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Thomperchik

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Jul 11, 2008
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I''ve been going through a lot of self-discovery lately, and I concluded that I don''t want to be in my line of work the rest of my life.


Background: I graduated when I was 20 (turned 21 few months later) with a BA in Sociology. Two weeks later, I was working for a major brokerage firm as a manager. This was when times were good, so it was exciting and I was making way more than the average 21 yr old. Six months later, I started working on my MBA since they paid for it as long as I can get an A or B. Fast forward almost three years, I''m miserable and still working on my MBA.


I should''ve finished a year and a half ago, but then I realized that the reason why it''s taking me forever is because I hate finance and the whole business field in general. I’m not sure if it has to do with the current economic environment, or what, but I hate it either way!


So I''m turning 24 in June and I have no idea what on earth I''m going to do with my life and an MBA that I don''t particularly care much for.


My question to you is, how old were you when you decided what you wanted to do with your life? Career wise that is...


I''m all ears!!!...
 

CNOS128

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
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2,700
Hey Thomper --

I still don''t know what I want to do with my life. I''m 29, and on my second career (and my second graduate degree). I don''t think I''m the kind of person who will ever love my job or find it completely fulfilling, but that''s why I have a lot of hobbies.

Sorry I can''t help you more. Good luck!!
 

Lauren8211

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Apr 25, 2008
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I''m 26, I''m graduating with my BS in Sociology in June.

I''m still VERY iffy.


I think very few people are born to do only one particular thing the rest of their lives. It''s OK to change it up and never be 100%.
 

fieryred33143

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May 18, 2008
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I used to work for a fast food company (not one of the big 3). When I was 17, I was promoted to assistant manager. I couldn''t even work more than 28 hours and needed to take breaks by law because I was a minor. But I was still promoted because I loved my job to pieces and I was really good at it.

When I went into college, I was a psychology major. Why? Because I liked the subject. During that time I was doing work-study and was also a store manager. I knew then that my heart will always be in the business field and working in either retail or the restaurant industry. I just loved working with people and the stress that I got from it was good stress. I always felt productive.

So I switched to a business career after about 2 years of studying behavioral psychology. Best decision ever.

I''ll suggest to you what I suggested to my younger brother who is also really struggling with what he wants to do in life. Do a matrix. In this matrix put everything that you absolutely love to do down the left column. Across put every single career/field you can think of. Then just start checking things off.

Also, take your time. You are only 24. I know that seems like an "old" age but it isn''t. You have your whole life ahead of you. If that means quitting where you are now to start another field you never thought you''d see yourself in, then go for it. You never know what you''ll find around the corner!
 

elrohwen

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Hmm ... I guess I decided my sophomore year in high school that I wanted to be a chemical engineer, but that's actually a fairly broad career choice. ChemEs can work in oil, chemicals, microelectronics, consumer products, food, you name it. I ended up going with food because I like cooking and I like food, but I'm now trying to change my career to something more technical because the food industry just isn't for me. I'm lucky in that I have a great degree and I can do a lot of things with it, but I'm worried that, despite only being 25, I'm going to be stuck in the food/consumer products industry forever. A microelectronics company, say, isn't necessarily going to want someone my age with no experience in their field; they'll have to pay more money to hire me when the only transferable skills I have involve dealing with people (which is fairly valuable, I guess) and not microelectronics. I'm sure I'll find one eventually, but it's been frustrating to be in a job I hate for so long and not see any way out right now. I'm just trying to be patient.

So to answer your question, I loosely decided at age 15, but 10 years later I'm still fine tuning!

My question to you, Thomperchik: why did you go into Sociology in school in the first place? Whatever attracted you to that might hold a clue about what you should do for your career. Also, don't feel bad about the MBA! It's not like you spent all that time getting a PhD in some weird very specific area. MBAs are useful in pretty much every career and will make you more atractive to future employees, so be proud of all the work you put into getting it.

ETA: Sometimes I think the reason we want to change careers is that we happen to have a bad job in our field. In my situation, I hate my job mostly because of the managers and the company, but it's made me dislike the food industry in general and want to get out. If I had had a great experience here, I think I would love what I do and not consider changing careers. So sometimes you might not be in the wrong career, but just the wrong company or job. Just a general thought
and not directed at you specifically, Thomperchik.
 

BlueSki231

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Joined
Apr 21, 2008
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855
I graduated with a BS in Psychology and started working in an office type environment and hated it. I knew I couldn''t do it for the rest of my life - or even another year!
Long story short: I figured it out at 23 and went back to school at 24 for massage therapy... about 2 years after I graduated college. (I''m 26 now..)

