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selcouthstranger's avatar

Best non-science/engineering/medicine jobs without accruing more debt?

Asked by selcouthstranger (101 points ) August 9th, 2010

I graduated from college years ago, having been working for the past several years, and have recently decided not to attend law school, primarily because I have no desire to accrue $100–150k in student loans in addition to my undergrad loans (which are about a third of the first number) for what does not seem to be a safe bet. I feel myself to be at a crossroads of sorts, as law school would appear the only suitable “track” for me given my educational background. I seek the wisdom of Flutherites to determine what the best course of action would be to have an interesting job and make a respectable salary (this is a dubious qualifier best, but for the sake of candid discussion, let’s say roughly enough to support myself and a family, so maybe in the 80k+ range?) in my adult life, let’s say, beginning 5–10 years from now. I realize the limitations of such a question, and that oftentimes you just need to accept the first job you get and you go from there, but my current job is such that you can only advance by going to law school; it is a legal assistant position. I am also cognizant of the restraints of the current recession and fully appreciate that many of us do not have a job, and so perhaps I should not ask such questions. Still, I’m interested in alternatives to law school and other “tracks” and careers, etc. that might be accessible to a young man like myself with competencies in project management, research, writing, public speaking and persuasion, etc. I’d be thankful for any words of wisdom. Cheers.

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6 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Welcome to Fluther.

Deciding on a career can be daunting. I suggest that you take some time to meditate on it. I mean literal meditation. See if you can’t get to the root of what you adore doing. What is behind your biggest dream? What fears keep you from reaching out to fulfill your deepest desire? Can you overcome those fears and strive to achieve your heart’s desire?

I am not an expert on jobs. There are places you can go to take aptitude tests to see what you’d be good at. Call the placement office of a nearby university to ask.

lilikoi's avatar

If practicing law is your passion, get into a top law school, accrue the debt, and make sure you get a well paying job when you get out. You need to realize that if you are making $100k/yr, $100k in debt is easily manageable. Either you want to be a lawyer or not.

Assuming not, you have a lot of introspective thinking to do. You need to consider what you are good at, what you enjoy, and how important salary really is in all of this, including many other factors that go into making a good career choice. The Pathfinder by Nicholas Lore may be helpful in guiding you through this most important process.

Good luck.

BlueAl's avatar

Have you thought about starting an independent consulting business, focusing on an area of business law? Some of your other skill sets seem to be related to business endeavors.

selcouthstranger's avatar

@lilikoi How can you know if you’re passionate about something that you are not legally allowed to do? My passion is for not accruing more debt that I can reasonably manage and finding a job which is fun that keeps my family and I happy outside of work. $100k/year jobs for attorneys are extremely difficult to find for graduates of non-top 14 law schools; I simply don’t have the undergraduate grades to make it into one of these schools.

And of course I have introspective thinking to do. Of course I need to consider what I’m good at, what I enjoy, etc. But I’ve done that for three years now. Hence, why I asked this question.

lilikoi's avatar


I do agree you need to be in a top school if you want to do law; I wouldn’t do it if I couldn’t get into one of the best. You shouldn’t assume that your undergrad grades are a deal breaker for a top school. You don’t know until you apply. It may also be possible to start elsewhere and transfer in…

You can’t expect a bunch of strangers on the internet who have never met you to be able to give you insightful, personal help. You need to figure this out for yourself. That’s why I recommended a book (that has helped me answer the same questions). If you can’t make it through a book, consider hiring a career counselor to walk you through the steps.

selcouthstranger's avatar

@lilikoi Re: law school; why shouldn’t I assume that my grades would be a dealbreaker for top law schools? I’ve e-mailed their admissions departments. I’ve done the math, analyzed the statistics, spoken with independent admissions counselors. Law school admissions are dominantly arithmetic. And I simply don’t have the $600 to shell out in admissions fees to confirm that assumption. Like any decision I make in life, if the facts point to an answer, it simply isn’t worth my time and money to confirm it just for fun.

I’ve read the guidebooks, spoken to career counselors, read the articles, the forums, etc.

Re: “You can’t expect a bunch of strangers on the internet who have never met you to be able to give you insightful, personal help;” well, of course. But you could say that to any single person asking a question on Fluther, no?

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