If you are upper middle class chasing paper might just add more stress. It really comes down to figuring out what makes you happy mike. I think the best advice here comes from the people saying to make sure the job you end up doing is the one yo enjoy doing the most. You are a smart educated dude so I don't think poverty will be an issue and, unless you want to have a shit ton of kids/big house, most jobs you can get at yer edu level (although this statement might be false in the next few years) will be able to get you more than just by. So pick what gets you interested and keep your mind open, there are a lot of unorthodox but awesome things you can do.
And learn some stats. Consulting jobs love stat backgrounds. But again, only if you like it. Good luck man, I hope it works out for you. Keep us posted. We are all sending you positive vibez
There was an article somewhere about this a few month back where they found that happiness peaked at something like $70,000/year.
Creating some abitrary figure as "enough to make you happy" is bullshit. Happiness is based upon your expectations; if you expect to make $40k and pull down $70k, yes, I can see that you'd be pretty happy. If, however, you expect a certain lifestyle (say, similar to the one you grew up in) that you cannot afford as an adult, I cannot imagine that you'd be satisfied.
if you had asked me when I was 16 where I would be at 26 the answer I'd have given would be as distant from where I am today as possible. when I was 16 I thought I had my whole life planned out -- I'd go to a great university, study something like business, and then try to get a well-paying job or go on to graduate school with the goal of becoming a professor (will i guess that part hasn't been that different). but shit happens. I got into the great school, but life interfered, and I was forced to take two years off between high school and college, and work my way into a four-year school via an associate's degree. as far as studying something useful? yea probably not -- double majored in english and history, and am finishing up an MA in history while applying for jobs and to other programs.
through this whole experience I've learned a couple things. first, I think the liberal arts gets a bad rap. I firmly believe that there is an inherent value in a liberal arts education, and my two years at the graduate level have taught me to think and to write at a level I couldn't have previously imagined. there is also something magical about doing original work, and knowing that what you're writing will exist forever, and could conceivably be used by hundreds or thousands of people over the next 50 - 75 years.
i also feel that life has a way of working out. ever since my grand life plan has collapsed, i've adopted much more of a wait and see attitude. you have no idea what's going to happen tomorrow -- a comet could hit, you could win the lottery, who knows? that doesn't mean you shouldn't plan anything, but don't premise your entire life on some imagined future that has only a small chance of actually coming about.
in short, don't worry about it so much reedo. and if you do go to graduate school for liberal arts (and this goes for everyone), do not go unless you have funding, and take every opportunity to get job experience and professionalization that you can. I am thankful everyday I put the hard work in to set myself up in a good position.
also it goes without saying that this conversation is the most first world problem thing imaginable, but still.. look at where we are. also 'money isn't everything/happiness' is definitely true, but having been so poor that i literally didn't have the money for a burger from mcdonalds, i'm sure as fuck thankful that i have enough money to eat. money doesn't solve your problems, but it lets you get to a position where your problems are 'what should i do after graduation' and not 'how the fuck can i buy medicine to live.'