Author Topic: Getting back into the workforce - no idea what direction to go.  (Read 1416 times)

sjc0816

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This is such a bizarre place to be. I quit an outside sales job back in 2008 to stay home with my son, who had some non-serious medical issues that required a lot of time and appointments. This turned out to be a great thing for our family as my husband's career really skyrocketed and his income almost doubled a few years and a relocation later.

Our kids are older now - 7th and 4th grade and I've been volunteering a TON over the last decade and working part-time for the last 5 years. We are toying with my going back to work in the somewhat near future...but I have NO idea what I want to do. I have a journalism degree, several years of PR firm experience, several years of outside sales experience and massive experience in non profit program management (volunteer) and board experience. My part-time employment is a hodge-podge of fitness, marketing and administrative experience. All over the place.

I have never really had a career vision for my life. I fell into a journalism degree because I didn't know what to study....interned and a PR firm because I had friends there....was hired on full time. Moved states to be with my now husband...struggled to find a job for 7 months so I took the first thing I could find...which was an outside sales job. I did pretty well in that job but hated it. Because of all of this, I'm not very confident about my work history and feel like I can only qualify for maybe administrative assistant types of jobs even though I think I'm capable of more. I feel like I would take any job offered to me...and am very open. But most jobs seem to be looking for very specific skills that I just don't have unless I go back to what I was doing pre-kids and I just don't want to do that.

I guess my question is....how do I even begin to narrow down what kinds of jobs to look for if I have no idea what I want to do? Has anyone ever been confused like this?

My dream job would be a personal trainer..but that job just doesn't fit my lifestyle right now with our kids activities being nights and weekends. I need something during the day. I've toyed with getting a masters degree but squashed that idea pretty quickly since I just have no idea what direction to go.

I wish someone would hire me on as an intern. I don't even care about money at this point. So lost!


SKL-HOU

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Re: Getting back into the workforce - no idea what direction to go.
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2019, 12:58:32 PM »
How about starting with the areas you volunteered in? Did you enjoy any of them? Are they things that can turn into a career path?

sjc0816

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Re: Getting back into the workforce - no idea what direction to go.
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2019, 01:18:14 PM »
How about starting with the areas you volunteered in? Did you enjoy any of them? Are they things that can turn into a career path?

I loved being treasurer of our PTO. It was a 2 year board position managing a budget of around $60,000. Planning/budgeting for the upcoming year, managing payable/receivable, etc. I sat down about a year ago with a woman at a financial temp agency to see if I could parlay that experience into a part-time temp gig to learn the ropes...something entry level. She laughed me out the door. "PTO?" she said....and giggled in a very condescending way.  It was embarrassing.

It's frustrating because I am such a quick learner and I feel like any company would be really lucky to have me if they are willing to take a chance on me. I've juggled multiple part-time jobs, raising kids, taking care of dying parents and volunteering 10-20 hours a week for the last decade.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Getting back into the workforce - no idea what direction to go.
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2019, 01:31:37 PM »
Do your dream job. Lots of people workout during the day and during lunch times. You could even have a focus on working out for the SAHPs in the area. There’s lots you could do in that space. Hell, you could occupational therapy and work with people or some type of rehabilitation work.

feelingroovy

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Re: Getting back into the workforce - no idea what direction to go.
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2019, 05:27:22 PM »
If you liked the budgeting, what about becoming a book keeper?

Kl285528

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Re: Getting back into the workforce - no idea what direction to go.
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2019, 05:35:54 PM »
What color is your parachute? Great book for career direction help. And this article seems relevant here... https://www.google.com/amp/s/tim.blog/2011/09/29/8-steps-to-getting-what-you-want-without-formal-credentials/amp/

mozar

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Re: Getting back into the workforce - no idea what direction to go.
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2019, 12:06:26 PM »
That woman at the temp agency was an asshole. You should be able to find an A/R A/P job with your experience.  Just start applying.

birdiegirl

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Re: Getting back into the workforce - no idea what direction to go.
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2019, 01:47:55 PM »
Agree, that person at the temp agency was a jerk. Don't judge your potential by that person's reaction.  If you are interested in accounting/finance, you might be able to get hired in an entry level role based on the experience you have.  You could also take some bookkeeping courses at a community or technical college to beef up your resume in that area. 

That said if your dream job is to be a personal trainer I think you should try that first.  As others noted there are a lot of people that workout on weekdays, not everyone works regular 9-5 jobs.  Plus with stay at home parents, retirees, students, etc.  you could find a good potential client base.  Especially since you don't need to bring in a certain amount of money, it seems like the ideal time to try it.   

Noodle

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Re: Getting back into the workforce - no idea what direction to go.
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2019, 03:35:41 PM »
This is a good time to be looking--employment is really strong, which means employers are having to go deeper into the pool for candidates. I would recommend looking at smaller businesses and non-profits first--you can get current employment back on your resume, and also see what you like and don't like. The challenge is that those kinds of employers are often either amazing or awful, so you may need to be prepared to change jobs if you land at the latter. But it sounds like your family situation allows some flexibility, if I understand correctly.

john c

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Re: Getting back into the workforce - no idea what direction to go.
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2019, 08:59:00 PM »
That woman at the temp agency was an asshole. You should be able to find an A/R A/P job with your experience.  Just start applying.

