View Full Version : Jobs after college and what to do in the meantime

01-28-2012, 10:35 PM
I have spent two years working toward a B.S. in psychology and minor in ecology (well technically a year and a half right now, I'm still a sophomore). I don't really know what I'm doing after school but I was thinking I would find a relevant internship next year and work on building experience for counseling so that I have it as a job option if I can't go to grad school. If that's what I end up doing, I want to counsel with children. I'm a paid tutor at the intermediate school here and I've already done two teaching internships with different age groups (I was an education major on top of everything else, but had to drop it because there were so many requirements that I would've graduated late). My goal is to go to grad school and become a college professor, but if I can't afford it, it's out of the question and I still need a job.

Anyway, in the last year, I've been writing. I applied for a job as a web content writer because I needed the extra money and I know I'm good at writing. In this year, my feelings toward the job have gone from "I need the money" to "I genuinely like doing this". I feel good every time I finish an article and see it online somewhere, even if it's under someone else's name since I sell the rights. I got a second job as a copywriter with a SEO company this week and I like working there too. I have an e-lance profile and continually look for clients on the side.

I've been asking myself questions. I know I like this. I think I would like counseling and I think I would like going to grad school for psych or ecology, but I know I like this. I can see myself writing articles or content as a career, or working as a copyeditor. Just clean, technical writing, research and editing. Would it be possible to progress farther with writing as a career with the degrees I'm earning? Could I go to grad school with a psychology B.S. and study writing or editing instead? Can I make a living this way? Could I work extra hard for my last 2 years in college and add an Editing and Publishing minor, or a B.A. in English?

If anyone has thoughts feel free to add them. I'm not really sure what I'm looking for, but I needed to get this out. Also if anyone here has a career in content writing or editing or anything even tangentially related, I'd love to hear what the prerequisites are so I can think about it.

01-29-2012, 01:49 AM
I'm currently in grad school for ecology (PhD). In my experience, it doesn't matter what your undergrad was in, as long as you have the prereqs. Heck, one of my schoolmates had her BA in Art History before going for her Master's in ecology. Just like no one cares about what you did in high school once you're in college, no one cares what you did undergrad once you're in grad school or the real world. My brother has a BA in psych yet works in computer networking and is working on an MBA. My mom's an occupational therapist by schooling, with a Master's in education, but works as a consultant in health communications (i.e., writing).

One good thing about grad school in the sciences: we don't pay tuition, just a handful of fees. In fact, thanks to TAing (or RAing, which in this situation means Research Assistant), we actually get paid. Not a lot, but enough to live on if you're frugal. I'm in my 7th year, no debt, and I even self-funded my field work.

You say you want to be a prof, but of what? Psych and ecology are rather....different. As is English. And journalism. And whatever else you mentioned.

Don't focus so much on the job thing. Something will fall into place, perhaps something you can't imagine right now, since it's years away. In this post alone, you're said you want to be a professor (of something), a counselor, a researcher, a writer, an editor....

I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, though I've ruled out a bunch of things. I'm leaning toward teaching, and I know I'd rather gnaw my own arm off than write grants. I hear grantwriters--people who understand enough of the science to write the proposal but are crazy enough to like doing it--can make good money.

Basically, you sound plenty ambitious, but somehow completely scattered and hyperfocused all at once. You're hellbent on....something. Relax. Take classes that sound interesting, talk to TAs and profs about what you enjoy and are good at to get more of an idea of where you want to go. And remember that whatever you pick, you can change paths later. Most people in my program did *not* start just after undergrad, but worked for a while. My adviser prefers people like that, since we're in grad school because we want to be, not because we just didn't feel like joining the real world. Really, you don't have to pick your career(s) now.

Feel free to PM me if you want more info.


01-29-2012, 02:28 AM
My husband is a copywriter. He has dual degrees in PR and Advertising, though that's mostly because he started in PR and didn't realize he liked advertising until he got into it. He does a bit of PR because he has to, but he's still heart and soul a copywriter.

I can only give you US information, and I suspect you are overseas. We live in a big city, but there aren't many true advertising agencies and very few branches of large ones that have locations in multiple large cities. In order to do copywriting, you still need experience and if you're in your first few years of work, a degree in Advertising, Journalism, English, or a related field. The big cities with lots of advertising agencies pretty much require a degree in Advertising. Husband has been working for 5 years and where he went to school and what he majored in is still very important, possibly because he went to a very good school with a lot of alumni in the area.

The good thing about copywriting is that it pays decently (much better than journalism!) and there are plenty of jobs doing what you're doing. Husband is in online marketing and while sometimes he gets to work on fun stuff like banner ads, he spends more time writing FAQs for customers and optimizing pages for SEO (not in a link-bait way, in a "We research Google to understand the algorithms" way). At his old job, he wrote all the brochures that his credit union clients handed out to customers--stuff about loans, bank accounts, etc. He's written letters from the president and edited annual reports.

I don't know much about technical writing. My city is very focused on a specific type of industry, so all I know is that Husband said he would rather deliver pizza to pay the bills while waiting for a copywriting position to open up than write 100 page manuals about industry widgets. This is coming from the guy who spent at least one day a week reading and proofing legal disclaimers at the job he'd been laid off from prior to making this statement.

01-29-2012, 03:35 AM
Yes, absolutely, you can get plenty of work writing with your current degrees. A writer is typically judged by her folio of work (ghostwriting counts); not by the specific letters behind her name.

In other words; if you can produce the goods, you can get the job.

Me <--- two editions of a published book, lost count of published articles. And I do mean paid/edited/etc published, not self-published or blog entries.

I will say one thing: include in 'ghostwriting' contracts that you have permission to show the work as yours for the purpose of getting future work; especially future ghostwriting work.