Author Topic: Advice on Major Career Change  (Read 1267 times)

eljefe-speaks

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Advice on Major Career Change
« on: July 31, 2020, 07:12:41 AM »
I hate my sit-down, paperwork job. I have hated my job for a very long time. COVID has made my job even worse in many ways. I am 98% sure that my job (and not just the state of our world right now) that is causing my situational but ongoing depression.

So I am extremely tempted to go to trade school and get my A&P Mechanic license. If you're not familiar, this is an FAA-issued license which means you can turn a wrench on airplanes. I toured a school yesterday and it lifted my soul. This is something I would really like to do. I would take a lot of pride in having extensive mechanical knowledge and ability. However, it is expensive. I would need to get a part-time job and cut my expenses to the bone for 21 months. Also, even after I have a few years experience as a mechanic, it would be a hefty pay cut compared to what I am currently making. But my current job is really, really working me over, mentally. Badly.

Wondering if any mustachians have insight into the life of an A&P mechanic. Am I romanticizing this? I am trying to be realistic as possible. I am envisioning starting my career on the 3rd shift with low pay and hard work, paying my dues for a while.

bbqbonelesswing

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2020, 07:38:44 AM »
How do you know you would enjoy being a mechanic?

Pigeon

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2020, 07:39:45 AM »
I'm not a mechanic of any sort and am not knowledgeable about the airline industry.

I'm just wondering from reading your post why you have zeroed in on this fairly specific trade, in a narrow industry that is likely to be hurting for some time.  Why not some other trade where there may be more plentiful job opportunities?  Maybe there are a million jobs for airplane mechanics, as I said, I know nothing about it.  I have a relative who recently finished an apprenticeship in carpentry, and he was paid along the way, rather than having to pay himself.  He's doing pretty well now.

eljefe-speaks

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2020, 08:13:48 AM »
How do you know you would enjoy being a mechanic?

I don't. Not one bit. It's gamble.

Laura33

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2020, 08:36:57 AM »
1.  Do not underestimate the power of depression -- even justified, situational, non-medical depression -- to warp your thinking. 

2.  We are living in an extremely weird time right now.  You know how they say don't make major life changes when you're dealing with huge personal stress, like right after a spouse's death?  I would apply that here. 

3.  Consider that you may be grabbing on to this particular option as a way to escape where you are now, and not because you are actually really interested in that kind of work.

That doesn't mean that you shouldn't do it.  But it does mean that you should put a lot more time and effort into the decision.  Do your research.  Buy parts or an old engine and some basic equipment, read up, start tinkering.  See if you enjoy the process, working with your hands, figuring things out.  Take a class at a community college.  Look at job opportunities in that field (do you even live in an area where they need airplane mechanics??).  Look at other, cheaper/more employable options that may scratch that same itch (like said community college).

The reality is that there are a metric shit-ton of options for technical training if what you want is to work with your hands.  The fact that you are looking at some sort of private school instead of your CC or work training programs, and that you've settled on airplanes instead of any of the other much more employable mechanics jobs (like, say, cars) suggests that you're focusing on a dream vision -- that is, if you're going to be a mechanic, you're going to be near the top of the food chain doing fancy things like airplanes, instead of being a grease monkey at the shop down the street.  And it is precisely when you are focusing on that vision of awesomeness that you are most likely to delude yourself into a bad decision. 

Again:  doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.  Does mean you need to put in the work first. 

eljefe-speaks

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2020, 08:45:26 AM »
I'm not a mechanic of any sort and am not knowledgeable about the airline industry.

I'm just wondering from reading your post why you have zeroed in on this fairly specific trade, in a narrow industry that is likely to be hurting for some time.  Why not some other trade where there may be more plentiful job opportunities?  Maybe there are a million jobs for airplane mechanics, as I said, I know nothing about it.  I have a relative who recently finished an apprenticeship in carpentry, and he was paid along the way, rather than having to pay himself.  He's doing pretty well now.

I think "passion" can be a childish word , but I have a passion for turning a wrench and an aptitude for mechanisms and the comprehension of three-dimensional space. (And I fully realize the quickest way to kill a passion is to turn it into a job, haha!) I had terrible general labor job after college (when I was unable to find anything with my degree) and I would look forward to getting off work so I could wrench on my motorcycle. I was paid very little, but I would pinch my pennies to buy a new torque wrench, or Torx set. Once I was laid off (thankfully) from said job, my intent was to go to aircraft mechanic school. However, I got a call, those many years ago, from my current employer. I went the easy route and I have been here ever since. For years I got one promotion after another. I ended up where I am without ever making a deliberate decision to get here. Does that makes sense? I was on rails.

