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Career, Job?
Old 05-01-2008, 07:30 PM   #1
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Career, Job?

I'm stuck. I'm in a position where the training I've had in the Navy vs. what I'll actually be able to physically do are in disagreement, and have no idea what I want to do next. :confused:

I have to ask: What's your job? What do you actually do all day at work? What were you doing when you first started there?
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Old 05-01-2008, 08:35 PM   #2
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I'm an investment analyst. I spend all day looking at SEC filings, building excel models of company financials, listening very carefully to what management and their competitors are saying, etc. When I started this path I was a glorified librarian, doing step-and-fetchit of public, but not readily available information for my superiors. Then I spent many years in grad school, etc. to wind up where I am.
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Old 05-02-2008, 10:25 AM   #3
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I'm an editor for an advertising agency. I proof all print ads and text for radio and TV spots. I'm a trained copy editor and graduated with a journalism major. I don't expect my job to change much over the years, it didn't in my last position.
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Old 05-02-2008, 10:43 AM   #4
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RetGypsy, one thing that may help is for you to identify the things in which you excel, that are skills not necessarily job titles--the stuff that has to be done everywhere, whatever the job.
For example, Brewer is a researcher, that skill is applicable in a huge number of fields.
Sarahsays is analytical and detail-oriented, which is perfect for her editing job, but she could use it in other fields.
I am good with details and researching stuff, and can see a whole bunch of pieces fitting together into the whole. I've used this managing people, projects, events, and warehouses. None of my jobs have had direct relations to one another, but I keep using the same skills over and over.

Now, Discover your strengths is a great book for this purpose. They have a online quiz you can take as well.
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Old 05-02-2008, 05:32 PM   #5
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Up until 18 months ago, I was a computer scientist, working as a programmer
for a financial company. I sat in a nice, quiet office most of my 8 hours, thinking.
About 20 minutes or so a day I would actually code, then watch the new program
run (in debug mode) on fake, then real data to make sure it was OK. I would
take one or two calls per day from customers or support people who needed some
help. I would go to 1 status meeting a week (more at the end). This describes
most of my 27 year career.
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:23 AM   #6
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I'm an engineer, have been for 14 years. The job is not like what you would think.

I spend all day communicating with people, mostly other engineers. I make powerpoint slides and graphs. I organize and run meetings. I write about three or four reports a year.

Designing things and solving equations are jobs for the recent graduates. Guys like me figure out which equations to solve, what needs to be designed and what it's supposed to do when its done.

I do still get to do some hands-on type stuff like running experiments and looking at things under a microscope. I guess that as you move up the payscale, you spend less time "doing" and more time "thinking".
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Old 05-03-2008, 05:14 AM   #7
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I'd suggest this, your library probably has it.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 9781580088671.jpg (16.4 KB, 123 views)
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Old 05-03-2008, 09:16 AM   #8
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I'm an entrepreneur. Why spend your time making your boss rich when you could make yourself rich directly?
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Old 05-03-2008, 09:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slepyhed View Post
I'm an engineer, have been for 14 years. The job is not like what you would think.

I spend all day communicating with people, mostly other engineers. I make powerpoint slides and graphs. I organize and run meetings. I write about three or four reports a year.

Designing things and solving equations are jobs for the recent graduates. Guys like me figure out which equations to solve, what needs to be designed and what it's supposed to do when its done.

I do still get to do some hands-on type stuff like running experiments and looking at things under a microscope. I guess that as you move up the payscale, you spend less time "doing" and more time "thinking".
My experience has been similar. I don't really get to do the hands on "fun stuff" any more. I suppose I get to make more decisions that affect the direction in which we are going, but that's less fun and more worry than I thought it would be. Bye-bye number crunching (which I love) and hello to interminable meetings, reviews, signing off on things, and powerpoint. And, I am one of the few at my level who was able to snag a so-called "technical" position instead of management so I am lucky.
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Old 05-03-2008, 11:19 AM   #10
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My experience has been similar. I don't really get to do the hands on "fun stuff" any more. I suppose I get to make more decisions that affect the direction in which we are going, but that's less fun and more worry than I thought it would be. Bye-bye number crunching (which I love) and hello to interminable meetings, reviews, signing off on things, and powerpoint. And, I am one of the few at my level who was able to snag a so-called "technical" position instead of management so I am lucky.
This was a key part of why my programming career was relaxing. I turned down all
promotion attempts and retired as a bottom level peon. I knew where my skill set
was (logic and numbers, not people). With a few (paid) exceptions, I worked no
overtime - 8 hours and out everyday, usually 6am - 2pm. The money was not bad
either - I would have had to go up several levels of management to significantly
increase my pay ($135k at the end).
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Old 05-03-2008, 04:37 PM   #11
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I run a group of IT/Quant people who build risk and valuation systems for the derivatives portfolios of an investment bank. I personally spend my time in meetings or answering email. I do very little hands on stuff anymore.
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Old 05-03-2008, 11:16 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by RetiredGypsy View Post
I'm stuck. I'm in a position where the training I've had in the Navy vs. what I'll actually be able to physically do are in disagreement, and have no idea what I want to do next. :confused:
I have to ask: What's your job? What do you actually do all day at work? What were you doing when you first started there?
Hey, I couldn't find much demand for running nuclear reactors or shooting missiles either.

