skill, or repertoire of skills.

I'm no good with forward planning. I can do it, but I don't particularly like having to, so this has ruled out moving to the training department where I work now, for instance. I'm better with having a problem put in front of me, sorting it, then moving on to the next thing.

I'm better with words than numbers. I'm not afraid of numbers, I just know my strengths, and long division isn't one of them, so accountancy and astrophysics are out.

I'm generally a nice guy. Not a pushover, mind, but reasonable, patient, friendly, polite, that kind of thing. So I get on with people easily and I pick my fights carefully, but I'm never going to be a salesman or a bailiff, because my conscience would get in the way. On the other hand, it means that I don't do things sloppily because I don't like knowing I've made someone else's life difficult through my own inaction, and I'm approachable - people feel they can talk to me.

So what do I do? I'm thinking something practical, some kind of trade. Wouldn't make me rich but then I've been in rubbish, low-paid jobs for years, so £35k a year would seem like a fortune to me, plus as we go into the long decline, having a versatile, useful skill seems like a good idea. Also doing something where I'd be working for lots of different people would seem to play to my people-skills, for the want of a better term.

I thought about IT for a bit, but it seems over-subscribed, and having to update my skill-set every couple of years sounds like a pain; also when I once tried learning a programming language it felt like I was forcing my brain to work in a way that it was never meant for. I'm also toying with the idea of some kind of, for the want of a less contentious way to put it, green-collar job, but I've no real idea what.

Conversely, I must admit I've often thought that if I could be bothered, doing some kind of business type thing would be lucrative, at least - not because I've got any particular aptitude, but because the world appears to be full of thickos who've made a fortune through little more than over-confidence in their own meagre abilities. I could fleece a few of them, easy... but then there's that pesky conscience to contend with.

Anyway, there you go, do your worst... what do you think I should do?

EDIT: Sorry for the huge post, it didn't look that big when I typed it...

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Guest Skinty

Have you thought about media studies? There's always jobs at McDonalds.

Sorry. Good idea about doing something practical. I'd love to learn carpentry. I love the idea of being able to make something out of nothing. It's why I initially enjoyed programming.

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OK, I'm probably going to regret this, but...

...let's say the world doesn't implode in the next few months/years, but that times are going to be getting harder for the foreseeable. Let's also say I've got a bit of spare money and time to devote to training/education, and I've realised that if I'm going to do a job that I don't even like, it might as well be something relatively well paid, and for which there's always likely be a demand, inasmuch as it's even possible to predict that. Also, I'm thinking it's probably a good idea to differentiate myself from all the rest of the people in this country who don't have any useful skills, and soon, being that I'm not getting any younger and we're at the top of a big, scary depression. With all that in mind, I need to decide what to learn.

I've been considering my strengths and weaknesses, and how they impact on my choice, and I wondered if anyone with a few minutes to kill might take a look and see share any ideas on what might suit me, given that a few people on here seem to have done alright for themselves. I think this list pretty much covers everything:

I'm fairly intelligent. Not a genius by any means but bright enough. Having said that, pure brain power - as in mental arithmetic, programming etc - isn't my thing. What I'm good at is remembering stuff - what goes where, how things work, etc. I get paid extra at work for being Mr Fix-it, the person you see if you need a question answered because I remember everything. Also I'm much better at hands-on learning than memorising facts in a classroom; in idle moments I like to think that once upon a time I might have been a craftsman of some sort, gradually building up a skill, or repertoire of skills.

I'm no good with forward planning. I can do it, but I don't particularly like having to, so this has ruled out moving to the training department where I work now, for instance. I'm better with having a problem put in front of me, sorting it, then moving on to the next thing.

I'm better with words than numbers. I'm not afraid of numbers, I just know my strengths, and long division isn't one of them, so accountancy and astrophysics are out.

I'm generally a nice guy. Not a pushover, mind, but reasonable, patient, friendly, polite, that kind of thing. So I get on with people easily and I pick my fights carefully, but I'm never going to be a salesman or a bailiff, because my conscience would get in the way. On the other hand, it means that I don't do things sloppily because I don't like knowing I've made someone else's life difficult through my own inaction, and I'm approachable - people feel they can talk to me.

