Need advice for changing jobs.

I have been looking for a long time to get out where I currently work, but constantly checking the want adds and online job searches has given me nothing. I am going to make a plan of what I need to do to get skills that will allow me to leave my current job. I am going to do things like go to my local career center take some college courses, and so on, but I’d also like to know if any of you have any advice to offer.

I am currently working in a production position here in Oregon for Tyco (yes, the one with former CEO Dennis Kozlowski), and about the only good thing I can say about it, is that I do get paid well. In fact, that’s part of the problem, I know that I can’t start a new job at what I’m making now, but even coming close is difficult. Jobs that pay close are either pat time, or I don’t qualify for them.

I want out of production work, and want to find some sort of clerical job, but the only experience I have is doing volunteer data entry, and any data entry job I see pays crap. I always see lots of openings for accounting and bookkeeping type jobs, so I’m thinking of what I can do to get my foot in the door. There’s a financial accounting class I’m thinking of taking. I don’t know how else to get experience because after work, I need to stay home to take care of my wife because she’s disabled, so I couldn’t get training somewhere else after work. And besides, I work 10 hour shifts Mon - Thu, and around 8 hours, give or take, on Friday’s, so I wouldn’t have the time either.

Of course, sadly, it’s probably unrealistic to find a new job right away, especially since I’d need to make about $23,000 a year to pay the bills :(, but I’m coming up on my 9 year anniversary at Tyco, and I swore to myself that I’d get out before being there 10 years. I have a little over a year to go now.

Distance learning might work well for you. I’ve taken a few financial classes, including a year of college accounting. It’s not the type of subject you really need a lot of class discussion to get the benefit of. The key is doing the exercises and having someone check your work. With distance learning, you can do the work from home on your own schedule.

Are you in a major city? If you can get in 2 semesters of Accounting, master Excel spreadsheet software and if possible learn another financial software application (PeachTree and QuickBooks are two I’ve heard of), $23,000 a year really shouldn’t be a problem as a hard-working Accounting Tech. Another good way to get some relevant experience would be as Treasurer or Finance Chair for a non-profit or church.

Robert Half and AccounTemps are placement agencies focused on the accounting field. Working in a temp-to-hire position would be a realistic way to get your foot in the door. Some employers may want evidence that you can function in an office environment since your previous experience is in Production. Maybe you can get one of the reps at a local placement agency to talk with you (pick a slow time in their business, probably not during tax season) to validate the skills that would help them place you.

I expect insurance is probably an issue, since you mentioned your wife is disabled. If you are not familiar with COBRA, it will allow you to continue your Tyco insurance for up to 18 months. It will be kind of expensive, but would be an option if there’s a delay before getting benefits in the new job.

Good luck to you!

I’m mostly planning on taking online classes, and maybe evening classes if an online class isn’t available.

The two semesters shouldn’t be a problem. Actually, years ago, I took the class I’m going to apply for again this time, Financial Accounting 1, and failed twice :(. However, I am more determined than ever to make it work this time. Of course, I was determined then too, and even with tutoring, after the first couple of chapters, everything went over my head. But if I want to get out of my dead end, crapy job, I’ll have to succeed this time.
Excel shouldn’t be too hard. I haven’t used it much, but I use the spreadsheet from Microsoft Works, and I downloaded the freeware program suit Open Office, which has an Excel clone. So at least I feel confident taking and passing an Excel class or two.
And as for Treasurer, I don’t think I’d have the time, but of course I’ll be keeping and eye open for any such opportunity, should one arise.

Thanks. I’m printing out this whole reply to remember this when I’ve finished a class or two, and feel confident in looking for a job.

Yeah, my wife had COBRA for a while after having to take a medical retirement. It was expensive, and she wasn’t too pleased with it. I won’t rule it out completely, but I have a little while to go before I have to worry about it.
And thanks again for the advice, I know that it be very useful.

Do you have a real interest in accounting or only interested due to the job postings you are seeing? If you have taken a low level accounting class twice without passing (even though it was years ago) do you really want to go down that path again. There are many other jobs that would match the pay you are now earning.

What about a computer/PC technician? Doesn’t take that long to get an A+ certification and the classes should be available in the evenings, on weekends and possibly even on-line. There may even be some type of federal job training funds available. Starting pay for these positions usually would at least match what you are earing now and could increase to twice that with experience.

I’m open to other options besides bookkeeping/accounting. Actually, I’ve off and on for years have been trying to work on a computer programming degree, and for some reason Financial Accounting 1 is a requirement. So if I take it, I could kill two birds with one stone.
And as for how much I make, I was making $11.20 an hour, but just this last paycheck, got a raise to $11.53 an hour. I think I’ll need a lot of skill and training before finding a job that starts that high.

Not sure of your location, but $12.00/Hr is pretty much the entry level rate for a compter tech with the A+ certification. From there the position normally tops out in the low 20’s per hour.

BTW - I’m not pulling these numbers out of thin air, I’ve managed technical staffing firms for over 20 years.

Sounds good, I’ll look into it. Thank you.