Author Topic: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck  (Read 3958 times)

marshmallowaddict

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Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« on: December 23, 2017, 06:48:52 PM »
Hey Everyone - Below is my case study. Right now, I feel stuck. I think that I do a relatively good job of saving, but it is hard for me to find the motivation to improve further. I'm at a job that treats me well, but I don't think I have much opportunity to advance.

I could get a MBA, but with an undergraduate degree in finance, I'm not sure what else I'd learn or what I would study. I like earning a good salary, while I'm interested in fashion I would not be willing to take a pay cut to work in a creative field.

I've also been looking for other jobs - I think I'm unpaid relative to the market could get a 20% boost if I could land a similar job at a different company. I've been struggling with job hunting because I get very nervous interviewing and because I'm not in love with what I'm doing. I do get good performance reviews and am skilled at my job but am craving a new challenge. Not sure what that is yet.

Specific areas I'd like feedback on:
- I am discouraged by finding a job in so long, do you have any advice on how to be more resilient?
- Should I get my MBA? I am 32 years old, not sure if I'm too old. Would also like to have a family, but am not quite there yet in my relationship. If my bf and I start a family together, my income won't matter as much since he is a doctor and makes substantially more.
- Thoughts/feedback on my spending
- One area that I'm different in is my interest in fashion and personal care. I'm willing to make some changes, but don't think I could ever go to the extremes of not wearing makeup or cutting my own hair. In the past I have shopped more for preowned clothes on eBay and want to get back in that habit.

I think the advice here is really thoughtful, and appreciate your feedback.

FY Salary is $105k base, $15k bonus - I maxed out my 401k earlier this year and those deductions aren't included in the monthly amounts below.

Monthly Salary (excl bonus): $4,926 after all taxes, medical, dental etc. Salary is higher this month since I maxed out my 401k earlier this year. 

Each month I deduct the following from my salary:
* Cash Savings: $100
* Vanguard: $1,000

The rest goes to:

* Rent: $1,700 - I live in the NYC area and enjoy quiet time alone, not sure a roommate would work. My apartment is a 30 minute commute to work.

Below are the averages from mint:
 
* PSEG/Internet/Cellphone: $130 ($30 utilities, $50 internet, $50 cell phone) I use Ting for my phone, but often use lots of data.
* Shopping: $400 - yes, I know I will get some facepunches here. ~ $140 of this is for a clothing subscription service which I love and fashion is a hobby of mine. I also bought a very expensive coat this year. I'm thinking about starting a blog to potentially offset these cost. Household supplies from Amazon are also included.
* Food & Dining: $317 - I need to get better with this. I'm guessing $150 of this is groceries, $40 is coffee and the rest is dining out.
* Uncategorized: $113 - ATM withdrawls
* Travel: $103 - I use points to cover most of my travel, went on some really cool trips this year (Finland, Thailand, Mexico)
* Personal Care: $72 - I get my hair professionally dyed (considering doing this myself) and Sephora
* Pets: $72: One cat - includes food, cat sitting and pet insurance
* Transport: $33 - NYC metrocard, other public transportation expenses are deducted from my paycheck
* Gifts:$33
* Entertainment: $14 - mostly netflix, an occasional movie here or there
Anything left over stays in my checking account, my paycheck is also lower earlier in the year due to 401k witholding, it is higher in Dec bc I contributed the max.


 401k: $238,000
 Vanguard: $150,000
 HSA: $15,000
 High Yield Savings: $17,000 - 1.35% APY
 Checking: $9,000 - writing this out on paper, I'm thinking it seems high and I should move more to Vanguard? I have my bills on autopay so I like to have a cushion in case of a spendy month.

No credit card, student loan debt or mortgage.


MJseast

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2017, 08:27:35 PM »
I'll let other more financially savvy people comment on your finances, but minus the shopping, you seem to be doing pretty great to me!

I just wanted to comment on the MBA idea: you are NOT too old to get an MBA! I started my MBA when I was 35 and did a 3 year program while I worked full-time. But do not do it unless you have something in mind that you want to use it for. Don't do it just because of lack of direction. For me, I didn't have an exact idea in mind, but I knew I wanted to own my own business. I just had a nagging feeling that entrepreneurship was for me, even though I had no specific business idea. That was enough to motivate me and keep me focused and I feel that I got a lot out of it.

