College degree vs. Job outlook?

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-ryan-

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I am on the precipice of graduation, with only a week more of undergraduate classes and a couple weeks before I have the degree in my hands. I still have a student teaching semester to finish up, but that is at least going to be something new and different.

Basically, I am getting a degree in music education, as well as nys teaching certification, but the job outlook is bleak. Not only is no one hiring, but it is estimated that 15,000-20,000 nys teachers will lose their jobs this year. Sooo, that doesn't make it very likely that I will be able to find a job, let alone the job that I would like (teaching band). On the other hand it looks like I might have the opportunity to get a job working for my father. I'm sure the money would be decent, and the hours would be fair (they are only open during normal working hours), but it would have absolutely nothing to do with music or teaching.

So I am feeling a bit of guilt now, because I actually would really enjoy taking this opportunity, and it is a job that I have always wanted, however I have spent so much time and money on this degree and I feel uneasy about the fact that I may not use it. I am a professional performing musician, which in this economy only means a few thousand a year, and I teach drum and percussion lessons, which yields pretty decent money, so technically I would be using my degree, just not for what the college intends. I am also a little paranoid that my students (and their parents) might not take me as seriously if I am not an actual school teacher and my day job has nothing to do with music.

It's an interesting position to be in, as like I said this is a job I have wanted since I was five years old, and I would definitely like to take the opportunity, but I am concerned that I might be wasting all of the time and money that I put into my degree.

Luckily the tortoises don't judge... much.
 

terryo

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My son is in his third year of college, and I will tell you the same thing I told him. If you don't follow your dream, you will always regret it. You have to get up in the AM wanting to go to a job that you love.
 

chadk

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Well, my years at the university payed off, but I"m not working in the field I intended. I studied Electrical Engineering, but now I'm in IT\Software. And I've never regreted it because I enjoy what I'm doing and providing for my family. The degree helped open some doors, but that is about it.

You could try to work for your dad while patiently looking and waiting for a good music job. On the side, do what you can to keep your skills up to date and try building a resume. Things like leading a music program in church, or tutoring \ music lessons, volunteer your music skills, and other things that involve networking and keeping your eyes peeled for that opportunity...
 

chikken

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First of all, congratulations on being so close to graduation!

Second, I completely understand the guilt factor. I myself have an undergraduate fine arts degree in creative writing and a master's in elementary education-- I'm not currently under contract as either a writer or a teacher. While I'm dead set on not letting that writing degree go to waste it doesn't have to be a primary career, and I seem to be ambivalent about whether my full-time career is in the classroom. I get the guilt, after 7 years of combined schooling... I'm sure you can guess the rest. One thing that makes me feel better is that, of everyone I know, there are only a very select handful who are actually using their degrees. It's a strange, strange thing.

My advice though is to do what's going to make you feel good and not worry about the rest. I mean, look, right now it's really tough to be a specialty teacher-- everyone says that education is a completely safe profession to get into, but it's definitely not right now. Districts are cutting positions left and right to save the money that they're hemorrhaging (which isn't benefiting the kids, but that's another discussion for another time), and it's really hard to get a position. You've wanted a position with your father's company since you were a little boy, it's guaranteed work with fair pay and good hours that you would enjoy... take it. It's better to be secure in this economy than to be floundering. And the best part is that when you're ready to move on in a couple of years-- if you get to that point-- there will always be schools and you can be applying to teach music in the classroom then.

Whatever you decide, good luck with it!

(And I think you lucked out with non-judgmental tortoises, because mine always looks like he's judging me. ;))
 

chadk

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Don't be afraid to branch out too. You may not want to move, but I bet there are many districts accross the country that are doing much better than NYC.
 

Shelly

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My Middle School band teacher changed my life. His name was Tommy Johnson and he was a genius. Without his influence, I never would have found my way to a career in the music (guitar) business.
GO FOR IT!!!
 

Tom

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chadk said:
Well, my years at the university payed off, but I"m not working in the field I intended. I studied Electrical Engineering, but now I'm in IT\Software. And I've never regreted it because I enjoy what I'm doing and providing for my family. The degree helped open some doors, but that is about it.

You could try to work for your dad while patiently looking and waiting for a good music job. On the side, do what you can to keep your skills up to date and try building a resume. Things like leading a music program in church, or tutoring \ music lessons, volunteer your music skills, and other things that involve networking and keeping your eyes peeled for that opportunity...

I agree with Chad on this. This happens to many people who try to go into the animal business too.

Ignore the naysayers, stop watching the news and go out there and apply for those jobs you want with the full confidence that you will get it and you deserve it.

Whether you think you will succeed or you think you won't, you are right. Keep your chin up and just make it happen. You will succeed, unless you give up. Just do what you have to do in the meantime to survive and get by.

Good luck and congratulations on the degree.
 

