Author Topic: Any successful career change stories?  (Read 2179 times)

FIPurpose

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Any successful career change stories?
« on: May 12, 2018, 12:29:35 PM »
Well in my current work as a Software Engineer, I think I can be solidly FI within the next 5 years. While I don't mind the work, I don't have a big passion for it. It kind of feels like doing the Sunday crossword everyday. Where no individual task is difficult, but doing it for 40 hours kind of bores/ tires me out.

So if I stay with the career I'm on for the next 5 years, I can't see myself sticking to it. Something MMM and the forums here talk about a lot is to work a job that you would do for free. Does that really exist? Is there really any work that people would do for free? Would I just stop enjoying any work for 40 hours per week?

I want to have a career that I would enjoy a bit more. While I enjoy certain parts about working in an office, overall it just feels sterile.

Anyway, I want to know if anyone here has any success in changing careers. How long did it take to switch? Did you really end up liking your second job more?

Second careers I've thought about:
Nursing
Working for the Forest Service
Running for Office
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AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2018, 03:44:57 PM »
In my time I've been a chef, business owner, graphic artist, lecturer at a university, hospital administrator and hospital practice manager. I've taken up study to deliberately change careers, which never quite worked out, and I've moved sideways whenever the opportunity arose. I don't have the faintest idea how people stay in one job for their entire lives. Sounds boring, and there's nothing more tiring, demoralising and just plain sad than being bored.

ElleFiji

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2018, 04:07:39 PM »
I was in marketing and copywriting. My brain broke. I survived by working at a call centre until I could retrain in healthcare.

My brain doesn't break doing this work. I'm earning more than the call centre and last year hit a new annual income high (finally more than the marketing).

I am working long hours, lots unpaid. I would work 20 hours doing this for free in retirement. I love it and want to be FI but have no interest in RE anymore.

If I were 5 years from FIRE and well paid, I'd re-evaluate to see if I was lean-fire, and then do this, or else tough it out a few more years and then do this

FIPurpose

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2018, 05:02:45 PM »
Thanks for the stories, it's nice to hear about career changers since it feels like every coworker I've had have been more of the "I've been doing this for 30 years types." Honestly, I get it. It's the golden handcuffs from another angle. You've trained and specialized in one area and changing would likely mean a 20-50% paycut. Not many people would be willing to do that.

I was in marketing and copywriting. My brain broke. I survived by working at a call centre until I could retrain in healthcare.

My brain doesn't break doing this work. I'm earning more than the call centre and last year hit a new annual income high (finally more than the marketing).

I am working long hours, lots unpaid. I would work 20 hours doing this for free in retirement. I love it and want to be FI but have no interest in RE anymore.

If I were 5 years from FIRE and well paid, I'd re-evaluate to see if I was lean-fire, and then do this, or else tough it out a few more years and then do this

So I just started the job, but I feel all the anxieties coming back that I had at my last job. I'm going to be taking certain measures at this job that I didn't in the last one:

If I can't code anymore for the day, I'm leaving. ie: If my brain is done at 3:30pm, then I'm done for the day.
I installed a program to force me to leave my desk every 40 minutes.


I wouldn't say that I'm lean fire. We keep expenses low enough that we could do part-time jobs and cover expenses, but I do want to get to full FI. I don't know if I'll want to retire at 45, but it'd be a good option for me. We'd be lean-fire if we both kept working for about 3 years.

I really want to give the job at least 3 years. I know a lot of people would love to have this job, and I don't want to be known as someone that jumps ship after a month: that's not an honest go. It's a pretty relaxed company with good perks. Maybe I can get promoted into something that I would like more, but based on the people who are currently managers, it doesn't really feel like it. With my latest round of applications, I really tried to do something related but slightly different, but no one would touch me! It seems like businesses want the exact experience that their looking for, so here I am stuck in the same job description. I kind of feel like I have no choice but to back out and get a different education.

Healthcare seems like the easiest to jump into. Just get a new education and there will be a job waiting. Getting into a lower paying, but more outdoor job is probably doable, but I may be overestimating my desire to be outside. Elected office is also a possibility. I could look into what positions I'm interested in.
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birdiegirl

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2018, 05:41:49 PM »
I'm interested to hear some of these stories too.  I've been in accounting/finance for years and can almost feel my brain cells dying from boredom at work.  My dream job would be something like a vet tech or working in an animal rescue/shelter. 

Willing to take a pay cut but  right now it would be a 50-75% pay cut, which is more than I can handle right now.  Trying to figure out the in between steps to at least get me closer to what I enjoy while still being able to pay the bills and do some saving. 

Excited to hear from some who have been through this process and got to a better place.   

« Last Edit: May 12, 2018, 05:44:33 PM by birdiegirl »

Zaga

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2018, 06:15:42 PM »
I was in food science for 10 years, partway through that I developed food allergies (not because of the job, it just happened) which made it super hard to do my job.  Then the company I worked for got bought out and what had been a pleasant place turned nasty fast.  Fortunately I had worked for and received a free degree through DH's work in accounting and now I'm an accountant.  It is a bit of a paycut so far, but I expect I'll make it up in a few years.  I completely love accounting!  I liked food science well enough, but I could take it or leave it.

DH is in IT, he's working on a career change right now.  He's tired of doing what people tell him to do and doesn't like his job.  IT is one of those things where you have to pretty much learn a whole new way of doing things every 10-15 years if you're in a specialty like he is.  His specialty is on the way out and he just doesn't want to learn a new one.  So we put in a sound booth (read: closet with blankets stapled to the walls) and he's working on becoming a voiceover actor.  He finished recording his first book and it was accepted last week, his second book is almost done. 

