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Old 09-02-08, 05:50 AM   #1
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mid-life career change

Has anyone here made a radical career change mid-life? Gone back to school in order to start on a new career? I need some inspiration.

How hard was it? Did you have kids at the time? a mortgage? Was it worth it?
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Old 09-02-08, 07:33 AM   #2
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I did it at 35; but had no kids, so it wasn't too tough in that sense. The hardest thing for me was getting my foot in the door of something new. People looked at my resume, and (I imagine) said "He's a ____; why is he applying for a job as a _____?" Never mind that I'd explained all of that in my carefully and painstakingly written cover letters (Maybe I'd done a lousy job....)


It was frustrating and took a lot of patience and perseverance. But it was worth it in the end. It did require going back to school and I had to lean on spouse and mom for a while here and there which kinda blew. But in the end you just have to decide how important it is to make the change, figure out what is required in the way of school, experience etc, and then just do it.

I can make one suggestion - try volunteering, working part time and taking introductory courses in whatever it is you are moving towards WHILE you still are in your current field. Not only is it prudent in your determination that the new thing is not just a passing fancy or something you have idealized and don't actually like the realities of; it also looks good on your resume when you make more serious moves later on.

Good Luck!
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Old 09-02-08, 07:42 AM   #3
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I am doing just that right now. I am 54 years old and looking to eventually change. I have gone back to college to get my Bachelors Degree in order to teach what I have been doing for the past thirty years.

Nowadays it is called "distance education". We used to call it online. All colleges are now doing it to some extent. Full govt loans, no questions asked. I just can't see the construction industry getting any better in the very near future. So I am making the change.
I have a mortgage, wife, no kids at home.

It takes time away from my time spent with the wife. But since I am not working now, I try to do all academic work while she is gone. She still works and I am collecting unemployment now. It is a little tough as unemployment is only half of what I was used to, but so far we are doing okay.

Best decision I made even though this will take 3 to 4 years to accomplish.
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Old 09-02-08, 09:49 AM   #4
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I'm ready for such.

Bike building, pannier making, bicycle accessory creation--something--anything--anything other than preserving the horrors of war.


Wedding photographer is a horror of war to me, so that is out.
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Old 09-02-08, 09:50 AM   #5
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I am 57 and just came from the doctors office where I got TWO cortisone shots in my knees because of toting a camera and tripod for twenty plus years.

My work ours are irregular so evening classes are out but I am desperate to do something else but don't have the grades or the desire to get into graduate school and will probably need to stop work and take out loans to get into some alternate type of employment.

Hope to hear lots of inspiring stories.
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Old 09-02-08, 10:27 AM   #6
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I'm ready for such.

Bike building, pannier making, bicycle accessory creation--something--anything--anything other than preserving the horrors of war.


Wedding photographer is a horror of war to me, so that is out.
Ceramicist (sp?)?
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Old 09-02-08, 10:29 AM   #7
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Ceramicist (sp?)?
Speaking of which, we need to get together. Sorry I've been busy for the last week or so.
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Old 09-02-08, 10:44 AM   #8
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I'm ready for such.

Bike building, pannier making, bicycle accessory creation--something--anything--anything other than preserving the horrors of war.


Wedding photographer is a horror of war to me, so that is out.
Sorry, OT - Are you a news journalists?
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Old 09-02-08, 11:22 AM   #9
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Does anyone know if it's possible to get another bachelor's degree without having to do all the distribution requirements and such? I already did that stuff for my first bachelor's degree and I would not be eager to do it again. If I go back to school, I just want to learn what I want to learn and be done as soon as possible.

Cripes, just thinking about it is giving me pause. Another bachelor's degree will take like 7 or 8 years part time.
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Old 09-02-08, 11:26 AM   #10
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Does anyone know if it's possible to get another bachelor's degree without having to do all the distribution requirements and such? I already did that stuff for my first bachelor's degree and I would not be eager to do it again. If I go back to school, I just want to learn what I want to learn and be done as soon as possible.