So what do I do? I'm thinking something practical, some kind of trade. Wouldn't make me rich but then I've been in rubbish, low-paid jobs for years, so �35k a year would seem like a fortune to me, plus as we go into the long decline, having a versatile, useful skill seems like a good idea. Also doing something where I'd be working for lots of different people would seem to play to my people-skills, for the want of a better term.

I thought about IT for a bit, but it seems over-subscribed, and having to update my skill-set every couple of years sounds like a pain; also when I once tried learning a programming language it felt like I was forcing my brain to work in a way that it was never meant for. I'm also toying with the idea of some kind of, for the want of a less contentious way to put it, green-collar job, but I've no real idea what.

Conversely, I must admit I've often thought that if I could be bothered, doing some kind of business type thing would be lucrative, at least - not because I've got any particular aptitude, but because the world appears to be full of thickos who've made a fortune through little more than over-confidence in their own meagre abilities. I could fleece a few of them, easy... but then there's that pesky conscience to contend with.

Anyway, there you go, do your worst... what do you think I should do?

EDIT: Sorry for the huge post, it didn't look that big when I typed it...

Plumbing or the law, if you want something vocational. Plumbing in a post peak oil era looks a better bet. Or something medical.

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Something that seems to appeal to some ex-professional types is prison officer. They (for reasons best known to themselves) seem to like a crminology or social worker degree so you can look at this.

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Carpentry would be awesome!!! I'd love to be a joiner - to actually build something of immediate use and then be able to apply it to your own home. Wow... but I don't know how many apprenticeships there are and I've heard you can be poor for up to a decade before money starts coming in. Maybe too many people doing it now?

I do know one guy who's done it for 30 years - has a mansion of a house, downstairs swimming pool, the lot. His sons are electricians and decorators... b@stards lol!

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Become an expert in converting existing properties to low-energy consumption.

Every house will be a different, complex problem.

Thanks to Gordy, the demand for this skill in the UK is going to rise very fast from about 2015.

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With regards to doing something at university the only thing worth doing for the money is dentistry and medicine, two-licensed profession with little competition.

However because the government is shit and hates you they limit the numbers going into that field so you practically need AAA grades at a-levels plus A at GCSE English and mathematics plus need to perform well in the interviews.

So if you cant jump those government hoops which most people cant then I would recommend you study nothing at university level.

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Become an expert in converting existing properties to low-energy consumption.

Every house will be a different, complex problem.

Thanks to Gordy, the demand for this skill in the UK is going to rise very fast from about 2015.

No licence = no megabucks

So unless Gordon is going to make it licensed it isn’t going to be huge money.

There is only three ways to make decent money.

Work in a limited and licensed trade or industry such as being a dentist or doctor. Not easy but not impossible.

Be very very…..very good at what you do so that an employer pays you a premium. Obviously this isn’t easy and more difficult than the above.

Run your own business or work for yourself. This is probably the easiest of the lot but requires the most work in the long run. There is also risk plus you probably need capital to start with.

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I found myself in a similar situation a few years back after spending 20 years working as a precision engineer/toolmaker. Thanks to Gordie's hatred of everybody who actually produces something i found myself being laid off three times in three years due to factory closures. My advice to you is to forget about what pays the most money but instead concentrate on something you are interested in and love to do. If that means you need to go to uni then go. Despite how people knock it, it is fantastic to go as a mature student and you will have a great time but only if the subject is something that you love.

You're only on this earth for a limited time so go and enjoy it whilst you can!

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I found myself in a similar situation a few years back after spending 20 years working as a precision engineer/toolmaker. Thanks to Gordie's hatred of everybody who actually produces something i found myself being laid off three times in three years due to factory closures. My advice to you is to forget about what pays the most money but instead concentrate on something you are interested in and love to do. If that means you need to go to uni then go. Despite how people knock it, it is fantastic to go as a mature student and you will have a great time but only if the subject is something that you love.

You're only on this earth for a limited time so go and enjoy it whilst you can!

Go on then....

What job did you change to and are you glad you did?

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Guest X-QUORK
Plumbing or the law,

Law seems like a good suggestion to me, especially if you have a good memory and are wordy rather than numerically minded. Hard work to get there but potentially a decent salary in the long term.

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Law seems like a good suggestion to me, especially if you have a good memory and are wordy rather than numerically minded. Hard work to get there but potentially a decent salary in the long term.

Although someone more familiar with the profession should speak I would say law is NOT a good profession to go into simply because of the sheer number of kids doing law.