Unfortunately I don't earn enough for him to quit his job just yet, he'll have to earn a bit doing voice work part time before he can quit his day job.

You're so right about the whole industry of HR being highly resistant to people applying for jobs outside of their direct experience.  Getting this job was extremely infuriating!  I practically had to rub the recruiter's nose in the fact that food scientists work on spreadsheets and with numbers all day before I was even given the time of day.  Now I have 2 years in and if I'm not promoted soon (cause I'm doing the job I want promoted to) I'll have to move on.  It's too bad, I do like working here, but people just aren't valued by management.

MoseyingAlong

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2018, 06:32:41 PM »
Two major career changes here, each approached in a different way. Both required a couple years of school to transition but that's part of what I wanted, learning new things. Looking back, the time in school also provided some decompression time between careers. I was about 75% FI when I ended Career 1 and that provided a lot of cushion while transitioning.

Career 1: doing things in the military that you can't do anywhere else. Still say I had the best job in the military. Interesting, challenging, lots of travel. Got to the point where I needed to be more politically-savvy if I wanted to progress plus the future was more leadership and less operations. Yeah, those aren't my strong points. So out after 15 years and off to the next adventure. (That thing about being 75% FI = key to not feeling trapped to stay until retirement.)

Career 2: personal financial planning. Decided this is what I wanted to do next while in the military because I was appalled at the lack of basic financial knowledge of peers and coworkers. Thought it was really sad that some people were fretting about having their next job lined up while they were preparing for retirement; they had 20 years to prepare and were worried about paying their bills. This shocked me and I wanted to help. Loved, LOVED, working with clients. Did not love running a business and it grew way too fast. (That thing about having plenty saved = let me do it the way I thought it should be done, not the way to maximize income fast.) The business-owner side stressed me out so I started working with a life coach to figure out next step, was looking into partnering up with another planner, ended up going to nursing school. Again I loved the actual working with clients and want to do it again soon, maybe teach a high-school class and/or work pro bono for some agency. As long as there's no business-owner responsibilities.

Career 3: specialized nursing. Again love the work, again challenging, interesting and being part of a team.  The life coach helped me pinpoint what type of nursing and this was key. I have the utmost respect for floor nurses; if I had to do it, 6 months might be the longest I'd last. Floor nurses are incredible. Current job is made more enjoyable by the fact that I'm averaging <20 hours per week (past savings pays off again, way past FI at this point). More than that and I start getting wound up by the politics and personnel issues. Love the work and would/will do it for free at some point. Per hour pay is less than I made 10+ years ago as a tax person but the relief of no business-owner or manager responsibilities is way worth it. This work can be tough on the body and I'm not a spring-chicken anymore so not sure how long it will last. Standing/walking on concrete floors for hours on end is tough. Great thing about nursing is that there are so many kinds that you can probably find something that works for you at that point in time as your life goes thru changes.

I tried several life coaches over 5+ years before finding the one who really worked for me. The insights I gained into myself and my approaches to work and life were invaluable and have greatly increased the quality of my life. Highly, highly recommend that if you're looking for some help in plotting your next path.

Bottom line: I like work, like knowing I'm contributing, but don't want it to be the major focus of my life and 40+ hours/week ruins it for me. I'm past FI and, at this point, anything I earn will end up with my beneficiaries or charities. But I'm guessing that in about 5 years, I'll be looking for a new challenge and new things to learn. Curious what it'll be.

Best wishes on your own journey. (And never discount the value of FU money and the freedom it supports.)

FIPurpose

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2018, 06:45:48 PM »
Wow! That's awesome.

Great advice on finding a life coach. I'm going to do some therapy in a few months to try a figure out the reason for anxiety. I think my work also offers a few hours of counseling every year for free, so maybe I'll check out if a life or career coach is available through that.
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Bracken_Joy

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2018, 08:11:01 PM »
So, my first career out of college wasn't a long one. (I did microbiology work, allergen testing, and QA for a food production company). Only took a few months in the field to realize I had made a terrible mistake. So I went back and got a second degree, this time in nursing. (During the recession, job options were shit even with my first STEM degree). Why I'm bothering to comment: be sure you know what you're getting into before pursing nursing. I'm still in my 20s and in good health. I'm fit, and I love deadlifting. And I still am laid out for a whole day after working my shifts, I can barely get anything done that requires energy. It is utterly brutal on your body. Be a CNA first, and really get a sense of it. It isn't easy work. And unless you want to switch to management, there is absolutely a time limit on how long you can do bedside nursing before it catches up with you physically. Burn out is a real issue. Lateral violence between nurses ("mean girl" shit) is an issue. Poor staffing ratios that force you to put patients at risk, is an issue. Just... go in with open eyes.

They say meaningful jobs have 3 characteristics: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Nursing can give you all of those. But it's at a price, for sure. I love my job, but I cannot work full time at it for months on end without experiencing major burn out and letting other things in my life slide.

I just try to warn people. I think a lot of people get in over their head with the field, not knowing how hard it can be. (And how hard it can be to get into a nursing program! Very competitive, especially if you're not just going for an LPN type role).
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JLee

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2018, 08:28:20 PM »
I kinda did the opposite - I was in law enforcement and early on, felt like that was a job I'd do for free. Then I was laid off and changed departments and it wasn't nearly as awesome there...eventually I quit, moved across the country, changed careers into IT, and am now hopefully on track to be FI in the next 5-6 years (5 years in tech so far).

beer-man

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2018, 10:19:16 PM »
Firefighter for 12hrs then transitioned to Nursing 1 yr ago. I had been a nurse for 5yrs but had just worked part time/prn here and there.