Isa

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It all depends of what your dream is? Follow your instincs on this one :) I am sure that deep down inside you, you really know what job you want. Good luck and let us know what you decide :)
 

Laura

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Another perspective... from someone who is about to lose thier dad.. working with your father might be a wonderful way to spend some quality time with him. Only you know if that would be a good thing.. I am lucky and work in the field that i love.. Animals. HOWEVER what my passion is with animals is rehabbing and Conservation. I have done that as well, but it is Always Volunteer. So you can work a job-career to make ends meet and pay the bills etc.. but your Hobby can be what your passion is. Due to economy and your choosen field, a good job will be hard to find. BUT I bet there are programs where you could volunteer your time, help kids etc and still 'get something' out of it for yourself. Satisfaction etc. AND when times get better.. you will still have the expereince, foot in the door for when jobs Do come back around.

ps. It look better on a resume' to be working, even if not what your degree is for. then to not be doing anything..
 

ZippyButter

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Keep your dream going. Have you ever thought about going on for Master? Because with the situation about jobs in the music fields, it does not look promising in the entire country. You could also take advantage of working with your dad and keep your music as a second career for now until you could land a position somewhere. The point is don't let anyone's opinion or comment get you down. Just set your goal and pursue it, soon or later you will get there. In the meantime, keep in touch with all of your former professors, friends, and colleagues in the music fields, this will come in handy. Good luck to you.


Minh
 

pugsandkids

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Your degree will last forever. My two cents? Do not feel guilty! Appreciate that you had the opportunity to go to school and pursue something you love. Who knows? Years down the line, the powers that be may pull their heads out of their a$$e$$ and music programs will return full strength. (We can dream right?) Go work with your dad, if thats what will make you happy!


I'm on the flip side. I married and had my kids young. Now I'm realizing that I would love to teach! Do I dare go to school, incurring tens of thousands in loans, 4 years before my oldest hits college? Not right now! Would've been nice to have it out of the way though ;)
I think you are in a good spot!
 

-ryan-

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Thanks for all of the input! Right now I am in 'wait and see' mode. I still need to do my student teaching next fall, so I am planning on working for my dad over the summer as well as continuing teaching private percussion lessons and playing gigs, which should combine to be pretty decent money. Then I'll have to go back to just gigs and lessons for the four months while student teaching (but I'll probably also still fill in at my dad's place when the schools have off and such).

That's about as far ahead as I have planned right now. I think that I will have a better idea after spending four months in the summer working for my dad and four months as a student teacher, what exactly I want to do.

To be honest, when I started the degree I didn't have any intention of becoming a school teacher. I knew I had to go to college, and what better to go to college for than music. Since I wanted to get a practical degree, getting an ed. degree was the obvious choice. Over the past four years I have discovered some of teaching's merits, as well as the pitfalls, so I am more open to being a teacher right now than I was before, but I am not sure if it is the job for me. My intention from the start was to use this degree as an opportunity to learn more about teaching and pad my resume so that I am a more qualified private instructor of drums and percussion. At this point I am wondering if I should have just gotten a B.A. in music instead, because then I would be completely done now and not have to student teach :)

I guess I feel like I would be happiest working for my dad in the daytime and continuing to teach private lessons and play gigs in the evenings. But I say that knowing that I have the capacity to change my mind rapidly.
 

chikken

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pugsandkids said:
I'm on the flip side. I married and had my kids young. Now I'm realizing that I would love to teach! Do I dare go to school, incurring tens of thousands in loans, 4 years before my oldest hits college? Not right now! Would've been nice to have it out of the way though ;)
I think you are in a good spot!

It may not be possible for your situation, but check around for teacher prep programs in your area that pay for your schooling. I got a master's in 18 months, tuition paid for because of this great intensive program at a university. There were a lot of parents in the program... if it's something you'd be passionate about, it could work out for you (and for a lot less money)!
 

webskipper

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-ryan- said:
So I am feeling a bit of guilt now, because I actually would really enjoy taking this opportunity

My orchestra teacher (Ms Fox, McMurray, PA) changed the direction of my life by teaching me how to think outside the box. By my second year of studying the Cello (4th grade) and with some private lessons, I was transcribing piano music to the bass clef just to entertain myself with movie themes like Jaws and Star Wars (the whole movie), other 70's themes and songs. Then in High School, I got Electric Bass lessons from the guy KISS did not want to play lead Guitar because he wouldn't grow out his hair (Joe Something). Man I wish I had time to pick up Cello again.

Here in Tucson they killed the whole Music and Arts program. You would be every kids teacher for private lessons.

The parents will only look down on you for not pursuing your happiness. You gotta eat, too.
 

jackrat

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Dude,I've got a degree in occupational therapy,a degree in culinary arts(was a chef for a number of years). For the last fifteen years I've been a crane operator on an offshore oil drilling rig and love it(and make a way better living than the previous two endevers). I guess what I'm trying to say is do what makes you happy and you will be successful. My brother has a PHD in economics,doesn't make that good of a living,and is about to die from stress.
 
