Surviving In Texas.

Houston is a city in which networking pays.   It is very possible to see someone who has never had a job, gain access to a job in which he/she is trained to ensure that he/she has the professional skills necessary to be competitive.  You will see this occur repeatedly.

When I moved to Houston and started my program, I was coming in with more than a decade worth of experience working in the healthcare sector.  I came in with soft skills  that were and are easily transferable into different sectors in the healthcare continuum but it was as if my years working in New York was wiped off as if it  never existed. (At a point, I wondered if there was a conspiracy in place to bring me back to New York but then I had to tell myself to stop being paranoid).

This was troubling because I am someone who has always taken her work seriously and ensured that I put in my best,but, then I realized that in Houston,  it really isn’t about being intelligent, or the type of experience you have but who you know.   No, this is not about favor, for my religious folks.

How have I survived?

a) experience –  Most of the time I lived in New York, I was always dealing with multiple issues and this actually trained me to think worst case scenario and to work around that.

b) budget and expenses – you will have to pay close attention to your expenses and think of alternative ways to cut costs.  For example, rather than pay 33 dollars or so per month for the gym, look into what free services exists in your community, purchase cheaper gym tools and use them at home, join a meetup for sport activities etc.  Do the same for other needs.  Food – you might need to become a flexitarian, shop at the farmer’s market and explore foods from other regions that use less stuff. Housing – shop, shop and the list goes on.

c) staffing firms – I worked with several staffing firms in Houston, working several crappy jobs.    But, with staffing firms you have to be careful, some of these workplaces are very tricky.  They won’t tell the staffing firm, the position they want to have you working in, neither will they notify the staffing firms of what they want you to do. Do not stay in those places too long.  I learned that the hard way.

d)others have survived by using other skills they have – cooking, baking, making repairs, tutoring, selling items, babysitting etc.

But, to really survive in Houston, you need to learn how to network in person. This might get you that job with absolutely no qualifications whatsoever.  Being an introvert, this is a skill that I am still learning.




Show Me The Money!

In many academic programs, Public Health is divided into five (5) distinct fields of interest. We have health promotion and behavior science, epidemiology, environmental science, biostatistics and management, policy and community health practice.

Health promotion and behavior science is all about the promotion of healthy lifestyles and the prevention of disease. Many students in this field have a behavioral science background or are clinicians. Many become health educators, nutritionists, counselors and communicators. As a communication specialist, you could start off in the high 50’s with a masters degree.

Epidemiologists are the main investigators of the public health field. They investigate the reason certain diseases occur. They also look at disease condition in specific populations. Students who have a clinical background often find themselves in this field. You can work in several areas and you have a high earning potential. As a veterinary epidemiologist with a masters degree, you start off in the very high 60’s .

Those in environmental science look at different factors in the environment that can influence human health. Many become advocates. Many also have a background in the sciences.. As an environmental consultant with a masters degree you start off around mid 60’s.

Bio statistics is a field of interest for those who love maths. They develop and apply statistical science to human health. As a public health informatics specialist with a MPH, you will start off in the high 70’s.

Management, Policy and community health is concerned with health organizations, health care reform, cost of health care for individuals. Those in these program have different backgrounds. Many are being trained to solve problems in management, get involved in policy formulation or become analyst or work in an area of community health. Many who have management positions within healthcare earn in in the high 90’s to 6 figures.

Do Not Sleep On This:
Okay,you are reading all this but you really aren’t ready to commit financially or emotionally into this program then why not start off first as a community health worker. Community health workers are trusted individuals within the community that act in the role of a resource to people within the community. They often work within the area of health promotion or health outreach. Now, to become a community health worker, you do not need a masters degree, even those with a high school diploma can get into this field. But, to get within certain positions or to work in certain places, you will need a bachelors degree at least. They earn between 35,000 – 60,000. As a side note, many clinicians (particularly nurses) in developing countries in certain villages, sometimes work in this capacity. In Texas, this is a recognized field and you have to get certified to work as one.

I hope I’ve shown you the money…..LOOOOL!

But,as in all things in life, your degree is what you make of it. I say focus on your area of interest, find what lights up your fire and go for it. You can create your own career and remember, with the right connection, resources, you can maintain your independence and be a consultant.

Till Next Time.

I, Welcome You All To The Field Of Public Health.


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