Author Topic: Tell me your story about totally changing careers  (Read 6513 times)

Carini

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Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« on: March 04, 2015, 06:24:56 PM »
37 years old. I work in Higher Education as an administrator. The pay is pretty horrendous considering I have a Master's Degree.  I'm trying to think of other careers that I might have the transferable skills for. I've been at the same college for 8 years. The job is stressful at times, but not a terrible gig. I'm just not passionate about it at all. I'm really passionate about brewing beer and I even turned that passion into a 2 year consulting job with a start up brew pub, but that has come to an end. I've been hired by another pub that is in the process of getting going, but it is very part-time and just a couple hundred bucks a month at this point.

I have 3 young kids, so jumping full time into this new brewpub (which I have the option of doing) seems too risky right now. I don't make a lot, but it's A LOT more than I would see out of this place for the first few years, not to mention that opening a restaurant/brewpub is about as risky as a small business can get. 

I realize that I somehow made this post into 2 separate questions, but let's get back to me jumping into some other career with more stability than operating a brew pub. How do I go about really searching for other careers/fields that I might be able to get into without a lot of direct experience?  My main specialty in Higher Education is working with students that have disabilities.  The other thing I've considered for the last few years and probably should have just given it a shot, is working on the side as an Educational Consultant or Academic Coach for students with disabilities. There is actually a lot of money possible if you know what you're doing.

Thanks in advance. 

jml2307

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2015, 08:04:55 PM »
I went from an auto mechanic to an engineer. The couple people I tell that to at work all find it hilarious. I wasn't originally planning on engineering prior to college (I went back late), just had to get out of the mechanic world. I don't think the costs of the career change work out in my favor now, because of the foregone income and school expense, but the non-quantifiable benefits, like enjoying my job and not feeling like I was run over by the cars I worked on, are well worth it. Plus, I was only about 5 years into my first career at the time of my switch. If you need to make the jump, can sacrifice some income in the interim years, and are truly committed to it, go for it.

That being said, you should certainly run the numbers. What are the job prospects / potential income? What is the opportunity costs associated with the transition (decreased earnings for a few years)? Are you the primary bread-winner in the family? If so, do you have money to put food on the table if things go wrong? If not, how does your spouse feel about this? Are you losing potentially valuable retirement benefits if you leave the current career? Are you already FI? How is a hiatus from your industry looked upon if you needed to get back into it if things didn't work out in the new field?

Good Luck!

mozar

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2015, 08:27:50 PM »
You could still give educational consulting a shot.

Carini

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2015, 06:03:45 AM »
Thanks for the responses so far. Anyone else?  Maybe I'm stuck?

willow

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2015, 06:12:07 AM »
In what field do you teach? Math, sciences, literature? I would think depending on the subject matter you may be able to transfer some of those skills to a corporate career.

Retired To Win

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2015, 06:25:52 AM »
... My main specialty in Higher Education is working with students that have disabilities.  The other thing I've considered for the last few years and probably should have just given it a shot, is working on the side as an Educational Consultant or Academic Coach for students with disabilities. There is actually a lot of money possible if you know what you're doing...

Focusing on building a consulting/coaching side business sounds like a smart way to go because you can keep taking in your employee salary while you set yourself up to succeed at self-employment.  The worst that could happen would be that you would keep your job AND have some consulting/coaching side income.

Another area you might look into is NGO management opportunities in the general area of your present expertise.

Good luck.

Carini

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2015, 08:21:49 AM »
In what field do you teach? Math, sciences, literature? I would think depending on the subject matter you may be able to transfer some of those skills to a corporate career.

I don't actually teach classes. I work directly with students that have disabilities and help them set up appropriate accommodations in the classroom, residence hall,etc...     I also work with students on study skills, time management, and counseling. 

olivia

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2015, 08:30:17 AM »
In what field do you teach? Math, sciences, literature? I would think depending on the subject matter you may be able to transfer some of those skills to a corporate career.

I don't actually teach classes. I work directly with students that have disabilities and help them set up appropriate accommodations in the classroom, residence hall,etc...     I also work with students on study skills, time management, and counseling.

Could you offer these services directly to families with kids with or without disabilities? 

I went from being a buyer at a clothing store to working in medical research, but it took going back to school and taking a pay cut to work as a research assistant.  Well worth it though-I had no desire to pick out clothes forever.

ETA once I switched to the research field, I worked at 2 different universities and got my masters degree for "free."  (School was ivy league so I had to pay a ton of taxes per class because tuition to graduate classes is counted as income.)  Still well worth it-I've more than doubled my income from when I first started in the research field, about 4-5 years ago.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2015, 08:32:04 AM by olivia »

Carini

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2015, 09:10:33 AM »
In what field do you teach? Math, sciences, literature? I would think depending on the subject matter you may be able to transfer some of those skills to a corporate career.

