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Job Doc

Seeking a two-fer: Rewarding work, decent pay

Q. I am a recent college graduate who has a sociology degree with a minor in environmental science. Can you recommend the type of job I should be looking for? I would like to work with children and/or help adults needing assistance. Are there any agencies that could help me?

A. There are probably several occupations that would work for your skill set and interests. The ideal role includes two factors: 1) interesting work that you love and can be passionate about, and, 2) work that provides an income on which you could live. There are many people who either love their jobs but struggle financially, or really despise what they do but make a decent income. The trick is to find both.

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During college years, it is helpful to intern and work part time or during the summer in your fields of interest. Did you ever work at a summer camp with kids? Or in a role caring for adults? This practical experience is invaluable. Many of us enjoy studying a specific subject, but then in a real-life situation it is not exactly what we expected.

One resource worth reviewing is the Occupational Outlook Handbook report on “Most New Jobs.” This report, from the Labor Department, lists the 20 occupations with high growth rates. It also provides some data on the pay listed for each occupation. There is also a useful tool on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website called “Occupation Finder.” This tool allows you to sort through different roles based on education, projected growth rates, and a number of other factors.

Employment agencies could be helpful, but so could the career services office at your college or university. I would start at your college or university. Their office is likely to have job postings and leads for recent graduates that would be appropriate for your major and career interests.

Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton.
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