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Advice on a career change...

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Well, I think I've been here long enough, and I know there are a LOT of smart cookies on TCS, so I trust you'll be able to help me out!

I've had about all I can take of this thankless job in the corporate sector and I actually don't even mind working a thankless job in the public sector... I'm just in dire need of change. Besides, I feel like a fraud working where I do, and despite student loan and credit debt, a change is long overdue.

So, one thing I had in mind was bartending or waitressing. You get tips, you can stay in shape, and it's better than dealing strictly with miserable, insanely stressed-out business people all day.

I was also thinking of working in a flower shop or garden centre. Sure, the money isn't so hot, and you still get bitchy customers (though trust me, NOTHING beats financial district bitchiness, so I've got plenty of experience there!), but you have that calming and peaceful feeling of working with flowers, plants, soil, water...

Anyway, I think you can see where I'm going with this. Please, feel free to mention any ideas you might come up with... and I mean ANYTHING! Well, since I've opted out of drug dealing and prostituting myself, as long as it's LEGAL, I'm open to the possibilites!

Thanks for listening!
post #2 of 29
Thread Starter 
Noone? Anyone?
post #3 of 29
What about drawing up a list of pros and cons?

Waitressing or bar work?, how would you feel being on your feet a lot?!

Garden centre work?, what about the winter months when it's cold and you have to go outside?
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by vespacat
Noone? Anyone?
Hi! Jenn, I´m accountand, and as you know, I live in México and the conditions are differents here... I think a bartender should be a fine option, of course depends on what bar that you have an idea to work! Got it?
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
It is a lot to think about... Though I sit at a desk all day and I think it's going to be the death of me, so standing for hours wouldn't bother me. I'm naturally a night owl, so I think working in a bar would suit me fine.
post #6 of 29
I'm not a drinker, but thinking of money, would a bartender make more than a waitress? Maybe you could waitress while going to school to become a bartender? And then, you could become a bartender on a cruise ship.
post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 
SWEET idea!
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsd
I'm not a drinker, but thinking of money, would a bartender make more than a waitress? Maybe you could waitress while going to school to become a bartender? And then, you could become a bartender on a cruise ship.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
So, one thing I had in mind was bartending or waitressing. You get tips, you can stay in shape, and it's better than dealing strictly with miserable, insanely stressed-out business people all day.
No, then you just get to deal with those same miserable, insanely stressed out people all night while they drink themselves into oblivion
post #9 of 29
How about working with a domestic violence or homeless shelter? It can be a thankless and low-paying job, the rewards you get- helping people who truly deserve help- are worth it!
post #10 of 29
I really reommend doing the Myers Briggs test, i think it's online or you can buy the book. It helps show you where your motivations are etc.
post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 
True enough! Though my intentions are to get away from the area I currently work in altogether.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicaLynn
No, then you just get to deal with those same miserable, insanely stressed out people all night while they drink themselves into oblivion
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks. That is actually a field I was planning on getting training in prior to getting involved in my current job, so there's definitely a possibility there... I do currently volunteer in a similar sort of environment, and it is rewarding.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ugaimes
How about working with a domestic violence or homeless shelter? It can be a thankless and low-paying job, the rewards you get- helping people who truly deserve help- are worth it!
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 
Great idea! I've actually done it in the past, though I may take another crack at it. Thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marge
I really reommend doing the Myers Briggs test, i think it's online or you can buy the book. It helps show you where your motivations are etc.
post #14 of 29
My daughter worked as a waitress in a pub to earn extra cash while at university, but could only stick it out for a short while, you can still have awkward work mates to cope with, with their own power struggles. And she'd be shattered as they expect long shifts to be covered.

You need to get yourself into a career you like now, while you're still young. My daughter came out of university not knowing what she wanted to do, and had a couple of office jobs, but, like you, hated being behind a desk all day.

She got a job with her local county council, and kept an eye on the internal job opportunities. Then something came up as a family support officer. Helping children and families having problems. Not a social worker, but working with them. Yes it's stressfull, but also very rewarding. And she loves it.

Is there any career advice centres you can look to?
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks Tricia (BTW, you share the same birthday as my mom). I really appreciated hearing about your daughter's experience... Sounds like her and I have some similar ideas about what we will/won't do to pay the bills!