Is there anything you feel called to do? or are this point all you know is that you don''t want to do what you''re doing?

So many people go through this in their 20''s! It''s such a confusing time.
 

MichelleCarmen

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You were so young when you graduated and I always think it''s extremely unrealistic for any of us to know what we want to do with our lives when we''re at a young age. I studied accounting and got all As and found a great job that turned into a nightmare position and after that, I''ve never worked in the field again (and cannot even remember how to do my taxes now!), and so that was a HUGE waste of time and money. My Dh, on the other hand, was around your age, or a year older, when he finally determined what he wanted to study and went on to get his BS in Physics. He made the best decision ever and is pleased with where this has taken him. . .I guess he lucked out, unlike many of us, who get degrees and then go on to find a new path in life!

You''re lucky that even if you do not want to work in finance, you have an MBA. That''ll always look great on your resume.

Best of luck to you. Hang in. . .you''ll find your calling!
 

MichelleCarmen

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Date: 3/20/2009 11:04:31 AM
Author: elrohwen
Hmm ... I guess I decided my sophomore year in high school that I wanted to be a chemical engineer, but that's actually a fairly broad career choice. ChemEs can work in oil, chemicals, microelectronics, consumer products, food, you name it. I ended up going with food because I like cooking and I like food,
elrohwen - What exactly do you do in the food company? Genetic enginering?
hahaha
 

monarch64

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Date: 3/20/2009 11:10:28 AM
Author: MC
You were so young when you graduated and I always think it''s extremely unrealistic for any of us to know what we want to do with our lives when we''re at a young age. I studied accounting and got all As and found a great job that turned into a nightmare position and after that, I''ve never worked in the field again (and cannot even remember how to do my taxes now!), and so that was a HUGE waste of time and money. My Dh, on the other hand, was around your age, or a year older, when he finally determined what he wanted to study and went on to get his BS in Physics. He made the best decision ever and is pleased with where this has taken him. . .I guess he lucked out, unlike many of us, who get degrees and then go on to find a new path in life!

You''re lucky that even if you do not want to work in finance, you have an MBA. That''ll always look great on your resume.

Best of luck to you. Hang in. . .you''ll find your calling!
Ditto! I''m 31 and recently made a career change. I wouldn''t say that I''m miserable, but I''m doing self-study to get my license to sell insurance and it is taking me forever because I''m so bored with the subject matter. Not only that, but I just don''t see selling insurance as something I''ll want to turn into a lifelong career. My BS is in fashion and I would rather go back to my former retail career which was actually exciting...
 

elrohwen

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Date: 3/20/2009 11:13:35 AM
Author: MC


Date: 3/20/2009 11:04:31 AM
Author: elrohwen
Hmm ... I guess I decided my sophomore year in high school that I wanted to be a chemical engineer, but that's actually a fairly broad career choice. ChemEs can work in oil, chemicals, microelectronics, consumer products, food, you name it. I ended up going with food because I like cooking and I like food,
elrohwen - What exactly do you do in the food company? Genetic enginering?
hahaha
LOL People ask me that allllll the time, hehe. I mostly deal with equipment. So, if we want to make a new cookie, the food scientists will work on the formula while I'll work on testing the equipment and getting it to the point where it can make the new cookie. No chemicals involved! Many chemical engineers go into process engineering like me and never see a chemical again, so our major is a little mislabeled at times. The job actually sounds really cool, and it is at times, but traveling from one plant to the next gets really tiring!
 

MichelleCarmen

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Date: 3/20/2009 11:16:26 AM
Author: elrohwen

Date: 3/20/2009 11:13:35 AM
Author: MC

elrohwen - What exactly do you do in the food company? Genetic enginering?
hahaha
LOL People ask me that allllll the time, hehe. I mostly deal with equipment. So, if we want to make a new cookie, the food scientists will work on the formula while I''ll work on testing the equipment and getting it to the point where it can make the new cookie. No chemicals involved! Many chemical engineers go into process engineering like me and never see a chemical again, so our major is a little mislabeled at times.
I was kind of afraid to ask you thinking you were going to say, "yes!" lol
 

elrohwen

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Joined
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Date: 3/20/2009 11:20:30 AM
Author: MC
I was kind of afraid to ask you thinking you were going to say, ''yes!'' lol
Hahaha. Maybe genetic engineering will be my next career
 

LtlFirecracker

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Joined
Feb 29, 2008
Messages
4,837
Well I decided I wanted to go into medicine at 18, and I chose my speciality the latest I could (the beginning of my 4th year of medical school). I am going to hold off on sub-specializing and practice for a few years. I don''t see myself doing the primary care clinic thing 40+ hours a week for the rest of my life. I think I would burn out. So I see myself either sub-specializing, or maybe dropping the clinic to part time and doing some work for the community or government.

