What to do with my life?


I really need some solid advice on how I should move forward with my life. Here is my background:

2012 I graduated with a bachelors degree in petroleum engineering from a university in Egypt. Couldn't find a job due to the political unrest in the country after the revolution.

Beginning of 2014 I worked for an oil service company operating in the Middle East, most of my work was hard labor and some engineering on the side. I remember working over 18+ hours some days (yes, employee protection laws are garbage) so after 11 months I quit due to a lower back problem. In 2015 I got hired by GE as a field service engineer, it was a crappy job that required a lot of manual labor. I would spend about 25 days a month in the desert or on offshore rigs. I hated my life and saw no future as I was learning nothing but handling tough work. My qualifications were supposed to land me much better jobs but that never happened. Also, my salaries were very low.

In Sep 2015 I moved to Canada to do an Econ graduate diploma in Concordia as it was the only program that accepted me due to my shitty undergraduate grades. I wanted to work in politics/economics/finance. However, after graduating with decent grades I never got calls for interviews and even my networking led to nowhere. So I took a sales call center job until I got fired since I was underperforming, I was very depressed.

May 2017 I moved to Toronto, been working as a barback in a restaurant while trying to find a decent job but due to my terrible background and lack of specialized skills I have not landed anything.

I'm currently 27 years old and no clue how to move forward. If you'll talk about my passion or what I like, in all honesty, money. If I could land a job with a great salary and promising long term potential I would take it no matter the cost/hours or sacrifices.

I've thought about going back and doing a Masters in Finance or maybe in IT, I think I could get in as my GPA was decent in the Econ graduate diploma.

What would people here suggest I do??

Thank you!

Comments (32)

Best Response
Sep 13, 2017 - 12:01am

You must be one of the middle class or upper middle class Egyptians because I thought a lot of people in Egypt are drowning in money like Naguib Sawiris. Someone I know studied with his son at Stanford. This dude is so rich he gave his son millions just to invest in Silicon Valley start-ups to teach him business.

My main suggestion would be apply to everything general finance related. Do not aim high. Don't try investment banking.

1)Fake a banking job experience in Egypt , use the right keywords, and try to land a job as a financial analyst, or at a government institution (a regional division of the central bank of canada).

2) If you're interested in working in Africa in the mining sector, I think applying to Toronto based companies would be ideal. Toronto is one of the mining hubs in the world. Most of the big boys with operations in Australia, Africa, South America have offices in Toronto.
Maybe with your natural resources background you could fit in.
Barrick Gold, Newmont, blah blah blah.

I'd imagine they need people like you in Africa since I guess you speak Arabic ? Anyone who knows natural resources and can speak Arabic/English would be a good fit for any Toronto mining company with operations in Africa though I'm unsure if they're mining in Arabic speaking regions.


I feel you, but, don't take it personally. My sister is an Electrical Engineer and she was laid off from Hewlett Packard. Most responsible, hard-working, diligent, competent, and serious person, 4.0 GPA student in high school. Yet, at the end of the day, she was a mere cost. That's all you are. I still remember the day she was laid-off, she came home parked the car and just started crying for 10-15 minutes straight as my mom tried to console her.

Sep 13, 2017 - 11:03am

Thank you for your reply and advice. Ok so honestly I came to Canada for a better life, so going back to Africa doesn't seem very attractive to me.

I do come from an upper middle class family, but no millions due to the currency conversion rate.

Your first suggestion is great, I don't mind faking the experience but I've noticed most financial analyst jobs in Toronto require CPA. I can self study financial analysis really quick but how do I bypassed that? What other finance jobs would be easier to land? I have given up on IB since my background would never get me in! I even went to a networking event for BMO and after talking with associates it was clear I had 0 chance.

Sep 14, 2017 - 6:51am

Stop feeling like a miserable c**t - your self pity is in the way of your success.

There are so many options.

Honestly, get the f**k back on track (eat well, sleep well, do some physical exercise) and go into a industry where they require arabic (i.e. mining suggested).

