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Working in a job below your education level


Business and Professional Relationships Networking and maintaining a positive environment in the work place is important! Surviving the 9-to-5 within.

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Old 3rd January 2019, 5:21 PM   #16
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There are people out there who derive happiness from dynamic, adrenaline pumped work environment. There are even people that are happier getting a promotion than getting married. If you are the type that doesn't and isn't motivated by achievement then that's fine, but it's not some universal truth.

Solid retirement plan is also crucial if you don't want to spend last years of your life leaving in poverty. And for that, you actually need more money than you think.
I agree with you on these points. I've always been very serious about retirement savings. It's true I could die before I see a penny of it, but I will leave it to family if that's the case. I think there are some jobs that are conflated with identity, and that's good if you want it. If I had stayed in academia, I wouldn't have minded that. I left because of the terrible job market, not because I didn't enjoy it. A humanities PhD is just not a path to a career anymore.

I've realized that I don't want my current job to spill over into my personal life, and I have other projects I'm more interested in. I've decided to get serious with my writing and get back into hiking and traveling more. All of this means I won't be working towards advancement in my profession. It's new for me because I've always been very interested in career advancement.
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Old 3rd January 2019, 6:43 PM   #17
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One of my very close friends went from being a medic to teaching (at uni), taking quite a big paycut in the process, almost on a coin flip.

She was all about the pace of life, finding a good work/life balance and going back to converting her MPhil into a PhD. I had my reservations at the time and there were a combination of things in her life that led me to think this was more a hitting her 40s mid-life crisis but I helped her find a job anyway and it all took off very quickly from there.

For a few months, it seemed to suit her. She was determined to get her PhD (not in Humanities) and took teaching in her stride. Fast forward to last summer; she jacked it all in and went back to her old job, full-time. She missed the job too much; from what I know of medics, it's like it's in the blood anyway.

I'm not entirely sure why she needed to slow down at that point but I know she's much happier now, in her 'natural environment'. I've always known her to be driven and really passionate about her job so that new career path didn't make a lot of sense but I guess she needed to experience that for herself. She changed hospitals since, and it seems to have made all the difference for her.

So this isn't really a 'success story' as far as sticking to working a job below education level (or paycheck) but it is as far as following your gut and going for what you need to do for yourself.

If working your current job eventually allows you to get more out of life, go for it. Nothing is set in stone. You can always use your new degree at a later stage.
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Old 4th January 2019, 7:39 PM   #18
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Let's look at this realistically. When a person is dying, their energy level slowly decreases to the point where they drift in and out of consciousness. They have no energy to do anything else but to hold their loved ones hand and maybe talk. In that state, it is natural for a person to be repelled by the mere thought of working. People also have a tendency to remake their memories based on their current mood and state of mind. It doesn't surprise me in the least that deathbed quotes are along the lines "all you need is love". That doesn't mean they should be taken as the gospel or "this is the real truth". This is true for them in their altered state of mind. I have heard of cases of people making miracle recoveries and went straight back to their old lifestyle.
While I agree that people need to plan for their futures financially, a high-stress job can cause illnesses and shorten their lives, making them closer to their deathbeds. No wonder this wouldn't be on their mind when they're nearing their ends.

At my last job, those that cried at the job tended to have a weaker immune system and got sick very often. All of those that left it, including me, somehow got much better health-wise as soon as we started new jobs.

Sure, correlation is not causation, but I would put some weight in that quote about the last wishes on the deathbed.

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Old 5th January 2019, 12:16 AM   #19
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It doesn't surprise me in the least that deathbed quotes are along the lines "all you need is love".
You're missing the point. I certainly don't claim a sample size large enough for universal truths, but the few I've spoken with had a remarkably consistent message - they'd have wished for different priorities, feeling in pursuing the destination they lost sight of the journey.

It certainly resonated with me. YMMV...

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Old 21st January 2019, 2:17 PM   #20
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I recently took up a pretty junior position - its not below my educational level (it still needs a PhD) but itís far below the rank my level of experience, publications record, management track record etc could command. But I took it because the project excited me, and because I just clicked instantly with the person who is now my line manager. Itís an insane commute, so I work from home a good bit, but aside from that itís been great.

My line manager keeps hinting at longer-term possibilities, once the project is finished, and the university does look after its staff very well, but for the first time in a long time Iím just not interested in climbing up greasy poles to career advancement. Iíve done my time on that - and Iím lucky to be in a comfortable enough position where I donít really need to worry about making more than I do. The kids are all grown, my house is paid off, my expenses are pretty basic. Iíd far rather do something that makes me want to wake up in the morning and rush off to do it than something that pays me well but comes at a cost to my soul.
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Old 24th January 2019, 8:18 AM   #21
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I just got an advanced nursing degree. Right now, I work as a nurse. The hours are just better with what I'm currently doing. I applied for a job a few months ago that I needed my masters for, and I didn't get it. The hours were 12 hour days, 7 days in a row, and then 7 days off. The pay was 1000.00 more a month. The other option is 5 days a week in a clinic. The hours I have now are much better and worth less pay to me. I could actually make 1000.00 more a month at my job now if I wanted to work more days, so that option is always there.

