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Old 01-03-2014, 10:30 PM   #1
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The late Studs Terkel wrote a book years ago titled "Working" in which he interviewed people about their jobs.

What were(are)the negative aspects of your particular career, job or profession ? What would you advise others who were planning to enter that field ?
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Old 01-03-2014, 11:17 PM   #2
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This has been discussed in other threads but for me, the most recent career at MegaCorp negatives are:

1. Fake, unnecessary and unwarranted bureaucratic bs.
2. People who wear way too much cologne on their shirts or never dry clean them so the cologne becomes a mixed bag of toxic ridiculousness.
3. My general lack of freedom 40hrs a week.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:23 AM   #3
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I never had any regrets or negative feelings about my career or profession (software). The negatives all came from either bad management or friction between people who didn't think they had to get along with others. Even wonderful companies with great people working there, gradually turnover employees and it only takes a few of the bad apples to poison the work environment. If I could work for less than 40 hours and be exempt from the problem people, I'd work forever. I'll probably end up doing something like that as a hobby, once I ER.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:51 AM   #4
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I never had any regrets or negative feelings about my career or profession (software). The negatives all came from either bad management or friction between people who didn't think they had to get along with others. Even wonderful companies with great people working there, gradually turnover employees and it only takes a few of the bad apples to poison the work environment. If I could work for less than 40 hours and be exempt from the problem people, I'd work forever. I'll probably end up doing something like that as a hobby, once I ER.
That's exactly how I feel. Just one or 2 bad apples out of 200 people will ruin your entire day and your love for the job. I loved my job for 13 years, then met some people with bi-polar disorder that management does nothing about and now I 'm just counting paycheck.

So my advice, save all the money that you can so you can quit when you meet crappy people that want to ruin your day. I didn't think I would hate my job 2 years ago, but it only took 2 people to make me ER at age 40
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Old 01-04-2014, 02:37 AM   #5
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I advise to get as much experience as fast as you can.

Make yourself valuable, then become a contractor. In my business, Big Oil pays the best but they are full of high-intensity jerks as well. Engineering/Construction is a good second but is up and down. Sales can pay well, too.

Find people who truly know their business and learn everything you can from them.

Network like crazy. Keep track of good people. You will see them again.

As always, save your money--ideally 30% of your gross. Learn how to invest.

For a successful profile, see John P. Greaney, our patron saint.
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Old 01-04-2014, 03:29 AM   #6
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My main job is working from home with my boyfriend, and we make our own hours and choose our own projects, so the work and company isn't bad at all.

The worst part I'd say is feeling bad when I'm not working. Even when I've hit my goals and much more, the fact that I can take more work at any time makes me feel like I should. It can make it difficult to enjoy downtime.

We also do temporary work at events and such for a week or two in cities around the US. Having these every couple of weeks makes it easier to step away without feeling like we should be working. It also gives time to travel. The issues with these jobs seem to come from being away so long. We start to miss home, and get annoyed with living in hotel rooms and out of the car, piled with the usually long, odd hours.

I'm not exactly sure what I'd call my career, but for anyone who wants to do what we've summed up as 'stuff,' I'd recommend having a main job, but never going more than three months without doing and preferably living something else for at least a week, but try to get home every couple of months too, or it will start to feel like a job. After spending October and November on the road working with the same company, we both experienced our first moments of 'I don't want to go to work tomorrow.'

Also, balance the work. Our business' prime seasons are Fall and Winter. Spring and summer are the best months for our temp work, although both go year round.

And, of course, save as much money as you can. Even if you never want to retire, you can balance all you want, but there will always be a month or two every couple of years where work is hard to find.
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Old 01-04-2014, 07:41 AM   #7
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The late Studs Terkel wrote a book years ago titled "Working" in which he interviewed people about their jobs.

What were(are)the negative aspects of your particular career, job or profession ? What would you advise others who were planning to enter that field ?
My career has morphed over 35-40 years, as I did not graduate from college with a profession. That turned out to be a key mistake, but what did I know at 18? I did not listen to my father, who said I should become an engineer. I graduated with a liberal arts degree instead.