The only thing I'll say about the spending is that if you are really into fashion, you may want to spend more time in vintage and thrift stores instead of buying new. It's a little more challenging to find the right pieces, but so rewarding when you do! And, coloring your own hair is not that difficult - try it! If you mess it up, you can just go get it fixed ;).


marshmallowaddict

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2017, 09:36:28 PM »
Thanks! Did you find your MBA helpful - what did you learn from doing it? I think I need to learn more about leadership, and I like school. However, the reason why I have pushed it back for so long is that I wasn't sure what it would accomplish (eg 100% sure I'd spend lots of $$ for MBA, but not sure what I'd do with it and apparently people recruit right away). I don't advocate checking off boxes just to do it, but my boss has been talking to me about how much a MBA helped her.

I LOVE vintage shopping - especially in NY there are so many stylish ladies. Plus no one will be wearing the same thing, it takes some time though. If you have any online stores or places in NYC I'm all ears. I know the amount there is crazy high - but I really think a lot about the items I've purchased of that $130 is from Rent the Runway, $180 is due to a couple of large purchases and the balance are smaller things or household goods. I also have kept a spreadsheet since 2010 outlining the cost per wear of my clothes and only remove items after they have reached $2 per wear. I'd also love to learn how to sew so I could make or alter my own clothes. Fashion is really something that gives me joy. 

Thanks for the encouragement about dying your own hair. I had a bad experience earlier on (I flipped my hair back and covered the wall behind me with dye) but the expense is getting too high.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2017, 10:20:45 PM »
OK, so first, it sounds like you're already doing great. 

With that said, you asked for input.  My main input will be careers/jobs, though I'm going to pause for one thing first.

First off, you can improve the shopping.  I won't face-punch you.  But for what it's worth, my wife is a fashionista as well.  She loves it.  Thought about a career in it.  But you can do way better than that on budget and still be very, very fashionable, and appreciate fashion.  It sounds like you value fashion, and if so, that's great - you'll spend more than others here on the forum would.  But I still suspect you can improve that a lot.  You're spending almost $5k/year just on shopping, which, at 4%, would take $125,000 in savings to maintain if you're retired.  You probably want to either cut back now, or consider some other outlets/ways to do fashion that involve less spending. 

With that out of the way - because I didn't want to go there (but have wrestled with the fashion/spending issue personally) - let's move on to your bigger questions, because those are the big things in your life. 

First, I'll second what the other poster said: don't get an advanced degree just because you may get another job or you lack some direction.  Especially not if you're taking on debt.

First, you need to get some direction - and thankfully, there is plenty to be had.  I'll recommend a few things here:
1.  See this book.  (Warning: link/referral.)  I love it and highly recommend it to everyone considering any career change/direction change.  It's basically a life coach in a book - and it's well worth the insights if you do the exercises.  That alone should give you significant direction.
2.  Try aptitude testing.  I've done it through Johnson O'Connor Foundation and recommend that - costs some ($700+) but is invaluable for making life decisions re: jobs with confidence (so, to me, it's high value).  They're going to give you many ideas, then tell you to go explore those ideas - which usually leads to concrete results. 

Then, figure out what jobs/careers you want to aim for.  After that, assess the MBA question. 

As for interviews, do two things:
1.  Read this - or another source like it.
2.  Prepare.  Test.  Have someone solid ask you interview questions.  Do mock interviews.  Read questions out loud, then answer them. 

If you prepare, it'll be easier on game day.  You'll know your answers.  You will have thought through many tough questions. 

Above all, I highly recommend the first book up there re: finding life direction and purpose with your work.  That route (book and exercises) is far cheaper than hiring an actual career coach/counselor.  Aptitude testing is also great, especially for the kinds of things you're tyring to figure out - discerning between various choices within your given field.  I would start there. 

Best wishes to you!!!  I feel for you - it's tough struggling with life direction and career - but there are awesome resources out there for your situation.  (In fact, I've been meaning to write a review of the aptitude testing for my blog...this reminds me that I need to get on that.) 

