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Career choice
Old 04-06-2009, 10:25 AM   #1
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Career choice

How many of you that are already retired, if given the choice, would have changed careers. I am in my late 30's and concidering a career change, but dont want to delay my early retirement plans...

i guess im trying to decide if i should stay the course or work a little longer to be happier in a different career?

Just looking for some opinions.
Thanks...
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:29 AM   #2
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I'm of mixed feelings. If I had it to do over again, knowing what I know now, I probably wouldn't have chosen the siren song of the higher base salaries of the private sector. But in reality, I've been pretty fortunate in my career so far and I can't say I have too many regrets. Yes, there are a few scenarios that could have turned out better for me in hindsight, but for every one of those there are probably 10 or 20 that could have turned out a LOT worse. So all in all, I really can't complain even though I occasionally do...
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 04-06-2009, 10:37 AM   #3
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There are far too many variables for any of us who have already retired to advise you whether a career change makes sense for you based on what we did or did not do. What was applicable to me in 1978 when I left my career in the military for a career in the real world can offer little guidance to your individual situation today.

In short, do what you think is best and it will probably work out that way.
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:02 AM   #4
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There are far too many variables for any of us who have already retired to advise you whether a career change makes sense for you based on what we did or did not do. What was applicable to me in 1978 when I left my career in the military for a career in the real world can offer little guidance to your individual situation today.
That's a good perspective. When I took my first career-oriented j*b in 1987, I made what I thought was the best decision based on the information I had at the time. The information at the time didn't say "put a very high premium on job security, a generous pension and retiree health insurance, because not having them in 2008 could threaten your ability to retire."

It's easy to make the "right decision" in hindsight. But even that would have changed so many other aspects of life. For example, you may have decided you should have went into a different occupation or worked for a different employer, but many of us have made friendships and even found life partners that probably wouldn't have happened if we chose Plan B instead of Plan A.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 04-06-2009, 11:07 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by doxeyweb View Post
How many of you that are already retired, if given the choice, would have changed careers. I am in my late 30's and concidering a career change, but dont want to delay my early retirement plans...

i guess im trying to decide if i should stay the course or work a little longer to be happier in a different career?

Just looking for some opinions.
Thanks...
I am not yet retired, and my only input is a little negative. I have the perfect job for me (really!) but my lightbulb moment was when I realized that a job is a job is a job and that a good job is still a job.
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:27 AM   #6
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If it makes you physically ill, quit and find something else.

Maybe ask yourself this question: If it turns out in 20 years or so that I can't retire early, will I regret having stayed in the job I have now? Put another way, is the only thing keeping you in your current career the promise of early retirement, and if the early retirement doesn't materialize, will you feel cheated or OK with that? Because nothing is a sure thing, and even if you think you'll retire early -- you never know what will happen in the future.
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Old 04-06-2009, 12:22 PM   #7
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I did a career change last year and it is working out amazingly well. I could have stayed with the benefits provided by corporate america, but I am FAR happier with my path now. I did plan for it and saved as much money as I could. I am also aware that I have to basically start all over again in a new field and I am ok with it.
My tipping point was when my job did not match the needs of my soul.....either I could endure the "job" or I could find something that made me happy.
The one thing I love the most about my new career is the various doors that are opening up for me to live a creative life.....I am my absolute best when I am doing something that means something to me.
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Old 04-06-2009, 02:37 PM   #8
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Sometimes the career field makes the choice for you. I graduated college into a screaming recession (1980). My first career choice was geophysics. It didn't happen. Plan B became scientific computer programming before the days of shrink wrap number crunching software. I got bored with that after a few years, so Plan C became engineering. I stuck with that until I FIREd.
The key thing to do before you decide on a career change is to take short courses, online courses, or 1 or 2 semester length classroom courses in the other field of interest. While academia is not the same as w*rking in the real world, it will give you an idea if the area interests you enough to make any radical changes. Education is a wonderful thing.
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by doxeyweb View Post
How many of you that are already retired, if given the choice, would have changed careers. I am in my late 30's and concidering a career change, but dont want to delay my early retirement plans...
i guess im trying to decide if i should stay the course or work a little longer to be happier in a different career?
Move on when the fun stops. It's hard to enjoy ER from a cardiac ICU.