To your comment on you trying to stick to Canada - sometimes a step backwards (in a sense Egypt/Africa) will grant you the opportunity of your life.

Otherwise start doing a job in a Cafe or something where you can reduce nutrition costs and have free wifi, bla bla.

Look into stoicism and engage in some self-discipline.

Sep 13, 2017 - 12:15am

Damn. I like everything papertiger stated, with the exception of faking experience. Look into areas such as PWM/AM and also do not be afraid of going to work at a smaller firm. Try and reach out to contracting companies. The jobs may not be very sexy, but they are experience in the industry. Doing a CS degree could be a value add for you, I would also suggest getting your charter taken care of to double down. If you are the IB or bust type then look into a good MBA program. There are discussions on here that talk about Canadian schools.

Only two sources I trust, Glenn Beck and singing woodland creatures.
  • 2
Sep 13, 2017 - 11:08am

MBA's are very expensive and my experience would never get me into a good school. I was thinking more of MSF or MFE and then trying to land a decent finance job. Unless I decide to enter the IT field and do a CS degree but honestly I like finance more.

I will do some research on PWM/AM firms and try cold emailing or cold calling them and see how it goes.

Thank you

Sep 13, 2017 - 2:07pm

Never sell yourself short! Worse comes to worst you apply to a program and they deny you. If you are into IT and enjoy finance the MFE could be a good route for you. L

Only two sources I trust, Glenn Beck and singing woodland creatures.
  • 1
Sep 13, 2017 - 6:48pm

No offense but why did you choose Petroleum Engineering if you didn't know it would be physical hard work ?

Funny how the world works. Rich Nigerians go to Egypt to study, and Egyptians themselves are trying to get out. I guess the Arab Spring did some damage.

Sep 13, 2017 - 7:54pm

I couldn't land a job as a petroleum engineer or even a field engineer at Slb, Halliburton or Baker Hughes even though I had relatives and strong connections in these companies. I graduated 1 year after the revolution and the country was a mess for a very long time and still is! When I started my degree in 2007, the petroleum industry was booming with great future potential. Kinda like doing finance at a target school and once you graduate the banking industry crashes, however, even if it does finance is still a diverse field unlike petroleum engineering.

Like I said I don't mind hard work and long hours but when you're doing what technicians/manual labours are doing with an Engineering degree it's very upsetting. On top of that I was getting paid on average 400USD a month at the exchange rate during that period, which was still very low for the effort I was putting in.

Anyways the past is the past and I want to change, I want to become the best version of myself and big part of that is financially.


Sep 14, 2017 - 7:39am

I have nothing to really add other than to say:

I've had a catastrophic set back at one point too. Think about how far you've come from being on an oil rig. You've already experienced the worst it's going to get.

Sep 14, 2017 - 9:04am

You already are highly educated...and you think more education is the answer???

Gosh, you sound like me 2 years ago. More education is not the answer. You have a technical and economic education. What you need to do is get a job.

If I were you, I would apply for any operations job you can get to get started. OR honestly, with your education I would google every mining and engineering company in Canada and apply for sales/account management jobs there, or a solutions architect.

There is a shortage of technical sales people and you would do well there.

Do not go for more education.

  • 2
Sep 14, 2017 - 1:46pm

I will be contacting every mining company this coming week, and try to find alumni or Egyptians working in that industry to get my foot in the door. I honestly don't want to further my studies but I just feel like I'm stuck with no relevant specialized skills.

Sep 14, 2017 - 10:37am

As a fellow Canadian, I'm 25 today and currently working as a bank teller in Toronto. I've been reaching out to as many individuals/firms I can in Toronto and I can only say there's only been an upside. Go on LinkedIn and reach out to people for advice/stay in touch in case of any opportunities come up. I came from a non-target school so I know how it feels. Feel free to message me if you want.

Sep 14, 2017 - 1:49pm

Whenever I thought about moving to Calgary, I keep reading about high unemployment, drop in the economy, etc.. So it's very hard to take that step when all sources of information are giving a negative image of the job market in Calgary

Sep 14, 2017 - 5:38pm
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