The transition program's surveys & assessments all said that I'd make an excellent mid-level manager, maybe a nuclear engineer. Great.

You may have more skills than you think. If you have a security clearance then it's a great résumé bullet (since your employer doesn't have to spend as much money getting you a clearance). You already have the ability to show up on time every day, clean & sober, and work under deadlines. You can stay in decent physical condition. You can communicate verbally and in writing. You respond calmly to crises and you're not at all impressed by screamers or physical intimidation. You know how to take care of the building full of people when the fire alarm goes off, and you can probably even put out the fire.

One shipmate adapted the Navy's PMS system to building facilities maintenance. A bunch of us training instructors have developed curriculum (whether it's NAVEDTRA 130/131 or a civilian course, it's the same process). I know a half-dozen retirees who are running various forms of safety programs, CPR/first aid, personnel management, and customer-service help desks. Everyone wants veterans who know military/physical security.

I don't know if you've spent any time with the headhunters, but they can point you to the latest career assessment/survey systems and help you find something that trips your trigger. The guys I worked best with were Lee Cohen & Dave Mauerman of Lucas Group.

In every neighborhood there's a crying need for a handyman who can hang pictures, fix window screens, get the disposal running again, patch & paint drywall, fix the yard's sprinklers, and clean out dryer vents. You'd be surprised how many skills you can develop from FixItNow.com and a subscription to Family Handyman.

If none of this trips your trigger then you have to study martial arts, be a beach bum, give surf lessons, and be a full-time ER...
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Old 05-04-2008, 12:41 AM   #13
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Sounds like I am a younger version of CyclingInvestor (and managed by Maurice)
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Old 05-04-2008, 01:56 AM   #14
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I'm a project manager in a civil engineering/ land surveying firm. I supervise engineers, surveyors, and cad technicians, and prepare proposals, contracts, and project plans. I was a field surveyor and draftsman when I started.
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Old 05-04-2008, 06:40 AM   #15
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CEO of a multibillion dollar subsidiary of megacorp. Started in sales, worked my way up over about 25 years, with stops in marketing, finance and M&A positions. I don't do much of anything in those functions now, just endless meetings and judgement calls. It was sales visits all day every day when I first started.

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Old 05-05-2008, 01:15 PM   #16
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Before quitting (three years ago) to be a full-time mom, I was a county health inspector. I was responsible for a geographical district. How I managed it was pretty much my own business as long as I made my targets and quotas. I spent about 50% of my time in restaurant inspections, 30% in septic/well inspections, and the rest in festival inspections, pools, and assorted complaints.

If you've got math and science background, work well independently, and can handle conflict constructively, this is a great job. You're not in an office, there's not a lot of heavy lifting (plenty of driving, walking, stooping, crouching, and observing). It's a 8-5 gig with government benefits (but government pay).

Best part is that you can leave the job at work when you go home.

The job title is called "Environmental Health Specialist" -- contact your local health department for more info.

The kissing cousin to this job is an occupational safety and health specialist - you'd be responsible for workplace safety compliance in (usually) a manufacturing or industrial setting (including places like Costco warehouses, etc). Again, critical judgement, independent work ethic, and skills you've learned in the military will serve you well. Also, these jobs are usually for industry and have much higher earnings potential.
You might also consider (if you have any training in the area) emergency preparedness / disaster response work. If you can keep your head in a crisis and have some familiarity with logistics, it's an interesting choice, especially if you like to travel. There's private and government jobs in this particular area.

Like Nords said, you have a LOT of skills that employers are looking for and that transfer well.

Finally, keep in mind graduate school or further study. The ex-military folks rocked both my undergrad and grad programs because they understood how to do the work and get the job done. That's worth a LOT.

Good luck!
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