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Help me decide what to do with my life
(1 viewing) (1) Guest

TOPIC: Help me decide what to do with my life

posted 21-11-2012 11:12
So, for long and not particularly scintillating reasons, I am currently unemployed. Not fully unemployed in that I am helping a friend and her small pug dog to try and launch a global bikini empire, but that's not a real job.

I left my last job due to disillusionment at the utter deceit and callousness that is rife in corporate culture. I always knew big corporations were soulless, and never set out to join one, what broke my heart was seeing how that culture seeped into and harmed genuinely nice people when our tiny little company was bought by a big one.

I'm now at a crossroads. I don't know if I want to carry on with my last career (sustainability consultancy aka mostly carbon accounting), but I know for certain I don't want to work for a big corporation ever again. I am considering secondary school teaching (have been avoiding our family legacy for long enough), or doing a masters in creative writing, or some sort of sociological research pHd, or something completely different, but I can't seem to summon the will to really do anything concrete at the moment.

Any and all suggestions welcome, or indeed stories of life / career changes. I find it actually helps to hear that other people have done abrupt about turns too.
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posted 21-11-2012 11:32
I've not made any abrupt changes meself (kind of happy with what I do, lucky bastard that I am) but I'd say the key lies in further education. It's a real cliche but try and sit down and write out a) what you're good at and b) what you enjoy doing. See where they overlap and then see if there's a course or job out there that covers it.
Sorry I can't be more help but you'd be surprised what getting it down on paper will do.
posted 21-11-2012 11:57
Consultancies are often small, aren't they? Could you do this and avoid the sort of corporate culture you don't like?

Bear in mind that the feeling inside corporations probably depends a lot on the general economic situation. Working for a City firm in the late 90s was pretty cheerful, with no sense that any of us were competing directly with each other.
posted 21-11-2012 11:59
I haven't worked for 8 years. Ignore me.
posted 21-11-2012 12:51
Depending on your age and family/economic situation, going back to school might be the best option. Not an easy option, certainly, but probably (hopefully) better than being unemployed.
posted 21-11-2012 12:56
I am pretty fortunate in that I can afford to go back to school if I want to (I have no dependents and reasonable savings). I think it is what I'm leaning towards, just need to work out what exactly I want to do.
posted 21-11-2012 13:00
Yes, considering retraining by going back to college, a HDip being one on the options - not the cheapest idea, but sometimes you've no choice but to reinvent yourself.
  • Femme Folle
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posted 21-11-2012 14:43
Hi Balders! Happy to hear from you, but sorry to hear things didn't go the way you had hoped. Earlier in my career (if you could call it that--it still just feels like a job, but after 20+ years, that's kind of denying the truth, isn't it?), I alternated working for small companies and large corporations. Small companies are more personal, which can be good or bad--or both at the same time. Large corporations often offer more opportunity for advancement, but when you're competing with hundreds or thousands of other people, it can be difficult to go anywhere, and it's more difficult to get noticed.

In the end, I have stayed with a small company (that has grown into a large small company), and I can't see myself going back to a large corporation (mostly because I hope my next career change will be retirement or self-employment).

The way I see it, you have to look at what works for you. I put up with a lot of crap at work sometimes, but what I get in return makes it worth putting up with. I think that's true of every job.

I only know you from what you've written on here, but I think you're a natural teacher (sorry!) and nurturer, and I could easily picture you working with special needs children. Or just children. Or even animals in need.

I wish you the very best in whatever you decide to do.
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posted 21-11-2012 15:00
I went back to school to start a new career when I was 28, and Mrs WOM went back to school to be a teacher when she was on maternity leave with our daughter.

Both of us are happy we did it when we did.

In the back of my mind, I already have my next career change plotted out, and it's how I'd like to run out the last 10-15 years of my working life. Possible first steps this coming spring.
posted 21-11-2012 15:35
Changing career again already, WOM?

Balders - From my experience I would just say there is a lot of variety between various big companies. The place I am at now is completely alien from my previous employer and (despite being huge) manages the small feel very well. Except maybe when I need to involve IT or have to work with a lot of outsourced people.

As for going back to school - I wouldn't necessarily advise against it, though am probably not as for the idea as I would have previously been. It can certainly work, but the burden of a few years back at University should not be underestimated (perhaps less so if not is the US, where the cost is insane).

Also, I think that sustainability should continue to be a pretty interesting space and am sure there will be opportunities outside of big corporations, where the objective is less about gaming the system.
posted 21-11-2012 15:41
I did an MSc in something completely different than what I had ever done up to that point. I didn't realise I could get into it with the previous qualifications I had, but I chanced my arm anyway (and twisted others' arms), because I found it interesting. And once you start doing something you are interested in, the ball starts rolling. In ways you never would have predicted before you started. It's not necessarily the extra qualifications that help you out - but doing something you are interested in. So don't do a masters just to do a masters.

If you do want to do a masters, it's worth taking into account that there are very low or no tuition fees in many countries in Europe, which by law have to be extended to all EU citizens. Loads of these MSc programmes are taught in English.
Last Edit: 21-11-2012 15:47:16 by Antonio Pulisao.
posted 21-11-2012 15:41
Balderdasha wrote:
I am pretty fortunate in that I can afford to go back to school if I want to (I have no dependents and reasonable savings). I think it is what I'm leaning towards, just need to work out what exactly I want to do.


Well, you have people here to chat about that experience if you want. My return to school was reluctant and has been far from easy to balance with family life, but finally getting to teach this semester (after a year of being a research asst.) sort of made it all worthwhile. Teaching Rossini and Verdi to impressionable young conservatory students - nice work if you can get it! (That being the issue - is there a full time gig at the end of this. But that's the Humanities for you.)
posted 21-11-2012 15:43
On dglh's point, I certainly wouldn't recommend doing it if it wasn't paid for in full, or for the most part. Too risky, unless maybe it were medicine, law or business.
posted 21-11-2012 16:05
Balderdasha wrote:
I left my last job due to disillusionment at the utter deceit and callousness that is rife in corporate culture. I always knew big corporations were soulless, and never set out to join one, what broke my heart was seeing how that culture seeped into and harmed genuinely nice people when our tiny little company was bought by a big one.

... I am considering secondary school teaching ...


I'm afraid you'll find that your first paragraph sums up how most secondary schools in England operate these days. Instead of training, trust and empowerment, you will get targets, directives and cuts.
  • WOM
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posted 21-11-2012 16:28
caja-dglh wrote:
Changing career again already, WOM?


Just trying to look down the road a bit and make small changes at my own pace. I really don't fancy doing at 55 what I'm doing now.
posted 21-11-2012 16:32
WOM wrote:
I really don't fancy doing at 55 what I'm doing now.

Neither do I.

Er, hang on...
posted 21-11-2012 16:39
I try to remind myself regularly of how lucky I am to have had options. The ability to contemplate striking out on a new path, when so many people in the world are effectively locked in place, is itself quite a luxury. As a smart man once said, we live in both the best and worst of times.
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posted 21-11-2012 16:54
Bono?
posted 21-11-2012 17:00
No, it was Geldof wasn't it?
posted 21-11-2012 18:54
It was almost me on Facebook today.

Alright, Balders. No helpful advice, as per, but glad to see you treading the boards of OTF once again. If it makes you feel any better I'm bored to the point of suicide at my job and don't have any other options. At least you've got that. Want to open a donkey sanctuary with me? Your cash, my knowledge of the subject matter.
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