We only need a certain number of lawyers and I think we have already past that point.

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No licence = no megabucks

So unless Gordon is going to make it licensed it isn’t going to be huge money.

There is only three ways to make decent money.

Work in a limited and licensed trade or industry such as being a dentist or doctor. Not easy but not impossible.

Be very very…..very good at what you do so that an employer pays you a premium. Obviously this isn’t easy and more difficult than the above.

Run your own business or work for yourself. This is probably the easiest of the lot but requires the most work in the long run. There is also risk plus you probably need capital to start with.

I think the OP made it clear that megabucks wasn't the goal, just 35k.

IMO a proven expert in converting houses to low-energy consumption will be able to make a lot more than this after 2015.

If money is the goal, there are plenty of better ideas. I was thinking this would be sufficiently lucrative and would have the "useful" feel-good factor.

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I'm better with words than numbers.

How about learning Mandarin? All the future job opportunites appear to be in the east, so it may open a few doors for you if

only in the field of translation.

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Guest X-QUORK
Although someone more familiar with the profession should speak I would say law is NOT a good profession to go into simply because of the sheer number of kids doing law.

We only need a certain number of lawyers and I think we have already past that point.

Fair point, I hadn't really considered that.

What about mechanical engineering, with a view to specialising in green technologies?

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Guest DisposableHeroes

It's a difficult one. As with many things it's all relative to you as an individual. As the majority of people spend a large portion of their lives working, you many as well go for something you enjoy doing.

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Guest theboltonfury
How about learning Mandarin? All the future job opportunites appear to be in the east, so it may open a few doors for you if

only in the field of translation.

As I underatand it, Mandarin involves making some noises that westerners just can't make. Thus making it almost impossible to learn this language properly. Could be wrong.

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I considered being a teacher but couldn't face it because -

a) it's false that there are lots of positions in Scotland, and that's where I want to stay

B) no control over the class anymore!

Engineering might be a bit too technical/numbers-focussed for the OP?

How about joining the police? Good career, fairly stable and good pension? I've certainly thought about it! Though having to deal with scumbags every day puts me off a bit.

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Though having to deal with scumbags every day puts me off a bit.

You're never going to get on with your fellow Police Officers with that attitude.

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Fair point, I hadn't really considered that.

What about mechanical engineering, with a view to specialising in green technologies?

Engineering is a lost cause in this country and I would NOT recommend it to anyone bar some very specialised engineering such as aeronautical engineering if you want to get into F1 as an example.

Maybe just maybe do it if your realty interested but at the end of the day you need to make some money and live a decent life and engineering is not going to make you middle class. At best your looking at middle working class (ie £30-50k pa and that is after years of experience)

You may think about engineering if you want to get into investment banking but then you are better off doing straight physics or mathematics.

A good engineer or scientist is worth more than their weight in gold but employers do not appreciate this nor do they reward it.

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I think the OP made it clear that megabucks wasn't the goal, just 35k.

IMO a proven expert in converting houses to low-energy consumption will be able to make a lot more than this after 2015.

If money is the goal, there are plenty of better ideas. I was thinking this would be sufficiently lucrative and would have the "useful" feel-good factor.

Everything is relative I suppose but he will not be happy on £35k. presumably he would be happy with it now but if you need to support a family or save money for retirement or have anything but the basics you need a lot more than that especially with the way house prices are.

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Guest Skinty

I think the most important skills now are the ones that give you a choice of emigrating.

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As I underatand it, Mandarin involves making some noises that westerners just can't make. Thus making it almost impossible to learn this language properly. Could be wrong.

You are wrong.

Mandarin takes quite a long time to bed in, but you can be understood even with a foreign accent.

The problem students face is it is quite a nasal language and involves using the back of the mouth which feels uncomfortable and strange.

The other obstacle is the written language which is not as hard as many make out (the characters have a good deal of logic once you get the hang of it) but requires rote memorisation and a good deal of time. On the plus side, Chinese has very little grammar and learning it is basically a matter of mastering the tones (takes time, not impossible) and memorising vocab. They also use the Subject Verb Object word order like in English, so it is not like Japanese where sentences appear to the native English speaker to be written backward.

I would say however if you want to learn Mandarin you need to be a Sinophile. It takes a level of commitment to master which would not apply to the study of European languages.

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