First of all, let me say that the scenarios presented in this paper are based on personal life experiences. I was a grocery clerk when I was in college the “first time around” and recently I was an automotive technician at a local Toyota dealership. I am now in school (both Saddleback and CA State Fullerton concurrently) to obtain my BA in Business to become an accountant and ultimately “sit” for the California CPA exam. That said, let me assign probability factors to the following complex careers: For the staff accountant, I set the probability at 90%. I plan to graduate and get an accounting job. The probability of me continuing my training to acquire my CPA is also 90%. I plan to work and gain experience while I study for the CPA exam. Finally, to acquire my MBA while working is a 50-50 (50%) chance at this point in my life. I’m doing OK financially but if a firm wants to reimburse me for my tuition and expenses, I’ll do it. II: Methodology
Even though I actually worked at the two “simple” careers at different points in my life, I adjusted all salaries to “today’s” salaries: For the grocery clerk I used today’s journeyman salary scale (Table 1) and for the automotive technician I used today’s Flat Rate hourly amounts and approximate labor hours for Toyota vehicles (Table 2). Of course I used the average salaries for accountants in today’s dollars as described in Tables 3, 4 and 5. In a nutshell: I researched and used actual salaries paid today for the positions that I held in the past. For Benefits I calculated what my employer contributed for health insurance and retirement; for the Accounting positions these are estimates. Job Related Expenses (JRE) included tools, uniforms and estimated costs to attend additional schooling (based upon current expenses incurred at CA State Fullerton.) My Stress & Happiness (S/H) calculations were based upon personal experiences where “0” is “mellow” and a positive value is “happy” and a negative value is “stressful.” Again, I’m making the assumption that I’m just starting out in my working career and am using today’s salaries as a baseline. These income projections rely on the assumption that the reader understands the basics regarding calculations using Present Discount Tables and Annuity Tables. Note that the AF and PDV factors are applied consistently and at the identical points-in-time across all 5 career choices to maintain validity. Finally, regarding the salaries listed in the “complex” careers: When becoming a CPA or acquiring an MBA I assumed that one was immediately earning the additional salary starting at age 23. Over the life of the career (and for simplicity’s sake) I assumed that the actual difference in salary is negligible; as one is already earning an accountant’s salary. I chose a value for the AF that was easily retrievable from the tables. By applying this value across all career choices at least we get consistent comparison. Likewise, for the PDV, I chose a “midpoint value” within an age group. III: Biography
I am a “mature” student who has been unemployed for nearly two years now. Fortunately, we planned well and saved a lot of money. We also live very frugally: We don’t have cable TV or drive new cars. I fix everything around the house; including the cars. We pay cash for nearly everything and have minimal debt. We’re putting two children through college right now. I’m bringing my experience from the first two “simple” careers and hoping to transition into the “complex” career. I’m not hoping to get rich from this; I just want to stay employed until I’m ready to retire. IV: Grocery Clerk Career
Note the large difference in income between my first and second year as a grocery clerk. See Table 1. This disparity is based on the fact that I went through a one-year apprenticeship prior to becoming a journeyman clerk. The apprenticeship’s duration is 2080 hours, which is one year (52...
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