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What to do in this situation?

I graduated college from an accredited university (University of Houston) over 8 years ago with a bachelors degree in history. In the 8 years since I graduated, I have yet to use my college degree and have yet to make 30,000 dollars. I've done low paying jobs from substitute teaching, retail, to working as a teacher aide as my current job (it pays 13,000 a year, and I did the job to gain more experience in the teaching field plus the fact I couldn't find another job at the time). I also worked as a contract pharmacy technician last year for 5 months until the contract was over (that job paid my highest wage I've seen so far which is 14 dollars an hour).

At this point I don't know what to do anymore. I've applied to all kinds of jobs in the last few months to try to get something that pays decent but no luck including jobs that prefer a college degree such as assistant manager or a non-manager position in a company that I can move up in. I've also applied to pharmacy technician positions since I have a pharmacy technician certification and teaching positions since I'm certified. I've also attended several teaching job fairs in the area I live in (Dallas/Ft Worth). I've also applied to jobs such as janitor because I don't know what else to do at this point.


Despite the fact people say a college degree regardless of major can open doors, the college degree I have hasn't done anything.

I don't know what to do anymore. My parents don't have any advice either, although my dad has suggested that I return to school and get a degree in accounting. He said he would pay for it, but I feel that could potentially be wasting more money like the 40K he spent on the bachelors degree in history for me. At this point I'm just trying to find a job that pays something, but nothing is coming my way except a few interviews here and there.

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  • Jul 12 2013: A college education should have provided you a pretty well balanced variety of skills such as writing, science awareness, math, and other subjects. This experience distinguishes you from many other people.

    You majored in History, but the general experience has market value as well. A lot depends on what you enjoy doing. Perhaps you might look into one of the services, law enforcement, park ranger or a position for which any college degree might be accepted. However, let's think of some ideas in history:

    1) A tour guide or docent at a museum, historic home, or local attraction
    2) A tutor for history in elementary schools in your area.
    3) Get a chauffeur's license and set up a tour business to local historic attractions. Market your business to hotels, elder care centers, perhaps schools and any place that people might be trapped by virtue of an inability to drive, yet be interested in history.
    4) Work for the National Archives
    5) If you like to act, create a business where you might dress up in period clothing as a famous historical figure, read up on the figure and become that person. Hire yourself out to schools and events.
    6) Work for Williamsburg, the Smithsonian, or a similar local foundation.
    7) Work for an antique dealer, learn the back-story behind the furniture.
    8) Create a website devoted to some aspect of history that you think has been overlooked and might be popular.
    9) Network with historic sites and perhaps use the chauffeur's license to bring them customers.
    10) Sign up to participate in re-enactments, historic festivals, re-creations of events worldwide. Find some way of making money from the experience.
    11) Work with archeologists.
    12) Get a metal detector and go to areas where there might be historic artifacts. After getting the APPROPRIATE PERMISSIONS, look for lost artifacts and then sell what you find.
    13) Work as a historic writer, journalist, or researcher for a national organization. Might research sources in your school library.
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      Jul 16 2013: We could add the National Park Service (or any state's park service) which is responsible for all the country's designated historic places. They love people with a degree in history.
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    Jul 25 2013: Hi Ryan,

    Your conversation is about to close, and I just want to wish you the very best in your endeavors.

    May I recommend the TED video by Richard St Johns.....Eight secrets to Success?.....it might inspire you!!!!

    Best to you.....Mary :)
  • Jul 17 2013: With the teaching aide job I'm doing, I just accepted a part time retail sales associate at a store today at a new store. Pay is 8.25 an hour. Funny thing is 6 years ago I was working at another retail store for 9.47 an hour.

    I applied because I can't find anything else. I think I got the job because I showed up in a suit and tie....and answer the questions to the best of my knowledge.
  • Jul 16 2013: Thanks for the responses so far. The reason why I decided on a degree in history was because I enjoyed the subject. I did change my major two times before going with history and finished out the courses of the degree and graduated back in May of 2005. As for job prospects of what I was thinking about doing with that degree, I had an idea about teaching. I don't mind being in a school or helping students learn the subject or just helping them overall.

    I did not think about the job prospects while in school at the time. I was 23 when I graduated, and the career center at the university had me take a test to see what my interests were and asked me what I wanted to do after I graduated.

    I think most places don't care that I have a bachelors degree and might even question if a bachelors in history is worthwhile or just another random/useless degree if they look at my resume. I can't be sure about that since I can't read their minds. However, I just get the impression they probably don't really care.

    As for the masters degree, I wouldn't get one. I'd probably go back to community college and get a certification or license in doing something.
  • Jul 16 2013: You could also look into international teaching since you have a degree and experience.
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    Jul 15 2013: Thanks for asking, Ryan. Maybe you should put more time on this conversation by clicking "edit" and adding more time, as it is a difficult topic. I myself would like to know why you chose history as your major, did you like history, did you think it was employable, what? What was your vision of what you would do with the degree?

    I did hear on the radio recently that people with master's degrees have about 3% unemployment.
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    Jul 14 2013: How about law school? you may have a hard time getting a job right away if you don't have any connections, but you'll get something eventually.
  • Jul 13 2013: Your dad's idea is a sound one, do something practical like say a one year teaching diploma which will allow you to teach at schools as a registered teacher. This is actually what I did, I gained a bachelor of education and now I can always use it to teach if I need to and can't find another job. You could opt for another very practical degree or certificate as in accounting, a certificate gets you in the dorr not like a degree would but its much shorter study time. Here's another option: a training course as real estate agent, this has a short training time and allows you to earn money quickly. Think of these options as stepping stones.
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    Jul 13 2013: Ryan, I moved out west when GD Ft Worth shut down. Robert Galway has some great ideas below. The fact is that when Obamacare re-defined the work week as 30 hours and the corporations went to 25 hour weeks ... no one is hiring 40 hour a week positions. Temps are in. Education is in the same bind. The local CC just reduced 1600 adjunct professors to 25 hours a week to save 18 million federally mandated insurance was going to cost them.

    So here is the deal. Use the resources you have to your advantage. Locate and file all the Pharm Tech you can in the DFW area. When you have XX number go to the regional office of Walgreen, Costco, Sams, wal mart, Safeway, Win Dixie, etc and tell them you have a resource base of XX techs on file for temporary / as needed and contract with them for a annual fee or a fee per request ... what ever you decide.

    Next ... as a history major ... build up your credentials ... hire on a cruise ship ... you get to visit the world ... build a file of photos and notes ... research ... maybe write a book ... write brochures for travel companies .... all of this and you get paid a salary to travel the world with room and board.

    Have you went US wide in your teacher search ... charters .... private ... US Military schools both in the CONUS and overseas.

    The economy is in the crapper and times are tough and getting tougher ... think outside of the box ... there are enough inside the box. There are two things growing fast .... the size of the federal government and prisons. Couldn't hurt to look at both of those.

    I wish you well. Bob. Formerly of Benbrook, TX and GD engineer