MJseast

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2017, 10:48:48 PM »
Thanks! Did you find your MBA helpful - what did you learn from doing it? I think I need to learn more about leadership, and I like school. However, the reason why I have pushed it back for so long is that I wasn't sure what it would accomplish (eg 100% sure I'd spend lots of $$ for MBA, but not sure what I'd do with it and apparently people recruit right away). I don't advocate checking off boxes just to do it, but my boss has been talking to me about how much a MBA helped her.

Yes, I did find it helpful! The best part for me was my classmates - I learned so much from them and made lifelong friends. The program I was in also focused on personal leadership skills (it was kind of like group therapy and I learned a lot from it) and entrepreneurship. We did a lot of hands-on learning with projects and that was extremely helpful to put what we learned into practice. YMMV depending on where you go to school, so make sure to research them really well, talk to current students and graduates, and even sit in on some classes on a visit to make sure it's the right place for you.

If your manager is encouraging you to go, maybe they will pay for it? It wouldn't hurt to ask!

Thanks for the encouragement about dying your own hair. I had a bad experience earlier on (I flipped my hair back and covered the wall behind me with dye)

LOL! Well at least you probably won't make that move again! :)

Roadrunner53

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2017, 09:03:15 AM »
Here are some great ideas on food prep: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/freezer-cooking/

marshmallowaddict

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2017, 09:30:26 AM »
Quote
Here are some great ideas on food prep: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/freezer-cooking/

Thank you! I need to get back on the wagon so to speak. Freezer meals are a great way to 1) buy meat in bulk and reduce food waste. 2) have premade food (eg no excuses) for when I'm too lazy to cook.

Laura33

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2017, 02:19:36 PM »
FWIW, you are ignoring the biggest benefits of an MBA:  it is a credential that many employers will require for certain types and levels of jobs; and any good program should have a good alumni network and good career services office that will help you make connections and investigate different career options.  My BIL, with a Bachelors in Finance, got an MBA (also specializing in finance) and is now CFO of a pretty good-sized company.

Also, most programs want students who have several years in the workforce.

Not saying you should do an MBA because of these things.  But do make sure to consider the intangibles in your decision.

marshmallowaddict

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2017, 02:41:25 PM »
FWIW, you are ignoring the biggest benefits of an MBA:  it is a credential that many employers will require for certain types and levels of jobs; and any good program should have a good alumni network and good career services office that will help you make connections and investigate different career options.  My BIL, with a Bachelors in Finance, got an MBA (also specializing in finance) and is now CFO of a pretty good-sized company.

Also, most programs want students who have several years in the workforce.

Not saying you should do an MBA because of these things.  But do make sure to consider the intangibles in your decision.

Thanks! My boss gave me the same advice - I do think it makes sense (and have seen several job listings with MBA preferred) it has just been hard for me to trade off my hard earned money with soft benefits. I'm going to sign up to take the GMAT so at least I will have an option. One thing that I feel self conscious about is that I am doing it later than normal in my career (I think most people do it 2-5 years post) so I will have less time to enjoy the benefits and maybe I could just figure out another way to progress my career? Sunk cost fallacy, I know.

I also wonder if it is worth it if I have a family or how that comes into play. Since I'm 32, I'm starting to get concerned about having kids too late as well. As an only child, I want more than one. I know other people have had kids later, but I'm worried that I might not have as much energy or that there might be more health problems. I also want to spend as much of my life as possible with my future children. A lot depends on if this relationship works out - if so then I'd want to start having children immediately. We have dated for 2 years and have talked about our future (we both love each other and want kids), but are not engaged.

I guess writing this, one question I have for myself is how much do I value myself and future growth? I think that being so conservative and risk averse is one reason why I have my stash, but sometimes I just wonder if there is something bigger out there ya know?

marshmallowaddict

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2017, 02:54:18 PM »
OK, so first, it sounds like you're already doing great. 

With that said, you asked for input.  My main input will be careers/jobs, though I'm going to pause for one thing first.