Cripes, just thinking about it is giving me pause. Another bachelor's degree will take like 7 or 8 years part time.
I went back to school and took just the advanced courses. All the core curriculum transferred. Should be the same, but each school is a little different.
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Old 09-02-08, 11:33 AM   #11
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I am 57 and just came from the doctors office where I got TWO cortisone shots in my knees because of toting a camera and tripod for twenty plus years.

My work ours are irregular so evening classes are out but I am desperate to do something else but don't have the grades or the desire to get into graduate school and will probably need to stop work and take out loans to get into some alternate type of employment.

Hope to hear lots of inspiring stories.


See post #3. If I can do it with D's in high school...well anyone can.
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Old 09-02-08, 11:38 AM   #12
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I went back to school and took just the advanced courses. All the core curriculum transferred. Should be the same, but each school is a little different.


That's right, at Ashford University any credits can be transfered. Also each course is only five weeks long, then on to the next, with a full 3 credits given for its completion.

Can be done in any spare time blocks that anyone has. Perhaps a total of 5 -7 hrs a week in front of the computer. Hell, we already do that in Bike Forums!
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Old 09-02-08, 12:11 PM   #13
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Does anyone know if it's possible to get another bachelor's degree without having to do all the distribution requirements and such? I already did that stuff for my first bachelor's degree and I would not be eager to do it again. If I go back to school, I just want to learn what I want to learn and be done as soon as possible.

Cripes, just thinking about it is giving me pause. Another bachelor's degree will take like 7 or 8 years part time.
Could you give us some info on your previous degree and desired?
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Old 09-02-08, 12:19 PM   #14
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I earned a B.A. majoring in Speech (useless degree) in 1989 and worked for several years in sales related jobs. For a while, I felt that I had done a real disservice to myself when I was in school because I missed a lot of classes, didn't study much at all and barely graduated with a 2.3 GPA.

I started taking business classes at a local university at night in 1995 (while I was working full time during the day). At the time, I was married and had a mortgage but we had no kids. When I formally applied to the MBA program at that school, I wasn't admitted because my undergraduate grades were so poor. But I spoke to the dean of admissions at the school and because my grades at that school were very good and my GMAT scores were high, they accepted me on the condition that I maintained at least a 3.5 average.

I stopped working in 1997 to concentrate on school and study for the CPA exam. Passed the CPA exam in late 1997, earned my MBA in early 1998 and went to work for an accounting firm right after school was over.

In retrospect, it wasn't that difficult to do. Our mortgage was only $1,200 a month, so my wife's salary alone was enough to cover this plus the other expenses (food, transportation, clothes). The most difficult time was when I was working full time and going to school at night. I recall that I was tired almost all the time.

I'm really glad that I made the sacrifice, though. I'm a self-employed CPA now, and I have a lot of flexibility in my schedule. I work 20-25 hours a week and I'm earning more now than I ever did. I could probably work a lot more but I think I've found the right balance between work and play.
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Old 09-02-08, 12:34 PM   #15
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I earned a B.A. majoring in Speech (useless degree) in 1989 and worked for several years in sales related jobs. For a while, I felt that I had done a real disservice to myself when I was in school because I missed a lot of classes, didn't study much at all and barely graduated with a 2.3 GPA.

I started taking business classes at a local university at night in 1995 (while I was working full time during the day). At the time, I was married and had a mortgage but we had no kids. When I formally applied to the MBA program at that school, I wasn't admitted because my undergraduate grades were so poor. But I spoke to the dean of admissions at the school and because my grades at that school were very good and my GMAT scores were high, they accepted me on the condition that I maintained at least a 3.5 average.

I stopped working in 1997 to concentrate on school and study for the CPA exam. Passed the CPA exam in late 1997, earned my MBA in early 1998 and went to work for an accounting firm right after school was over.

In retrospect, it wasn't that difficult to do. Our mortgage was only $1,200 a month, so my wife's salary alone was enough to cover this plus the other expenses (food, transportation, clothes). The most difficult time was when I was working full time and going to school at night. I recall that I was tired almost all the time.