I regret the decision to not go get trained in a trade. Thankfully, I do not think I am too old to turn it around. Also, like I said, touring all those disassembled airplanes at my local trade school really got my imagination going and lifted my spirits. If they would have let me, I would have stayed there all night and torn apart those engines just to gaze at the innards.

I appreciate your comment on considering other trades. Before really focusing on aircraft, I was turning over pluming or framing in my mind. Ultimately, I just think mechanics is the best fit for me. 


Thanks for the responses. I have said it before: this forum is the best resource available to me for picking the brains of a lot of really smart people. Also, writing this out clarifies my thoughts.

eljefe-speaks

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2020, 08:58:23 AM »
1.  Do not underestimate the power of depression -- even justified, situational, non-medical depression -- to warp your thinking. 

2.  We are living in an extremely weird time right now.  You know how they say don't make major life changes when you're dealing with huge personal stress, like right after a spouse's death?  I would apply that here. 

3.  Consider that you may be grabbing on to this particular option as a way to escape where you are now, and not because you are actually really interested in that kind of work.

That doesn't mean that you shouldn't do it.  But it does mean that you should put a lot more time and effort into the decision.  Do your research.  Buy parts or an old engine and some basic equipment, read up, start tinkering.  See if you enjoy the process, working with your hands, figuring things out.  Take a class at a community college.  Look at job opportunities in that field (do you even live in an area where they need airplane mechanics??).  Look at other, cheaper/more employable options that may scratch that same itch (like said community college).

The reality is that there are a metric shit-ton of options for technical training if what you want is to work with your hands.  The fact that you are looking at some sort of private school instead of your CC or work training programs, and that you've settled on airplanes instead of any of the other much more employable mechanics jobs (like, say, cars) suggests that you're focusing on a dream vision -- that is, if you're going to be a mechanic, you're going to be near the top of the food chain doing fancy things like airplanes, instead of being a grease monkey at the shop down the street.  And it is precisely when you are focusing on that vision of awesomeness that you are most likely to delude yourself into a bad decision. 

Again:  doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.  Does mean you need to put in the work first.

Holy shit Laura33, how did you, via the internet, after reading one post, crack my skull open and peer directly into my brain? Wow there is a lot to digest there.

For sure I have thought long and hard about how depression may be clouding my thoughts. And, yes, I have given careful consideration to the advice about not making major life decisions right now. There are no easy answers here. There are always going to be unknowns. Luck is a factor. I can say that continuing on my current course will unquestionably cause further deterioration of my mental well-being. Maybe a psychiatrist would be more prudent than a career change. I just do not know.

It is absolutely true that I am drawn to that A&P license because it would put me near the top of the mechanic food chain. 100%. But there is also practicality there. I definitely would not consider myself "above" the local grease monkey down the street. In fact, I would happily take a job wrenching on cars/bikes in periods of job-market fluctuation. From my research, it appears that that A&P license delivers the best pay check in this line of work.

But, man, almost too much there to respond to. Thank you for the post, it's got me thinking.

bloodaxe

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2020, 08:58:57 AM »
I'm not a mechanic of any sort and am not knowledgeable about the airline industry.

I'm just wondering from reading your post why you have zeroed in on this fairly specific trade, in a narrow industry that is likely to be hurting for some time.  Why not some other trade where there may be more plentiful job opportunities?  Maybe there are a million jobs for airplane mechanics, as I said, I know nothing about it.  I have a relative who recently finished an apprenticeship in carpentry, and he was paid along the way, rather than having to pay himself.  He's doing pretty well now.

I appreciate your comment on considering other trades. Before really focusing on aircraft, I was turning over pluming or framing in my mind. Ultimately, I just think mechanics is the best fit for me. 

What about auto mechanic school?

You would have more experience fixing your own car.
You would feel more comfortable buying used cars since you could fix them. You could even buy the < $1000 mechanic specials on Craigslist when you need a new car.
Side job of flipping cars with minor issues for profit.

Don't know too much about airplane mechanics. Are there side jobs fixing privately owned planes?

TheFrenchCat

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2020, 09:10:17 AM »
Are you doing anything to address the depression now?  If you think it's situational I'd start with therapy and see if they recommend psychiatry in your case.  But you may have learned thought patterns that could cause the depression to follow you to a new job.  A therapist could also help talk through your thoughts on a career change.

eljefe-speaks

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2020, 09:13:24 AM »


What about auto mechanic school?