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Maggie Cummings

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This is embarrassing to admit but I was a hellion growing up in San Francisco in the late 50's and 60's so...It was the perfect time to get involved in sex drugs and rock and roll...so I did. I just had more fun for 30 years or so. I dropped out of school in the 9th grade. It's fortunate that I was very well read so in reading I could learn stuff I missed out on. I don't really know how many years I was out there. But one day I got sober and in desperation for a job. A friend pointed out how much I loved driving and hot cars and traveling so he offered to pay my way thru truck driving school. I would pay the tuition and he would support me in food and clothes. So off to truck driving school I went. I used to hate school but I loved this and I so got into it and I made an excellent long distance truck driver. This was before women drivers so I took a lot of derision from other male drivers. I was at the forefront of truck driving. I drove for weeks without ever seeing another woman. But I was good it and I worked hard and practiced backing daily until I got it down good. I pulled a 53' trailer back and forth across the United States and I saw things and did things I never would have afforded to do.
But it's not a job I would have chosen for myself but it was good for me. I was a good driver and I worked hard and I didn't cause trouble and I put in the miles. The first thing I bought was a house. I had my cat, my beloved Big Bubba with me in the truck. I had it all set up from a TV to a refrigerator, to my comforters. It was my home on wheels but I won't go on (like I was about to). It's not a job I would have chosen but I was good at it and I made piles of money. So be open because sometimes before you know it stuff happens to you that changes the way you were going and you don't see it. Sometimes the job we get is a job we weren't going to apply for. I loved truck driving!!! I was 5'8" tall 118 pounds and blonde driving a big black Freightliner and my handle was Squeekie Wheel and God I had fun!!! Sometimes life happens to us when we are not looking...
 

-ryan-

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maggie3fan said:
This is embarrassing to admit but I was a hellion growing up in San Francisco in the late 50's and 60's so...It was the perfect time to get involved in sex drugs and rock and roll...so I did. I just had more fun for 30 years or so. I dropped out of school in the 9th grade. It's fortunate that I was very well read so in reading I could learn stuff I missed out on. I don't really know how many years I was out there. But one day I got sober and in desperation for a job. A friend pointed out how much I loved driving and hot cars and traveling so he offered to pay my way thru truck driving school. I would pay the tuition and he would support me in food and clothes. So off to truck driving school I went. I used to hate school but I loved this and I so got into it and I made an excellent long distance truck driver. This was before women drivers so I took a lot of derision from other male drivers. I was at the forefront of truck driving. I drove for weeks without ever seeing another woman. But I was good it and I worked hard and practiced backing daily until I got it down good. I pulled a 53' trailer back and forth across the United States and I saw things and did things I never would have afforded to do.
But it's not a job I would have chosen for myself but it was good for me. I was a good driver and I worked hard and I didn't cause trouble and I put in the miles. The first thing I bought was a house. I had my cat, my beloved Big Bubba with me in the truck. I had it all set up from a TV to a refrigerator, to my comforters. It was my home on wheels but I won't go on (like I was about to). It's not a job I would have chosen but I was good at it and I made piles of money. So be open because sometimes before you know it stuff happens to you that changes the way you were going and you don't see it. Sometimes the job we get is a job we weren't going to apply for. I loved truck driving!!! I was 5'8" tall 118 pounds and blonde driving a big black Freightliner and my handle was Squeekie Wheel and God I had fun!!! Sometimes life happens to us when we are not looking...

Wow. You have lived a genuinely interesting life. My dad used to drive trucks for this company, except at that point they were just using 6 and 10 wheelers. They didn't buy their first semi (a freightliner) until the mid-90's, and that was right when my dad stopped driving and started doing mostly sales. I believe as part of my potential job I would be loading and unloading the 53' trailers :)
 

Madortoise

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Someone just sent me an e-mail that had a quote that there's a difference in making a living and making life.
I hope you choose the latter however you may pursue it.
One thing about a family business from my own experience is that it's a heck of a lot harder to leave than any other type of job. If you want to go work for your father, I would recommend that you first work for someone else so that you have other frame of reference.
 

-ryan-

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Madortoise said:
Someone just sent me an e-mail that had a quote that there's a difference in making a living and making life.
I hope you choose the latter however you may pursue it.
One thing about a family business from my own experience is that it's a heck of a lot harder to leave than any other type of job. If you want to go work for your father, I would recommend that you first work for someone else so that you have other frame of reference.

Yeah. What I'm leaving it at right now is that basically I'll be working for him over the summer, then in the Fall I have to student teach for four months, and having the experience with both should give me a better perspective. Then in the spring I am thinking I will just work for my dad 2 or 3 days a week for some stable money, and then substitute teach the other days of the week and apply for teaching jobs (unless I decide I really don't want to do it). That way I leave it somewhat up to chance. If I get a teaching job I will obviously have to at least try it out and see what it's like, and if I don't I have another job to go to. I figure I can also always work for my dad in the summer if I do teach in a school.

It's a complicated endeavor, but I was comforted yesterday to find that the other students graduating this semester are in similar situations and have no idea what to do. I plan on continuing to teach drum/percussion lessons and playing gigs regardless of what I do in the daytime.

Thanks for the advice. I can imagine it would be more difficult to leave a job with a family member.
 
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