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Career choice?

  Tags: Career
 Language Learning Forum : Advice Center Post Reply
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3561 days ago

153 posts - 174 votes 
Speaks: French

 Message 1 of 4
04 November 2015 at 7:23pm | IP Logged 
I'm changing my major to something that requires far less mathematics than an engineering major does, and I'd like to be able to live or study abroad (preferably both) or just be able to use my language skill set. I've had the opportunity to use both my French and Chinese at the job I have now, but it isn't very fulfilling. I need a major life change. No idea is too out there. I have considered some sort of interpreting job, I think I would be good enough to get one, but I'm not limited to that.
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 3700 days ago

502 posts - 1093 votes 
Studies: German

 Message 2 of 4
11 November 2015 at 6:49am | IP Logged 
Okay, you DID say "no idea is too out there", right? How about joining the U.S. Armed Forces? Given your proven ability to learn languages, there is a high probably that, following a couple of years of regular service, you would benefit from advanced training at the Defense Language Institute and afterwards be offered some very interesting opportunities overseas. You might be enamoured by the military life and become a "lifer" or, alternatively, you might put in a good ten years and then return to civilian life a MUCH better person for the experience. And think of what your Resumé would look like!

If this "career choice" interests you, visit a recruiting office, they'd love to explain their program to you. HOWEVER, should this seem attractive to you, I STRONGLY suggest that you FINISH YOUR STUDIES first. On that score, as far as the armed forces are concerned, a Bachelor of Arts is every bit as good as a Bachelor of Engineering. Also, following ten years of active service, including an couple of interesting postings, no one in the civilian world will genuinely care what your degree was in ... they'll be more interested in your managerial skills.

In the event that you suspect that I'm making light of your situation, I followed the above career path in the Canadian Armed Forces. When I finally chose to bail out, I had to fight off the civilian job offers! My biggest "loss" on leaving the forces was that I never again experienced the "camaraderie" that I had known in the forces. I would imagine that only those people serving in the civilian police forces and other emergency response teams come close to experiencing this aspect.

PS: If you do decide to join, don't be concerned about any temporary motivational slumps ... they've got all kinds of solutions for that!

Edited by Speakeasy on 11 November 2015 at 6:52am

2 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 3561 days ago

153 posts - 174 votes 
Speaks: French

 Message 3 of 4
12 November 2015 at 8:48pm | IP Logged 
Well, I doubt I'd pass any of the physical requirements to join, I can't even drive because of my eyesight. Nice idea though.
1 person has voted this message useful

United States
Joined 3441 days ago

17 posts - 44 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Russian

 Message 4 of 4
17 November 2015 at 5:55am | IP Logged 
I don't think building a career around foreign languages is practical to be honest.
Right now you could make a living as an interpreter if you can already speak some in
demand languages, but speech recognition and machine translation are developing fast.
The pay isn't good at all unless you have some niche area and the job security isn't
great either.

If you want to travel, continue studying engineering, work on something very specific,
and then people will want you to come to their country to work. You can speak their
language all day with them.

Foreign languages are great skills to complement a profession, but I think they're
pretty lousy on their own. You might be able to speak Chinese and English, but so can
millions of others.

5 persons have voted this message useful

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