Author Topic: Help me brainstorm a new career  (Read 2405 times)

change_seeker

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Help me brainstorm a new career
« on: December 01, 2017, 12:33:05 PM »
I have recently finished a six month sabbatical with my family and settled in a new city (Reno, NV).  I would really like to do something different than my previous roles.  I'm 37 years old, married, and have four kids under the age of 9.

I have been:

  • a vehicle performance engineer on a NASCAR team
  • a systems development lead for a commercial aircraft flight control system
  • a systems engineer (integrating and testing electrical, mechanical, and software components into a functioning flight control system)
  • an instrumentation department manager
  • a vehicle test engineer at a desert proving ground

I know about:

  • vehicles
  • horses
  • mountain bikes
  • cross-cultural communication (lived in India for a year)
  • systems engineering (not IT)
  • aircraft flight controls
  • requirements management
  • standards compliance
  • team leadership
  • RV camping
  • technical presentations
  • testing
  • test equipment
  • project management

I love:

  • leading teams of people
  • developing people on my team
  • designing and implementing new processes
  • being outdoors

My goals:

  • $100k salary
  • minimize travel
  • 8-5, M-F gig to maximize my family time

Ideally, I would like to lead a team of people outdoors.  I have struggled with coming up with job descriptions that would allow me to do this.

Some potential paths and results so far:

  • Renewable energy homes, use systems engineering knowledge to design homes with a systems approach.  Applied for a few project engineer roles, most are looking for construction experience.  Need to find builders that are focused on LEED or 'green' homes and go knock on their doors.
  • Ski industry.  Did a career fair at one resort and an interview at another.  Seems very difficult to get the salary I desire without significant industry experience.
  • Aerospace industry.  Easiest route to the six figure salary.  Very reluctant to get back into this industry.  Felt that me busting my butt only resulted in marginally improved performance for company shareholders.  Have not applied to any of these jobs.
  • Tesla's Gigafactory.  I've heard that Tesla is a meat grinder to work for, so have only applied to one position there.
  • Buy an existing outdoor business?  I'm not sure where to start here, and the only feedback I've received is that $100k is nowhere near enough capital to go shopping for a business.  Not to mention the fact that using our home stash makes it even more difficult to purchase a home in a very HOT real estate market.

I'm trying to treat my job search as my new full-time job, but scrolling through jobs on LinkedIn, Indeed, and other sites leaves me hopeless that I can find something I enjoy more and pays enough for us to stay on our FIRE path.

Since this is MMM, here is a quick breakdown of our current financial status:
  • $100k home stash cash (equity from sale of last home, reserved for purchase of next home)
  • $150k 401(k)
  • $6k Roth IRA
  • $20k cash EMERGENCY ONLY fund (kids' inheritance from grandma)
  • $4500 cash for living off of until I get a job
We have our camper parked on my in-laws property, I estimate our current expenses as $2500/month.

Given the information above, what jobs would you recommend me pursuing? 

What doors should I be knocking on?

What resources would you recommend to help my job search (books etc)?



Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer, I've been very impressed with this community so far.





epower

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Re: Help me brainstorm a new career
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2017, 02:02:57 PM »
In all honesty, I think you are trying to turn your passions into your career. A big no no in my book.

Look up Cal Newport- So good they can't ignore you.

I'd suggest you find something that you are really good at, then you can mold the job to suit your lifestyle. Boss wants you to work weekends? Tell him no and just do a fabulous output Monday-Friday 9-5, he/she can't say no if you are more than pulling your weight.

I looked at doing something I was passionate about for my career, but glad I've stuck with what I'm really good at. The pay is heaps better and I shadowed people in my "passion" for a few days (they were school and university and old sports team friends) and once I looked at the frustrations they had, it made the "dream job" seem just like another job with similar frustrations.

lhamo

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Re: Help me brainstorm a new career
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2017, 08:06:08 PM »
I think you might be expecting a lot to want a $100k salary in Reno -- that seems high unless you can get in fairly high on the food chain at Tesla or another company that views it in relation to salaries in a higher COL area.

One of the unique things about Reno is the Davidson Academy -- a school for highly gifted kids. 

http://www.davidsonacademy.unr.edu/About-Us

Pitching an outdoor/experiential education program to them might be a way to kickstart your outdoor business idea.  But it would probably take more than a couple of months to get things rolling, and they wouldn't be paying you 100k to start (they have an opening currently for a FT teacher of Chinese/Japanese and are offering a little more than 52k for that position.   You'd also probably need Outward Bound type experience to make pitch attractive to them in the first place.

change_seeker

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Re: Help me brainstorm a new career
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2017, 06:01:42 PM »
In all honesty, I think you are trying to turn your passions into your career. A big no no in my book.