So although I have chosen my general field, I am continuing to change what I want to do in that field, and probably will be doing so into my mid 30''s or 40''s.
 

sba771

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Joined
Jun 1, 2008
Messages
887
I am 23, graduated at 21 with a BA in Classics (Greek and Latin) and Art History. I really really wanted to work in Art, but no one would hire me. I wound up doing PR for 18 months and now I have switched to marketing. I have no skills or background or formal training in either. I can''t see myself doing this forever, and I kind of hope to switch to art when I move back to NY. I think its ok to not know and not love what you do. I just try to take everything as a learning experience and hopefully helping me get a better job as I grow and see what works.
 

justjulia

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Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
2,308
Undergrad at 21. At 31 made appt with my alma mater for career counseling and blended old with new track of study. Completely different really. I would not have known before this time.

I called and visited/interviewed people in my new choice of career study before starting courses--asking all kinds of questions like "Would you pursue this again?" "What''s the best part about your job?" "Worst?" I learned A LOT.

There''s a lot of living yet to do, so go for it.
 

DiamondFlame

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 7, 2009
Messages
680
Here''s the great news: you are 24, about to get an MBA and you know what you don''t like to do. Wow. How I wish I were you.

I won a scholarship at 18 to do a degree in accountancy. Worked for 6 years for the sponsoring company. Quit trying to earn my CFA cuz accountancy & finance bore me to tears. Got sick of the rat race and office politics. Left the company. Tried my hand at sales but hated having to convince people to buy something they don''t need. Felt like my existence was not benefitting anyone but my boss. Lost my job. Wife left me. Lost my home. Fell into depression.

Somehow found a lifeline when I volunteered to man a suicide hotline. Found out I enjoy helping troubled or sick people. Now I''m in nursing and making a real difference to people''s lives. Sure it pays a lot less but I''m happier.

Find the things you love to do. Don''t ever do a job because it pays well.
 

applequeen

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 27, 2008
Messages
253
Boy do I understand where you're coming from. I started my MBA at the age of 21 (and finished at 23... I'm 31 now) and realized the first day of orientation that I didnt' want to be there. I hate business... I hate finance...I hate all of it. The next 2 years were tough for me... I felt like I clawed my way through.

I now work in the public sector doing economic development and it's the perfect job for me. I also worked in non-profit for a few years (and still serve on several boards for non profits). My job requires some of the knowledge I gained doing the MBA but without all the crap that made me hate business.

If it's possible to finish the MBA I would say to finish it. It's so versitle and there is so much you can do with it besides finance. To be honest you may not make the money you would in the private sector but you can still have a very comfortable income. There are so many opportunities with organizations that could benefit from your MBA but would give you the opportunity to do a job you love. I'm obviously biased... but i think it's a great degree to have.

Good luck!

ETA... so my point in relation to your question is that I think you'll be able to go in many differant directions if you finish the degree. I was sure at 23 that non-profit was where I wanted to be... at 26 I switched to government and it's a great fit right now.... who knows what I'll want to do at age 36... as your life changes your goals will continue to change.
 

shimmer

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
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May 7, 2007
Messages
1,702
I just want to say thanks to everyone who has taken the time to share their stories


I have been struggling with my career decisions for several years and it really helps to read about others who have gone through similar experiences.

Monarch-I am in insurance and my advice is, if you don''t enjoy it now it''s going to be far less enjoyable when your income depends on it. That said, if you enjoy working with people and can handle rejection on a multiple-daily basis, you''ll be fine
 

Thomperchik

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 11, 2008
Messages
303

Thanks everyone for responding!


I changed major about 10 times before I picked Sociology and that was because I was a Junior/Senior and needed a major.


I guess I haven''t really put much thought into what I really enjoy doing. The one thing I do know is that I like working with people and that''s why Sociology seemed appealing. All the modern theories of human behavior appealed to me.


I was actually thinking about going to law school, but I''m not sure what kind of law I would want to practice.


