Finding a Job, and not Steve

MSN Business recently ran an article with the headline “Highest Paying Jobs You can get Without a College Degree.”

I have to admit, I went to college with the intention of getting a degree. I had to declare a major and selected to be an English education major. I could see myself teaching high school English. At that time, the path to a job was to earn a degree. After sophomore year, teaching jobs were not plentiful, so I changed my major to economics and would see what the business world would bring.

When I was in the corporate world, I was successful in getting jobs because I had a degree. There was a bit of irony to that thought though. My predecessor at one of my jobs in human resources had an agriculture degree. The thinking about having a business degree there held little water.

In 2020, we find unemployment rates have dramatically risen. I am sure the estimating of employment (and unemployment) is an inexact science. For argument sake, let’s say the unemployment rate is somewhere between 10 and 20% of the available workforce. That’s a lot of people. That just adds to the competition for open positions.

If you find yourself looking for work. or looking to make a change, the MSN article has great value to help in making a quick change without seeking a degree. I am not saying that one should not pursue a formal degree. When I was in human resources, I would strongly encourage visiting our local community college and exploring the many options there.

Suggestions from the article include a variety of jobs:

  • Property or real estate managers.
  • Electrical or power line installers/repairers (These are the wonderful folks to get power to customers after major storms).
  • Petroleum pump system operators (would not be local).
  • Transportation personnel (airlines, though they may be laying off too).
  • Postal workers.
  • Power plant operators.
  • Ship engineers (and I would add barge employees; it seems that barges would be local).
  • Farm or ranch employees.
  • Real estate brokers (Probably would need a certification).
  • Firefighters (both local and where there are fire issues – i.e. California. There would be testing and physical requirements).
  • Elevator and escalator repairers.
  • Casinos employees (dealers).
  • Retail workers (clerical to owning).
  • Distribution personnel (I see Amazon starting a facility in Iowa City).

I would add the following, as these jobs were not in the MSN article and are always in demand:

  • Welders.
  • HVAC installers.
  • Plumbers.
  • Roofers
  • Electricians

Are any of these positions perfect for you? Only you can answer that. The skilled trades may need a community college certificate/degree, yet can be earned quickly. Now is the time to pursue your next position as school starts soon.


It was a pleasure to chat with Ashley last Friday on Afternoons with Ashley. Response on submissions has been slow. If you are thinking about submitting, now is a perfect time. [email protected]. I look forward to seeing your submission. For those who are uncomfortable with computers, the library or the offices at Pearl City Media will gladly accept your submission. Don’t forget to send your recipe to [email protected].