When I was on active duty at my "worst shore duty ever" job, I was surrounded by Reservists-- yet it never even occurred to me that I could leave active duty to lead a more balanced life. I could even have gone back on active-duty orders at the same place, although in a much better billet.

We didn't make the same mistake when spouse got her unrefusable offer. Reserve life was a great change for the better.

The idea of moving on is that your performance will be at its peak when you're challenged, fulfilled, and happy. Peak performance leads to great evaluations, faster promotions, and even better jobs.

On the other hand we've all met the miserable people who tried to stick with jobs that they weren't suited for (despite their best intentions), or those equally miserable folks who stayed too long. Leaving the job may be hard, and it's even harder to contemplate a few months without a paycheck. However the hardest task of all is the soul-destroying experience of enduring a job that has no appeal or fulfillment.

Even if you're on track for ER, it's tough to keep your financial & family priorities when you're not having fun. You have to pay attention to your own feelings. You'll only succeed at your goals if they make you feel curious, happy, and maybe even excited about working for them. If you're grimly clenching your jaw and preparing to gut it out for a few more years then you may not be making the right choice. You may even be risking your mental, emotional, and physical health.

Are you burned out? It's extremely difficult to make good choices when you're exhausted, frustrated, and miserable. If you feel that ER is the only way to get out of a terrible job then you may need to reconsider where you're going. Many people pursue a fantasy retirement because they can't imagine putting up with work any longer. When they retire, though, they may find that they haven't developed a lifestyle (or the savings!) to enjoy their new free time. If you have the chance to catch up on sleep, clear your head, and think about all the issues then you may decide that what you really need is a different assignment or a career change.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:00 PM   #10
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I'm of mixed feelings. If I had it to do over again, knowing what I know now, I probably wouldn't have chosen the siren song of the higher base salaries of the private sector. But in reality, I've been pretty fortunate in my career so far and I can't say I have too many regrets. Yes, there are a few scenarios that could have turned out better for me in hindsight, but for every one of those there are probably 10 or 20 that could have turned out a LOT worse. So all in all, I really can't complain even though I occasionally do...
LOL! Higher base salary of the private sector. I am stupid enough to re-join Mega Corp 1 after leaving it 6 years ago not realizing that the hiring manager was basing on my offer on my last salary which included a 15% pay cut in 2001. He probably thought he was doing me a great favor by giving me a "raise." Hm...why do you think I left Mega Corp 1 in the first place to go to Mega Corp 2? Because I got myself a 30% pay raise. The moral of the story is that the siren song is just that. The salary can move up or down with rapidity.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:18 AM   #11
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It's hard to say. This is a far different world than the one in 1973 when I started in law enforcement, and the retirement plan I have is no longer offered to newcomers. They're pretty much on their own with the functional equivalent of a 401k plan. The closer I got to retirement the more I realized how important that is.

Hindsight is 20/20 and sure, there are some things I'd do differently. But I did what I said I was going to do when I was 18 - made a difference. Making gobs of money was never all that important, all I wanted was my own house and a new Chevy every ten or so years, take DW out to dinner once in a while, and I got that.

In the end, I doubt that a different employer would make me a different person than who I am.
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:28 AM   #12
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I always wanted to be an adult film star, But there weren't any openings available.
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Old 04-07-2009, 11:04 AM   #13
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Never had a plan for career. Preferred to do the next thing that was interesting to me at the time. In hindsight would not change a thing. Though some of the interesting things tuned out to be brutally dangerous or difficult.

The best part is I survived all, learned a great deal, have memories to last at least 30 years, and not have to revisit the same ones twice.

