Anyone broken free from professional life? Warning: rant

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  • Sounds intense! Sorry to hear you had a breakdown, but good you’re recovering and have family support. As someone who also kind of quit their primary industry and is immeasurably happier for it, I hope you’re able to take things at a healthy pace and find something you really enjoy. What’s your background?

  • I'm with Eseman! Breakdown's can feel very damaging but if you consider your two positions, one of being in a job you hated (past) and one of being unemployed with an open mind (present), your current position is a big step closer towards having a job you find fulfilling. This is the position you need to be in to make the next step. I'd ask yourself "what job characteristics do I tend to enjoy?" and see where that leads.

  • Thanks. Finance/Compliance/Logistics. Shudder. I am fortunate in that my wife is able to keep the household ticking over financially. Having the kids home this last year has also been a blessing for me too. I've been driving around food parcels one day a week for the last 6 months or so and doing a lot of DIY! Onwards and upwards....

  • Restructure at work has left me without a role in the first phase (management) of consultation and so I'm now rolled into phase two (non management) in which I'm highly likely to get one of the roles seeing as those roles were my old role prior to becoming management.

    I could try for voluntary redundancy which would be a nice wedge and it will be a nice break off point to go move to Sweden like we have been wanting to do for a while but I have no idea what I want to do going forward.

    The other half has said she will back me if I wanted to go back to uni to study or if I wanted to start my own business. But I didn't do very well with uni when I went in my early 20s and I've never really been the entrepreneurial type so not sure what I would do.

    I'm a bit lost to be honest. I'd quite happily move to Sweden and do something completely different. I just don't know what and also I've finally for the first time gotten used to actually not living paycheck to paycheck as I did for the first 35 years of my life and now have a little money behind me. I don't want to go backwards in terms of job or ability to afford things.

  • Let me know if I can help with anything Sweden related, more than happy to chat moving here (back home for us), places to live and work.

  • The difference between you at 20 and you now will be pretty significant. You might find Uni suits you better at this age.

    Also, 2 years ago I went back for a Masters in my late 40s. Even though I am about to start a new role to further my new career, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Learning is not a "one and done" thing. It's finding new things that interest you.

    Perhaps taking the money and then taking some time out to just work it out may be your best option.

  • I'm starting a full time master's in health data sciences at lshtm September. I'll turn 40 during the course.

  • Always take the money, having been made redundant twice, latest happening last month, it’s a lump sum of money that you'll probably never have a chance to get in your hands unless you win the lottery.
    If you’re not satisfied with the job, or the people you work with, don’t feel the need to just hang on in there for the sake of a pay packet.
    Having the money frees you up to do other things, whatever they are.

  • Thanks, if it happens I may well take you up on that.

  • Thats the thing, I fairly enjoy the work and the people and the firm overall is good to work for. I just got bested by 4 people with more management experience, (I only stepped into management in June last year). Its just fairly frustrating to be bumped backwards into non management and putting the career back a year or so. Any future management opportunities will come along less frequently and come when I am part of a bigger team with more people also wanting those roles.

    Its been a weekend of much reflection and I have got a lot done round the house as an attempt at distraction. I even managed to not think about it for a whole hour today.

    I will wait and see what the next meeting brings, cant make any choices yet.

  • it's great to hear your stories. generous. sharing is caring.

    im nearly 40. I don't hang too much on the term 'professional'. i try to make work which is honest and effortful and high quality. i want to leave the world in a better state than i found it through my work. ambitious perhaps the world is wrecked by greed, mistakes and conflict but we can all make some positive changes which help.

    I started in community bike shops in Oxford, London and Holland. Loved it; the fixing, building, social aspects and skill-sharing.

    Now working in craft stonework (dry stone walling) and landscaping in North East Scotland. I hope to share this work/skill more as I did with bikes. (see my most basic of basic webpages: https://schoolofstone747436741.wordpress­.com/ )

    keeping learning (beginners mind) and pressing against the edges of my comfort zone works for me. immersive creative work is often it's own reward and enough money is the by product. working with nature is powerful. i never got on with I.T. and don't get me started on A.I. or the rise of the robots.

    volunteer in areas which interest you; will lead to friendship and other opportunities. i help with just now which combines my interests and work nicely.

    not every day or week works especially when I try and draw comparisons, look for recognition/praise or just have worn out back/joints. but cycling is still such therapy (dodging trees rather than traffic now mostly).

    as in cycling and dry stone walling, in life i try to find and maintain balance whilst having fun, looking after myself and others and pulling off the occasional trick.

    good luck and be kind (to yourself 1st).


  • About 7 months ago I first posted here about a possible escape route from my job (teaching) in to career/life coaching and I want to post an update.

    I left my day job Feb 11th and am approaching, but still some way off, making a living wage for my city almost 4 months later. My first paying client was an lfgss member looking to improve their job satisfaction and my most recent client is a local start up CEO looking to experiment with coaching to improve their company. Working as self-employed for the first time has been just so awesome.. I've never enjoyed that kind of flexibility at work as a teacher or as a bar manager (always working xmas day and NYE).