Fortunately I found a job in, of all places, a small engineering services company. The focus was defense, and I became a technical writer. I also picked up associated skills, and found I was very good at drafting and drawing. At the time there were no personal computers in sight. However, I eventually left due to corruption which I observed.

I was self-employed for a very long time. Initially I invested a great deal of money in a computer and laser printer. Went after low-hanging fruit, and again picked up associated skills (repair, networking, etc.). We did well at times, but there was always a recession around the corner. Eventually I went back to defense, and sit there now.

I have advised my children to get degrees that are centered within a growing profession, such as nursing, engineering, etc. In professional fields you are certified to some extent, and can gain extra visibility and responsibility. The result is upward mobility.

Or do what I did, and make up your career as you go along. There are plenty of success stories in that camp also. But with my desire to retire early, I can see that a 20-25 year career in megacorp or elsewhere gives you the possibility of regular contributions. I was able to do some retirement savings, but nowhere near what the cube dwellers have done over the same period.
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:49 AM   #8
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Computer Programming 16 years : A very difficult job if you are not naturally gifted. Doable with effort for many folks. Big bucks, so I tolerated the difficulty. Has it's share of competitive types who want everyone to know they are better than you. One good thing was we often had no real work to do, and got paid big bucks anyway !

Long haul truck driving 6 years : Great job for certain personality types. I liked it. I was not independent, but worked for a company. Toxic psychopath manager who is not controlled by higher management can ruin your whole job, though.
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Old 01-04-2014, 10:14 AM   #9
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The only negative thing about my particular career is that my personality was not suited to it at all. I did voice-over, presenting/announcing, and production work. In that general field, you often need to be very outgoing and good at networking in order to stay employed over the long term, and I was terrible at that. It was anathema to me. Luckily, I stayed with the same employer for 16 years, so didn't need to play the networking game. The security of having the same employer protected me from having to make and preserve contacts "in the biz". The downside was that when my company went out of business, I was pretty much done. As it happened, I no longer had the desire to do that kind of work anyway.

Advice for others entering that field? None really, other than - if it's what you really want to do, give it your all, have a blast, and remember to put something aside for a rainy day.
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Old 01-04-2014, 10:32 AM   #10
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Old 01-04-2014, 10:34 AM   #11
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In my career I was able to make myself the big fish in a small pond. That is, I worked in the actuarial field for 23 years but had a strong computer programming background, something most of my coworkers lacked. They had decent computer skills but not what I had including the motivation to stand out and make myself vital to my division's performance. This gave me the leverage to demand some big things others could not get because they "could not afford to lose me" by turning me down. Leverage, I learned, is an extremely valuable asset to have but it must be built and cultivated over time.

What did I hate in my career over time? The commute, especially when the company relocated, making an already lousy commute even worse.
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Old 01-04-2014, 10:52 AM   #12
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Most of the negative aspects that people cite in these kinds of threads are not unique to any particular career field (i.e. bureaucracy, insufferable bosses and coworkers, the importance of networking and marketing yourself vs. just doing a good job, long hours, etc.). It's hard to know which aspects really distinguish one career field from another unless you've seen all of them.

The negative aspects that seem relatively unique to being in the military include: getting shot at; picking up your household and moving every couple years; living in a lot of undesirable areas, oftentimes apart from family; adhering to some very restrictive standards in terms of fitness, appearance, and off-limits activities; working under a contract that doesn't permit you to quit except once every few years; and seeing a large portion of compensation deferred into a pension system that requires twenty years for vesting. There are a lot of positive aspects, too, which explains why I do it. Everyone has seen a lot of military/war movies/TV, so people tend to have highly developed expectations. I mostly try to impress upon them that reality is very different; usually more mundane than they imagine.

Tim
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:04 PM   #13
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IT - I really enjoyed for many years. Then me being unaware of all the childish political crap, life got weird. I refused to participate, I'd been to the 7th grade once, that wasn't the right move.

I was OK with insane deadlines, long weeks, many a 100+, more than a few 40 hour days. All that was OK, if you were treated with respect for your knowledge and abilities. Once the politics overtook the sanity, I worked harder to find FI.

