Author Topic: Career Impasse  (Read 1864 times)

Cool Friend

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Career Impasse
« on: August 15, 2018, 08:27:00 AM »
I need to change my career path (such as it is) and I'm not sure what to do or how to go about doing it.

I'm 34.  My life passion has been music, and I came of age at a time when that industry was booming and careers there were possible (the 90s).  I expanded my skill set to many branches in the music industry so that I could be versatile, but the truth is getting job in any aspect of the music industry now is like winning the lottery, and I'm not just talking about being a "rock star" or whatever; there are a lot of reasons for this I won't go into now.  That's okay, because in the 20 years I spent studying, practicing, and seeking work, I discovered I just want to make my own music for myself, for fun.

The jobs I was able to get while trying to pursue what I was skilled at and passionate about were mostly office administration and personal assisting.  Reader, I have come to loathe these jobs, and moreover, I'm not even particularly great at them. I just have a lot of experience, FWIW.

So, my skill assets are in a field I will never find work in, and my experience assets are in a field I am exhausted by and don't want to do anymore.  I still have about $26k in student debt, so going back to school is not an option for me right now. I barely got by in math and sciences (though I was very interested in the latter, I just couldn't hack it) when I was in school.  I only excelled in the arts and social sciences, unfortunately.

I like working with my hands to achieve tangible results, and I can not stand having someone breathing down my neck while I work.  I have an anxiety disorder and I do my worst work when I'm under a lot of pressure. I'm curious about working to fight climate change, but I'm afraid I'm not good at anything that would be helpful.

I feel stuck and I don't know what my options are. Sorry about this disjointed post, I get overwhelmed thinking about it and it's hard to make sense of it.


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Re: Career Impasse
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2018, 09:13:53 AM »
Do any of the ideas listed in the MMM blog posts on jobs without a degree, or in the comments, resonate with you?

Are you open to the idea of a combination of side hustles, or do you really want one job that you go to all the time? My brother has ended up with that approach--his own consulting business, plus teaching, plus a part-time job that I think he keeps at this point mostly because his coworkers are so entertaining--he lost a corporate job during the last recession, and by the time jobs in his field were opening up again, he realized he was making more and had better working conditions with his combination of jobs.

I wonder if the book "What Color is Your Parachute" would help you get started with generating ideas. There is an app now for the various quizzes and worksheets.

Cool Friend

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Re: Career Impasse
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2018, 11:03:58 AM »
I've just requested a hold on the book from the library. Thanks!

The manual labor jobs sound like honest, tangible work, and I like that.  I don't have experience with any of them except for painting, which I did in home interiors for family/friends a few times in my teens. The wallpaper hanger in Part 2 sounds like a good gig.  I imagine it would take some vocational training and maybe an apprenticeship, but still cheaper than college.  Food for thought...

I like the idea of several side hustles, assuming they wouldn't be logistical/organizational nightmares.  I definitely don't like day-in, day-out routine, so having my hands in several baskets would be nice.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Career Impasse
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2018, 01:36:32 PM »
Where I live (hcol) people are desperate for plumbers, electricians, and hvac. And carpenters and painters. They will take people with no experience and call them helpers. Look on the trade section of craigslist.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Career Impasse
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2018, 04:02:48 PM »
I saw a career coach for a while and she gave me a good idea for researching jobs. Go on LinkedIn and look up job titles you think you might be interested in and check out the career paths of people doing them. This is also a good place to look for companies in your area that you might not have considered or even realized were there. You can favorite companies to create a list of places you might like to apply. When you look under the company profile you can find a list of people who work there and see what kinds of job titles they have. This made me look into some things I might not have otherwise considered.


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Re: Career Impasse
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2018, 07:52:32 PM »
This should be required reading for Mustachians.  It will probably take several readings and you have to do the exercises, but it helps.  Severe cases, like me, need to make it iterative (read once to diagnose what is going on, read it again to try something else out, read it a third time, and so on...).

The interview:

The website:

I trust you can use to find the book.

Good luck!


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Career Impasse
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2018, 09:26:13 PM »
I don't really have any advice but wanted to commiserate because I was in much the same boat when I was your age. I had just finished my DMA at a good music school (and had NO student loan debt because I had a full scholarship) but knew I wasn't going to be able to find a job unless I did something other than music. Also, I'm very much an introvert and putting myself out there has always been hard for me. I spent a few years as a court reporter, then a few more as an administrative assistant, and then became an editor. Editing suited me better than anything else I'd done, but it's not a terribly lucrative or booming field either. I got married about 20 years ago, and between my husband and me we saved enough so after a while I felt I could leave my job. Now I have as much time as I want to play and practice, though most of it isn't on the level I would like. I've done a little teaching, too. I also have a freelance administrative job that is music related.

I'm 60 now and still trying to figure out what I should do with the rest of my life ...

So good luck. It does seem that most people try different things over their working lives because the lifetime career at one occupation is almost obsolete.