Advice on a new career

I don’t like my job. I’m in sales, and I’m not bad at it, but I dislike it. The problem? I make too much money to walk away without a really solid plan.
About me:

I’m 35 and married. I live in the back woods of Ohio.

I’d rather work with details and data than with people.

I’m a college grad, BA, double major in English and History, magna cum laude from Notre Dame. Graduated in 1995 after taking a couple of years off in the middle of the degree.

I’m willing to go back to school. I’d prefer not to have to start completely from scratch. Something I could pursue as a nontraditional student would be ideal.

My strongest academic areas are writing and science. Weakest is definitely math. I seem to be able to learn languages quickly, and unlearn them just as quickly.

I think I’d prefer to leave the corporate world.

In my spare time I write poetry and enjoy long walks on the beach… wait, wrong thread.

Anyway, anyone have any ideas for careers I could look into? Thoughts, advice, beatings all welcome.

Have you considered writing? If you’re good at it you can do well when you build up your client base as a freelance writer. Check out for a glimpse at the life.

And curse you, anyway! I’m in Marietta, Ohio and trying desperately to find good sales execs for my firm! And you want out!

Seriously, try the freelance thing.

Yeah, I wouldn’t take another sales job unless my life depended on it, really. It’s a real chore for me to stay motivated and sales-oriented.

Thanks for the tip! I’ve done academic writing, a tiny bit of sales writing, and quite a lot of creative writing. I’m leery of writing as a career, since I don’t know that I’d ever feel that confident in it, but I’ll check out the link. Thanks.

You might look into grantwriting, which can be freelance or not. It has lots of writing and often science, and you will never be short of data or details! Also, the scientific and human services folks who want the grant money generally loathe the mere thought of selling anything. Years of sales have probably given you a pretty good idea of how to treat the customer as the customer, which will be a tremendous asset.

How much do you need to make starting off? Are you looking for a career with good retirement and other benefits? Or one that lets you work for yourself and make your own investments for the future?

Can you point me toward a resource that would explain what goes into grant writing? If not, that’s okay, too.

The money depends a lot on what sort of training/education I would need. If it’s something I can switch to directly, or study while keeping my current job, we could scrape by with $40 thousand a year. My husband is disabled, so we have certain expenses that are non-negotiable. If it would require something else for training, I’m not certain.

I’m not hung up much on benefits.

You can get an MA in communications, often by distance.

You can also take a whack at Barbara Sher’s Wishcraft which is available free online.

Here’s a site about writing jobs. There’s lots more.

What about medical transcription?

Okay. What would I use that MA for?

I’m actually currently taking a course in MT, but I don’t see it as a permanent career choice for me. I’m learning it so I have something to fall back on.

Heaps of things

Have you taken any science courses? How about a pharmacist?

I’d pretty much have to start from scratch for pharmacy. I have chemistry classes, and calculus that I can’t remember at all. But essentially, I’d need to get a whole new 4 year degree, plus the postgraduate pharmacy work.

I’ve considered it, but I don’t think I’m prepared for that long a path right now.

I’ve been tossing the idea around myself. I’m not thrilled about the field I’m in but my husband would probably divorce me. I’ve gone back to school and changed fields three times. :wink:

Hee. What have you tried so far? Would you have to start from scratch like me?

Thanks for the link!

I went to art school and I have a BFA that I’ve never used.

Went to Real Estate school. Didn’t like it.

Went to school to be an Optician. Loved school, didn’t like the field.

B.S. Biology. My plan was to go to Optometry School but because of things going on with my personal life ( I took care of my dad until he died), I didn’t go. I worked as a microbiologist and some of the departments moved out of state and I was downsized. I’ve worked as a lab tech.

Currently I’m sort of looking.

Here is some woman who has a blog on the topic - just linking to it as a convenient source, not vouching for it

If that piques your interest, there are almost certainly books at the library on the particulars. Also, courses (I actually took one, years ago) tend to be offered as part of programs in Non-profit Management. But you could probably just take that course, without going for the whole nonprofit degree or certificate.

The world desperately needs people who can write software manuals.

I’m a member of the American Chemical Society and I know I see ads from them occasionally, asking for people to write for their “general” magazines. This includes, for example, Chemical and Engineering News, which has things ranking from the “curiosities” blurbs in the last page to the enormous annual report on the Chemical Job Market in the US. They usually ask for your kind of degrees, not Chemical ones.

No idea how much that pays, but I’m sure other professional associations have similar needs.

The problem with writing software manuals is that you have to have someone who enjoys doing it, and who can also convince a bunch of geeks to leave their computers and Visual Studios long enough to actually tell you what the software does. Geeks tend not to like documenting, and only get more resentful if they are forced away from their really exciting work on software (which they have deadlines for, don’t ya know), to tell the Technical Writers what the software does and how to interact with it.

I suppose you could try hiring really hot technical writers, but then the geeks just turn to jelly and aren’t much use, either. :slight_smile: