Finances & Money

Problems with our scheduled programming

If you see an article titled “Our Secret to Success: Part Five: Controlling Your Own Destiny” in your feed reader or email, sort of ignore it. It was a draft I’ve been working on for months to round out my “Secrets to Success” series, but since I really have no idea what I want to do “when I grow up”, I’m having trouble finishing it. I was going through my articles to clean up some funky characters and I accidentally published it.

But if you do read it, any suggestions on how I can handle my desire to exit the IT world and find something more rewarding without going into abject poverty?

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Clever Dude


  • “any suggestions on how I can handle my desire to exit the IT world and find something more rewarding without going into abject poverty?”

    You too, eh? Been trying to figure that one out myself for a couple years now. Haven’t gotten anywhere, and in the meantime the rut just keeps getting deeper.

  • First of all, you only know you won’t make a good apprentice to someone who likes to work by himself. But there are a lot of apprentice programs through local colleges. At the North Seattle Community College, there were classes in HVAC, electrician work and a few other random specialties. After a certain number of courses, you completed your certificate through field work. So that’s something to look into. You could take the classes part-time and see if the material interests you/makes any sense whatsoever.

    Second, I think that you should consider taking an aptitude test to see what kinds of professions your natural abilities are inclined to. (And, yeah, IT will probably be one because you’ve been in it so long, some of your answers are bound to skew that way.)

    There is a book I picked up at a garage sale called “Your dream career for dummies.” I’d offer to send it to you, but I think we got rid of it when we moved. (It worked; my husband realized what he wanted to do once I went through the stuff with him.) At any rate, library or Amazon is bound to have it.

    If that doesn’t work, I’d actually do a search to find out where you could take an aptitude test or maybe even get an appointment with a career counselor. Worst case scenario, you might be able to make an appointment with a guidance counselor at a local community college. It’s a start, right?

  • I found it interesting that you are plugging IT as a stable paycheck. My family’s experience has been just the opposite. My husband is a programmer analyst with 30 years in the field (he started in the business making his own cables, holding the soldering iron with his teeth, because you couldn’t buy them anywhere). In the last three years, he’s been off-shored out of a job. Twice. We have been very lucky that he was able to stay in IT. He’s kept his skills current, added new skill sets as needed, and is very good at what he does. He applied for government IT positions he was fully qualified for and never got a response. The only thing he was offered this last time was a consulting position. It’s in his area of expertise, but when the company upgrades the system and software in a year or two, he’ll be out of a job again.

    I dunno — maybe government IT is more stable, but in the financial markets and especially insurance, it is not. And wages have been depressed for several years because of the off-shoring (they seem to be rebounding ever so slightly, though). He loves what he does, but he’s also getting older and employers don’t seem to have a sense of value for their dollar like they used to.

  • @Abigail, thanks for the tips. I hadn’t thought of an aptitude test. I definitely would lean towards IT, but not so much the technical side as I’m more of a systems administrator and business analyst.

    @Julie, IT here in D.C. has been a stable paycheck, and a growing one too. Granted, my first job out of college was with a Fortune 500 oil/gas company who were in a hiring frenzy, but 2 weeks after I left them for an out-of-state job, I found out they off-shored our department to Thailand. I just got out in time. Then, the company in PA I was working for got acquired by another firm, but I got out in time before any layoffs hit (which never materialized).

    I went into 4 years of federal contracting. I happen to have expertise, thanks to my first job, in a still growing field (especially here in D.C.) and it’s hard to find people like me. While I can’t just demand a job and salary anywhere, and expect to get it, I haven’t been hurting for a job and I’ve been blessed at that. If I moved to any other city, I’m sure I would find it much more difficult to find a job, especially since my skills are more appropriate for larger institutions.

  • Contribute large amounts of your paycheck to a savings account (on top of your normal emergency account) until you have enough to afford you to start over in a new field.

    What was your master’s in? Is a Ph.D an option?

  • @Melanie, my masters is in systems engineering, which is a generalized field similar to a technical project manager. There are Ph.D. options in the IT field, but I don’t think I want to focus on research or authoring.

  • I to have grown sick of IT. After 14 years of it, I am now on the management side (barely) and it is better than pushing configurations all day, but still IT.

    Since it takes about 10,000 hours of direct experience to become really good at anything, I realized that switching careers would be a waste and almost impossible. So my wife and I have decided to limit the time left to work instead of switching to something else.

    We gouged our 401k and paid off everything and will be moving out of our mortgage into a half priced rental (apartment). After that all extra money will go into savings that can be available when we are 45. It will mean living on 1/4th of our income and saving 3/4 of it. We will maintain the low spending levels after “retirement” at 45. Move somewhere warm and work odd and easy jobs to fill the gaps while we travel and enjoy life. I suspect that we will be fairly broke at 75, but who cares. We will be happy for 30 years doing whatever we want without bankers or bosses to inhibit.

    I’m not sure if this is easier than switching careers, but the thought of starting over and climbing that ladder all over again is dreadful to consider.

    We could not do this if we had not decided to sell the house. Renting the money and paying the upkeep was draining us and prevented us from considering options like changing cities or moving closer to work to save fuel costs.


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