I've applied for a job in my field, but in the public sector, so that's a start. Even if I get an interview at least I'm dipping back into the waters. As for career counselling/advice, the last time I looked for work was while I was still considered a "youth" in the Canadian job market, but I've been at this job for a number of years, and no longer qualify for the same programs. However, I'm going to look into it, and this week will be the start!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oz'sMum
My daughter worked as a waitress in a pub to earn extra cash while at university, but could only stick it out for a short while, you can still have awkward work mates to cope with, with their own power struggles. And she'd be shattered as they expect long shifts to be covered.

You need to get yourself into a career you like now, while you're still young. My daughter came out of university not knowing what she wanted to do, and had a couple of office jobs, but, like you, hated being behind a desk all day.

She got a job with her local county council, and kept an eye on the internal job opportunities. Then something came up as a family support officer. Helping children and families having problems. Not a social worker, but working with them. Yes it's stressfull, but also very rewarding. And she loves it.

Is there any career advice centres you can look to?
post #16 of 29
Have you thought about going back to school for a second degree, such as law? While the Canadian legal sector does not pay as well as the US, the pay is still significant. For example, a summer job for a law student at a law firm can get you between 5000-6000 Canadian dollars per month.

How about nursing or Human Resource in relation to medical services. I know in parts of the US, people are getting paid up to $15000 as a signing on bonus. I also heard that there is a boom in the accounting/auditing field in the US due to Sarbanes Oxley Act.

Best advice is to write a list of all your abilities. Then a list of what you are looking for in a job followed by your priorities such as flexible working hours, high wage, etc.
post #17 of 29
You do need to think carefully about what kind of person you are - do you like working with people? Colleagues, the public? Can you listen well? Do you like to take responsibility? Can you organise yourself and others well? Are you a night person or a morning person? How do you feel about commuting? About being away from home for work? How confident are you about public speaking? How computer literate are you? Can you write reports/minutes? Are you creative? Are you patient with children or people who need help?

There are no right and wrong answers but looking at these and other questions will gradually make you see where you might be comfortable. You must be honest with yourself though, and you will see where your talents lie. I have done bar work and waitressing as well as retail when I was a student, and I found it fun but very tiring and sometimes stressful - people either treat you as a non-person or try and flirt. And you have to be polite ALL the time, whatever they say. Good luck with the choices.
post #18 of 29
[quote=jennyranson]
people either treat you as a non-person or try and flirt. And you have to be polite ALL the time, whatever they say. [quote]

Sorry for the topic diversion but I have to ask. When you frequent a particular place some of the people working there become very friendly but yet you do not want to flirt back since they may be just doing their job. FOr example are they just being friendly when they ask you about your day or talk to you about their cats. What about if they give you their email address. If it a phone number well it seems more certain but an email address seems too nebulous. Is there like a secret code of waitressing to know when the person is just trying to be friendly or something else?
post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your suggestions. But as I mentioned, I have no interest in staying in the corporate sector, and that is where many of these jobs would entail working.

Sounds to me like law might be your area of expertise?

The main priority for me is being able to live with myself at the end of the day, and working in the corporate structure represents the antithesis of my personal core beliefs.

I'm certainly going to do the Myers Briggs assessment again online, and pursue some career counselling, probably starting next week.

As for law, I can't afford to go into further debt than I already am (tuition for each year of law school here is around $15,000) and because I would never do corporate law or article at a large private sector firm, I would accrue so much debt in the process that it would be impossible to pay it off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpy
Have you thought about going back to school for a second degree, such as law? While the Canadian legal sector does not pay as well as the US, the pay is still significant. For example, a summer job for a law student at a law firm can get you between 5000-6000 Canadian dollars per month.

How about nursing or Human Resource in relation to medical services. I know in parts of the US, people are getting paid up to $15000 as a signing on bonus. I also heard that there is a boom in the accounting/auditing field in the US due to Sarbanes Oxley Act.

Best advice is to write a list of all your abilities. Then a list of what you are looking for in a job followed by your priorities such as flexible working hours, high wage, etc.
post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks a bunch. You've provided me with perhaps a less idealized view of waitressing than what I had imagined.

