Author Topic: Career Pivot Ideas Requested  (Read 1317 times)


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Career Pivot Ideas Requested
« on: December 03, 2020, 07:13:24 PM »
Hello fellow FIRE folks, and a thank you in advance for your no-doubt insightful and useful suggestions.

I currently live in California and manage a small quality control lab at a winery (after getting a degree in winemaking from UC Davis). I've been in this position for over twelve years and am looking to change. Ideally I would be able to move into a similar sort of position elsewhere, but I have some wrinkles that are causing me to look to you for help. I would love to stay in the wine industry (I have expertise, it is fun) and know that I can likely get a similar sort of job in spirits or possibly beer without too much hassle but would love ideas of other industries that my skillset might translate to.
Quality Control: wine chemistry and interpretation of results, packaging materials and application, sensory analysis
Logistics: plan and execute short and long-term analysis and production schedules, manage purchasing for lab
Process Rigor: create processes and procedures to drive continuous improvement and structure training

I've basic MS Office skills, data entry/database skills, train and supervise a group of interns every year for harvest (about 6 weeks) but don't have any formal management experience to draw from. A lot of my job involves coordinating/liaising with the various facets of my department (cellar crew, production crew, winemaking team, lab technician) to facilitate the production schedule occurring as planned. Problem solving, communication, crisis management, strategy all are a part of that.

The wrinkles!
I want to leave the United States (I have dual citizenship with the UK, that is my goal)
I've been working onsite during the epidemic and have found it increasingly stressful. I don't yet know where my break point is, but I know it exists. My closest coworker was kind enough to let me know that she spent Thanksgiving at home with her husband and didn't visit anyone, but I know that at least two people in my department(22 people total), including my boss, had Thanksgiving with out-of-state family. Christmas is sure to be similar.
I do not want to have to live through another fire season; between that and COVID I expect my my mental health may make having a job lined up before leaving my current position rather unlikely.

So, what brilliant ideas might you have? Something I could step right into, or an idea that might take a certificate/workshop of some sort to help grow my skillset to fit into?

Please let me know if you would like more information to better assist your brainstorming.

Mr. Green

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Re: Career Pivot Ideas Requested
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2020, 07:22:31 PM »
Being in quality control, I can't imagine a work from home job. If you're just looking to leave the US because of the how we've handled pandemic, it might not be worth it at this point. Vaccines are shipping now and major health professionals are saying stadiums could be full of people again by the end of 2021.

But speaking to your question of cross over fields, I would look into how well your skills would translate to the pharmaceuticals or chemical development fields. Both lines of work require strict quality controls and probably do many similar things that you do. I would imagine those jobs pay pretty well too.


  • Bristles
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Re: Career Pivot Ideas Requested
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2020, 07:26:08 PM »
It sounds like your skillset would qualify you for most jobs involving liquid chemical manufacturing. You could try roles in chemical manufacturing or beverages, cosmetics, soap, toothpaste, etc. The only thing I don't know is if a degree in winemaking would be general enough to get you an interview. I'm sure if your resume has a lot of relevant skills some companies would at least give you an interview but quality control is pretty ubiquitous in industry.

However, I can't foresee a manufacturing job that lends itself to remote work as others have already said.

Could you start a youtube channel teaching people about wine or how to make wine? It could be something you do on the side and if it worked out it could be done from anywhere and you could travel around and talk about wine and winemaking all over the world. Just a big picture thought perhaps too far outside the box...


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Re: Career Pivot Ideas Requested
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2020, 08:36:16 PM »
The YouTube thing is an interesting idea. Though I imagine it would be a big upfront tike investment with no guarantee of monetizing it at all. But fun if you had the time.

Taran Wanderer

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Re: Career Pivot Ideas Requested
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2020, 10:12:34 PM »
Wine is food, but the food industry is a lot bigger than wine.  Besides beer and spirits in the alcohol realm, everything you eat except fresh produce is processed through a manufacturing plant that uses a laboratory to test for any number of things from product chemistry to microbiology to taste/sensory.  I'd look around at opportunities in food manufacturing.  Look up - they're on the west coast and serve the broader food industry, not just produce.  Check food processor associations like California League of Food Processors or Food Northwest.  Look at options that UC Davis's career placement center might offer.

You have valuable skills.  Look around on the west coast to broaden your skills, and through a recruiter like Produce Careers, you might be able to get connected to opportunities outside the US as well.


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Re: Career Pivot Ideas Requested
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2020, 12:18:13 PM »
The US and Europe are both on fire right now and will be for several years. If you want to stay in the industry, live where itís relatively safer, consider moving to New Zealand or Australia. Both have wine areas (consider Adelaide in South Australia) and both have basically beaten Covid. Other than that, investigate therapy to help with your mental state?