My sister is an advanced degree nurse, and her job consumes her. My ex was a physician, and I've seen how that job can consume a person's life. I just feel like I've come to a point in my life where I'm not interested in chasing a career anymore. I want to focus on other things like travel, working on the book I've half finished, and getting back into hiking. Last month, I was thinking about how weird last year was and how I feel like I've let some of my goals slide in the past several years. I wrote down some goals, and none of them had to do with my career.

I've been at the same place. It happens because as you get older you start sitting back and saying do I want my entire life to be a career? You can get fulfillment in other things too. Like I started a small online business, picked up some new hobbies too.


I think there is a stat that once you hit 60k a year, more doesn't really improve your quality of life because you buy more expensive stuff. You adjust your lifestyle to the income.


I would go with a lower stress job, with a little less pay, if I was comfortable and had other things I wanted to do. Plus, those jobs aren't going anywhere. Maybe travel for a year or two and then if you find you just needed to get that out of your system and go for the higher end job, go for it. The nice thing is, you are in a spot to make a decision and nursing isn't going anywhere.


Good luck!!
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Old 25th January 2019, 4:36 AM   #22
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I guess you live and work from USA. 2005 was the year you decided to quit your Ph.D. program. 2005 was the year I decided to join my Ph.D. program, which i eventually completed in 2011. i worked on communication studies at the department of Humanities and Social Sciences in a premier institute in India. Jobs in India, in humanities, are scarce too. I didn't know you had a pretty similar situation in USA as well!
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Old 25th January 2019, 9:48 AM   #23
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I guess you live and work from USA. 2005 was the year you decided to quit your Ph.D. program. 2005 was the year I decided to join my Ph.D. program, which i eventually completed in 2011. i worked on communication studies at the department of Humanities and Social Sciences in a premier institute in India. Jobs in India, in humanities, are scarce too. I didn't know you had a pretty similar situation in USA as well!
Most faculty are adjunct in the humanities. It's no longer a legitimate career path. Humanities departments are seeing decreased enrollment, which compounds the problem.
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Old 28th January 2019, 8:15 PM   #24
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I got the job I went to college for luckily. Itís terribly boring, but my manager loves me and I get along with my co-workers. Plus it pays decently, thereís lots of room for growth, and I can basically do it with my eyes closed. The real world is weird lol
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Old 28th January 2019, 8:17 PM   #25
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My decision is made to stay at this job, but I'm wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience. How did it turn out for you? Did you regret it?
i've also been in the same place. i got my masters and through that, worked in a top-level fashion industry position...but after 6 years, i was exhausted both physically and mentally. i'd go to work and feel incomplete, because it just wasn't my passion anymore. plus, it didn't help that it was a very stressful and demanding job.

in the back of my mind, for a long time, i had always wanted to pursue massage therapy as i felt that i had a natural talent for it and wanted to help people. so, after a week of researching and thinking, i gave my two weeks notice at my fashion industry job and started massage school a couple months later. fast forward to 2019, i'm much happier and feeling more fulfilled. while i don't make as much money as i used to, it definitely beats feeling stressed all the time and not feeling excited about going to work. plus, i have MORE time to pursue other hobbies!
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Old 27th February 2019, 5:57 AM   #26
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I don't work at a job below my education level but rather, I work at a job outside my acquired degree. I think self-study really is key. In graduated with an English degree (completely useless now I think about it) but while I was studying, I was also learning about digital marketing.

Now I work for a website builder similar to wix or jimdo and the pay is very good.

Because I have skills in digital, the opportunities are knocking on my door.

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Old 27th February 2019, 7:48 AM   #27
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I just finished graduate school, but I've realized I don't want to pursue any jobs in that line of work. I had thoughts of this during school, but I pushed them aside and wanted to finish what I started. I have a great job right now. I work 10 days a month and make good money. Nothing I'll become wealthy from, but I've been able to squirrel away a good bit for retirement. I can also work overtime at any point if I need extra money. I also have really good benefits, and I can get a lot of time off for vacation if I want it. Mostly, I love my quality of life. I have so many days off that I can pursue other hobbies and travel when I want to. Those things are very important to me.

My decision is made to stay at this job, but I'm wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience. How did it turn out for you? Did you regret it?

As others have said... quality of life is more important (to some) than wealth. My current job, I travel... and I really don't like being away from home. BUT... when I am home... I don't have to go to an office. I get to be HOME. (just need a phone, and computer handy if something comes up)

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Work to live or live to work?

Received my degree in Biology, ended up in the restaurant/club business ..........................

Mr. Lucky


That's funny. I think we are very similar. I also have a Bio degree (along with a few others) but wound up in the F&B world.
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Old 27th February 2019, 5:46 PM   #28
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I also have a Bio degree (along with a few others) but wound up in the F&B world.
I feel for you. I've made all my kids work in restaurants when they were teenagers for two reasons -

- it's a crash-course in human nature

- they'll be smart enough to do something else

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Old 28th February 2019, 7:10 PM   #29
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I'm lucky in an unlucky sort of way. I'm disabled and work part-time, I'm living the life! I work for a chiropractor so I don't feel like I'm not using my brain or any of the skills I've acquired though my degree is in Housing Studies (go figure I live with mom at the moment). That's the only thing I'm working to change. Excellent insurance, money to live. In fact I'm only allowed to make so much but I never did get a job in my field and make more now than I did working FT. It sucks that I screwed up my mind, and am now forever in treatment and therapy. But there's a bonus side to it. And I'm living the best life I can be.
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