Hi everyone, I apologize in advance for the length of this post. I’m hoping to get some advice on several options or at least a fresh perspective on my current “station” in life. For starters, I’m a 28 year old male, college grad, working full-time in a local government position (administrative in nature, ie low-level). I have no debt, money saved, investments, 401k, healthcare, a car (used and dying, hoping to replace soon), but I do live with my parents (at a heavily discounted rent rate compared to local rents. My hope is to advance to a higher, better compensated position or a new career field in a more metro area and live alone.
At the moment, I live in one of the priciest states, in an area lacking in opportunity and housing. Basically, we’re part of the greater LA region, average rent is now $1500 for a studio (seen $1300 in high crime areas) vacancy is under 1% in most parts, homes are between $450k (low end, bad area), and over $1mil with condos usually fetching 3-500k. This whole area can be summarized as "big city prices and problems (crime, traffic) with small town amenities"
lacking in entertainment, dating, opportunity, education options, etc.) So, how did I end up stuck with my parents at 28? Saving money in school was emphasized to me, so I opted to live at home and commute to school while working part-time. I also chose a terrible major... urban planning, after switching from civil engineering. Unfortunately, I also graduated in 2009, right into a terribly recessed economy. I was able to continue working at my part-time job, eventually landing a full-time gig that was eliminated just three months later due to “unforeseen budget constraints.” I begged my way back into my old job, and struggled for several more years to find gainful employment, particularly within the field of planning. I finally beat out over 100 other people for a different public sector job, albeit relating to taxation and very “admin assistant in nature.” I worked both jobs for over a year, finally opting to drop the part-time gig (65 hour work weeks get old fast). I currently make just under 40k a year, with little to no prospect of moving up. There have been absolutely no promotions or openings since I started here (2.5 years) despite resignations and retirements. Anyways, in light of my long held frustration with this job, my income, this area of the country and being compelled to live at home due to prohibitive costs, I’ve been considering some alternatives. I’ll lay them out, with some of the benefits and drawbacks as I see them.
1. Go back to school in one of my ideal areas to finish grad school in planning.
-Urban planning jobs generally require a Master’s even for entry level work (for no reason other than to create a barrier to entry)
-Planning keeps me in the public sector, in pursuit of the almighty pension
-Planning is largely a bureaucratic, highly political field
-Cost of the degree (I can afford it), but it does mean sacrificing my current income for a mild increase in income
2. Online degree (Masters in Public Admin)
-Keep working while completing, applying for other jobs out of state
-Can be applied towards planning, especially with a planning undergrad (most people go geography or political science bachelor’s, then pursue a masters in planning) Few people have an undergrad in planning
-A very general degree, with a very vague application, so it could be of very minor benefit to pursue
3. Pursue new field (computer science)
-Highly skilled with computers, diagnostics, maintenance, coding, etc.
-Would have stayed in STEM if I could do it all over again (Engineering or computer programming)
-There are options for people with skills and a prior degree
4. Coding boot camp
-Generally high rate of successful employment afterward
-Fairly quick, a few months
-Career can be very stressful
-Generally lower pay
-Summers off (not always, often have to teach summer school or take a 2nd job to make ends meet)
-The kids today...
What’s holding me back
• Fear of cost, despite having enough money to last for several years without working
• Fear of failure
• The comfort of my current situation (job, living at home, saving money)
• Health care (had a stroke)
What’s motivating me
• Frustration with job
• Frustration with area I live in
• Desire to achieve more
Basically, I want to get a move on with life, be able to purchase property and advance in a career (outside CA). I primarily just want to meet my basic needs and travel. I'm very frugal, but I enjoy being financially secure. I estimate 60k a year to be my ideal salary that I as a single man can have a modest home, travel a bit, save and invest with.
You are thinking about this too much.
Find a person who is working IN THE FIELD that you want to be in, come 10 years. Ask that person how to get there.
Thanks for the response, but that occurred to me in my youth. I've spent time with individuals in several fields, including the ones I mentioned. I know exactly what needs to be done to enter each, or how to play each scenario. I guess I was looking more for some thoughts and opinions, or a fresh perspective on where I'm at right now.
Awesome chart.... i love to see what im dealing with in front of me too... weigh out my options, make sure i havent missed out facts and considerations that are important to me.
When you go through your list of options... which one does your spirit react to?
Which one has you .... in wonder... a bit dreamy?
Which one increases your heart rate? Is it powerful and steady... or is it anxious?
Which one makes you relax feel comfortable.. peaceful?
Our thoughts inform of of a lot... but so does our spirit.
Simplify it for a minute to give your spirit a chance to react. Don't look at the details right now. You KNOW the details. Just look at your headings of the options.
I would go for a jog, or do something else physical that you love to do... and not think about any of this... put some music on and have fun. Return home and shower. Lay down for a while.. .take a nap maybe. And THEN. .. take a look at those headings and connect with how you feel... not what you think... but how you feel.