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Changing careers from business to software eng/dev because of formal dress code aversion

 
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I graduated almost a year ago with a degree in Industrial Engineering. Since then I’ve had a job that requires a business casual dress code (no surprise with my degree). Since my childhood I’ve had a severe subconscious aversion/anxiety disorder with formal clothing fabrics, buttons and collars. Conditioning/systematic desensitization did not help. I estimate that my discomfort caused by business casual dress codes is equivalent to a annual monetary loss of about $10,000 to $30,000 post-tax; it’s about equivalent to half the typical discomfort of constantly hearing/watching fingernails scratching a chalkboard.

Because there are a lot of software engineer/developer jobs out there that enable you to come to work in casual attire, I want to change my career path.

The following options present themselves to me (ranked according quick judgment):

1. Master’s Degree in Computational Science and Engineering from the Berkeley - Specialization in Simulation/Modeling with data analysis and some scientific algorithms: Difficulty: Hard, Opportunity Cost: -$80,000, Starting Salary: $77,000
2. Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from CalTech: Difficulty: Medium, Opportunity Cost: -$115,000, Starting Salary: $60,000
4. Distance Learning Degree from Baker College (web development or CS or DBA) or other distance learning +certifications for various technologies: Difficulty: Easy, Opportunity cost: -$35000 (plus -$80000 if not working), Starting salary: no idea
Opportunity cost refers to the cost of the studies (including potential living expenses) and the lost salary during years of study.

I’m frugal: I invest almost everything that doesn’t go into living expenses.

The objective is: maximize profit. The constraint is: have a very high chance of getting a job that allows casual attire when applying to a random sample of relevant jobs.
Please state factors that I ignored, a general recommendation, or a pointer for a forum/professional-group/organization that has more relevant information. The key question to hone into is probably: Will a graduate degree in Computational Science & Engineering (Specialization in Simulation/Modeling with data analysis and some scientific algorithms) offer close to the same odds of a casual dress code job as a generic CS degree?

I posted this thread in another forum. Please do not judge it as spamming - I simply want to maximize my chances of getting a good answer. Furthermore, I know there are people who simply can’t understand how severe an anxiety disorder to something so trivial can be - please refrain from that short and banal post.
 
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Welcome to the Ranch

Have you considered that you have a handicap? If you couldn’t walk and needed a wheelchair to get around, you would expect an employer to provide flat surfaces, lifts, wide WCs, etc. In which case you could expect employers to permit you to wear casual clothes. Why should you spend $115000 on getting rid of formal clothes?
If you change to computing, it should be because you want to do computing, not because of clothing problems.
 
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:Welcome to the Ranch

Have you considered that you have a handicap? If you couldn’t walk and needed a wheelchair to get around, you would expect an employer to provide flat surfaces, lifts, wide WCs, etc. In which case you could expect employers to permit you to wear casual clothes. Why should you spend $115000 on getting rid of formal clothes?
If you change to computing, it should be because you want to do computing, not because of clothing problems.




In strong agreement, you should change careers only if you want to do the new career (and feels strongly too as the change is not easy) -- definitely not because of the dress code.

I disagree with the handicap idea. IMO, companies honor handicap requirements because they have to by law. I think that if they could get away with not honoring it, they would. And even then, there is some barely legal bias going on. In the current state of affairs, with high unemployement rates, etc., you don't want to be the squeaky wheel, especially for something that the company is not required to do something about.

Henry
 
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Gregory, a general recommendation would be to consult a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Based on your post it sounds like you may have a mild mental disorder and have attached it to either your appearance or clothing. There are treatments available in the real world. Good luck!
 
Gregory Larsen
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Thanks for the asnwers. 3 Points:

1. I seeked professional help before (as mentioned with the conditioning/systematic desensitation comment from above) and it didn't improve matters.
2. I'm not going for the handicap because the employer could easily get around these issues and I can't do this for every job in the future.
3. I enjoy coding. Generally, there is not much variation among different jobs w.r.t. to the enjoyment I would get out of them, so the fact that I enjoy coding doesn't mean that I would drop six figures just for that reason. But I have to say I'd probably enjoy it more than other occupations, but not by much.
 
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