I don't actually teach classes. I work directly with students that have disabilities and help them set up appropriate accommodations in the classroom, residence hall,etc...     I also work with students on study skills, time management, and counseling.

Could you offer these services directly to families with kids with or without disabilities? 

I went from being a buyer at a clothing store to working in medical research, but it took going back to school and taking a pay cut to work as a research assistant.  Well worth it though-I had no desire to pick out clothes forever.

ETA once I switched to the research field, I worked at 2 different universities and got my masters degree for "free."  (School was ivy league so I had to pay a ton of taxes per class because tuition to graduate classes is counted as income.)  Still well worth it-I've more than doubled my income from when I first started in the research field, about 4-5 years ago.

Wow. Great job. That's a big change.

pdxbator

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2015, 10:33:21 AM »
I did computer tech stuff in a government position for 8 years. I was terribly bored at it and literally would go all day without speaking to someone. It was awful for my psyche and I became really inhibited and didn't want to talk to people. I went back to school (2  years full time plus pre-reqs at community college) for a tech job in the medical field. It has wound up being a good position for me. I feel like I'm doing something important for people. I've been doing it for 8 years now and I do feel a bit burned out though. That's why I'm on here and thinking of FIRE'ing if i can just get up the gumption to. I have the funds but I'm just a wuss.

jba302

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2015, 10:50:52 AM »

I don't actually teach classes. I work directly with students that have disabilities and help them set up appropriate accommodations in the classroom, residence hall,etc...     I also work with students on study skills, time management, and counseling.

I feel like you could go into project management very smoothly. What I'm picturing you doing is very similar to what our p.m.'s do and they make good money.

My job switch - I went from being a claims adjuster to a data scientist in our predictive analytics department. Company is now paying for a masters degree as well. Someone higher up noticed I was good at math and puzzles and it happened to work out extremely well. Pay potential is over double what I was at, so that's nice too :)

JLee

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2015, 10:54:03 AM »
I left NH after ~5 years in law enforcement and moved across the country.  I am in IT now, right at 2.5 years so far.

LadyDriver

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2015, 11:13:53 AM »
<warning> This is kind of a novel:

I majored in English and Environmental Studies. I wanted to stay in my college city, so I temped for a while until I started working for the local city government doing GIS. I knew by about year two that it wasn't what I wanted to do forever. I liked the GIS part, but I hated the type of job. As a job for government, it didn't matter how good you were at your job, only how long you had been there. I also suspected that I and half my department were wasting the taxpayers' money. I stuck it out until I was vested for the pension.

Meanwhile, I had met the guy who would become DH. He was also hanging around our college city post-graduation because no one wants to leave. He went to law school, talked to friends who had already become lawyers and realized that he liked law school but probably didn't want to practice law and certainly didn't want to spend the first few years working 100 hours per week.

So, we were both ready to do something else. DH had already trucked for a few years when he took some time away from college. He wanted to try it again, but this time he wanted to be the boss and do it his way.

So we decided to truck together.

The first year I drove was for a big company. It was about a 25% pay cut for me. 1 year with a big company is a good way to get a grounding in time management, the legal stuff and driving in all kinds of situations. After that, we bought our own truck. Since then we have netted more money per mile every year. Some years we haven't driven as many miles, but then we had fun doing other stuff with our time off.

I am very glad that I changed jobs. If I had stayed, I might have developed the mindset that I saw in my city government coworkers. I would be dead inside, counting the years until I could retire.

<correction> I realize that not ALL government work experiences are like mine. I am sure there are government departments full of passionate hardworking people who excel at their jobs. My department OTOH was full of people who counted it a win if they could sit at their desk or in their truck all day without doing anything more taxing than planning their next vacation.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2015, 11:42:58 AM by LadyDriver »

k_to_the_v

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2015, 11:23:53 AM »
What jba said. I was also going to suggest project management, which requires excellent communication skills, time management, organization, understanding and documentation of requirements...etc. The skill set is transferable regardless of the specifics of the field (I work in enterprise software, plenty of project management jobs here, but in many, many other fields).

teacherwithamustache

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2015, 02:39:58 PM »
I went from Financial Adviser to education.  Once the dot com day trading boom went away my boss wanted me to start financial advising translation steal money from old ladies by putting them in Annuities with high commissions.

My wife is in higher education.  They work the people in higher ed like a dog for very little pay.  I would never advise anyone to do that.  We are a bit pot committed with our pensions.  She has 11 more years I have 15 more years.  I am a teacher at a high school.  I love my job.  Hate the commute but the job itself is very laid back.  I tell my wife to quit her job all the time and go to a community college or a high school.  My advice:

1.  Know how much your pension benefits are and how close you are to being eligible.  FIRE is nice but if you can retire at 51 with a 3k a month pension than that is really sweet and a lot quicker then most 65 year old retired folks.  Dont undervalue the value of your pension.