For all the lawyers out there, did you decide in law what you wanted to practice?


It''s interesting to know that I''m not the only that totally feels dissatisfied in the finance world.


I appreciate and enjoy everyone''s feedback, thanks!!
 

Thomperchik

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 11, 2008
Messages
303
Date: 3/20/2009 11:04:31 AM
Author: elrohwen

ETA: Sometimes I think the reason we want to change careers is that we happen to have a bad job in our field. In my situation, I hate my job mostly because of the managers and the company, but it''s made me dislike the food industry in general and want to get out. If I had had a great experience here, I think I would love what I do and not consider changing careers. So sometimes you might not be in the wrong career, but just the wrong company or job. Just a general thought
and not directed at you specifically, Thomperchik.
elrohwen - I will have to agree with you on this one!

By the way, your job sounds super cool!!!!!!! hehe
 

Gailey

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 14, 2008
Messages
3,778
Thomperchik

It''s good that you are asking yourself these types of questions now. I worked for a major corporation in the design dept (Health & Beautycare Products) and quickly discovered I had a bad habit and not a job. Fortunately, I say this now and not then, they made me redundant about 7 yrs ago and I was bereft. Like I said, it was a bad habit and one I could never have quit from.

So, at 40 I had a complete career change. I turned my hobby (gardening) into a business. I do love my business, but I did lose my hobby. I just wish I''d done this 20 years ago when my body was younger and fitter.

So my point to you is, great timing. If you can step off the treadmill, and figure out what you really want, you are at a great point in life to do it.

Good luck to you.
 

Haven

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I love my job. I teach high school students in English and reading classes.

I earned my BA in English and American lit because I love literature, and my plan was to become a professor. I wasn''t ready to narrow my research focus for a PhD when I finished undergrad, so I went to law school, and found that to be extremely boring. I quit after a semester, and decided to give teaching a try. I went back to school, earned an MA in secondary ed, and started teaching. Loved it. I most recently finished an MEd in reading and literacy, which was an unbelievably cool program, since I had the opportunity to learn all about the science and process of reading.

I didn''t really know I would love teaching until I actually gave it a try. It''s one of those things you have to experience to truly understand, which is probably why we have such a high rate of attrition from the career.

The best advice I can give is to pursue something that involves doing what you love. I love to read, and to talk about literature, and criticize, and research, and create literature. Sometimes I can''t believe that I actually get paid to do all of these things on a daily basis.
 

Bia

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At 24, I was also wondering what I wanted to do. My BA is in Psych. I LOVE Psych...everything about it. But when the time came to find a job, what can you do with a degree in psych other than get a job as an admin assistant? You really need an advanced degree in psych (not always, but typically). The problem is, a MA is psych doesn''t do you much good either. This realization caused me to be really unsure about what to do with my life because if there was one thing I did know it was that I wasn''t going to school for another 6 years to become a psychologist--I''m truly getting sick of school. So I decided to find a more business-minded approach to psychology. That''s where the Industrial/Organizational Psych & HR came into play. Yea it sounds boring, but really it''s exactly what I was looking for. It''s a mix of Organizational Pysch and Business and people. I''ll be done soon and I hope I''ll find a job that I really love.

Sometimes you just get lucky and find the job that was meant to be yours, and other times you have to sort of fall into it. Just keep aiming for the things you like, and remember that no matter how old you are, you''re never too old to try something different. You should see some of the people in my cohort. Some of them are in their 50''s, have already had successful careers in something else, but they are seeking change. It''s really quite brave.

and I might even go back for a PhD when I am swimming in cash and have lots of time, who knows?
 

Haven

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Bia makes an excellent point--you are never too old to make a career switch. I went through my first graduate program with many people who were in their 40s and 50s, and all were switching careers to become teachers.
 

meresal

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Date: 3/20/2009 10:45:03 AM
Author:Thomperchik

I''ve been going through a lot of self-discovery lately, and I concluded that I don''t want to be in my line of work the rest of my life.



Background: I graduated when I was 20 (turned 21 few months later) with a BA in Sociology. Two weeks later, I was working for a major brokerage firm as a manager. This was when times were good, so it was exciting and I was making way more than the average 21 yr old. Six months later, I started working on my MBA since they paid for it as long as I can get an A or B. Fast forward almost three years, I''m miserable and still working on my MBA.



I should''ve finished a year and a half ago, but then I realized that the reason why it''s taking me forever is because I hate finance and the whole business field in general. I’m not sure if it has to do with the current economic environment, or what, but I hate it either way!



