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Discussion Starter #1
Dear "multi-experts", "serial experts" and "scanners",

your fellow ENFP is about to make an important life decision and would appreciate your advice, experience and perhaps even warnings regarding the plan I envisage.

I am a recent graduate and my job search has been extremely tough - I think it's usual these years! But at last, I got a very good offer in a field (Advertising/Communications/Design) that is quite unrelated to my studies (Social sciences/Economics), but which I consider one of my personal hobbies since I was a kid. In fact, the position I got is even senior than entry-level! I am quite confident that I can progress with high drive and motivation in this field, but I at the same time I am sure that I will not feel as fulfilled as I would be if I pursued something directly related to my field.

Now, I wouldn't find it right to quit this job as soon as I get the chance to switch to the field that I prefer and studied for, so I want to start with my heart set on a plan. While I have multiple interests as most ENFP, I don't like to leave things unfinished. For this reason, the plan would be something like becoming really good at this "hobby-sector", perhaps reaching senior management level in 5-6 years, and then finding a way to switch to my actual "professional-path".

This "hobby-sector" is also very promising money-wise, and while I am not your typical money-motivated person, I am in dire financial need. I need to repay tuition fees, loans, money borrowed from parents and much more. So it would be good to get rid of all that as soon as possible! At present, that is one of my crucial arguments in favor.

Concretely speaking, my actual "professional dream" would be to work in international diplomacy or international development, helping solve social issues across different countries e.g. through economic analysis and policy proposal or actual program development (United Nations, UNESCO, World Bank, etc.). This is related to my degree and I see that as my "vocation in life". I even have dedicated tons of volunteer work to that field (as opposed to a mere hobby - see the difference?), have been published in an academic journal, however, at present it is almost impossible to get a full-time paid entry-level job in the area unless one already has a PhD!

What do you think? Do you have any similar experiences? Could there be dangers in switching between two completely unrelated areas that require completely unrelated qualifications/experience?

Does anyone have experience in the areas I mentioned, or can you imagine ways where my current job could overlap with my future professional aspiration?

Thank you
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Bumping message to the top as it had left the first page with 0 replies.
 

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If you feel like switching, do it. If you don't, don't do it. Play it by ear, listen to your gut, and go from there. Don't make any stupid decisions financially (we all say that we're not a slave to our money, but let's be real: not paying attention to finances will deteriorate your life more often than not), but also don't make decisions solely for financial gain. In other words, do what feels right. It usually feels that way for a reason.
 

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I don't have any similar experiences but I just wanted to say that go for the job even if it's not in your related field, its a good place to start! And keep in mind your other activities and at some point in time during your hobby-sector there may a door that opens. :) Stay passionate. I can tell your going to go a long way. :)
 

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I'm fresh out of college too-- and that's my field (advertising/communications/design) and it's one that I love. I think it can be very fulfilling for an ENFP. I see nothing wrong with your plan. People switch fields all the time. It's extremely important to ensure your own financial security first and foremost. This seems like a great opportunity for you and you're not signing a contract to dedicate your life to the field by taking this job. Enjoy delving into these things that have always interested you, save up some money, and take the time to find the absolute perfect position that you want later on in life (which, perhaps, will coincide with you settling down, starting a family or whatever). By taking this steady job in an area you find interesting, you'll be far better prepared to fully dedicate yourself to your true desires later on down the road, especially if they involve making sacrifices or taking risks.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If you feel like switching, do it. If you don't, don't do it. Play it by ear, listen to your gut, and go from there. Don't make any stupid decisions financially (we all say that we're not a slave to our money, but let's be real: not paying attention to finances will deteriorate your life more often than not), but also don't make decisions solely for financial gain. In other words, do what feels right. It usually feels that way for a reason.
Oh, well. My gut says I could do this forever, i.e. one different career every 5 years or so :D
But I also feel I want to contribute to every field I am seriously active in, i.e. I don't want to just "scan" the areas and "know how to do it". I would like to make major contributions, be recognized at global/professional level within the field/fields I chose.

For example, I know I have music talent beyond average, but that's it - seeing that most truly successful musicians started thorough training when they were 3-5 years old i.e. almost babies, I have no chances to compete nor to contribute in any significant way. For that reason, I completely removed music from my career possibilities list.

So basically, I feel that whatever I do, I want to have also some kind of "social satisfaction" (contributing to world) or "recognition" (being acknowledged by others in the field, be competitive, a leader in the field) in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm fresh out of college too-- and that's my field (advertising/communications/design) and it's one that I love. I think it can be very fulfilling for an ENFP.
I think the project work (instead of routine work), the different clients and/or suppliers / accounts and of course the creative aspect is what makes this quite ENFPish. Interestingly, my position has a small mathematical element, too!
I am exploring whether there are any ways to somehow find any overlaps with development e.g. something like doing advertising for an international NGO or international non-private sector projects.
It probably exists but a very limited market, i.e. it's possible but there are no actual contracts/jobs for it, not many at least, and probably not at entry-level according to my research.
 

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Oh, well. My gut says I could do this forever, i.e. one different career every 5 years or so :D
But I also feel I want to contribute to every field I am seriously active in, i.e. I don't want to just "scan" the areas and "know how to do it". I would like to make major contributions, be recognized at global/professional level within the field/fields I chose.

So basically, I feel that whatever I do, I want to have also some kind of "social satisfaction" (contributing to world) or "recognition" (being acknowledged by others in the field, be competitive, a leader in the field) in it.
I feel very similarly to you in this sense... But I guess what I would say to you is... while you may not be upping your expertise in one field, by taking this job in another field that you enjoy, it could open some doors and give you an edge in the field you eventually aspire to get to. I mean, think about it... maybe everyone in the economics field took the same path... college, into an entry level job, and up the typical career ladder. But by you taking a different path, it gives you an edge and a DIFFERENT perspective, which is attractive and alluring in the business world. Not only will you have the educational foundation for what you want to do, but you have different tricks up your sleeves.

I know you don't want to feel like you're settling or that you're BEHIND. But realize that you probably have a lot of years left to live, that you're right -- this economy is not the best -- and that you can make some great things happen in both fields. I say give that one job a shot and if you get to the point where it's no longer satisfying, change it up! It's what we do.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I know you don't want to feel like you're settling or that you're BEHIND. But realize that you probably have a lot of years left to live, that you're right -- this economy is not the best -- and that you can make some great things happen in both fields. I say give that one job a shot and if you get to the point where it's no longer satisfying, change it up! It's what we do.
This is exactly what I fear feeling like.

By the way, I started, and I really enjoy what I do.
Yet, when I see the others, my parallel path, I often am afraid to loose myself, get stuck in this one, or worse.

This may sound trivial but, I am already aware that my (hopefully) future wife will be probably earning as 6 times as I do. I have nothing against pay inequality, and am not at all jealous of her,... but... that makes me feel a slightly bit "unsuccessful" career-wise in a way, I think.
Considering that I could have been on the same earning potential or even more...
 

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You know, if you think that you'll always wonder "what if..?" then maybe you should figure out a way to be on that career path you feel you should be on. I'm learning I'm happiest when I am living up to the image of myself that I have in my mind. Maybe once you get there, you'll find it isn't for you, but I know that it's best sometimes to just go for it instead of spending your time WISHING that you were doing something else. It takes a toll on us.
 

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I'd go ahead and do what you want to do. Once you work for 5 years, you are still going to have to start at the bottom in the other field, by then you will be used to the higher salary and won't want to. You will also be labeled as being proficient at doing whatever it is your doing, thus making people in the field you want to work in question why you didn't do it in the first place if you were any good. You might even end up having to go back to school for a Masters in the area just to prove your interest and once again get internships, make connections, and prove your dedication. Those same places will gladly pay people younger than you the lower salary. 5 years experience in one field still equals 0 years experience in the other field. Thus a fresh graduate, being able to pay them a lower salary is going to be a better hire for a company than you. A little struggle now will pay off later.

Just my opinion... Chasing money or prestige is probably fool's gold for a true ENFP and will quite possibly jade you. I think you'd be better off mentally either A) doing what you want for an organization you respect and struggling a bit, or B) doing a random position, for an organization you respect.