2.  Have you ever looked at becoming an educational diagnostician?  Basically they test kids for special ed services.  You observe kids and give them a diagnostic then you sit in special ed meetings.  You need a certification from the state easy to get PM me and we can talk more specifics, a masters degree (you already have), and sped exp (you already have).  They make about 65K a year by working with a school district.  Once you retire you can work directly with a hospital system for 70K a year, still draw your pension, and take advantage of 401k catch up provisions.  This is basically my plan right now.

3.  I do the tutoring side hustle also.  Once you get 5 or 6 kids under your belt the word spreads like wild fire.  I routinely turn down 2/3 kids a month.  Just break into 1 affluent neighborhood and you are golden.

Hope this helps


Bicycle_B

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2015, 05:59:10 PM »
Does your state or other govts have pension systems that connect with yours?

If so, there is a very wide variety of jobs you could do that you could switch into while keeping those rare retirement benefits.  Research!

A very wise person told me once that in my city, the different employers with interlocking benefit systems added up to over 10,000 jobs.  "Somewhere in there", he said, "Is almost any type of job you want.  You just have to find out where it is."

Gerard

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2015, 06:36:35 PM »
I have no useful advice about jobs to move into, except perhaps "not brewmaster or restaurant worker". :-) My own progression was sandwich-maker > rock musician > data entry clerk > university professor.

I think what makes almost any job change possible is getting your mustachian self together in other aspects of your life. Once you've learned to insource, separated your happiness from your spending, and started to cultivate optimism and embrace change, you can afford a lot more bumps along the road of whatever career change you go for.


mozar

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2015, 06:46:26 PM »
I graduated from undegrad with a psychology major. I wanted to be a therapist. After being rejected from all the therapy masters programs I applied to I was a cashier for a couple of years. I decided that I was either going to be a real estate appraiser or an accountant. I liked that appraisers had cool tools, and I had heard of accounting. That's literally all the information I had about careers at that point. So i moved to Canada (long story) and took an accounting class and a real estate appraisal class.

I liked the accounting class better. Fortunately my undergrad school had a masters in accounting program for non business majors. I've been in accounting ever since (7 years). My advice is to go out and do stuff. There isn't a comprehensive list of all jobs of existence. It's hard to know what jobs will be like without doing them. Everyone is different in what they enjoy. It sounds like you have experience in education. That can be your starting point for research.

SantaFeSteve

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2015, 07:27:13 PM »
Have had a few "careers" but after spending 6 years working for a large bank as a sales manager I decided I was sick and tired of having to equate everything to a dollar value, and the lack of tangible results from my work efforts. 

I did multiple personality, strength and interest evaluations and wound up at the career choice I made right out of high school that I got derailed from for a multitude of reasons.  so, at age 36, I went back to college to become a civil engineer.  I took the scenic route, because thats the kind of guy I am, and instead of simply getting a standard degree I went into a masters program called the "Masters International".  This program couples graduate course work with a 2-year stint in the Peace Corps.  So in 2009, now 39, I went to Uganda to work as a water resources volunteer for 27 months (2 years plus training time).  During my service I was able to do a small research project working with one of the local communities which I then turned into a thesis after i returned to the US.  I graduated with a MS in Environmental Engineering in April 2012 (42). 
After spending the last few years working side by side with other young engineers (who are actually young) I am preparing to take my professional engineers exam and get licensed.  Once that happens I will spend a few more years working in engineering consultancy and then I hope to "hang out my shingle" and go freelance/contract work. 

So, probably not a lot that relates directly to your situation other than letting you know it can be done.  You can make whatever change you want bad enough happen.  Best of luck in whatever you decide. 

Briarly

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2015, 07:58:48 PM »
I got a bachelors degree, tried some things, and became a baker! I loved it. the money and quality of life weren't that good. I wanted to be able to support a child as a single parent in case I didn't find a partner. so I got another bachelors degree and became a nurse, then later I got a masters- now I'm a nurse practitioner. it is SO much more than a practical choice and I love it. i could've done things more smartly, but it was probably a good enough financial choice, too. once I'm out from under my student loans, for sure.  But I am very grateful for getting to do this work, and for having made the switch. I'm still a better than average cook and do not regret those years, either.

DSKla

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Re: Tell me your story about totally changing careers
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2015, 08:49:33 AM »
Has anyone gone from white collar to blue? I'm strongly considering learning a skilled trade (e.g. electrician, plumber, welder, etc.) but I have no idea the time and expense each would take to get all the skills and credentials to make a living. If you did this, what was your personal experience?