Doing things on a lark to me was the most freedom in life. Knowing what was ahead probably would have skipped some, but then would have missed out on a lot of adventures.

If job and income security is important to you, by all means stick with a career plan. If you want adventure, grab what seems interesting, though be prepared for plenty of hardships, lack of food and comforts.
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Old 04-07-2009, 11:14 AM   #14
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If job and income security is important to you, by all means stick with a career plan. If you want adventure, grab what seems interesting, though be prepared for plenty of hardships, lack of food and comforts.
I used to think I wanted a career. As it turned out, I just wanted paychecks.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 04-07-2009, 07:11 PM   #15
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I'm thinking you may not want to count those chickens before they hatch. By that I mean you may not be around to enjoy your retirement, early or whatever. Better to enjoy the journey than to be totally focused on the destination...which you may never reach.
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Old 04-08-2009, 12:36 PM   #16
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I always wanted to be an adult film star, But there weren't any openings available.
I was thinking "Director of Lesbian Films"...

If I had it to do over, I'd be a trust fund baby.

If it was "fun", they wouldn't call it "work"...
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Old 04-12-2009, 04:31 PM   #17
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I'm thinking you may not want to count those chickens before they hatch. By that I mean you may not be around to enjoy your retirement, early or whatever. Better to enjoy the journey than to be totally focused on the destination...which you may never reach.
Buckeye took the words right out of my mouth/intended post. Don't live your life for tomorrow--you need to be mindful of the future, but you may die sooner than you think.
I'm a full-blown hedonist, so I had a series of j*bs that I really enjoyed(for the most part), and usually quit one j*b before I had another one lined up so I could goof off *ahem* I mean take a sabbatical.
I know it's corny, but "life is a journey, not a destination".
ps: FIREd at age 53 in Jan 08.
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Old 04-22-2009, 03:57 PM   #18
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Mentioned elsewhere I think: I took a course (offered by my Megacorp) called "Career Anchors". I recommend this course or any similar which explores WHY you w*rk. Sounds silly on the surface, but if you read this thread you will begin to see patterns. Some folks here w*rk(ed) for "the paycheck", others w*rk(ed) for the "challenge", still others w*rk(ed) for the w*ork itself.

My point (and the point of Career Anchors) is to find out what it is you want to get out of w*rking. If you can find a fit to that "need", you will not only be happier w*rking, but you will probably be much more successful.

As I recall there were a dozen "anchors". Some included "technical competence" - i.e., you get your strokes by being good at your j*b. Another was "pure challenge" - you probably wouldn't be happy screwing the same nut on the same bolt for 30 years, but you would like to be the guy/gal who has to figure out how to automate that particular j*b. Then there's "life style" anchor. You work for a pay check because you can then spend that money to do whatever it is you REALLY want to do - travel, party, toys, wine, woman song, etc., etc. You might just be willing to screw a nut on a bolt for 30 years - if they pay you enough to do it!!

I forget most of the others (mine were technical competence and lifestyle). At the time, I was considering changing j*bs (not companies, but actual assignments). I decided that I was good at what I was doing and they were paying me a pretty decent salary for doing it, so I stayed put even though I was a little tired of it. So MOST of my needs were being met and I was looking toward FIRE, so it was quite manageable.

Good luck with your quest. But, my advice - keep in mind it's free - is to figure out what you want out of your j*b and settle for nothing less. YMMV as always.
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Old 04-22-2009, 04:28 PM   #19
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Good luck with your quest. But, my advice - keep in mind it's free - is to figure out what you want out of your j*b and settle for nothing less. YMMV as always.
What I wanted out of my j*b was me, and I finally achieved it.
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:07 PM   #20
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Good point Koolau,

For me, (and I have been aware of that fact), the job/career is more of a lifestyle anchor as well as golden handcuffs...

When faced with the problem job, you either have to change your way of thinking, (additude), or your environment. Otherwise, it will eat you up from the inside out.
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