First off, you can improve the shopping.  I won't face-punch you.  But for what it's worth, my wife is a fashionista as well.  She loves it.  Thought about a career in it.  But you can do way better than that on budget and still be very, very fashionable, and appreciate fashion.  It sounds like you value fashion, and if so, that's great - you'll spend more than others here on the forum would.  But I still suspect you can improve that a lot.  You're spending almost $5k/year just on shopping, which, at 4%, would take $125,000 in savings to maintain if you're retired.  You probably want to either cut back now, or consider some other outlets/ways to do fashion that involve less spending. 

With that out of the way - because I didn't want to go there (but have wrestled with the fashion/spending issue personally) - let's move on to your bigger questions, because those are the big things in your life. 

First, I'll second what the other poster said: don't get an advanced degree just because you may get another job or you lack some direction.  Especially not if you're taking on debt.

First, you need to get some direction - and thankfully, there is plenty to be had.  I'll recommend a few things here:
1.  See this book.  (Warning: link/referral.)  I love it and highly recommend it to everyone considering any career change/direction change.  It's basically a life coach in a book - and it's well worth the insights if you do the exercises.  That alone should give you significant direction.
2.  Try aptitude testing.  I've done it through Johnson O'Connor Foundation and recommend that - costs some ($700+) but is invaluable for making life decisions re: jobs with confidence (so, to me, it's high value).  They're going to give you many ideas, then tell you to go explore those ideas - which usually leads to concrete results. 

Then, figure out what jobs/careers you want to aim for.  After that, assess the MBA question. 

As for interviews, do two things:
1.  Read this - or another source like it.
2.  Prepare.  Test.  Have someone solid ask you interview questions.  Do mock interviews.  Read questions out loud, then answer them. 

If you prepare, it'll be easier on game day.  You'll know your answers.  You will have thought through many tough questions. 

Above all, I highly recommend the first book up there re: finding life direction and purpose with your work.  That route (book and exercises) is far cheaper than hiring an actual career coach/counselor.  Aptitude testing is also great, especially for the kinds of things you're tyring to figure out - discerning between various choices within your given field.  I would start there. 

Best wishes to you!!!  I feel for you - it's tough struggling with life direction and career - but there are awesome resources out there for your situation.  (In fact, I've been meaning to write a review of the aptitude testing for my blog...this reminds me that I need to get on that.)

Thank you! I bought both books - one is on my kindle for my plane ride back home, the other will be delivered in a few days. I will think seriously about the aptitude testing. I think I get stuck when there is no perfect solution, and therefore I do nothing. However, I'm also not happy with the status quo so I need to push myself to take reasonable risks.

I agree I could do better on the shopping, most of the expense comes from either Rent the Runway Unlimited or from a couple of large purchases. I have been struggling to stop the RTR unlimited for a couple of months, but know I could do it. I am also going to start blocking more websites on my phone and computer. I love fashion, but I don't want it to take over my life or to become materialistic. I'm worried about hedonic adaptation. I'm also considering going the other way and trying to find some way to make a side hustle or blog on it. Thank you for the encouragement.

One thing I struggle with on interviews is that I just panic and imagine various disaster situations. The longer I panic, the harder it is to do something productive like research the company or tape myself answering questions. The times when I've nearly gotten another job - I was a preparation machine with no time to panic.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2017, 11:36:54 PM »
OK, so first, it sounds like you're already doing great. 

With that said, you asked for input.  My main input will be careers/jobs, though I'm going to pause for one thing first.

First off, you can improve the shopping.  I won't face-punch you.  But for what it's worth, my wife is a fashionista as well.  She loves it.  Thought about a career in it.  But you can do way better than that on budget and still be very, very fashionable, and appreciate fashion.  It sounds like you value fashion, and if so, that's great - you'll spend more than others here on the forum would.  But I still suspect you can improve that a lot.  You're spending almost $5k/year just on shopping, which, at 4%, would take $125,000 in savings to maintain if you're retired.  You probably want to either cut back now, or consider some other outlets/ways to do fashion that involve less spending. 

With that out of the way - because I didn't want to go there (but have wrestled with the fashion/spending issue personally) - let's move on to your bigger questions, because those are the big things in your life. 

First, I'll second what the other poster said: don't get an advanced degree just because you may get another job or you lack some direction.  Especially not if you're taking on debt.