You would have more experience fixing your own car.
You would feel more comfortable buying used cars since you could fix them. You could even buy the < $1000 mechanic specials on Craigslist when you need a new car.
Side job of flipping cars with minor issues for profit.

Don't know too much about airplane mechanics. Are there side jobs fixing privately owned planes?

Excellent points, thanks. Maybe it would make more sense to dip my toe in without a large financial burden and commitment.

As far as I can tell, A&P's find work anywhere from wrenching on small private planes all the way up to enormous jets for the major carriers. I would definitely consider taking the route where I begin as an apprentice for someone - maybe that would be a smarter route? I don't know any A&P's to ask, haha.

eljefe-speaks

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2020, 09:16:35 AM »
Are you doing anything to address the depression now?  If you think it's situational I'd start with therapy and see if they recommend psychiatry in your case.  But you may have learned thought patterns that could cause the depression to follow you to a new job.  A therapist could also help talk through your thoughts on a career change.

No, not doing anything at the moment. My wife and I have discussed it. it would probably be prudent for me to talk with someone. I have a hunch that getting away from my soul-sapping job would be the answer, but depression can be a liar.

Laura33

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2020, 09:58:22 AM »
Are you doing anything to address the depression now?  If you think it's situational I'd start with therapy and see if they recommend psychiatry in your case.  But you may have learned thought patterns that could cause the depression to follow you to a new job.  A therapist could also help talk through your thoughts on a career change.

No, not doing anything at the moment. My wife and I have discussed it. it would probably be prudent for me to talk with someone. I have a hunch that getting away from my soul-sapping job would be the answer, but depression can be is a liar.

FTFY

slappy

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2020, 10:04:08 AM »
I feel like there is a whole between staying at your soul sucking job and going to school for mechanics.

BlueHouse

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2020, 10:22:13 AM »
Why not take a part time job as a mechanic for any type of mechanical system?  Do it in your off time, weekends and nights to see if you really enjoy it.   

I felt much like you some years ago, took a mini-retirement, and after returning from traveling, decided I didn't want to be in an office anymore.  I took a job in a wine store where I could learn a boatload about wines, I gave a bunch of wine-tastings, and I also stood on my feet all day, stocked shelves, and mopped floors when someone broke a bottle.  Right around Thanksgiving I realized I'd much rather sit at a desk and make 10 times as much and then vacation more often than have to work all the time for someone else. 


Malcat

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2020, 12:20:18 PM »
How do you know you would enjoy being a mechanic?

I don't. Not one bit. It's gamble.

As someone who worked in a tool wielding career myself, I get the temptation and attitude that it would be more satisfying to spend the day using tools instead of doing paperwork. I get it, I really do, that's why I left paperwork to handle tools. I spent a lot of money training to be a professional tool user.

However, handling tools all day comes with its own tedious hell if you don't actually have the psychology for it, and it's impossible to tell if you do until you try.

I LOVE working with my hands. Really, I was born to do it, teachers when I was 5 years old started commenting on my dexterity and skill handling tools. I truly, truly love it, it puts me right into flow state.

What I HATE HATE HATE is feeling constantly rushed when working with tools. That fucks with my flow state and makes the whole process feel like torture. That's what a lot of tool working jobs are like, because when your labour is your product, then your value comes down to how quickly you can do that labour. It's the same way that I love cooking, but hated being a chef.

When there's pressure to speed up labour, there's then often institutional pressure to cut corners, even if it isn't explicit, the tool-jockeys who do cut corners tend to be rewarded because they appear faster. It can be infuriating.

I was lucky, being born to do this, I actually did become abnormally fast. After about 3 years, I got so fast that I was able to work at what for me was an incredibly leisurely pace while pumping out more work that my much harder working colleagues.

After about 5 years, I was bored out of my skull. Doing the same range of tool using tasks day in and day out started feeling like my brain was rotting. I started deeply envying people like my DH, who basically gets paid 6 figures for his thoughts. If I had to spend another 10 hour day cutting endless 6 degree angles, I was going to lose my mind.

I started intensely craving more meaning in my work. It felt pointless doing work that was totally non individual. Anyone else trained to do it could do it. Sure, I could do it a lot faster, which made my life easier, but still, I could only get so good and I had gotten there years before. I was stagnating.

