Career change looming...

Hi all, I was googling career change and this site popped up with a thread on career change. I got to looking around and decided to join. I’m not sure I want to join a job/career advice kind of forum.

So yeah, I’m about to be 42 and after working at a great company in a historically cyclical tech industry for the last 15 years it looks like the ride is likely coming to an end in the near to not too distant future. We’ve gone through several rounds of layoffs in the past 15 years and I’ve been fortunate to stay on. I’ve even managed to get promoted to the top pay grade, which has kept me safe from previous layoffs, but unfortunately it looks like they are going to cut from the top this time. In previous layoffs they focused on lower level employees with performance and disciplinary problems, but for reasons I won’t get into the new management is more focused on high pay grades to reduce the overall payroll.

In previous layoffs, affected employees have successfully petitioned for Trade Agreement Assistance (TAA) benefits through the federal government since their positions have been considered outsourced to overseas employees. This is a great benefit that pays for their re-education. I expect that I will be able to take advantage of TAA if I am let go.

My problem is I have no idea what I want to do next! I have a difficult time defining my skills without being very general about it. There are very few comparable jobs in my very poor State and the job pool for those jobs is ever increasing as people leave this company. If I get laid off I actually would prefer to change fields and find something with more job security. Medical immediately comes to mind, but I’m not sure if I’m cut out for that. Could I be a Nurse or Radiographer? Sure. Frankly, the challenge of going back to school is exciting, but my wife works in a hospital in a support (non medical) position and she says the nurses are mostly miserable! That probably isn’t always the case, but I hear it a lot from people in the nursing field.

I am a veteran. I would consider myself to be pragmatic. I’ve never considered myself an expert at anything, but more of a mile wide inch deep kind of person. I like ideas and exploring topics, but usually I dig deep enough to satisfy my interest before moving on to other ideas and interests. I like working with my hands and I’m very mechanically inclined. I like to build things. I like welding. I like figuring how to make an idea work using things I have on hand. I am definitely not organized (to my wife’s dismay), but I am able to work in an organized environment (just don’t look at my garage). I’m not a techy or computer savvy, but I have made a good living maintaining and repairing high end, complex electro-mechanical systems. I have a Bachelors in Business Management, but no management experience although I tend to gravitate toward leadership roles on the teams that I work within. Generally speaking, I work well with others, but if I’m being honest I have to admit that I can be a little strong headed (maybe even a little opinionated), which can and sometimes has lead to conflict with similar personalities. I’d say I do well unless I feel disrespected or condescended. I sometimes feel like I can be too direct when confronting a problem, but then I’m told that people respect me because I do confront problems instead of avoiding them.

So, where to go from here? Has anyone faced similar circumstances? How did you decide? Any suggestions on exploring options?

Your question is more about subjective advice and opinion, rather than objective facts. I’ve alerted the mods so they can move it to a more appropriate forum.

Honestly, you couldn’t have found a better place if you had looked harder for it! There are a lot of people in your situation, and this place is loaded with them.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Welcome to the Dope!


This is better suited to our IMHO forum than GQ. Moved.

General Questions Moderator