Doing C) which seems that you are doing something you really aren't that interested in, for a company you really don't value b/c of a "senior position" "money" "prestige" ... well, it might catch up with you, you might not make it those 5 years and end up quitting before then because you hate it.

there is also option D) ... struggle to get by with a "throw away" job which you won't need for a reference to make ends meet until something else opens up.
 

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First of all, Peter, I'm envious. Because I'm someone who despite 6 years of related University education + a great sales background with retail marketing...Had a very, very, very tough time breaking into the field of advertising and "true" marketing. Even though I'm finally in, and doing exactly what I want, as a junior it's far from lucrative and for a small company.

I digress...

I believe in following your dreams. If you want international diplomacy, go for it! Yeah, you might have to start entry-level but government usually pays well. I don't have any specific career advice for you: I could barely break into the industry you're "Meh" about!! But I do believe in following your dreams.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Those same places will gladly pay people younger than you the lower salary. 5 years experience in one field still equals 0 years experience in the other field. Thus a fresh graduate, being able to pay them a lower salary is going to be a better hire for a company than you.
I understand and can agree with everything you say, however...

A little struggle now will pay off later.

Just my opinion... Chasing money or prestige is probably fool's gold for a true ENFP and will quite possibly jade you. I think you'd be better off mentally either A) doing what you want for an organization you respect and struggling a bit, or B) doing a random position, for an organization you respect.

Doing C) which seems that you are doing something you really aren't that interested in, for a company you really don't value b/c of a "senior position" "money" "prestige" ... well, it might catch up with you, you might not make it those 5 years and end up quitting before then because you hate it.

there is also option D) ... struggle to get by with a "throw away" job which you won't need for a reference to make ends meet until something else opens up.
A few points to consider:
- My family is spread across 2-3 continents and the woman whom I would like to marry lives in a developing country where it is impossible for foreigners to find work - ESPECIALLY in my first choice career path.
I really travel a lot, and do need to travel to sustain these relations.
- I have to repay tuition fees (because I didn't graduate on time) which are rocket high where I live.
- My basic expenses (food, nutrition) are slightly higher than average as I live on a health program.

What I am trying to say is that for me to "make ends meet" is very, very high.

In addition to the difficulty of finding jobs at entry-level in my first-choice field...
- An unpaid 1-year internship at the United Nations, UNESCO, UNICEF, etc. would not allow me to live that life.
- A comparatively low income in the short-run would allow me to cover some of my expenses, but likely to make my personal relationships unsustainable.

In simple terms:
According to my calculations, it will be really unsustainable for me to start right away in my first choice career path, given the current circumstances in my life.

However, what I could do realistically is volunteering during weekends, to show that my interest in the field is not just an unqualified hobby.

And another possibility I was thinking about was to make a "lateral career switch" once I reached those 5-6 years, i.e. do Advertising/Public Relations but in/for the field of my first choice (diplomacy).
e.g. create advertisements for UN-related projects.

Spent time right before work writing this.
Would appreciate second thoughts and feedback :)

P.S.: Please also note that the job I was offered is not a field I dislike, but simply that I don't see as much professional or entirely related to my degree. It is in a field I consider my hobby (I have done lots of advertisement and PR work during school and university, as part of other volunteer projects).
It is a bit like studying hard and preparing to become an engineer, getting all qualifications and even side-experience, but receiving only an offer to become a Customer Service Representative for a technology company.
Understand the difference in the roles, yet also the things in common between the two?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I would like to hear your response to my last post.

Thank you
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Bumping to first page.
 

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I understand and can agree with everything you say, however...



A few points to consider:
- My family is spread across 2-3 continents and the woman whom I would like to marry lives in a developing country where it is impossible for foreigners to find work - ESPECIALLY in my first choice career path.
I really travel a lot, and do need to travel to sustain these relations.
- I have to repay tuition fees (because I didn't graduate on time) which are rocket high where I live.
- My basic expenses (food, nutrition) are slightly higher than average as I live on a health program.

What I am trying to say is that for me to "make ends meet" is very, very high.