I'm really glad that I made the sacrifice, though. I'm a self-employed CPA now, and I have a lot of flexibility in my schedule. I work 20-25 hours a week and I'm earning more now than I ever did. I could probably work a lot more but I think I've found the right balance between work and play.


Good for you!!!
That is what I like to hear.
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Old 09-02-08, 12:36 PM   #16
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Sorry, OT - Are you a news journalists?
Freelance PJ, but mostly I'm doing print work for a group of war photographers.
I make their archival images that are sold to collectors and museums.

The most recent project is printing images on glass, 4x6 feet in size.

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Old 09-02-08, 01:04 PM   #17
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My sister is leaving a successful career in Marketing to go back to school to become a Vet.

Go for it! Even if you fail, you will have tried. There is no shame in that.

You will certainly regret not trying and wondering about what could have been.
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Old 09-02-08, 01:04 PM   #18
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Freelance PJ, but mostly I'm doing print work for a group of war photographers.
I make their archival images that are sold to collectors and museums.


cool - I worked with a coupla News Photo agencies in the 90s thru '05
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Old 09-02-08, 01:05 PM   #19
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Good for you!!!
That is what I like to hear.
Yeah, I'm Jealous - he's in Hawaii, too!
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Old 09-02-08, 01:07 PM   #20
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Does anyone know if it's possible to get another bachelor's degree without having to do all the distribution requirements and such? I already did that stuff for my first bachelor's degree and I would not be eager to do it again. If I go back to school, I just want to learn what I want to learn and be done as soon as possible.
Try to get directly into an advanced degree program -- don't screw around with the bachelor's. You may need to take a few remedial courses and you'll need to do a bit of catching up in the beginning, but that's a better way to go. Better degree, better courses, better prospects when you get out, much better financial prospects while you're in school.
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Old 09-02-08, 02:44 PM   #21
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Could you give us some info on your previous degree and desired?
Previous degree is a BA in mathematics.

I guess I'm not sure what the desired degree will be. Some kind of engineering maybe? I'm just sort of thinking that I need to start over. I'm really not at all interested in the careers one could get into with a math degree.

I'm about to turn 30 soon. I don't know if that qualifies as mid-life yet, but I'll be getting there before I know it. And for various reasons I think I'll probably be moving far away in the next few years, so I'm hesitant to start a degree program any time soon. I'd need to know I'm going to be in a certain place for a while before I do that.

But if I wait a few years, then start getting another degree, then get a job... Then we're talking 35-40 years old. (That's why I'm concerned about the mid-life career change.)

I'm open to the possibility that I may not need more education to start another career, but I'm still searching for what that might be. I just really want to do something that I don't hate. Actually liking it would be a plus.
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Old 09-02-08, 11:39 PM   #22
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I'll be doing just that in somewhere between 2.5 years and 10 years. At 45, I'll retire from the Navy and switch careers. Don't want to do the "beltway bandit" route or contracting. I think I'll teach - high school or community college.

That's one option, anyway. There's a couple of companies I could see myself working for, too.

I'll have an edge, though, in that I'll have a decent "base" income from my military retirement.
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Old 09-03-08, 12:06 AM   #23
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Wedding photographer is a horror of war to me, so that is out.
funniest thing I have read all day.
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Old 09-03-08, 07:40 AM   #24
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I'm about to turn 30 soon. I don't know if that qualifies as mid-life yet, but I'll be getting there before I know it. And for various reasons I think I'll probably be moving far away in the next few years, so I'm hesitant to start a degree program any time soon. I'd need to know I'm going to be in a certain place for a while before I do that.
I understand your concerns, but that's pretty common these days. You're at a very good age to do it. Just try to find what you like, and move towards it.
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Old 09-03-08, 10:30 AM   #25
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I'm in process of this now. 48 year old former truck driver headed on the long path to a PhD in Psychology.
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