 To be fair the flexibility of my career as a firefighter allowed me to go to Nursing school while working. So far it is a good change for me and my family, still on track to be FI in 5-6yrs or just downshift to part-time and work till 55. I leave work tired but fulfilled on most days

Just a warning its easy to glorify what you haven't done. Grass is greener. There are some days when I miss the ease of my old job but then there are also many moments special moments that I get to really make a difference when being a nurse.

WalkaboutStache

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2018, 10:26:34 PM »
Firefighter for 12hrs then transitioned to Nursing 1 yr ago. I had been a nurse for 5yrs but had just worked part time/prn here and there.


Shortest career ever!!!  At least you did not waste a full day doing that...

:o)

WerKater

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2018, 11:30:13 PM »

So if I stay with the career I'm on for the next 5 years, I can't see myself sticking to it. Something MMM and the forums here talk about a lot is to work a job that you would do for free. Does that really exist? Is there really any work that people would do for free? Would I just stop enjoying any work for 40 hours per week?
"work a job that you would do for free" is something that I disagree with. Obviously, it would be the ideal situation, but there is no reasnable certainty that you will find such a job. If you want an MMM quote: "stuff can get old fast" (or sth. like that). Even if you have a job that you really like, there can be office politics, crazy customers, little time flexibility, and so on and on and on.

By all means, look for a job that you might enjoy more. But if you are on track to FIRE in 5 years and the job is "only" boring, I would probably tend to stick it out -- and maybe try to find some ways to make it less boring incrementally.

Malkynn

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2018, 07:20:48 AM »

So if I stay with the career I'm on for the next 5 years, I can't see myself sticking to it. Something MMM and the forums here talk about a lot is to work a job that you would do for free. Does that really exist? Is there really any work that people would do for free? Would I just stop enjoying any work for 40 hours per week?
"work a job that you would do for free" is something that I disagree with. Obviously, it would be the ideal situation, but there is no reasnable certainty that you will find such a job. If you want an MMM quote: "stuff can get old fast" (or sth. like that). Even if you have a job that you really like, there can be office politics, crazy customers, little time flexibility, and so on and on and on.

By all means, look for a job that you might enjoy more. But if you are on track to FIRE in 5 years and the job is "only" boring, I would probably tend to stick it out -- and maybe try to find some ways to make it less boring incrementally.

Agreed.
4 years ago I thought I would love my day job forever. Now I canít fathom doing only this for another 10 years.

Iím never not changing jobs or exploring new career options.
I now have 4 distinctly separate jobs, all of them part time. Two of my jobs are quite literally things I was doing for free that people offered to start paying me to do. I work as a medical professional with a side-practice in a related but separate area, I consult and write for a national agency, and Iím a consultant with a high end boutique financial firm.

Iím always looking for other opportunities. I have literally no idea what the future looks like for any of them and my plan is to work at each of them as much as I want to for as long as I enjoy them.

Itís funny that as a young student, I made my career decisions based on wanting as secure and predictable a career as possible, with little to no entrepreneurial demand, and a high but safe income that I could count on.
Now, less than 5 years in and long term predictability sounds like total hell, my entrepreneurial drive has totally taken over, and IDGAF how variable my income is in the future, and I like not having any idea what the future holds, because it would be depressing if these were the last exciting projects I ever stumbled upon.

So yeah, finding one single job to keep you super happy forever might be unrealistic for a lot of people, but that doesnít mean that a life where you only do the work that you want to do isnít feasible.

AZDude

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2018, 10:28:21 AM »
Well in my current work as a Software Engineer, I think I can be solidly FI within the next 5 years. While I don't mind the work, I don't have a big passion for it. It kind of feels like doing the Sunday crossword everyday. Where no individual task is difficult, but doing it for 40 hours kind of bores/ tires me out.

So if I stay with the career I'm on for the next 5 years, I can't see myself sticking to it. Something MMM and the forums here talk about a lot is to work a job that you would do for free. Does that really exist? Is there really any work that people would do for free? Would I just stop enjoying any work for 40 hours per week?

I want to have a career that I would enjoy a bit more. While I enjoy certain parts about working in an office, overall it just feels sterile.

Anyway, I want to know if anyone here has any success in changing careers. How long did it take to switch? Did you really end up liking your second job more?

Second careers I've thought about:
Nursing
Working for the Forest Service
Running for Office

Software engineer here as well. I hate my job. I have always loved programming but have hated many aspects of a corporate developer. Pointless meetings, uninteresting work(oh, you need me to auto-generate letters to send out to customers, yes... that sounds like something you need to pay me $90K a year to do for you), professional development plans, having people 100 times less intelligent planning out your projects, etc, etc, etc...

Anyway, I have stayed in IT long enough to pay off all debt and build up a nice stache, but after looking into various options over the last 3 years, I am finally making the leap. Starting the next school year, I will be teaching math to adolescents. I don't know if I will like it better, but the job checked most of the boxes when I asked myself what I was looking for.