In addition to the difficulty of finding jobs at entry-level in my first-choice field...
- An unpaid 1-year internship at the United Nations, UNESCO, UNICEF, etc. would not allow me to live that life.
- A comparatively low income in the short-run would allow me to cover some of my expenses, but likely to make my personal relationships unsustainable.

In simple terms:
According to my calculations, it will be really unsustainable for me to start right away in my first choice career path, given the current circumstances in my life.

However, what I could do realistically is volunteering during weekends, to show that my interest in the field is not just an unqualified hobby.

And another possibility I was thinking about was to make a "lateral career switch" once I reached those 5-6 years, i.e. do Advertising/Public Relations but in/for the field of my first choice (diplomacy).
e.g. create advertisements for UN-related projects.

Spent time right before work writing this.
Would appreciate second thoughts and feedback :)

P.S.: Please also note that the job I was offered is not a field I dislike, but simply that I don't see as much professional or entirely related to my degree. It is in a field I consider my hobby (I have done lots of advertisement and PR work during school and university, as part of other volunteer projects).
It is a bit like studying hard and preparing to become an engineer, getting all qualifications and even side-experience, but receiving only an offer to become a Customer Service Representative for a technology company.
Understand the difference in the roles, yet also the things in common between the two?
Thanks for the post! I realize it's a few years since you first posted, so would be interested to hear what you chose in the end!

This is going to sound un-ENFP, but ... in this case, take the job and go for the money. Make a game out of living as austerely as possible and saving as much as possible (i'm talking, get broadband and then cook for yourself, don't go to the movies, save 50%+ of every paycheck, etc.)

But ... don't keep the same job for 5 years. That's too long these days. Keep this job for 18 - 24 months and immerse yourself in all of the benefits, both intrinsic and extrensic.

Spend the first 12 months focused solely on this job. Learn to do the job with 33% of your effort after 12 months. Then, starting in year 2, spend 33% of your time networking, and the remaining 33% of your time preparing for the next job.

After 12 months, a very attainable timeframe for an ENFP, you will know whether you can stand to keep going and progress within this job and get 2-3 jobs in a row with this company straight up the ladder; or whether it's time to switch. Start to make connections with every single route connected to your dream field. Consider the networking your side-gig, and consider the lateral move at every rung you progress.

*Do they have an 'Early Talent' or 'Top Talent' program? Join it!
*Physically write out a career plan, make it ambitious. Or make it in Excel (with bright colors :)) Review it frequently, say 2x per month or whenever the mood strikes.
*Scour LinkedIn for all the real-life people that could help you, make a massive database, prioritize it by letter/number/color whatever, then actively try to make a meaningful connection with that person (i.e. volunteer an hour with them; ask them for a 10-min career interview; ask them what you could do to help them, etc.) Be yourself and tell them what you are trying to do, how it's awesome, how you will trade your time in exchange for experience/a reference, etc.
*Brainstorm all the possible projects you could tangibly do that link these two fields ... make a list of 50 things. Then prioritize, pick 2-3 in executable time-frames (i.e. 1 week to 6 months), and crank them out. Make an online portfolio for free with a site like Blogger and start tracking your efforts bigtime, including pictures, quotes, whatever is appropriate.

Just an idea!! Your enthusiasm and ambition will serve you ... my experience is that ENFP are excellent 'sprinters' but maybe not great long-distance runners in a metaphorical sense. You can scale the ladder rapidly with your intelligence and enthusiasm, have a very valuable USP and tons of connections in both fields within 5 years, guaranteed :)

Think of that metaphor about jumping on a train that's already moving. Don't try to jump straight on--get a danged-good running start, run alongside the train, then hop on.

P.S. and on the GF-moneymaking front, realistically there will be a gender factor here. Let her know how you feel and ask her if you can start considering her money and yours combined to be your collective money. Depends on the level of trust, if you want to marry her this is probably ok. Don't even have to have a joint bank account, just consider that you are contributing to your collective money pot and it takes some of the sting out. And ask her to let you be the leader in other, obvious ways and you will not feel emasculated :)
 
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