Look up Cal Newport- So good they can't ignore you.

I'd suggest you find something that you are really good at, then you can mold the job to suit your lifestyle. Boss wants you to work weekends? Tell him no and just do a fabulous output Monday-Friday 9-5, he/she can't say no if you are more than pulling your weight.

I looked at doing something I was passionate about for my career, but glad I've stuck with what I'm really good at. The pay is heaps better and I shadowed people in my "passion" for a few days (they were school and university and old sports team friends) and once I looked at the frustrations they had, it made the "dream job" seem just like another job with similar frustrations.

I've requested a hold on that book from the downtown library, will report back after reading.  Thank you for the recommendation.

change_seeker

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Re: Help me brainstorm a new career
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2017, 06:27:23 PM »
I think you might be expecting a lot to want a $100k salary in Reno -- that seems high unless you can get in fairly high on the food chain at Tesla or another company that views it in relation to salaries in a higher COL area.

One of the unique things about Reno is the Davidson Academy -- a school for highly gifted kids. 

http://www.davidsonacademy.unr.edu/About-Us

Pitching an outdoor/experiential education program to them might be a way to kickstart your outdoor business idea.  But it would probably take more than a couple of months to get things rolling, and they wouldn't be paying you 100k to start (they have an opening currently for a FT teacher of Chinese/Japanese and are offering a little more than 52k for that position.   You'd also probably need Outward Bound type experience to make pitch attractive to them in the first place.

Thank for the link to the Davidson Academy.  We currently homeschool our kids (all 10 and under now), it might be an option for when they are older.

Axecleaver

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Re: Help me brainstorm a new career
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2017, 04:24:15 AM »
I think lhamo was pitching Davidson as a potential employer. Those types of schools typically value people with unusual life experience - like a vegan cowboy who worked on a NASCAR team, builds airplanes, and spent a year in India.

I would just cold call them, ask for a meeting, and explain what you're looking to do. It never hurts to have a conversation.

Given your skillset, and the dollars you want to make, I think the most likely opportunity is going to be working with an IT team with offshore collaboration. That doesn't hit your goal of working outside, but it will hit your salary target. Some of these teams are entirely virtual, with teambuilding trips to India or corporate HQ. Get a list of the Fortune 50, find their job posting site, and look for IT management roles. Many will be posted in one city. Some will have multiple locations identified - those are the ones most open to virtual employees.

Alternately, something that leverages your NASCAR experience. So few people have it, that will be a significant differentiator for you. Performance tuning, driving school...

change_seeker

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Re: Help me brainstorm a new career
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2018, 01:42:52 AM »
I think lhamo was pitching Davidson as a potential employer. Those types of schools typically value people with unusual life experience - like a vegan cowboy who worked on a NASCAR team, builds airplanes, and spent a year in India.

I would just cold call them, ask for a meeting, and explain what you're looking to do. It never hurts to have a conversation.

Given your skillset, and the dollars you want to make, I think the most likely opportunity is going to be working with an IT team with offshore collaboration. That doesn't hit your goal of working outside, but it will hit your salary target. Some of these teams are entirely virtual, with teambuilding trips to India or corporate HQ. Get a list of the Fortune 50, find their job posting site, and look for IT management roles. Many will be posted in one city. Some will have multiple locations identified - those are the ones most open to virtual employees.

Alternately, something that leverages your NASCAR experience. So few people have it, that will be a significant differentiator for you. Performance tuning, driving school...

Axe-  Thanks for the ideas.  Re: the Davidson academy, I understood lhamo's suggestion, but was excited to see that it might also be an opportunity for our kids.  I have applied to a few offshore IT jobs, but have not been able to manage an interview.

I think you might be expecting a lot to want a $100k salary in Reno -- that seems high unless you can get in fairly high on the food chain at Tesla or another company that views it in relation to salaries in a higher COL area.

Lhamo-  Thanks for lighting a fire under me to prove you wrong ;)  I have two offers slightly over $100k that I'm currently deciding between.  I have not been able to move out of the automotive and aerospace industries where my experience lies, but it is time to get a job.  One month from today will be my one year no-work-versary!

lhamo

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Re: Help me brainstorm a new career
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2018, 09:10:03 AM »
Good for you!   100k should go really far in Reno.  Good luck making your decision.

AlexK

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Re: Help me brainstorm a new career
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2018, 01:58:25 AM »
Did you find a job in Reno? The drone company I work for is hiring and you have skills they want. Send me a PM if interested. The only issue is they are not a 9-5 company.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2018, 01:59:59 AM by AlexK »

change_seeker

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Re: Help me brainstorm a new career
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2018, 11:03:09 AM »
I started my new job on February 26 at a defense contractor.  Thanks everyone for your input.  I'll provide more details in my journal.