- Not sitting in a cubicle all day.
- Good work/life balance(basically 14 weeks paid vacation every year, plus discretionary PTO).
- Something that is personally challenging(I'm an introvert by nature, so the thought of forcing myself to converse with students for 7 hours a day is going to be far more challenging to me than any potential business quandary).
- Something that is interesting to myself and others. When socializing, and people start talking about the interesting stuff that happened at work, I just sit there silent, because no one wants to hear about how I improved the efficiency of multiple stored procedures and reduced the reporting load time by almost 4 full seconds.

The hit to my salary is significant, but with Mustachian principles, it is easily doable to pay the bills, save for ER, and still travel during all that time off.

Anyway, I suggest you write down what you need in your next career, and then research all the potential careers that check those boxes.

Nursing seems like a good choice if you don't mind the work. In demand, relatively stable, relatively high paying. Foresty sounds fun, but I know people who have looked forever for work in that field and its tough to just jump into. Most entry level jobs pay minimum wage or slightly higher and the market is very competitive.

Running for local office is probably doable if you have lots of local connections and don't mind bankrolling your first campaign. Just be OK with public scrutiny.


meghan88

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2018, 10:53:18 AM »
A DIY suggestion as an alternative to a life coach:  go to your local library and pick up a copy of a recent edition of What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles.  Read some of the chapters and work through some of the exercises.  It provides a wealth of advice for career-changers.  It's not just for job-seekers.

If not for that book, I probably never would've had the guts to go to law school when I was in my mid-30's.  In fact, a student advisor tried to dissuade me from applying because of the odds of not getting accepted.  Glad I didn't listen to her, or to the many other people who told me that I'd never get an entry-level job in law at my age.  Riiiight.

For some further inspiration, have a read through this story - about halfway down in the thread at reply #18 is a post with a textbook description as to how to attack a life/career challenge.  https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/things-are-going-great-why-am-i-always-worried/

SomedayStache

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2018, 10:54:20 AM »
Following because I feel trapped and burned out, but unfortunately am the sole provider for my family of five so no easy way to jump ship.

Worried I'd just be jumping into another similar situation, just with less pay. 

AZDude

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2018, 11:05:52 AM »
Following because I feel trapped and burned out, but unfortunately am the sole provider for my family of five so no easy way to jump ship.

Worried I'd just be jumping into another similar situation, just with less pay.

Best idea is to get your financial house in order. Pay off debt, build a Mustachian lifestyle, put a bunch of money into savings to alleviate worries. Then take the leap.

BookValue

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2018, 11:43:16 AM »
It's interesting seeing the software engineers looking to change, as I'm seriously considering learning how to code to become a front end web developer or similar. Anyone care to provide pros and cons they've experienced on the field?

AZDude

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2018, 12:55:42 PM »
It's interesting seeing the software engineers looking to change, as I'm seriously considering learning how to code to become a front end web developer or similar. Anyone care to provide pros and cons they've experienced on the field?

Sure, experiences vary, but I have worked for a half-dozen companies.

Pros -
1) Flexibility. Most of the time you are not a slave to an exact 8-5 schedule. You can come in at 6. You can come in at 9. You can leave early if there is nothing to do, etc...
2) WFH. It varies with the company, but you can often find that you can work from home, part-time or even full time.
3) $$$ - it pays well.
4) Job security. Even during the height of the recession, I found another job that paid me more money and was closer to the home I was moving into.

Cons -
1) BAs. They generally get in the way without adding anything useful and then try to hog all the credit. Not all of them, but like ~60%. Things get done 500% faster if I can talk to a client directly.
2) "Emergencies". Happens all the time where poor planning by the less intelligent members of the organization contrive an emergency which requires your immediate attention and often your night/weekend.
3) Being on-call. Usually there is an on-call rotation for any emergencies or "emergencies" that happen off-hours. I've been called at 4AM because a report isn't loading.
4) Being chained to a desk the majority of the day.
5) You work on stuff that is below you, intellectually and on the pay-grade, because people don't understand the nuance between software engineer and tech support. To them you are just a "tech guy".

CalBal

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2018, 01:30:49 PM »

Anyway, I have stayed in IT long enough to pay off all debt and build up a nice stache, but after looking into various options over the last 3 years, I am finally making the leap. Starting the next school year, I will be teaching math to adolescents. I don't know if I will like it better, but the job checked most of the boxes when I asked myself what I was looking for.


@AZDude Did you get a teaching degree or certificate first, or how did you go about this? Am interested in going this route as well.

FIPurpose

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2018, 01:45:15 PM »
So I just found out that a travel nurse is a thing. Like I would make about the same as I do now as a Software engineer only working 6-9 months of the year. That'd be crazy! When my SO and I started discussing it, we were thinking that we could switch off, or potentially work in the same area and make some serious money. I don't even think it would slow our path to FI.

Apparently travel nurses make about 30-40k per quarter with housing and such also paid. Combined we could easily be making 120-180 each year, and get to travel around the US which I would love to do!

We'll see how we feel thinking about that for a while and see if it sticks.
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Bracken_Joy

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2018, 02:02:49 PM »
So I just found out that a travel nurse is a thing. Like I would make about the same as I do now as a Software engineer only working 6-9 months of the year. That'd be crazy! When my SO and I started discussing it, we were thinking that we could switch off, or potentially work in the same area and make some serious money. I don't even think it would slow our path to FI.

Apparently travel nurses make about 30-40k per quarter with housing and such also paid. Combined we could easily be making 120-180 each year, and get to travel around the US which I would love to do!

We'll see how we feel thinking about that for a while and see if it sticks.