But believe me, if I piss off the wrong person in my current place of employment, I would get canned in a heartbeat and I would be expected to keep my mouth shut about it. There's a looming fear related to lack of job security that many of my colleagues share. I'm looking for something unionized, where employees have rights and equal opportunity, but then that sort of arrangement is like finding a needle in a haystack these days!

[jennyranson]You do need to think carefully about what kind of person you are - do you like working with people? Colleagues, the public? Can you listen well? Do you like to take responsibility? Can you organise yourself and others well? Are you a night person or a morning person? How do you feel about commuting? About being away from home for work? How confident are you about public speaking? How computer literate are you? Can you write reports/minutes? Are you creative? Are you patient with children or people who need help?

There are no right and wrong answers but looking at these and other questions will gradually make you see where you might be comfortable. You must be honest with yourself though, and you will see where your talents lie. I have done bar work and waitressing as well as retail when I was a student, and I found it fun but very tiring and sometimes stressful - people either treat you as a non-person or try and flirt. And you have to be polite ALL the time, whatever they say. Good luck with the choices.[/quote]
post #21 of 29
Open up a hot dog stand.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by vespacat
The main priority for me is being able to live with myself at the end of the day, and working in the corporate structure represents the antithesis of my personal core beliefs.
You are wise to have realized this about yourself so early in your career. I have been in the corporate world for over 25 years and have pondered thru the same thought process many times. I'll share some of my reflections:

- bartending or odd hour jobs: being married, it is nice to be able to have the same general work schedule as my spouse, otherwise we wouldn't have a lot of time to see each other. Not sure if you have a significant other, but it becomes important to be able to spend time together. If you get on a conflicting work schedule, your personal life becomes more difficult. I value my husband more than my job.

- jobs dealing with the public: doesn't matter what line of work you are in, whenever you have to deal with the general public, you end up dealing with idiots some times. That can be more frustrating than a corporate desk job.

- level of intelligence in the folks that you work with: my husband got sick of his corporate job and wanted work where he could get his hands dirty and be outside all day. He took a job laying sod and would come home each night screaming about the unintelligent morons he worked with all day. The point is that he didn't have anyone around him that he could carry on an intelligent conversation with at work. If you choose something away from an office job, make sure that the people around you will have sufficient intelligence to keep you mentally stimulated. (Husband went back to a desk job)

- consider the work that a corporation supports: if the corporation that you work for supplies a product or service that you don't philosophically support, it makes holding that job more difficult, even when the pay is good. I've left companies because they sold things I didn't agree with and now work with a a company that provides a service that I view as to the betterment of people in general. As an environmentalist, I would take a desk job at an environmental firm in a heartbeat if I could find one, even at a cut in pay.

- what is the career path in the area you are intersted in? Many careers start where you want to be, but eventually lead back to the desk job.

Some advice: If you think that bartending or gardening is a possible choice, take a part time job in that area for a few months to see if it suits you.

Good luck! I know I struggle with this question all the time myself!!
post #23 of 29
i don't know if i can give advice going on just 'public sector' job you had an a private sector job you want. If you can, please provide more details on what you're doing now ( if you can't, that's OK )

I too work in a corporate world, i'm a project manager for a telecommunications company. I too get stressed out dealing with corporate types and have to 'dress up' to go to work (hate that! ) but it's a job, and the money keeps me happy.

I think to stay happy you don't' need a change, unless you're going ot earn as much as you did before. How about taking up a hobby or joining a theater, or a dance class? You seem like a creative person, maybe that's all you need
post #24 of 29
That's really good advice, Amy. I've been in the stressed out financial world for almost 25 yrs. I, like Amy, have considered getting out many times for my own sanity. She is making some really good points. I would love nothing more than to give it up and work at the local greenhouse, but I need to be practical about the financial aspect of it. If the money is not an issue or comparable to what you've been earning, then go for it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany
You are wise to have realized this about yourself so early in your career. I have been in the corporate world for over 25 years and have pondered thru the same thought process many times. I'll share some of my reflections:

- bartending or odd hour jobs: being married, it is nice to be able to have the same general work schedule as my spouse, otherwise we wouldn't have a lot of time to see each other. Not sure if you have a significant other, but it becomes important to be able to spend time together. If you get on a conflicting work schedule, your personal life becomes more difficult. I value my husband more than my job.