So I''m turning 24 in June and I have no idea what on earth I''m going to do with my life and an MBA that I don''t particularly care much for.



My question to you is, how old were you when you decided what you wanted to do with your life? Career wise that is...



I''m all ears!!!...
I''m sorry you feel like this...

FWIW, I read an article 3 years ago saying that in the generation at the time (non lay-off times)... the average college graduate was likely to change thier job up to 4 times before the age of 35.

I''m 25, graduated with Economics degree and work in the financial field. If you''re going to stay at your job I would get that MBA done!! You''re so close and who knows what career you could end up with, but if down the line you decided to come back to the financial field, you''ll be so glad you have it.
 

purrfectpear

Ideal_Rock
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Mar 31, 2008
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4,079
Sociology or Psych degree + MBA = top level job in HR IMO.
 

AmberGretchen

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Thomperchik - I''d encourage you to think carefully before doing any more graduate school. A law degree can be great, but grad school, especially full time, is a huge grind, and should be considered very carefully (which I''m sure you''ll do
). After earning your MBA though, might be worth it to take some time off.

I''m in the process of making a career transition myself. I did my undergrad in Biology and Public Policy (double major), then I went straight into a PhD program in Biomedical Science (specifically, HIV immunology). Now I''m almost done with my PhD. I realized about 2 years in that I DID NOT want to be a research scientist, no way, no how. I looked into it, and even though my PhD is obviously kind of specialized, I had a ton of other options. So I''m switching fields and going into what I like to think of as "sort of" business - I''m joining a management consulting firm at the same level I would have joined at as an MBA. I''m incredibly excited about the opportunity to do something that changes so constantly and in which I can look at so many different areas of business, healthcare, education, etc...

Will that be my forever career? Well, I''m turning 27 in a few weeks, and will finish my PhD in a couple of months, and I honestly don''t know, but I''m OK with that.
 

rainwood

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Lawyer here so I''ll respond to that part of your questions. I thought I knew what type of law I wanted to practice when I was in law school but turned out to be totally wrong. There''s no way to know what practice in a particular field of law will be like from taking classes in law school. In fact, there''s not much about law school that prepares you for the actual practice of law.

I would also urge you to think twice about going to law school if the reason you''d be going is because you''re not sure what career path you''d like to follow. Law school is 3 years of expensive and if you''re not sure you want to be a lawyer then there''s the chance that you get part of the way or all the way through law school and decide you don''t want law as a career either. There was an article a few days ago in the Wall Street Journal about how law school applications are way up this year because so many folks don''t think they''ll get a job when they graduate from college or don''t know what else to do. The bad news is that law school is no job guarantee either. That''s kind of the dirty little secret about law school. Law schools graduate more students than there is demand for new lawyers. EVERY YEAR. In a down economy, the supply/demand is further out of balance and it''s even harder to find a job unless you went to one of the top national schools/best local law school in the location where you intend to practice, and did really well while you were there. And I''m not saying that because I''m bitter. I was lucky. I went to a good school, did well, and landed a job with a top-notch firm where I spent many years. But I know lots of people whose experience was different than mine. So think long and hard about law school.

I should also add I was a business major in college, and found law school much more interesting but that''s me. Lots of people start or finish law school and don''t like it. That''s another little secret that isn''t publicized very much.
 

crown1

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Messages
1,682
rainwood gives some good advice. let me add that our president and first lady apparently fall into the category of not wishing to practice law, but they did end up with pretty good positions.
 

katamari

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Hey Thomperchik! I am getting my PhD in sociology right now (only one more year left!) and have a BS in sociology. Given your background, I would honestly look into government jobs. Do you live in a state capital? There are tons of state agencies that would LOVE to hire someone with the structural understanding of social policy that a soc degree offers and the practical know-how of implementation that an MBA offers.

Do you like quantitative research? You probably have strong statistical and analytic skills, too, and you could sell yourself this way. This would open you up to tons of fields, and you wouldn''t be stuck in finance.

As for me, I "found" sociology at 24. That''s when I knew I wanted to go to grad school and become a soc professor. However, once I got into grad school and learned that it really what it was all about and what becoming a professor really entailed, I had to rethink it a bit. I should actually become a professor around 32/33 and will have to, again, reassess and make sure I did the right thing. I honestly think it is good to constantly reevaluate what you are doing. I also think there is no reason to force yourself into something you don''t like. Life is too short.
 
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