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Old 01-04-2014, 12:22 PM   #14
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I thoroughly enjoyed my career for the first 25 years or so and voluntarily worked 60-80 hrs/wk, still found it challenging/satisfying out to 33 years, only became disenchanted for the last 1-1/2 years. A combination of no new challenges (unwilling to relocate to HQ for next promotion) and myopic corporate nepotism finally made me pull the plug. Same basic story as millions of others. Overall I am happy with my career and grateful to my 2 employers.

It is truly amazing how a few chronically unhappy entitlement minded people can completely ruin the work experience for so many others.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:49 PM   #15
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I've been in the IT field for about 25 years and have grown to hate it. I just can't stomach sitting in a cube anymore staring at a monitor and pecking away at a keyboard all day.

I think my biggest problem with what I do is...I get no sense of satisfaction that anything I do matters. Every line of code I write, every system and process I develop...there are many other people who could do it, too, so I'm really just a cog in a machine. Also, everything I develop will be obsolete in a few years and meaningless.

As I look back on my 25 years of IT, there's not one system or project I've worked on that means anything in the bigger scheme of things. It's just been punching a keyboard for a paycheck every two weeks, but no real sense of satisfaction.

I'd caution anybody looking to get into IT of this, if they have any expectations of feeling like they've "made a difference". Also, because so much IT work is being offshored and becoming more cloud-based, that's something to be aware of also.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:57 PM   #16
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This question has been discussed before in other threads. Please use the google function.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:00 PM   #17
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Self-employed sales for the last 25 years.

Pluses: The harder and smarter you work, the more you make. Instant gratification every time a sale is made.

Minuses: There's no one to blame but yourself if you're not happy with your paycheck. You have to be self-motivated.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:28 PM   #18
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Computer programming for 27 years (19 aerospace, 8 financial).

Perfect fit for me, no regrets. I cannot even think of a significant negative aspect.

Advice :

Learn to do the work others hate. I always took on keeping old legacy systems running as a sideline.

If you are good at programming and not good at dealing with other people resist all promotions - there are already too many bad managers. I happily retired as a bottom level peon making about the same as my bosses with a much easier job.

Be aware that there are a lot of good programmers in other countries willing to work for less than you.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:45 PM   #19
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What would you advise others who were planning to enter that field ?
No matter the field... no matter the good and the bad....

Assuming that the person is entering a field as a young person, chances are what's right for today will be wrong for tomorrow.

When I started with Sears, there were 7 " executives" in every small store. That pay in 1958 would be about $70K today. The salesman in the suit department retired with $300K in profit sharing which would be $2.14Million in today's dollars.
Today, there would be only one manager with an average pay about $58K, and of course, there are few salesmen in most stores, and no profit sharing.

My suggestion for choosing a profession would be to get a crystal ball or hunt the internet for the smartest most future looking wise men.

From just a very few years ago, consider the change in job opportunities for mathematicians, geologists, lawyers. The neartime future looks to be in Healthcare, IT, Alternate energy, with emphasis not only on specialties, but increasingly on teaching within those specialties. The sleeping tiger may well be in globalization... with emphasis on languages, cultures and the financial and management styles that will be necessary. Intenational law will be very popular. This once again puts a premium on liberal arts schools.

Most assuredly, though, whatever seems right today, will be passe in 20 to 30 years, so whatever we think we've learned and whatever that 20 year old who is choosing a life's career today... probably won't be much in demand at the time of retirememt.
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Old 01-04-2014, 03:01 PM   #20
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No matter the field... no matter the good and the bad....
For many, not all though. People will always need plumbers, electricians, fire fighters, police officers, rescue squads, physicians, surgeons (although the last two are rapidly changing) and more, all of which demand an on-site presence. I cannot envision the time coming when these types of jobs can be outsourced.

Robots and on-line controls will get better, but does anyone want a robot doing their surgery? Getting your poor mangled body out of a car wreck, checking out what the noise is in one's basement, or doing a custom installation of a light fixture in the house?

I think some jobs will always require an on-site human being with training and the ability to adapt to unexpected changes and situations.
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