- jobs dealing with the public: doesn't matter what line of work you are in, whenever you have to deal with the general public, you end up dealing with idiots some times. That can be more frustrating than a corporate desk job.

- level of intelligence in the folks that you work with: my husband got sick of his corporate job and wanted work where he could get his hands dirty and be outside all day. He took a job laying sod and would come home each night screaming about the unintelligent morons he worked with all day. The point is that he didn't have anyone around him that he could carry on an intelligent conversation with at work. If you choose something away from an office job, make sure that the people around you will have sufficient intelligence to keep you mentally stimulated. (Husband went back to a desk job)

- consider the work that a corporation supports: if the corporation that you work for supplies a product or service that you don't philosophically support, it makes holding that job more difficult, even when the pay is good. I've left companies because they sold things I didn't agree with and now work with a a company that provides a service that I view as to the betterment of people in general. As an environmentalist, I would take a desk job at an environmental firm in a heartbeat if I could find one, even at a cut in pay.

- what is the career path in the area you are intersted in? Many careers start where you want to be, but eventually lead back to the desk job.

Some advice: If you think that bartending or gardening is a possible choice, take a part time job in that area for a few months to see if it suits you.

Good luck! I know I struggle with this question all the time myself!!
post #25 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks Marina. Actually, I DO need to get out, which is why I posted here seeking advice...

I have plenty of hobbies that quench my creative needs, but for the daily grind I simply CANNOT continue working at this job for the reasons mentioned in my previous posts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RarePuss
i don't know if i can give advice going on just 'public sector' job you had an a private sector job you want. If you can, please provide more details on what you're doing now ( if you can't, that's OK )

I too work in a corporate world, i'm a project manager for a telecommunications company. I too get stressed out dealing with corporate types and have to 'dress up' to go to work (hate that! ) but it's a job, and the money keeps me happy.

I think to stay happy you don't' need a change, unless you're going ot earn as much as you did before. How about taking up a hobby or joining a theater, or a dance class? You seem like a creative person, maybe that's all you need
post #26 of 29
Thread Starter 
Naw, we already have WAY too many here in Toronto. Though I could be some serious competition for the balding, middle-aged men that generally run those things... I could put on a top with a plunging neckline and some bright red lipstick and I'd be sure to give the other vendors a run for their money!
Quote:
Originally Posted by NavDoc
Open up a hot dog stand.
post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 
My comments are in red:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany
You are wise to have realized this about yourself so early in your career. I have been in the corporate world for over 25 years and have pondered thru the same thought process many times. I'll share some of my reflections:

- bartending or odd hour jobs: being married, it is nice to be able to have the same general work schedule as my spouse, otherwise we wouldn't have a lot of time to see each other. Not sure if you have a significant other, but it becomes important to be able to spend time together. If you get on a conflicting work schedule, your personal life becomes more difficult. I value my husband more than my job.

Actually, I'm not involved with anyone at the moment. But the different types of people I could meet in that sort of environment are endless... Sure beats dating a conservative banker or lawyer!

- jobs dealing with the public: doesn't matter what line of work you are in, whenever you have to deal with the general public, you end up dealing with idiots some times. That can be more frustrating than a corporate desk job.

I deal DIRECTLY with business people, hence my concern about being fired at the drop of a hat if I'm too "casual" and say the "wrong" thing to some pompous, pretentious idiot.

- level of intelligence in the folks that you work with: my husband got sick of his corporate job and wanted work where he could get his hands dirty and be outside all day. He took a job laying sod and would come home each night screaming about the unintelligent morons he worked with all day. The point is that he didn't have anyone around him that he could carry on an intelligent conversation with at work. If you choose something away from an office job, make sure that the people around you will have sufficient intelligence to keep you mentally stimulated. (Husband went back to a desk job)

I find this funny, because in MY own personal experience, I've found that one can have 5 post-grad degrees and still be a moron when it comes to discussing something other than their area(s) of expertise. Society attaches FAR too much importance to formal education in a structured learning environment, rather than one's individual, and life-long, pursuit of knowledge. Actually, the most intelligent person I've met to date was a college dropout.

