Mid-career dilemma-- need advise

lack of clarity in what to choose for future

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Mid-career dilemma-- need advise

#1  Postby punter18 » Apr 10, 2012 5:44 am

Hello.

I am in a mid-career dilemma right now. I thought that graduating with a business degree (MBA) would be the end of my studies and I could start with my work career smoothly like most people do. That didn't happen. Far from it. More than two years ago I was bubbling with enthusiasm that I would start a new career and do well in sales, even though I knew I never liked doing it. The job didn't work out for me, and I switched to a job of research analyst.

It turned out to be even more stressful than my previous job, and I almost entirely buckled down under office politics. I had to quit because it was playing havoc with my mental state and physical health and I was never enjoying the job. I decided to learn German instead to bolster my resume and fulfill my dream to travel abroad and work in more "friendlier" environment, whatever that is supposed to mean.

I realized that maybe pursuing a business degree wasn't worth it and that it would be okay for me to pursue something that I could consider worthwhile. But my difficulty lies in my uncertainty to choose a career that would truly be worthwhile and not too difficult to complete. Needless to say, I can consider doing something that does not end up making me a corporate lackey. Any job that is interesting and can help with monthly drudgery. That may include a lot of sacrifices and reduction in prestige, etc, but it's better for me to retain my good health and to be able to find wholesome leisure than being arsed about making presentations and attending to client meetings, etc.

This does not mean, however, that I would treat ANY job as a drag. Simply put, if it is able to utilize my skills and interests, I would most certainly put my heart to it. But this is where it gets hard for me. I simply have no idea what I want to choose. I could go on, but if readers get the gist, may be they could make useful suggestions. Anyone?
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Re: Mid-career dilemma-- need advise

#2  Postby Mononoke » Apr 10, 2012 5:47 am

start your own thing. That's what i did, I'm much happier for it
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Re: Mid-career dilemma-- need advise

#3  Postby Sgt Kelly » Apr 10, 2012 6:37 am

Here's my experience, for what it's worth. Beware, it's not very uplifting.

It certainly sounds like you're not cut out for the corporate ratrace which is something I can sympathize with. A few conclusions I have drawn for myself :

1. People are people wherever you go

90% of them are arseholes for a variety of reasons (insecurity, pressure from the home front, coming from a long line of distinguished arseholes...). The other 10% range from OK to those very rare specimens you feel you actually value and can learn something from. Moving around trying to get away from nasty, boring or uninspiring people is pointless. So is conducting a constant lone battle with the 90%. Save your real attention for the 10% and conduct yourself in such a way as to get by with a minimum of strife with the rest. It took me a long time before I realized that a little dishonesty does not constitute a betrayal of my principles when dealing with people who have no scruples themselves. You can't beat them so, to an extent, you must join them.

2. You can't accomodate a souldestroying job into your life

A job with normal working hours takes up such a huge chunk of your life that you can't recover mentally in the time left over if it takes too much out of you. If you really feel like you're going home drained of your will to live every day, get out of there. It's an old cliché, but try to work to live instead of living to work.

3. Fun jobs for all is a myth

Just like not everybody will find their ideal partner in life, not everybody will find their ideal job. It assumes knowing what you want, for starters. I'm always amazed at how people think it's so obvious and trivial to know what you 'want'. I find it hard to believe that all the accountants in the world 'wanted' to be an accountant when they were 18... Making your own way (as Mononoke suggests) does actually require a number of talents which, again, not everybody is endowed with. In fact most people probably aren't. Don't feel bad if you can't see your way to doing this. If you can, it's probably the best advice you can get.
However if you do have to take a job from somebody else remember that, contrary to popular belief, jobs aren't actually meant to be fun. I always remind myself that if my job were so much fun, they'd probably find someone to do it for free.

4. Have something to work on outside of your job

I find it's good to have an actual project to work on outside of work. By that I mean something other than just passing the time until you have to go to work again. An actual realization of some kind. Play in a band, join a sports team. Doing something where you're also part of a whole but actually on your own terms and of your own free will goes some way towards balancing out the fact that you have to spend much of your life being somewhere you don't particularly want to be, doing something you don't particularly want to be doing. With luck, it will also give you a different perspective on collaboration with other people.

FWIW...
Last edited by Sgt Kelly on Apr 10, 2012 2:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mid-career dilemma-- need advise

#4  Postby wtargentina » Apr 10, 2012 9:47 am

Mid career dilemma at age 24????? Were you planning on retiring at 30? I'm 42 and I still don't know what I'm going to do when I grow up.
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Re: Mid-career dilemma-- need advise

#5  Postby z8000783 » Apr 10, 2012 10:52 am

Firstly Make a list of ALL the things you (would) enjoy doing that you could earn money from while you are doing them.

Make the list as long as possible. If you are not sure about any find a job that does it and see what it's like.

John
I don’t simply believe in miracles - I rely on them
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Re: Mid-career dilemma-- need advise

#6  Postby Made of Stars » Apr 10, 2012 11:14 am

I went from medical research to a proper job (pharma rep) at age 28, did that for a few years as my stepping stone into corporate life (couldn't do it forever) and haven't looked back. At 43 I've shifted into a different branch of the healthcare industry to broaden my experience and hopefully open up other opportunities.

My advice is to see each step in your career as broadening and deepening your CV. I don't have a particular goal in mind, beyond making a good (great) living, and having a stimulating job. Healthcare corporations tick both those boxes for me, so far.
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