    The space to explore this business/sector has been huge but my current challenge is whether or not to pick up some regular work on the side to sustain myself while I build up my experience and client base to a point where it can be sustainable/financially viable.

    If anyone's curious about anything coaching or wants to chat, send me a message here or check out my website . Be great to hear what other people are up to, the last year has no doubt been catalytic in some ways.

  • Very interesting. I think life coaching can be a good olive branch for people who feel stuck in a career or way of thinking about work.

    I started this thread a long time ago because I was unhappy as a doctor. I have successfully transitioned to C# .Net software developer - on my second job now and far happier.

  • How long and how did the transition take place for you? Any tips you could offer to anyone looking to take a similar path?

  • Would you be up for a chat on the community bike shop angle? Gonna be starting something along those lines soon and would appreciate it.

  • Sure. What's best ? Call, email or zoom?

  • The good news is, to be a software developer you don't need any qualifications. I have no professional software qualifications or certifications. There is also a massive shortage of people who can code.

    You do need to be able to demonstrate that you can solve logical problems - most practical, handy people are good at this - and have a portfolio or GitHub public profile showing your commitment to the field.

    I have dabbled in code on the side for over 20 years so I had a lot of examples to show, but then again being a qualified doctor got me a lot of automatic rejections at HR stage as I didn't fit in the pigeonhole.

    My first job out of medicine was at a telemedicine startup, doing content writing and marketing. Then I did a bit of freelance PR and web design work off the back of that job with someone I knew who did PR. Then I started applying for web development jobs and got one with a small consultancy. Then I got my current job in commodities trading software through a specialist C# .Net recruitment agency.

    The rough steps for anyone to be a programmer:

    1. Get competent. Do courses like FreeCodeCamp and look through examples on W3Schools, work through tutorials, do code challenges and tests on these sites. Don't worry too much about the language as you can switch pretty easily once you know how to write code. But I would advise looking at job requirements on job sites and choosing a popular programming language. C# and .Net Framework are in huge demand.

    2. Build up a portfolio of work. Use the skills you learned in step 1 to make things. Simple applications, web pages, basic things like a to do list web page. Just show you have basic programming skill, which a lot of "programmers" surprisingly lack. There are a lot of lazy, bullshitting charlatans in the field. But you can be better and beat them.

    3. Play the numbers game. Keep applying for jobs, sign up for the recruitment agencies, put in hundreds of applications. Take notes after your interviews and work on improving. You will get better at interviewing and it takes practice. Also be humble. Expect a low salary for your first year of work, then you can ask for far more for job 2 like I did.

  • The good news is, to be a software developer you don't need any qualifications.

    That's bad news for many of us.

  • I broke free. I spent my whole adult life working my way up the chef ranks, ended up in head chef positions at some well established places. Just before lockdown I decided I had enough of it all and quit taking a minimum wage telesales job (inbound for charities).

    A month later I was tipped off to a bicycle mechanic position and my mate could put a good word in as I didn’t have any qualifications or professional experience. A year later and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. The only issue I have is managing things over a long time (jobs aren’t always finished that day due to stock issues). I’m cheffing everyday was fresh and I didn’t have to remember yesterday, just moved forward.

    Still I can’t imagine going back, even though the pay is shit.

  • This was an excellent read. Sorry to @ you.

  • Jump on the bandwagon. Every company is going to be a tech company if it isn't already. The tech industry is holding the global economy afloat after this pandemic. And tech is bringing with it more opportunities and jobs than you can imagine, without the barrier of credentialism. You don't need to be a programmer either. There are a huge number of jobs in tech that do not involve programming.

    Edit: unless you said that because you are already a programmer who thinks the industry is going to be flooded with skilled foreign workers? In that case I disagree. Very few actual programming interview candidates can pass the FizzBuzz test, which is meant to be a test of the most basic programming skill. Charlatans everywhere!

  • Being a chef and a doctor (like I was) are probably quite similar occupations. High stress, high throughput, lots of arguing and breakdowns!

    Well done on your transition to something more enjoyable.

  • I've been working in the 'tech industry' for almost thirty years, and expect to for the rest of my career. I want more people to do so, especially women and other unrepresented groups.

    But, and this might be controversial, I want people to have a good understanding of the basic concepts, and too often these days I interview developers who don't.

  • Thanks. I spent my adult life chasing a goal, working my way up and one day I just couldn’t work out why. I didn’t enjoy it anymore. On the upside I now cook for fun again.

  • And yet, Andy, when I interviewed for a job with you you spent most of the hour complaining about your shoes and 'young people' and very little time asking me about my qualifications even though I had all my certificates and badges with me and was willing to do 50 metres in the pool right there and then.

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Anyone broken free from professional life? Warning: rant

Posted by Avatar for Invent @Invent