First, you need to get some direction - and thankfully, there is plenty to be had.  I'll recommend a few things here:
1.  See this book.  (Warning: link/referral.)  I love it and highly recommend it to everyone considering any career change/direction change.  It's basically a life coach in a book - and it's well worth the insights if you do the exercises.  That alone should give you significant direction.
2.  Try aptitude testing.  I've done it through Johnson O'Connor Foundation and recommend that - costs some ($700+) but is invaluable for making life decisions re: jobs with confidence (so, to me, it's high value).  They're going to give you many ideas, then tell you to go explore those ideas - which usually leads to concrete results. 

Then, figure out what jobs/careers you want to aim for.  After that, assess the MBA question. 

As for interviews, do two things:
1.  Read this - or another source like it.
2.  Prepare.  Test.  Have someone solid ask you interview questions.  Do mock interviews.  Read questions out loud, then answer them. 

If you prepare, it'll be easier on game day.  You'll know your answers.  You will have thought through many tough questions. 

Above all, I highly recommend the first book up there re: finding life direction and purpose with your work.  That route (book and exercises) is far cheaper than hiring an actual career coach/counselor.  Aptitude testing is also great, especially for the kinds of things you're tyring to figure out - discerning between various choices within your given field.  I would start there. 

Best wishes to you!!!  I feel for you - it's tough struggling with life direction and career - but there are awesome resources out there for your situation.  (In fact, I've been meaning to write a review of the aptitude testing for my blog...this reminds me that I need to get on that.)

Thank you! I bought both books - one is on my kindle for my plane ride back home, the other will be delivered in a few days. I will think seriously about the aptitude testing. I think I get stuck when there is no perfect solution, and therefore I do nothing. However, I'm also not happy with the status quo so I need to push myself to take reasonable risks.

I agree I could do better on the shopping, most of the expense comes from either Rent the Runway Unlimited or from a couple of large purchases. I have been struggling to stop the RTR unlimited for a couple of months, but know I could do it. I am also going to start blocking more websites on my phone and computer. I love fashion, but I don't want it to take over my life or to become materialistic. I'm worried about hedonic adaptation. I'm also considering going the other way and trying to find some way to make a side hustle or blog on it. Thank you for the encouragement.

One thing I struggle with on interviews is that I just panic and imagine various disaster situations. The longer I panic, the harder it is to do something productive like research the company or tape myself answering questions. The times when I've nearly gotten another job - I was a preparation machine with no time to panic.

I sympathize. I have stuck it out in bad situations far longer than I should have only because I can put up with it and I like to have an excellent solution nailed down before taking risks. But now that I take more risk, I find more reward.  (Managing finances well is so helpful in that regard; it's a lot easier to be risky when you have no debt and are flexible.)

I'd love to hear what you learn through the books, especially the career one. And maybe aptitude testing can she'd light for you on whether that's personality at work (maybe you like to be more expert on something before proceeding), etc.  That can lend itself to some careers over others as well.

Tim Ferriss has a podcast and TED talk re fearspotting that you might enjoy too. I would link it but I'm on my phone right now - but I'm sure you can find it. I highly recommend it re risks and making big decisions. I was doing something very similar beforehand, but he systematizes it in a way that helpful.

Best wishes to you and I would love to hear more. (Please excuse any typos; I'm on my phone.) 

McMustache

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2017, 10:54:53 AM »
After creeping on the Case Studies for a year, your post finally inspired me to register! Mainly because I see so much of myself in this post.

As someone that has an unused M.A. that I got right out of undergrad (but at little cost) I would really think about your goal for getting an MBA.  What is not having an MBA stopping you from doing in your career?  If you can't answer that question, keep digging until you can find that answer.

I loved the soul searching book recommendation- marked that one for myself as well.  I am 31, and question the same things that you do about having kids later and what will become of my career.  I often question how much I want to bend over backwards in my career at this time if I know that I am eventually going to kick it down a few notches later.

Here is my question for you: Could you combine your day job and your passion? In reading the thread it is very clear that you have a passion for fashion. 