So I invested a bunch more money to train in a area that very few of my colleagues worked in, that required a lot of thinking work along with the tool work.

That was great for awhile, I didn't switch over completely, I just started slowly doing more and more of the new type of work I was qualified to do, still working with my hands.

Then...fuck.
Then I got injured from chronic strain of doing the job. I spent an entire year getting as much medical help as possible, but the ongoing pain started making it impossible for me to do my job without wanting to die. An entire year, dropping to very part time, modifying duties, nothing worked. I could not use tools anymore professionally.

So I retired. I retired just in time to make my last student loan payment. So the entire gamble, for me, was pointless from a financial standpoint.

Now, that's just my personal story. Yours may be very very different, but it's a good perspective to think about when romanticizing working with your hands as somehow a more satisfying alternative to working on a computer.

Maybe it is the right move for you, but I wouldn't rush too quickly into a grass-is-greener kind of situation when you have no idea if it's what you need to be happy.

Laura33

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2020, 12:52:20 PM »
I would also add to Malcat's story:  when you have a strong itch to work with your hands, that can often be scratched via hobbies.  Both DH and I get paid for our thoughts.  And it's challenging and fun and financially very rewarding.  But there are times when it all seems so . . . empty.  It's theoretical; disconnected from the real world.

So he has a woodshop, and I cook (and now do stained glass).  There is a different kind of satisfaction that comes from creating something tangible and good.  But both of us have rejected the idea of doing that for fun -- I've worked in food service and so know not to idealize it, and DH did the math to figure out the rate he'd effectively get paid and determined it was far below what he could earn at McDonald's.  Instead, we just continue to use those hobbies as an outlet for that different kind of creativity.

If you are not already doing that, I would strongly encourage you to at least start tinkering again on a hobby level.  Even if it does not solve all of your problems, it may well give you a little relief from the boredom and satisfy some of that need.

tl;dr:  For us, we can either get paid six figures for our thoughts and do hands-on work for fun and free; or we can do hands-on work for minimum wage and do high thinking stuff for free (i.e., correcting people who are wrong on the interwebs).  The former made a lot more sense.

Posthumane

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2020, 12:52:46 PM »
I'm not an A&P but I'm in aviation privately and now as a second career so I have spoken to a number of them. It really seems like an industry that is best suited for people who have a passion for aviation, as there is a lot of sacrifice involved to make it work. Many AMEs (the equivalent of an A&P in Canada) on aviation forums give advice to new guys thinking about coming into the industry to stay away and become a car or truck mechanic instead. The money in aviation is not any better (an if you're working on small aircraft it could be worse) than for something like a heavy duty mechanic, and the liability and paperwork burden is much higher.

In short, if you want to be an A&P because you really love aircraft and want to work on them, then give it a go. If you're considering it because you love working on stuff and see A&Ps as being high status compared to other mechanics then it may not seem like the wisest career move without extensive further research.

I made the move a few years ago from a somewhat soul-sucking desk job to a much more hands on field which included a major pay cut for a few years while I was in training, and don't regret it. However, every job has its negatives, and you won't be totally free of the misery of having to work despite the change.

slappy

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2020, 01:50:54 PM »
I would also add to Malcat's story:  when you have a strong itch to work with your hands, that can often be scratched via hobbies.  Both DH and I get paid for our thoughts.  And it's challenging and fun and financially very rewarding.  But there are times when it all seems so . . . empty.  It's theoretical; disconnected from the real world.

So he has a woodshop, and I cook (and now do stained glass).  There is a different kind of satisfaction that comes from creating something tangible and good.  But both of us have rejected the idea of doing that for fun -- I've worked in food service and so know not to idealize it, and DH did the math to figure out the rate he'd effectively get paid and determined it was far below what he could earn at McDonald's.  Instead, we just continue to use those hobbies as an outlet for that different kind of creativity.

If you are not already doing that, I would strongly encourage you to at least start tinkering again on a hobby level.  Even if it does not solve all of your problems, it may well give you a little relief from the boredom and satisfy some of that need.

tl;dr:  For us, we can either get paid six figures for our thoughts and do hands-on work for fun and free; or we can do hands-on work for minimum wage and do high thinking stuff for free (i.e., correcting people who are wrong on the interwebs).  The former made a lot more sense.

Option three-write that book we are all looking forward too!