Be sure to account for establishing your career time. You can't go straight into travel nursing from nursing school. You need a specialty, and a minimum of a year of experience. For the harder units like CVICU, PACU, etc, you oftentimes need additional certs like CCRN which can take a couple years to get.

Also, anytime you travel or float, you get the 100% shittiest cases. Just be aware. It makes for some ROUGH work. Because why give the combative psych patient to one of your permanent nurses, when you can give it to the travel or float??

Also, inadequate orientation. This is a common complaint with any unit change, but especially frequent traveler or floats. They just kinda toss you in and your have to figure it our on your own.

Final point being, a lot of times the places where there is a nursing shortage... how do I say it nicely... there's a reason? Like, mismanaged hospitals, and poor staffing ratios, and so on. And this builds on itself (nurses there hate endangering their patients, so they leave, so the staffing ratios get even worse, putting more pressure on the remaining nurses, etc). Just be aware that it's often not like, the most desirable and prestigious hospitals in the country you're going to. It's a lot of rougher areas that are straight up a challenge to staff locally.
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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2018, 02:40:25 PM »

Anyway, I have stayed in IT long enough to pay off all debt and build up a nice stache, but after looking into various options over the last 3 years, I am finally making the leap. Starting the next school year, I will be teaching math to adolescents. I don't know if I will like it better, but the job checked most of the boxes when I asked myself what I was looking for.


@AZDude Did you get a teaching degree or certificate first, or how did you go about this? Am interested in going this route as well.

Its state specific. In Arizona, it was a lengthy, but relatively painless ordeal. I had to pass a couple of different tests(one a subject test - math, the other was about teaching theory and kids), submit college transcripts, and provide a reference for employers equally 5 years of my chosen subject(I'm teaching math, so I gave a reference for the last 5 years of my software engineering career). Also had to pass a background check, and then find someone willing to hire a new teacher with zero teaching experience.

AZ is probably easier than other states because we have a shortage of qualified teachers, and that is even more severe when it comes to science and math. So, there are special laws for people like me to be able to teach STEM without doing the traditional student teacher and education degree.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 02:41:57 PM by AZDude »

CalBal

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2018, 02:45:07 PM »
Good info @AZDude , I'm in another of the bottom-of-the-barrel states (not AZ) and I know they are hurting but I don't know the process here. Someone suggested to me maybe trying one of the magnet schools initially as they don't have to even follow state guidelines I don't think. (I think pay and benefits might be worse though.)

FIPurpose

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2018, 06:16:43 PM »

Be sure to account for establishing your career time. You can't go straight into travel nursing from nursing school. You need a specialty, and a minimum of a year of experience. For the harder units like CVICU, PACU, etc, you oftentimes need additional certs like CCRN which can take a couple years to get.

Also, anytime you travel or float, you get the 100% shittiest cases. Just be aware. It makes for some ROUGH work. Because why give the combative psych patient to one of your permanent nurses, when you can give it to the travel or float??

You're right, it could be a totally bad proposition. But at the same time, you can also move on to the next thing at anytime. Here would be my comparison:

               SE.    RN
Year 1.  80k.   -20k. (my town has an accelerated RN second bachelor's at a pretty affordable rate)
2.           170k. 40k
3.          260k.  100k

I would be about 160k behind when I would be able to start traveling. 160k to provide a job that lets me take 3 - 6 months off each year.

Engineering puts me at 5-6 years from solid FI working at full-time pace.
Nursing would be 1 year of school, 2 years of full-time work, 4-5 years of part-time travel work.

They both have positives and negatives, but I don't think the Nursing one is a huge disadvantage. Nurse pay seems to have Sky rocketed in the past 5-10 years.
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formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2018, 09:42:07 AM »
It's interesting seeing the software engineers looking to change, as I'm seriously considering learning how to code to become a front end web developer or similar. Anyone care to provide pros and cons they've experienced on the field?

Sure, experiences vary, but I have worked for a half-dozen companies.

Pros -
1) Flexibility. Most of the time you are not a slave to an exact 8-5 schedule. You can come in at 6. You can come in at 9. You can leave early if there is nothing to do, etc...
2) WFH. It varies with the company, but you can often find that you can work from home, part-time or even full time.
3) $$$ - it pays well.
4) Job security. Even during the height of the recession, I found another job that paid me more money and was closer to the home I was moving into.

Cons -
1) BAs. They generally get in the way without adding anything useful and then try to hog all the credit. Not all of them, but like ~60%. Things get done 500% faster if I can talk to a client directly.
2) "Emergencies". Happens all the time where poor planning by the less intelligent members of the organization contrive an emergency which requires your immediate attention and often your night/weekend.
3) Being on-call. Usually there is an on-call rotation for any emergencies or "emergencies" that happen off-hours. I've been called at 4AM because a report isn't loading.
4) Being chained to a desk the majority of the day.
5) You work on stuff that is below you, intellectually and on the pay-grade, because people don't understand the nuance between software engineer and tech support. To them you are just a "tech guy".

I'm in internal IT (not building software for sale).  I want to quit and be a teacher but I'm still figuring out how to make that 50% pay cut work.

This list of pros and cons is great.  If I can add to it -

Tech changes frequently.  The programming I do now did not exist when I got my degree 18 years ago...and the first technology I mastered is now completely obsolete.

At first it was fun to learn something new and maneuver my way sideways into other technologies. [pro]  After a few iterations...I was just over it.  Really, really over it. [con]  I know how to write an application.  I know how to analyze data.  I know how to approach a problem to find a solution..  There's no challenge anymore other than doing it in a different language with a different data set, and, like I said, I'm over that.