Agreed.  Employers are STARVING for talent right now, and would scoop you up.  You're EXACTLY the kind of person they're looking for.  College educated, can do anything, seeks challenges and opportunities.  You'll have to take a crappy AR/AP job for a year or two, but then you'll be ready for a professional level position.

These sorts of office jobs will generally be very accomodating to your kids' schedules.  It should be no sweat to get one at 30-32 hours a week, so you can pick up your kids after school.  The problem will be summers.

Have you looked at jobs at local school districts?  Often they have yard duty or office jobs in the district office.

Tidus

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Re: Getting back into the workforce - no idea what direction to go.
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2019, 10:19:34 PM »
Since your little lost @sjc0816, best you give more time with yourself first.

Like, get some clarity straight to have that vision of yours.

You said your dream job is to be a personal trainer, of what?

And you are a fast learner you said. Which for me a very very great skill to have.
You can learn anything, but there's one thing you need to find out, harness it, and make use of it for a lifestyle you've been dreaming of.

Just one thing.

Maybe you're not really looking for a job.

Maybe you are looking for a living, not necessarily working others anymore. Since you told us you don't care about the money at th8is point.

Think inside the box first. Yourself. Not outside of the box like others would say.

Put aside what people looking for the meantime.
Dig your self a little more and after that, see if there's someone looking for sleeping BEAST inside of you that you can share to the world.

I have a little exercise here that might help you. Try it. Give it a try. This is just a start to have some clarity of your vision.

1.
a. What do most people who know you really well say you’re good at?
b. What hobby or activity do you most enjoy?

2.
a. What would you say you’re good at?
b. If you could do anything for a week, what would you do?

3.
a. What skills or expertise do friends and family always turn to you for?
b. In what category would you earn a blue ribbon, gold medal, and every other top prize?

4.
a. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
b. In the last five years, what do you remember dreaming about doing professionally?

5.
a. If you could create your own how-to website or write your own how-to book, what topic
would you tackle?
b. If you did not need money, what would you do professionally?

Narrow down your response. Look back at your answers to questions A and B in number one. Which
would you rather pursue right now if you had to pick one? Circle it. And that's your sleeping BEAST!

I hope this can help you. If you find this thing you are really good at, use it to make a fortune not just working in diverse jobs that come your way.
You might need a TEMPORARY job to support your basic bills and family, but don't stop making this dream just living on your head. Your dream is the reality already.
You have to take tiny steps to meet your dream on the side of the hump. :)

You did pretty well in a job that you hate.

Why not do something pretty well on a job you love? ;)

Life is to short to work on a job you hate. :)

BrightFIRE

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Re: Getting back into the workforce - no idea what direction to go.
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2019, 02:39:44 PM »
This isn't specific to your career conundrum per se, but you'll need to write a resume and figure out how to interview again, so I recommend checking out https://www.askamanager.org/. She's got lots of free career advice on the blog, and there are some letters in the archives from women like you looking to get back into the workforce after being out for child-rearing.

https://www.askamanager.org/2013/02/job-searching-after-being-a-stay-at-home-mom.html
https://www.askamanager.org/2016/01/8-tips-for-parents-returning-to-the-workforce.html

Also, on Fridays, there are open threads where commenters ask each other for advice, so you could use that group as a sounding board. She's got one of the nicest and most intelligent groups of commenters on the internet. (Almost as good as here!)

mporter012

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Re: Getting back into the workforce - no idea what direction to go.
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2019, 02:26:09 PM »
It may be beneficial to look into something like Jordan Petersons, "Self-Authoring Suite." You basically just write about your past, present, and future, but it helped me to clear up some thing in my head, and make a game plan.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Getting back into the workforce - no idea what direction to go.
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2019, 12:38:22 PM »
The reality is that you'll apply for jobs that look halfway decent, in all sorts of areas, and you'll get one. That's your direction.

mjones1234

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Re: Getting back into the workforce - no idea what direction to go.
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2019, 11:26:04 AM »
I share your frustration as I've been in the same boat for almost two years. If I'm awake, I'm contemplating it. I left a six figure job that was close to my home and not really that bad. I had convinced myself that spending the last 20 years of my working life in a cubicle was just not God put me on this earth to do. I did something against conventional wisdom and walked away. I thought that by doing it, I would be blessed with some sort of epiphany and know what I should do next. I haven't found it yet and I've tried a few things. I guess it makes it tougher when you have the financial resources to not "have" to make tons of money. If I'm like you - I don't mind working hard, but just want to have something that gets me jazzed every morning when I get out of bed. I just turned down an offer for a large police department because my wife and daughter are afraid of me getting killed in the line of duty. I used to be a firefighter, and loved helping people, being outside and the variety that each day brought. I passed up on a DOT job, helping stranded motorists because the pay was so very low ($14/hr) that it was just too hard to justify financially. If I could find a job where I could help others, get about $35k a year and even at 51, I could get hired, I'd be in. I'm focusing on that search now.

Have you listened to some motivational talks by the late, great Earl Nightingale? Look up "The strangest secret" by him. It has some really important takeaways that might help you.

Best of luck. There are others who feel your pain.