Multi-species Hunter, I want to jump back in and put in a few extra cents.

If haven't already, go to school - college, trade school, whatever - now. I'm 38, I finally decided what I wanted to do when I grew up a few years ago and now I'm playing catch-up.

You may have exactly the experience that a manager/company wants or even needs, but, they (usually HR) want you to have a degree. Some places don't even care what the degree is in, they just want the degree and they will hire some kid off the street with a degree and no experience before they will hire you with no degree and years of experience.

It makes no sense to me and it drives me up a wall, but it's the way the world works now.

Now that I have a wife, a house, cars, a full-time job plus reserves and now a kid on the way, school is a real PITA. It eats into time for things like hunting and camping.

That said, if you get a degree, get a professional degree, i.e., engineering, chemistry, biology, etc, not one of the basket-weaving type of degrees that are handed out like candy now.

Basket weaving degrees might get you more pay at some places and into a managerial spot at others, but a professional degree will do all that plus open a lot of doors that a basket-weaving degree never will.

An alternative would be some type of trade, where you do an apprenticeship or a formal trade school.

Whatever you do, do it now so that you will have the free time later on.