- consider the work that a corporation supports: if the corporation that you work for supplies a product or service that you don't philosophically support, it makes holding that job more difficult, even when the pay is good. I've left companies because they sold things I didn't agree with and now work with a a company that provides a service that I view as to the betterment of people in general. As an environmentalist, I would take a desk job at an environmental firm in a heartbeat if I could find one, even at a cut in pay.

- what is the career path in the area you are intersted in? Many careers start where you want to be, but eventually lead back to the desk job.

What kind of evidence do you have that would conclude people who have once worked at a desk job return to the desk job? I'm curious to know... Actually, I don't have an issue with working at a desk (you can't escape desk work in my career), it's just where that desk is located that's the bigger issue.

Some advice: If you think that bartending or gardening is a possible choice, take a part time job in that area for a few months to see if it suits you.

Part-time to start is a great idea... perhaps that may be an option! Thanks!

Good luck! I know I struggle with this question all the time myself!!
post #28 of 29
Jenny and Amy made a lot of great points and hopefully what I add here is helpful too

I work in Human Resources and do a lot of coaching using a tool called StrengthsFinder that helps you focus on where your natural talents lie. I'm not supposed to give people career advice, like "you need to get out of here" they are employees of our company afterall , but I do come across people who are clearly in the wrong role or even the wrong company....

What I tell people is this: if your work environment allows you to play to your natural strengths 80% of the time, then that's a pretty good situation to be in - most jobs have a crummy 20%

Let me give you an example. Take the job of an air stewardess. They have to give brief levels of excellent service, right? Some might say that the "charm" of an air stewardess is a bit superficial (always smiling, etc...), but it takes real talent to excel at talking to strangers all day, making flyers feel like they've received top class service during the flight....

Now take someone who excels at getting to know people over time, builds working relationships and trust through regular contact with the same people. How long would that person be motivated in the job of an air stewardess when 99% of the people they connect with on a daily basis they will never see again?

So, my advice would be think about the type of work environment in which you prefer to work and THEN think about a job / company / sector that might offer that type of environment.

Is contact with people important to you? Would you be happy working alone all day?

Do you like to make decisions and get action quickly? Or do you prefer to have time to think things through before making decisions?

Do you get a kick out of problem-solving? Or are you better at turning something that's already good into something great?

Just a few ideas, but I hope they help... changing careers is a tough decision. My own personal philosophy is that if I'm going to spend 40-60 hours a week doing something, then it better be something I enjoy
post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thank you Alexa! That is some great insight, and I'm grateful for the advice!

And yes, a number of good points have been raised by everyone who's posted here. Thanks to everyone for spending your time responding to this thread. I really do appreciate it, as you've all provided me with bits of your own wisdom!



Quote:
Originally Posted by alexa
Jenny and Amy made a lot of great points and hopefully what I add here is helpful too

I work in Human Resources and do a lot of coaching using a tool called StrengthsFinder that helps you focus on where your natural talents lie. I'm not supposed to give people career advice, like "you need to get out of here" they are employees of our company afterall , but I do come across people who are clearly in the wrong role or even the wrong company....

What I tell people is this: if your work environment allows you to play to your natural strengths 80% of the time, then that's a pretty good situation to be in - most jobs have a crummy 20%

Let me give you an example. Take the job of an air stewardess. They have to give brief levels of excellent service, right? Some might say that the "charm" of an air stewardess is a bit superficial (always smiling, etc...), but it takes real talent to excel at talking to strangers all day, making flyers feel like they've received top class service during the flight....

Now take someone who excels at getting to know people over time, builds working relationships and trust through regular contact with the same people. How long would that person be motivated in the job of an air stewardess when 99% of the people they connect with on a daily basis they will never see again?

So, my advice would be think about the type of work environment in which you prefer to work and THEN think about a job / company / sector that might offer that type of environment.

Is contact with people important to you? Would you be happy working alone all day?

Do you like to make decisions and get action quickly? Or do you prefer to have time to think things through before making decisions?

Do you get a kick out of problem-solving? Or are you better at turning something that's already good into something great?

Just a few ideas, but I hope they help... changing careers is a tough decision. My own personal philosophy is that if I'm going to spend 40-60 hours a week doing something, then it better be something I enjoy
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