What to do with my life... I need advice


12 Years
Jun 10, 2009
Portland, OR
I am at the piont of my life that I am sereisly thinking about my career. I LOVE chickens and would like to work with them. Are there any jobs that would allow me to do that? What would the average pay be? If there aren't any jobs in that area I would want to work with animals somehow. I love fish and birds of all kinds, What could I do?
Anything to do with animals is a pretty wide field

You may want to consider degrees in biology and zoology. You could become an exotic animal vet, work for a zoo or wildlife rehab center, become a farmer, find a paid position at an animal shelter/foster care, become a wildlife biologist (get out there in the wild and study the behaviors of wild animals), work at a national park . . . the list goes on and on.

Do your research and know that most animal careers require a college education, so get those grades up and look around for ways to pay for your degree, starting now

Good luck!
Unfortunately, working with animals just does not pay. I know there will be people get on here and disagree with me, but *overall* the majority of the jobs that involve hands on work with animals (of almost any sort) just do not come with many monetary rewards. Being a veterinarian is one of the most under paid and under appreciated fields there is. I don't know if you could find any degree/career field that requires so much education (sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars worth) for such little pay. Vets make about $55-$65 K per year (some more, some less).

Zoology is even worse. The jobs are *very* few and far between and the pay is awful. Poultry/Animal Science, pretty much the same. To add insult to injury, a lot of these positions don't allow you to keep your own animals even, especially the poultry positions. Think long and hard about doing this. Decide where you really want to be and what you really want to do and come up with a concrete plan for how to get there and how to make it work financially. The vast majority of the people I know though that work with animals (especially any field other than Veterinarian) make it work by being part of a two income household in which the other person is the primary bread winner or by living at near poverty level. Sad but true. I don't want to be negative and I'm sure you will hear from the, "Follow your heart" brigade, but the fact is "heart" doesn't keep a roof over your head.
As CityChicker says, there's not a lot of money in animal husbandry of any sort but you need to consider your current situation.

I'm not asking you divulge what your situation is, I think it's against forum rules but you need to consider...

What age you are, if you are young then try for an education that would allow you to go into the career you want, but would also be useful if you can't get the career you want. If you are older you might want to consider a more 'volunteer', part-time position. Sometimes employers don't always appreciate the breadth of knowledge, and stabilizing factor (like having a mom at work) older people can bring.

What your financial position is like, do you have someone who can support you through periods where you may not be earning much (or nothing). If you do then talk to them, see how they'd feel if you were not bringing home much money and/or working odd hours. If you don't have support then you really need to consider if the life you end up with would be sufficient to keep you happy. We don't all need houses with eight bedrooms and three cars and two month holidays in Bermuda, but we do all need something. Living in a slum is not conducive to a good life.

What if it all goes wrong, how easy would it be for you to get a job in the mainstream if you decide that you don't like your new job, if you are well qualified for something else then it might be worth a chance, if you have no qualifications then you need to think seriously about how easy you could get back into a position like the one you currently have.

Before taking the leap, consider working part time at a rescue shelter or national park, just at the weekends. Experience can often outweigh qualifications for some jobs you might apply for later.

I'm not a 'Follow your heart' person but I'm also not a 'squeeze the last dime out of my life' person, I'm a 'work hard for what you want but don't waste your life getting it' person. I have been fortunate enough and worked hard enough to have had a job I enjoyed so much I could almost have done it for nothing. I can't think of anything more saddening than working all of your life at a job you hate then retiring and only having a few years to actually enjoy the fruits of your labor. Work isn't supposed to be fun, else you wouldn't need to be paid to do it, but nor is it about getting the highest paid job you can and being miserable all the time.

Whatever you do, don't burn any bridges on your way out - you never know if you might need to cross them again one day in the future.

I wish you the best of luck with whatever you choose.

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