Other con:
--Most companies have no idea how to hire good developers.  The majority of developers I've worked with are useless - they don't know how to troubleshoot, they don't know how to properly design something, they don't know how to test.  They can deliver mostly working code, eventually, but the quality is not that great.  That means LOTS of bug fixing, lots of rework, lots of me training people in how to do things they ought to know how to do (but aren't interested in learning from me anyway). 
--Documentation - it is mind-numbingly boring to write it, and makes your life lots more difficult if you don't have it.  Lose-lose.
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Cwadda

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2018, 10:10:58 AM »
It's interesting seeing the software engineers looking to change, as I'm seriously considering learning how to code to become a front end web developer or similar. Anyone care to provide pros and cons they've experienced on the field?
I am in the same exact boat. I feel like I have the ability and drive to learn programming, but I'm not sure if it's right for me.

Quote
Software engineer here as well. I hate my job. I have always loved programming but have hated many aspects of a corporate developer. Pointless meetings, uninteresting work(oh, you need me to auto-generate letters to send out to customers, yes... that sounds like something you need to pay me $90K a year to do for you), professional development plans, having people 100 times less intelligent planning out your projects, etc, etc, etc...
@AZDude and @FIPurpose would you not recommend the career then? It seems to be very well paying and high job demand. I want something to accelerate early retirement, even if it means being desk jockey. Is it really not worth it?

Also, what is a good benchmark to seeing if one will be "good" at programming or if they find the concepts interesting? I think I could self teach myself, learning every day for 6 to 12 months to the point of getting an entry level position. Do you have any input on this? Thanks.

FIPurpose

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2018, 01:27:14 PM »
I took the more standard route by doing a CS degree. I did not go to college thinking I would do CS. I was actually a Classics major for a while, but chose CS as a way to go anywhere and get a job. And I'm good at it.

There's a very small part of the job that I love. When I get to work on a project from the start, I can setup good coding practices, drive testing, and usually work with the best engineers in the company.

The bad part is that 90% of the coding time I've actually had is maintaining old code. So instead of actually designing software, I spend more of my time reading and fighting to reorganize old code. Usually there's an older guy who doesn't understand the changes or thinks it's just fine because he knows how it all works.

Personally, I haven't seen my pay go up the way people say it should. I've had to fight to at least stay with the bottom of my band. I don't have any desire to move or live in a major tech hub, so I don't think I'll be seeing of the amazing 150k salaries. I figured if I could make 100k, I'd stick with engineering, but I have never been above 80k with 4-5 years experience.

If you want to move into coding with code camp experience, I would expect you'd make 50-60k.

So you could say I'm disillusioned with the career. Coding is a good choice if:
You want a desk job
You want to work alone, silently for about 80% of your time.
You don't mind working on bugs for possibly hours at a time.
Learning "new" stuff pretty much all the time.
You have a good head for logic.
You like to work in the abstract. (Think about how good you were at using those Greek symbols in math)

There are people who I work with who are obviously made for this job. But it drains me. I don't know anyone that has been a coder for 30 years and loves it. It's a job to them. I think I'm more motivated by purpose than others. It'd be cool to work at Pixar or SpaceX, but 95% of coding jobs are implementing this small piece over here that helps a company save X dollars or build a product that you could care less about.

If you're liking it, go for it. I think your likely to enjoy changing because you're making the decision. When you're making the decision and have agency, I think you're much more likely to enjoy it. Maybe some of us just need a change every decade or so. If I don't like nursing after 10 years, I'll call that a success. I'll long be FI, and in a position to do career number 3.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 01:30:38 PM by FIPurpose »
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FIPurpose

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2018, 01:32:36 PM »
Also I signed up for a night class of Anatomy I. I was told by another person who recently switched to nursing to just try out the class to see if it sticks with me. So for now, I'm taking the plunge, or maybe more like I'm dipping my toe.
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AZDude

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #30 on: May 16, 2018, 10:52:21 AM »
It's interesting seeing the software engineers looking to change, as I'm seriously considering learning how to code to become a front end web developer or similar. Anyone care to provide pros and cons they've experienced on the field?
I am in the same exact boat. I feel like I have the ability and drive to learn programming, but I'm not sure if it's right for me.

Quote
Software engineer here as well. I hate my job. I have always loved programming but have hated many aspects of a corporate developer. Pointless meetings, uninteresting work(oh, you need me to auto-generate letters to send out to customers, yes... that sounds like something you need to pay me $90K a year to do for you), professional development plans, having people 100 times less intelligent planning out your projects, etc, etc, etc...
@AZDude and @FIPurpose would you not recommend the career then? It seems to be very well paying and high job demand. I want something to accelerate early retirement, even if it means being desk jockey. Is it really not worth it?

Also, what is a good benchmark to seeing if one will be "good" at programming or if they find the concepts interesting? I think I could self teach myself, learning every day for 6 to 12 months to the point of getting an entry level position. Do you have any input on this? Thanks.

My career has been very good to me. Allowing me to save money, pay off debt, and live comfortably. It certainly beats all the non-professional jobs I have ever had. I would take software development over loading trucks in an open-air warehouse, or telemarketing, or tech support, etc, etc, etc....

I would recommend it to the right kind of person. Do you live and breathe technology? Are you an "all in" kind of person? Can you handle other people making poor decisions that are going to affect your job performance? Are you a perfectionist?

If you answer yes to those questions then you will do great.