Could you go and get PMP certified, apply your finance skills and passion towards a job like this? https://boards.greenhouse.io/renttherunway/jobs/954533#.WkPazyOB2so

If that is too extreme or not the right fit I would encourage you to start reaching out to some people who's jobs you envy.  I've done this before and it provided so much clarity to me in what I want and don't want in my work environment or what is my ideal industry. If people truly enjoy what they do they don't mind taking 20 mins to talk to a random.

 



marshmallowaddict

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2017, 08:00:24 PM »
OK, so first, it sounds like you're already doing great. 

With that said, you asked for input.  My main input will be careers/jobs, though I'm going to pause for one thing first.

First off, you can improve the shopping.  I won't face-punch you.  But for what it's worth, my wife is a fashionista as well.  She loves it.  Thought about a career in it.  But you can do way better than that on budget and still be very, very fashionable, and appreciate fashion.  It sounds like you value fashion, and if so, that's great - you'll spend more than others here on the forum would.  But I still suspect you can improve that a lot.  You're spending almost $5k/year just on shopping, which, at 4%, would take $125,000 in savings to maintain if you're retired.  You probably want to either cut back now, or consider some other outlets/ways to do fashion that involve less spending. 

With that out of the way - because I didn't want to go there (but have wrestled with the fashion/spending issue personally) - let's move on to your bigger questions, because those are the big things in your life. 

First, I'll second what the other poster said: don't get an advanced degree just because you may get another job or you lack some direction.  Especially not if you're taking on debt.

First, you need to get some direction - and thankfully, there is plenty to be had.  I'll recommend a few things here:
1.  See this book.  (Warning: link/referral.)  I love it and highly recommend it to everyone considering any career change/direction change.  It's basically a life coach in a book - and it's well worth the insights if you do the exercises.  That alone should give you significant direction.
2.  Try aptitude testing.  I've done it through Johnson O'Connor Foundation and recommend that - costs some ($700+) but is invaluable for making life decisions re: jobs with confidence (so, to me, it's high value).  They're going to give you many ideas, then tell you to go explore those ideas - which usually leads to concrete results. 

Then, figure out what jobs/careers you want to aim for.  After that, assess the MBA question. 

As for interviews, do two things:
1.  Read this - or another source like it.
2.  Prepare.  Test.  Have someone solid ask you interview questions.  Do mock interviews.  Read questions out loud, then answer them. 

If you prepare, it'll be easier on game day.  You'll know your answers.  You will have thought through many tough questions. 

Above all, I highly recommend the first book up there re: finding life direction and purpose with your work.  That route (book and exercises) is far cheaper than hiring an actual career coach/counselor.  Aptitude testing is also great, especially for the kinds of things you're tyring to figure out - discerning between various choices within your given field.  I would start there. 

Best wishes to you!!!  I feel for you - it's tough struggling with life direction and career - but there are awesome resources out there for your situation.  (In fact, I've been meaning to write a review of the aptitude testing for my blog...this reminds me that I need to get on that.)

Thank you! I bought both books - one is on my kindle for my plane ride back home, the other will be delivered in a few days. I will think seriously about the aptitude testing. I think I get stuck when there is no perfect solution, and therefore I do nothing. However, I'm also not happy with the status quo so I need to push myself to take reasonable risks.

I agree I could do better on the shopping, most of the expense comes from either Rent the Runway Unlimited or from a couple of large purchases. I have been struggling to stop the RTR unlimited for a couple of months, but know I could do it. I am also going to start blocking more websites on my phone and computer. I love fashion, but I don't want it to take over my life or to become materialistic. I'm worried about hedonic adaptation. I'm also considering going the other way and trying to find some way to make a side hustle or blog on it. Thank you for the encouragement.

One thing I struggle with on interviews is that I just panic and imagine various disaster situations. The longer I panic, the harder it is to do something productive like research the company or tape myself answering questions. The times when I've nearly gotten another job - I was a preparation machine with no time to panic.

I sympathize. I have stuck it out in bad situations far longer than I should have only because I can put up with it and I like to have an excellent solution nailed down before taking risks. But now that I take more risk, I find more reward.  (Managing finances well is so helpful in that regard; it's a lot easier to be risky when you have no debt and are flexible.)