Malcat

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2020, 01:56:48 PM »
I would also add to Malcat's story:  when you have a strong itch to work with your hands, that can often be scratched via hobbies.  Both DH and I get paid for our thoughts.  And it's challenging and fun and financially very rewarding.  But there are times when it all seems so . . . empty.  It's theoretical; disconnected from the real world.

So he has a woodshop, and I cook (and now do stained glass).  There is a different kind of satisfaction that comes from creating something tangible and good.  But both of us have rejected the idea of doing that for fun -- I've worked in food service and so know not to idealize it, and DH did the math to figure out the rate he'd effectively get paid and determined it was far below what he could earn at McDonald's.  Instead, we just continue to use those hobbies as an outlet for that different kind of creativity.

If you are not already doing that, I would strongly encourage you to at least start tinkering again on a hobby level.  Even if it does not solve all of your problems, it may well give you a little relief from the boredom and satisfy some of that need.

tl;dr:  For us, we can either get paid six figures for our thoughts and do hands-on work for fun and free; or we can do hands-on work for minimum wage and do high thinking stuff for free (i.e., correcting people who are wrong on the interwebs).  The former made a lot more sense.

Funny, I'm the flip side. There's so much more money for me working with my hands. I have to take a pay cut to find work that doesn't involve tools.

Unless I invest in a business where other tool-jockeys work for me. That's an option as well, but a whole other situation.

eljefe-speaks

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2020, 02:30:39 PM »
How do you know you would enjoy being a mechanic?

I don't. Not one bit. It's gamble.

As someone who worked in a tool wielding career myself...

That may just be your personal story, but it is extremely informative and helpful. Thank you. What physical labor does to the body is something I need to keep in mind. I am not a young man anymore. I also appreciate that you are understanding my calling to pick up tools and that I am not just crazy!

eljefe-speaks

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2020, 02:38:32 PM »
I would strongly encourage you to at least start tinkering again on a hobby level.

Your post reminded me that I had, not too long ago, scoured Amazon for expensive, complicated models and humongous Lego sets. I wonder if my soul is trying to tell me something? Maybe a hobby scratches the itch, but it does not solve the soul-sapping job problem. Maybe I just need to HTFU (harden the fuck up)? Until recently, I was a champion of the idea that you get paid for the unpleasant stuff then do what you enjoy after work. Unfortunately this stopped working for me because the unpleasant stuff became so extremely unpleasant that the balance was badly skewed. No amount of pleasant, after work activity could possibly alleviate the chronic stress.

Edit to add: to put a finer point on this, my job was medium stressful. Then COVID hit and the job itself, which was impacted by COVID, became more stressful, on top of the stress outside of work. My employer cares not a single fuck about stress squared and just keeps piling on demands and deadlines. I am not rising to the challenge very well.*

*Important note: I am not a front-line healthcare worker, or first responder, or anything like that. My job is stressful, but not even close to that level. If you are facing COVID related stress on that level, kindly ignore my belly aching, keep fighting the good fight. You have my gratitude and respect.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 02:47:49 PM by eljefe-speaks »

Malcat

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2020, 02:48:25 PM »
How do you know you would enjoy being a mechanic?

I don't. Not one bit. It's gamble.

As someone who worked in a tool wielding career myself...

That may just be your personal story, but it is extremely informative and helpful. Thank you. What physical labor does to the body is something I need to keep in mind. I am not a young man anymore. I also appreciate that you are understanding my calling to pick up tools and that I am not just crazy!

You're not crazy. A lot of paperwork people here post about wanting to leave the desk job and work with their hands, it's a common thing.

However, don't jump to interpret a desire to add tool work to your life with a desire to *only* do tool work under professional pressure for the rest of your career.

The same way people crave manual work and feel it's more real and tangible, after years of working with my hands, intellectual work started feeling more real and tangible.

My point is, be very careful overshooting, especially if it's going to hurt you financially to do so. You can easily land yourself in the exact same position by switching too far to the other side without knowing if that's where you should be.

eljefe-speaks

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2020, 02:51:24 PM »
I'm not an A&P but I'm in aviation privately...

Thank you, really good information there.

Laura33

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2020, 03:01:30 PM »
Maybe I just need to HTFU (harden the fuck up)?

No.

If your job is making you miserable, then you need to change something.  I think what everyone is trying to say is it's not an either-or situation, where you either suck it up and be miserable in your current job, or you throw everything out the window and try a brand-new career.

Take your misery as a giant, flashing neon sign that something in your life is not working for you.  But then use your logical brain to investigate ways to fix that -- either entirely, or at least enough to take the edge off your misery and get back to "tolerable" -- instead of acting in an extreme way.

