Posted by: Scottie | 2009-07-14

Career change

Dear Doc
I didn' t realise you were able to offer career advice.
When I was younger I was extremely poor. I remember a time when monthly groceries consisted of little more than a bottle of Marmite. There were no chance to go to University even though I had 5 distinctions (which were a lot back in 1991). I started working right in the lowest admin position at minimum pay and then slowely worked myself up to a point where I could start studying part-time 5 years ago. I have an EXTREMELY demanding job with long hours in a semi-medical field and still managed to do a BSc degree through Unisa with majors in Biochemistry and Microbiology, with distinction. My other challange was to save enough money to support myself (and I have a bond and water and electricity to pay) so that I can further my studies when my BSc is completed, preferably in medicine (veterinary specifically). In the meantime I also established a respectable breeding kennel to help support myself during full-time studies. Unfortunately due to all this (in other words Money) I will be 37 when I go to university. After your reply yesterday however I feel like the carpet has been ripped from under my feet - it feels like all the years of sacrifice have been for nothing and all my hope for the future was based on self-deception. To top it all my current workplace is closing within the next two years and due to the specific nature of my current job I would not be able to find something similar to continue my career in future, meaning that I would have to settle for a low-paying general admin job for the rest of my life.
In your experienced opinion - what other career path do you suggest if 37 is to old to start a career in medicine?
Kind regards

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Neither did I !
( realize I was able to offer career advice )
5 distinctions are a lot at any time. And achieving the BSc was a very major achievement --- well done.
But PLEASE don't feel like I or anyone else has ripped any carpet from under your feet --- just think through whether ANY of the points I raised make sense or may apply. Now you didn't reveal before that your main interest might be in Veterinary medicine, beause, though I don't have much experience of that, I would think the problems would be consideraly less --- I doubt that vets are so often up all night after a busy day, wrestling with creatures who took overdoses or shot each other, they may be better able to tailor their working hours and week to suit themselves. They may also be able to continue working to an older age ( and it's remarkable in SA more than most countries, how many doctors are still working into their 70's and beyond ) as the work is very important, intellectually demanding, but unless you work exclusively with very large animals, I'd think it's probably less physically demanding. Also, I'd guess more of the work is in the private setor, where you would be in charge of your own practice, rather than subject to the brainless bureacracies that plague medical doctors in public service.
Why not discuss your hopes with some nice vets ( who you must know through your existing breeding kennel work ) and maybe with someone, perhaps identified through them, on the faculty of the Vet School you are considering, for their opinions, which will be better informed than mine.
Don't let me tread on your dreams, Scottie --- just work on making them practical --- with your history and atitude, you could make a splendid vet

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Our users say:
Posted by: Scottie | 2009-07-14

Thank you CyberShrink!
Hi Me - in my current line of work I see stacks of different occupations with their incomes. According to what I see on a daily basis is that people with a 3 year BSc earn an average of R3000 to R5000 per month. It may go up to R9000 for a person with a masters degree, and someone with a doctorate in e.g.genetics may earn R20 000 per month.
City vets ears between R15 000 and R30 000 per month, Rural (farm) vets up to R100 000 per month, and medical doctors (GP' s) R60 000 to R100 000 per month. Specialist earn up to R400 000 per month.
So from my experience with the above it is clear that I won' t earn much with my 3 year BSc and admin background, even though it is semi-medical.
Thanks for the encouragement!!
All the best

Reply to Scottie
Posted by: me | 2009-07-14


if i may offer some advise, you can follow any career
you like, especially if you have 5 distinctions
more than 70% of grads end up doing something
totally different from their studies, but the
fact that you have qualifications means you
are highly employable, especially with a Bachelour
of Science.

You are not too old to follow your dreams if you
want to study further so go for it.

Hmmm i also dont really understand how a person
with a BSC will end up in a low admin job doesnt
make sense...or did i miss something? With that
level of education you should easily be able to
get a high paying management job in any area, earning
20k plus a month (fresh out of uni BSC grads earn around 15k)
to fund your studies

You need to believe in yourself more.

Good Luck!

Reply to me

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