I'd love to hear what you learn through the books, especially the career one. And maybe aptitude testing can she'd light for you on whether that's personality at work (maybe you like to be more expert on something before proceeding), etc.  That can lend itself to some careers over others as well.

Tim Ferriss has a podcast and TED talk re fearspotting that you might enjoy too. I would link it but I'm on my phone right now - but I'm sure you can find it. I highly recommend it re risks and making big decisions. I was doing something very similar beforehand, but he systematizes it in a way that helpful.

Best wishes to you and I would love to hear more. (Please excuse any typos; I'm on my phone.)

Thanks again - I love Tim Ferriss and haven't seen the episode. I will check it out. After typing out everything, I've realized that a lot of my problems are with how I approach things which is tougher change. It's easier to focus on what I'm good at (creating an automated plan) rather than what is necessary (taking new risks, dealing with self doubt and rejection).

marshmallowaddict

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2017, 08:12:00 PM »
After creeping on the Case Studies for a year, your post finally inspired me to register! Mainly because I see so much of myself in this post.

As someone that has an unused M.A. that I got right out of undergrad (but at little cost) I would really think about your goal for getting an MBA.  What is not having an MBA stopping you from doing in your career?  If you can't answer that question, keep digging until you can find that answer.

I loved the soul searching book recommendation- marked that one for myself as well.  I am 31, and question the same things that you do about having kids later and what will become of my career.  I often question how much I want to bend over backwards in my career at this time if I know that I am eventually going to kick it down a few notches later.

Here is my question for you: Could you combine your day job and your passion? In reading the thread it is very clear that you have a passion for fashion. 

Could you go and get PMP certified, apply your finance skills and passion towards a job like this? https://boards.greenhouse.io/renttherunway/jobs/954533#.WkPazyOB2so

If that is too extreme or not the right fit I would encourage you to start reaching out to some people who's jobs you envy.  I've done this before and it provided so much clarity to me in what I want and don't want in my work environment or what is my ideal industry. If people truly enjoy what they do they don't mind taking 20 mins to talk to a random.

 

Awesome - I'm so happy my post made you come out of the shadows :-). I have been a long time lurker who got a lot from reading other posts.

A MBA would make more hiring leaders consider me - a lot of companies like the certification. The reason why I haven't gotten a MBA is I have an undergrad degree in finance and since I'm not sure what career path I'd want (definitely not consulting, or I-banking) it didn't make sense to recertify myself in something that I already knew. However, it is clear that I won't advance at my current company and since I'm having a hard time getting a job externally I'm open to exploring more options.

I have been trying to transition to a financial planning and analysis role at a fashion company and Rent the Runway is one of the places I'm targeting. Actually, the whole reason why I started the RTR unlimited program and added the $140 monthly expense was for 'research' when I applied to a finance role there. While I never got an interview - I kept the subscription because it is that good. I need to get better at reaching out to people - I'm very introverted by nature and talking to new people doesn't come easy to me. However, there is really nothing lost with writing a quick email to see if they would chat for a few minutes. I need to start building my resiliency muscles.

snowball

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2017, 06:51:20 AM »
For interview and resume advice, I really love the Ask A Manager blog.  She has a couple of excellent and practical ebooks about this, too.  Definitely don't go for an MBA just because you don't seem to be getting traction yet in your job hunt - I'd look at improving your resume and interviewing game first.  It sounds like you have some solid experience that you should be able to parlay into a great new job, but you may need to present it better.

freya

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2017, 08:35:15 AM »
You can absolutely dye your own hair at home.  I think this is better anyway, as you can do it as often as you need to, and as a bonus you get to not blow precious Saturdays at the salon.  Tip:  stand in the shower or bathtub to apply the dye.  The mess will be contained within, where it's easy to rinse off.  Clean any remaining dye stains with rubbing alcohol.  Don't forget to check about 1-2 hours after you're done, as some stains don't show up right away.