To wit:  your employer is a dick.  And living with a dick boss is a great way to make every day completely intolerable.  So at least think about the option of another job in your current field -- one that involves working for someone who isn't a dick and who acknowledges that employees are humans with lives and limits.  Added bonus:  you can job-hunt in your current field AND investigate mechanic training options at the same time.

Also:  I'm not saying tinkering will solve everything.  But often when you're at this kind of breaking point, even the slightest little stress outlet can make a huge difference in your mental attitude.  And you need your head in a good place to make a great choice going forward.  But when your brain is in overwork/overstress/fight-or-flight mode, you shut down the parts of the brain that you need to make a good decision.  So maybe a career change is the right choice, maybe it's not -- but you literally cannot make a rational decision where you are right now.   

So triage and prioritize.  Take steps now -- now -- to ease the immediate pressure (hobbies, therapist, etc.).  As you start to vent some of that pressure, then turn your focus to the work you need to do to identify the best long-term decision. 

Malcat

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #24 on: July 31, 2020, 03:19:12 PM »
Maybe I just need to HTFU (harden the fuck up)?

No.

If your job is making you miserable, then you need to change something.  I think what everyone is trying to say is it's not an either-or situation, where you either suck it up and be miserable in your current job, or you throw everything out the window and try a brand-new career.

Take your misery as a giant, flashing neon sign that something in your life is not working for you.  But then use your logical brain to investigate ways to fix that -- either entirely, or at least enough to take the edge off your misery and get back to "tolerable" -- instead of acting in an extreme way.

To wit:  your employer is a dick.  And living with a dick boss is a great way to make every day completely intolerable.  So at least think about the option of another job in your current field -- one that involves working for someone who isn't a dick and who acknowledges that employees are humans with lives and limits.  Added bonus:  you can job-hunt in your current field AND investigate mechanic training options at the same time.

Also:  I'm not saying tinkering will solve everything.  But often when you're at this kind of breaking point, even the slightest little stress outlet can make a huge difference in your mental attitude.  And you need your head in a good place to make a great choice going forward.  But when your brain is in overwork/overstress/fight-or-flight mode, you shut down the parts of the brain that you need to make a good decision.  So maybe a career change is the right choice, maybe it's not -- but you literally cannot make a rational decision where you are right now.   

So triage and prioritize.  Take steps now -- now -- to ease the immediate pressure (hobbies, therapist, etc.).  As you start to vent some of that pressure, then turn your focus to the work you need to do to identify the best long-term decision.

Bingo.

And kind of my point. Your answer might not be to throw yourself straight into another high pressure situation assuming that working with your hands is somehow immune to the kind of misery you are in now.

Figure out what's really behind your unhappiness and start addressing it. The urge to make wild changes to your life and the belief that something dramatically different will fix it is a classic indicator of burnout.

Don't try to tough your way through burnout, it really doesn't work.

mozar

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #25 on: July 31, 2020, 04:14:35 PM »
I burned out on my office job. I lasted 10 years. I took a sabbatical because I just couldn't do it anymore. The work was OK, but I felt like I was wasting my life away. And I hated being in an office, sitting in a cold room all day, office politics, small talk, etc.

I renovated my kitchen during my sabbatical and I enjoyed it so much that I applied to carpentry jobs. I was an apprentice for 3 months before covid 19 hit.
I learned that: I love carpentry but I hate hurrying, speeding through things etc. You (op) said that you enjoy just looking at engines. You would not have time to stare at engines if you were an actual mechanic. I also learned that I need a job that is at least somewhat highly regarded.

I had been (still am) reteaching myself math (for fun!) and my math tutor encouraged me to become a math teacher. So that's what I'm working on. I just finished a two month program where i tutored a rising third grader in math. I loved it. Today I had my first ever job interview to teach a math class online. In a pandemic, opportunities are limited. But I'm trying to make the most of it.

For some people, corporate jobs just aren't for them. There are a lot of other options out there.

eljefe-speaks

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Re: Advice on Major Career Change
« Reply #26 on: August 01, 2020, 08:46:25 AM »
Sincere thank you to everyone who responded in here. This has been very helpful and it has done a lot to get my head straight (or straighter, at least).

My wife and I have had difficulty talking through the issues I have presented here. I am going to have her read through this. I think many of you have said to me exactly what she wants to say to me, but cannot because the conversation instantly turns from logical to emotional.