I’m a little new to the dope, so I don’t know if this has ever been a thread before. Anyway, does anyone have any inspiring or uninspiring stories of mid life career change - themselves or someone else?
I’ve changed careers many times over the years.
As a teenager I did many entry level jobs such as working at a car wash and being a cook.
After high school I joined the US Air Force to become an aircraft mechanic. I thought that would be a good skill after I got out.
Well I didn’t get out after 4 years. However after about 8 years I volunteered to become an instructor teaching aircraft mechanics. This was a really tough choice as I was horrible at public speaking. I went to night and evening schools to get a BS in Education as I thought teaching high school would be a good thing when I retired.
After a while I was transferred to a headquarters to oversee training of aircraft mechanics. There were these newfangled computer things on the desks. I found out that I was somewhat a natural and converted a lot of paper intensive tasks into databases. I went to night school again and got a MA degree in Computers as I thought that computers would be a good career when I got out.
I was right. I retired from the USAF a couple of years before the Y2K scare and there was plenty of work. I started out with MS Access databases then worked myself up to become an Oracle database administrator which is a very good paying job. I also used my BS in Education to teach database night classes at a local college for a lot of years.
So I have a good paying job now; a military retirement check; and shortly I’ll be receiving a small retirement from the college teaching gig. I owe this to a wife who supported my decisions ( and all but forced me to go to night school ) plus my willingness to take chances with new opportunities.
following thread. Good luck.
I know two women in their 50s who are in LPN school.
I spent a career in the military. When I got out at age 43, I went to work for the US Department of State. After about eight years, I quit that, moved from Africa to Alaska and spent the next 11 years working for various companies, then retired at age 62. If you have marketable skills, particularly in management, you should have little problem. I once spent about seven months unemployed, but that was it.
I’ve gone through several career changes. I thought I found a niche as a technical writer, but in the mid-40s I ended up doing computer user services.
I have been a teacher, stay-at-home mom, data entry clerk, programmer, systems analyst, and booking/customer service coordinator at an international shipping company.
Starting over in computers was necessitated when the teaching jobs in my field pretty much vanished while I was home with my children. The final job was the best I could find as a nearly 60-year old woman after losing my job at a major financial company.
So I’ve basically started from scratch three times.
What did you teach?
I spent a number of years as an internal auditor before heading to school to get a master’s in library science and became a librarian. Now, at 40, I’m starting to debate whether I have another 30 years of this in me (and I love it, don’t get me wrong) or if I’m interested in exploring other fields.
I’ve done it twice, now, with a few aborted stabs at things in the middle. Each has provided greater happiness and freedom. And I find, as I get older, such things interest me more than any pre-defined ambitional goal.
Junior high and high school English. I started in the late '60s and was home with my children starting in 1972. About 9 years later I was ready to go back to work, but there were no openings for English teachers anywhere.
‘Changes’ are coming at work. Apparently we want to sell data and keep our members (we’re a non-profit group), but we’re no longer going to be concerned about quality. (And the lowered quality will result in fewer records, which will lower revenue.) Or so says scuttlebutt.
Maybe I can go back to school for a paralegal degree or a two-year nursing degree. Or get a job at the surimi factory. Or something.
Like many upthread, I’ve changed careers a few times. I think it gets harder as you get older, because it’s harder to get hired, and the intense labor jobs are no longer an option. As a whippersnapper, I always had the choice of taking really grueling jobs that no one wanted so I could stay employed. Nowadays, notsomuch.
If it matters, here are the “careers” that I spent at least two years in.
- Ambulance driver
- Truck driver (UPS)
- Offshore oil rig worker (Halliburton/KBR)
- Flight Instructor (while I returned to college)
- Software Engineer (Lockheed/Boeing/Sperry/General-Dynamics/Honeywell/etc.)
As the list shows, early on I opted for labor-intensive jobs (#3 started with 12-hour shifts in the North Sea – something I couldn’t do today), and gradually shifted to jobs with comfy chairs as I aged. The last entry spans 30 years and most of the changes were as a self-employed contracter, but I count it as a single career.
Don’t know whether it’s “inspiring”, but each change (except #4) was a step up in compensation.
I’m 38 and going back to school for a degree in information systems.
I used to run a restaurant. It paid decently, but there was no room for advancement - it was a mom & pop chain, and I reported directly to the owner. At 33 I decided to move to another state and try to do something better with my life, but I didn’t know what at the time. I wound up going back to school and earning my BS in Math, and then my MS in Math Education.
Nine years later, I’ve been working as an adjunct instructor at local community colleges for the past two years. Putting in time, gaining experience, hoping to eventually land one of the elusive, full-time, permanent positions, whether here or elsewhere.
I started in:
- retail while in high school. Stayed 10 years and made Ass’t Store Mgr. Left when my next promotion would require a transfer to wherever they wanted to send me and went into;
- banking. Started as a teller, worked my way through branch manager and into the operations side of the business and finally project management. Rode the wave of banking acquisitions for 15 years until I was working for one of the largest banks in the world. When that wave crashed and left me stranded on the beach I ended up at;
- a mom and pop company in a comletely unrelated field as business manager. That lasted 4 years before they decided there was no further need for a business manager, whence;
- my current job as a manager of high level data analysts at a mortgage processing company
All of the job changes occurred between the ages of 24 and 45. Big box retail, banking, B2B sales and mortgage processing. If you can manage people, processes and projects the end product really doesn’t matter!
Thanks for all the responses everyone, for me it’s really interesting to hear stories about the twisting, turning winding career paths that some successful people take. I’m in my mid thirties and going back to school for accounting. I was always interested in buiness, but became more interested in accounting after I owned a small business for a few years. Some people say mid/late 30’s is too late, almost everyone seems to think after 40 this kind of career change is really difficult.
In her 30s, my mother, a social security clerk, went back to law school after a divorce and is now a highly paid attorney.
In my 20s I dumped the private sector for public service. Much happier.
At 32, disaffected with library work in the recession, I started my own business. Again, much happier.
Find something you can stand to do 8-10 hours a day, and build a career around doing that.
Worked my way up from customer service rep to marketing copywriter at Borders, over a period of 7 years. Company was turning to shit, so I quit and worked as a barn manager/riding instructor for two years. That was kind of a break-even lifestyle and not really a long-term plan. I was 31 when I started law school (on scholarship), and just shy of 35 when I started my first legal job; now I work as an attorney for a municipality with no debt and a pension that vests in 5 years. It’s awesome.
the Michigan economy crashed out shortly after I left and Borders went bankrupt shortly after I got licensed, so quitting and moving out of state when I did was basically the best decision ever.