As for cutting your own hair:  mine is about chin-length and I've been cutting it myself for 2 years.  I finally got fed up with dropping $100-$200 at salons and walking away with at best a barely tolerable haircut and at worst a complete disaster.  I've been far happier with my own work - although admittedly there was a bit of a learning curve.  But the worst results from my own scissors were never as bad as the worst outcomes from salon cuts.

fuzzy math

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2017, 08:44:23 AM »
Before jumping into an expensive program you may not use, i'd recommend fully exploring what's out there with your current degree. If you're underpaid 20% it's time to make a leap. A lot of interviewing comes down to faking it til you make it. You can go in and create a persona for yourself, someone who speaks confidently. Learn to read people and be what that person wants - if you can figure out what people want to talk about and let them do it they will be as happy as clams.  Who are those people to know that you are otherwise introverted?

Your plans to hopefully marry and have 2+ kids right away make me think that you could possibly end up staying at home. Have you had much discussion with the BF about his and your life goals (both personal and together)? After 2 years it's not unreasonable to make sure this person is on the same page as you.

marshmallowaddict

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2017, 10:02:17 AM »
Before jumping into an expensive program you may not use, i'd recommend fully exploring what's out there with your current degree. If you're underpaid 20% it's time to make a leap. A lot of interviewing comes down to faking it til you make it. You can go in and create a persona for yourself, someone who speaks confidently. Learn to read people and be what that person wants - if you can figure out what people want to talk about and let them do it they will be as happy as clams.  Who are those people to know that you are otherwise introverted?

Your plans to hopefully marry and have 2+ kids right away make me think that you could possibly end up staying at home. Have you had much discussion with the BF about his and your life goals (both personal and together)? After 2 years it's not unreasonable to make sure this person is on the same page as you.

I definitely want to make the leap and get that extra 20%. Do you have any tips on learning how to read people? I feel like that is a skill that everyone else has instinctively that I lack, and I'm not sure how to go about improving. Sometimes, I also feel like I get so worried my brain stops and I can't think of anything to say if there isn't a specific question. Not a problem in interviews, but I do think I come across as aloof at work.

I need to have a more explicit conversation with my bf, but if we have kids I am pretty sure he'd be okay with both options (stay at home or work). The lucky problem we have is he makes several times what I do, so I don't think my losing my salary would really change our lifestyle. I could probably 'make back' my take home pay by convincing him to live in a cheaper apartment. I think I would want to go back to work for my own sanity.

The other concern with going back to work is should I really push to go external, I would get 20% more but then again my company is VERY family friendly. Think 5 month parental leave plus you can use your sick time, plus you can work from home one day a week, the hours differ between group but aren't that bad 9am to 5:30pm most days without too much stress, can leave at 4pm on Fridays if everything is taken care of.  I am looking to at least move laterally because I feel so stuck, but this isn't a bad place to be stuck in.

The questions that have come up during this post are how much do I value my own goals and what I am willing to do to achieve them? Is it worth it to invest in myself (MBA or otherwise) if I think I won't fully use it do to family commitments? Everyones comments are really helpful - I really appreciate them. Thank you!

fuzzy math

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2017, 12:08:28 PM »
If you did want to go back to work, your entire salary would go to taxes and paying a nanny to raise your children. Does your boyfriend's specialty require call / nights/ weekends? It is not easy to find childcare for odd hours. I work in medicine (not a dr) but take call and my husband has been a stay at home dad for 10 years - the math never worked out otherwise.
I'd urge you to have that conversation

marshmallowaddict

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Re: Life advice needed - mid career professional feels stuck
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2017, 02:10:22 PM »
If you did want to go back to work, your entire salary would go to taxes and paying a nanny to raise your children. Does your boyfriend's specialty require call / nights/ weekends? It is not easy to find childcare for odd hours. I work in medicine (not a dr) but take call and my husband has been a stay at home dad for 10 years - the math never worked out otherwise.
I'd urge you to have that conversation

Yes, I agree - going back to work would be a personal choice rather than out of necessity. Raising a kid in the NYC area is crazy expensive, hard to believe day care costs the same as rent/mortgage. The good thing is that my bf could prob make the same salary regardless of location - but we both like living here. His job requires call 5 times per month, but since that is overnight I would be free to watch any kids, we could do daycare or a nanny during the day. *Hopefully* they would be sleeping through the night so it would be low key.