I'm in my early 30s and I don't know what to do with my life. I'm currently unemployed after I left a temp role.
I have a bachelors in physics and a masters in nuclear science.
I have interviews in January for medical school (graduate entry), however, I was interviewed last year also and was unsuccessful, because it is very competitive.
I don't know what I should aim for... data science, accounting, actuarial science, software, cyber, civil service, law conversion? What industry is a safe bet these days?
I am cynical about further study. My masters degree was funded and I was under the assumption that the nuclear sector needed young blood, but I have been unsuccessful in getting a job. Also, I ended up self-teaching my entire masters from start to finish, which was a lot of work so if I am going through that again I want to have a guarantee of a job.
Teaching does not interest me very much. The UK government offers large grants so that is attractive, but schools are toxic workplaces and I do not want to deal with behavioral issues.
Basically, I want a career that is high level where I can engage my brain and one where employers will actually give me a chance instead of rejecting me *cough* nuclear industry *cough*. I don't want to do ridiculous unpaid internships and most of them are closed to me anyway as I graduated in 19 and am not a penultimate year student.
Here are my two cents.
I agree that further studies may not be best for you at this stage. If you have not held a longer term employment (eg 12 months) for a long time, studying again will not make you more competitive in the eyes of the employer.
Employers will always favour young fresh grads as they require lower pay and are easily trained into whatever roles needed. Mature graduates without much work experience looking for entry level roles usually find it hard to compete. Fortunately for you, it is the employees market at the moment and this may be the chance for you to break into a new role.
Without knowing your interest, some roles for physics graduates are below:
You could consider a role in a start up and multitask a lot. The other option is to ask for internship (yes, directly ask the employer and not wait for internship programs) and see if they can put you up for 6 months to one year. This could be a trial period for both of you and if you play your cards right, you may land a long term contract.
Have you considered the field of patent law? I know quite a few people with exotic or more theoretical STEM degrees who became very successful as patent attorneys or examiners. Since not very many people consider such careers, it is fairly easy to get in. You would not need another university degree, in fact it's mostly training on the job (plus possibly an exam later to become a full patent attorney). You would start either at a patent office or as an intern/trainee at a patent law firm. Although the job can be somewhat monotonous at times, it is intellectually challenging and can sometimes be surprisingly exciting. The first few years can be somewhat grueling concerning work pressure and security, but the money down the road is nothing short of excellent.
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