BookValue

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #31 on: May 16, 2018, 10:55:43 AM »
It's interesting seeing the software engineers looking to change, as I'm seriously considering learning how to code to become a front end web developer or similar. Anyone care to provide pros and cons they've experienced on the field?
I am in the same exact boat. I feel like I have the ability and drive to learn programming, but I'm not sure if it's right for me.

Quote
Software engineer here as well. I hate my job. I have always loved programming but have hated many aspects of a corporate developer. Pointless meetings, uninteresting work(oh, you need me to auto-generate letters to send out to customers, yes... that sounds like something you need to pay me $90K a year to do for you), professional development plans, having people 100 times less intelligent planning out your projects, etc, etc, etc...
@AZDude and @FIPurpose would you not recommend the career then? It seems to be very well paying and high job demand. I want something to accelerate early retirement, even if it means being desk jockey. Is it really not worth it?

Also, what is a good benchmark to seeing if one will be "good" at programming or if they find the concepts interesting? I think I could self teach myself, learning every day for 6 to 12 months to the point of getting an entry level position. Do you have any input on this? Thanks.

My career has been very good to me. Allowing me to save money, pay off debt, and live comfortably. It certainly beats all the non-professional jobs I have ever had. I would take software development over loading trucks in an open-air warehouse, or telemarketing, or tech support, etc, etc, etc....

I would recommend it to the right kind of person. Do you live and breathe technology? Are you an "all in" kind of person? Can you handle other people making poor decisions that are going to affect your job performance? Are you a perfectionist?

If you answer yes to those questions then you will do great.

Thanks everyone for the replies, good stuff to think about.
Any advice on which languages/programs to focus on if I decide to switch? Typical html/css/java?

poetdereves

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #32 on: May 16, 2018, 09:15:01 PM »
Not much advice on whether to switch jobs or not, but just a heads up that I would really try to evaluate your numbers if youíd plan on nursing. Saying that by year three youíd make $100k is super unrealistic unless youíre in San Francisco, New York, or Honolulu. For most nurses in the country they never hit $100k, even working 60 hour weeks. I work in healthcare and have lived in California, Colorado, and Mississippi and havenít known regular BSN nurses to hit $100k even after 10+ years of work. Even getting through a few years of work and then going back to school for 2-3 more years to become a nurse practitioner wonít get you above $95k in almost every place in the country. Google is way off on their numbers. You can make a living out of nursing, and can even do well, but you have to realize that most people that do end up on the higher end of the pay scale put 20+ years of work into getting there. If FIRE quickly is your goal, nursing would take a lot of effort to get you there.

FIPurpose

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #33 on: May 17, 2018, 04:32:54 AM »
Not much advice on whether to switch jobs or not, but just a heads up that I would really try to evaluate your numbers if youíd plan on nursing. Saying that by year three youíd make $100k is super unrealistic unless youíre in San Francisco, New York, or Honolulu. For most nurses in the country they never hit $100k, even working 60 hour weeks. I work in healthcare and have lived in California, Colorado, and Mississippi and havenít known regular BSN nurses to hit $100k even after 10+ years of work. Even getting through a few years of work and then going back to school for 2-3 more years to become a nurse practitioner wonít get you above $95k in almost every place in the country. Google is way off on their numbers. You can make a living out of nursing, and can even do well, but you have to realize that most people that do end up on the higher end of the pay scale put 20+ years of work into getting there. If FIRE quickly is your goal, nursing would take a lot of effort to get you there.

I'm looking into travel nursing. You can make 80-120k per year because you move around and take short term contracts. Yes a nurse staying in one place will have a salary more like 60-70k.

Locum Tenens PAs and NPs can easily make in the 150-250k range. The job boards and pay rated are out there. Travel nurses make about $50/hr.
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Hoosier Daddy

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #34 on: May 17, 2018, 05:43:55 AM »
I got a degree in Accounting because I was at a really good business school and it was the only profession at my school in Indiana that would get me a job in the Miami, FL market. Needless to say, this is a very hollow reason to choose a career and despite hating it all through college I thought magically getting paid would make it better. Well it didnít and I started to get very depressed, which is actually what drove me to find MMM. I was in deep student debt and i didnít want to go back to school because i couldnít take out anymore loans. But eventually I got an assignment at work to roll out a Microsft Business Intelligence application in my unit and absolutely fell in love with it. I had always been a big gamer as a kid and even at 9 years old I enjoyed making simple html websites for Madden franchises that detailed my progress like a fake ESPN. Super nerdy I know but in retrospect I have no idea why i didnít study computer science because it is what i Love. So what i did is a got a bunch of books on every technology around Business Intelligence and i taught myself everything while working. After about a year I was good enough to get a job and now two years later Iíd say I know as much as anyone about Microsoft Business Intelligence. Not only did this make me more valuable at work and I received high ratings for the first time in my career but I genuinely loved coming to work everyday which was the most important thing for me. So for me I was able to make a pseudo career switch without leaving work to learn new skills and now I am still supporting finance but from a BI perspective. This I think is also helpful because letís ssy I worked at a tech company like Google, id likely be just another face in the crowd but in a finance organization, being so unique has been extremely valuable and rewarding. Itís awesome when you find someone working weekends because their processss are so inefficient and then you can help them to get the same amount of work done in just a few minutes so they can be at home with their families. I really get a lot of joy from my job now and honestly if I could retire right now I wouldnít because Iím still having too much fun!
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poetdereves

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #35 on: May 17, 2018, 06:21:34 AM »

I'm looking into travel nursing. You can make 80-120k per year because you move around and take short term contracts. Yes a nurse staying in one place will have a salary more like 60-70k.

While travel nursing does seem lucrative, bracken joy is right about a lot of the downfalls of tough work. Iím not dogging it as a plan at all because I will travel nurse as well, but I do think as a career change it will take you a lot longer to get where you want to be financially. Again, the pay is great, but I think youíre overshooting it. I work with many travel nurses and we were all just talking about income recently during tax season. The highest paid travel nurse out of our department of eighty nurses was $114k before taxes. Heís been a nurse for over 10 years, is certified in different specialties (he works CVICU, PICU, and surgery), and only took 24 days off the entire year. Heís a great nurse. Heís also in his late thirties and completely burnt out.

The travel agencies here routinely turn down people with less than 2 years experience. That would mean you probably have a year of pre requisites, a 15 month accelerated program, and two years of working to get experience before getting to apply to travel. That realistically puts you on a 4-5 year track before getting the chance to travel. Maybe quicker, but highly unlikely.

Again, Iím not trying to shoot you down on your ideas. I think nursing is a great career and I love my job in the ED. It keeps me interested, I learn new things every day, and I can move around and find a job wherever I want. I will fire quickly because my expenses are low and I make more than median income (especially with a DW who makes more than I do). I am continuing school to become a nurse practitioner to increase my income over six figures and to have a job where I can be autonomous if I desire. FIRE can be accomplished, but it will take some time to get to a high income. Thatís what I have to remember when I see my friends in SE starting out at $60K+ and making $80-100k or more in just a couple years. I love my work and find it valuable and it will pay off soon enough with time and money to spare.

FIPurpose

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #36 on: May 17, 2018, 06:49:03 AM »
Thatís what I have to remember when I see my friends in SE starting out at $60K+ and making $80-100k or more in just a couple years. I love my work and find it valuable and it will pay off soon enough with time and money to spare.

As I've said before.i haven't seen a salary above 80k, working as a SE for 4 years. In my recent round of interviews, I had several companies trying to hire me at 65k. I had to push to maintain my last salary of high 70s.

I'm already setup for early retirement. My investments as of now will allow me to retire at 40-45 years old. I've already planned on working at least 2 years before traveling. If I want to change to part-time work after a few years then I'll do that. I promise you finding part-time nursing work will be far easier than part-time SE work.

24 days off is a typical amount for full-time. But also he had his housing paid for, an unusual benefit that is worth about 12-20k. If I did full-time traveling nursing, I'd be fully FIRE after about 3 years or so.
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poetdereves

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #37 on: May 17, 2018, 07:03:23 AM »
My bad. I must have skipped over the part where you wrote about the salary issues with SE. Youíre definitely right about nursing being the way to go for part time work. That was a big part of why I went into it. Right now I can keep working part time while I continue school (which the hospital will pay part of) and then when and if I have kids I can make my own schedule part time and be around for them whenever I want.

You also have the benefit of entering a career that is used to people coming in late. I worked in finance before the medical field and the accelerated program is full of people that are changing in their late twenties to mid thirties. Everything I learned at my other jobs helped me get accepted, which is usually difficult (my school accepted only 20% of applicants). Nursing is a prime choice for a part time schedule now knowing that big money is not your goal.

beer-man

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #38 on: May 17, 2018, 07:03:32 AM »
Travel nurses in my ER make between 120-140k a yr and that is with one 8 month assignment and a few short ones.
Np's and PA'S in the ER start at 130k for 3 12hr shifts and up to $160k with a few yrs exp. they work closely with the docs and have a very nice mutual, professional relationship

When first switching jobs the drop in pay I initially felt was counteracted by my family frugality up a bit. We were able to trim 5k out of our yearly budget.

harvestbook

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #39 on: May 17, 2018, 07:04:29 AM »
I've had numerous jobs and a few "careers." I've always believed that how you spend your days is how you spend your life. Part-time musician/kitchen worker/carpenter, contract maintenance man, then college degree while working in radio and owning a baseball card shop, then radio and journalism for 14 years while working to become a full-time writer. Then became a writer. May have to do something else as the indie self-publishing window closes. Through it all I learned that I love working for myself more than anything, even with all the risks and hassles (and health insurance concerns).

As a newspaper journalist, I used to do a weekly series interviewing local small-business owners. Without exception, they were people who started doing something they loved and it eventually turned into a career, often to where they never intended or anticipated it would lead. My takeaway is to make sure you're always doing something you at least like, and preferably do something you love. Trust the universe to fill in the rest.

Eventuality

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #40 on: May 20, 2018, 11:06:53 PM »
I worked in nonprofit marketing for five years before I switched careers to nursing - I'm one year in so far as an RN in a step-down ICU (plus one year working as a nursing assistant) and I'm loving it. The job is great, the coworkers are great, and working three twelves allows for so much time in your week that doesn't have to be spent working. Want to go kayaking or hiking on a Thursday when no one else is out? You can totally do it!

Working night shift is horrendous, however. Depending on the unit, you'll be stuck there for at least a year or two when you start out. You have to have a low ick factor, good critical thinking skills, good people skills, think well under pressure and a good back. Pro tip: spend the money on good shoes every six months! 

Cassie

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Re: Any successful career change stories?
« Reply #41 on: May 20, 2018, 11:20:35 PM »
I have had a few career changes. First was a office worker. Then got a BA and masters and was a social worker. 4 years later back to graduate school to work with people with disabilities. Did this for 24 years. Now I teach one online college course.