T Nation

43 and Switching Careers - Any Suggestions?


#1

All-

I always appreciate the advice I read on this board. I'm 43 and considering a career change. I've been doing television advertising for 11 years. Great career, but I need something different.

I have a degree in English and an MBA in Finance. I'm used to making 120-150k per year. I'm just a little tired of advertising and need something different.

The problem is, it's not easy walking into a new industry and making 100k+ out of the gate. I'm raising three boys full time as a single dad, I have to be selective what I get into.

Some ideas I have: financial advisor; manufacturer's rep; telecommunications sales. I'd love to own a gym but I don't think that will bring the cheddar.

I'm open to ideas, and appreciate any suggestions.


#2

How long have you been seriously considering this?

Where do you live? (Region is fine, I’m think cost of living)

What is the least amount of paycut you can take without significant changes to your lifestyle?


#3

About 6 months. Baltimore, MD. I have a good nest egg, but I am raising 3 teenagers.


#4

There is a lot of risk here man. I sort of feel like you’d be better off with a sports car or banging a stripper here.


#5

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
There is a lot of risk here man. I sort of feel like you’d be better off with a sports car or banging a stripper here. [/quote]

Mm-hmm, I think holding until the kids are grown is probably a good idea.


#6

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
There is a lot of risk here man. I sort of feel like you’d be better off with a sports car or banging a stripper here. [/quote]

Couldn’t agree more. You’ve got three kids depending on you and you are making good money as it is. If you had more of a plan I’d say go for it but it sounds like you are just looking for change for the sake of change. I could be wrong about this though.


#7

Do you really loathe your job right now? I mean with that type of money I wouldn’t look for something else unless you hated your job or you didn’t have any time with your kids because you were always working.


#8

This is exactly why a sports car market and plastic boobs exist.


#9

In fairness to OP, he didn’t necessarily say he was leaving his job tomorrow. Might just be bouncing ideas around, but not planning to execute any of them until 1) the kids are grown or 2) he’s found that perfect situation where he can jump someplace and enter making 100K.

OP, I’m naturally a pretty risk-averse person so I probably wouldn’t make the move without a guaranteed salary, but if you’re one of those bet-on-yourself types, you might consider some commission-based careers, particularly if you consider yourself a real slick talker and salesman. I wouldn’t do it, myself, but maybe you’re into that sort of thing.


#10

OP, I spent most of my career recuiting financial advisors. Based on your experience you sound like a strong candidate if you can handle 6-12 months “ramping up” a nice way to say not making much money and you find a firm that has a strong training program and a focus on development. Success in the business means low 6 figures in year 2, and 3-400k at 5-7 years. You have to start with a strong personal network and be willing to mine that network all the time.

However, making the change has a high risk/reward attached to it. I’d reach out to the local Northwestern Mutual office. They have the best training for new people. Have a conversation, but be cynical about everything they tell you. If the recruiter is a pretty, young girl, sort of common to attract the young men, you might want to deal with it until you talk to an actual manager/FA doing the job. The girl is going to tell you what you want to hear and what they tell her to tell you. The manager is too busy to waste time bullshittting someone so you’ll have an idea of what it takes.


#11

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:
In fairness to OP, he didn’t necessarily say he was leaving his job tomorrow. [/quote]

Yeah, you’re right.

However, I just don’t feel comfortable giving advice beyond what I did. Too much risk here, and I think OP is a smart person, particularly the 6 months he has been thinking about it before even looking for advice (on the internet aside), it’s just I personally can’t really give any better advice than I already did.

I did not intend to sound judgmental, and apologize if I did.


#12

How is the market (current and near-future) for advertising jobs? Would it be difficult to get your current job back and/or find something very very comparable within 3-6 months?

I can’t speak to the parenting side of things, but as long as you have the ability to financially cover your lifestyle for that duration (i.e., the time spent exploring the new career + the time returning to your current one), I’d say go for it.

If you haven’t done it already, I’d look at your current cashflow situation and getting a good handle on what you’re willing to cut out, just so that if things go south for a bit, you know where to make cuts and still maintain your sanity. And then also have a couple layers of backup plans from a cash standpoint; stuff that you won’t touch until you really really need to, and then the stuff you’ll only touch when that runs out.

But, again, the parenting side of things could completely throw a wrench on things. If you’re just by yourself, the stress from the change doesn’t really affect anyone else.


#13

I’m in a similar position as you (42, three kids, looking for new career) and after a year of looking hard, my advice to you would be to suck it up until your financial responsibilities to your kids are complete.

Without industry experience, it’s going to be very, very difficult to break the 100k level off the bat. You could slide into a high level, non-managerial job that you’re over-qualified for, making $70 - 85k right now and hope in 3-5 years you’re close to making the kind of money you’re making right now.

No matter what the BLS job numbers say, this economy sucks for the white collar (non-technical) employee making $150,000+. I was looking at jobs on LinkedIn that 500+ people were applying for. It reminds me of the early 80s when you had 1000 people lining up in the middle of the night to try and get one of three spots as a baggage handler at an airport.

My advice: stay where you’re at and start focusing on building your network. If you don’t have a LinkedIn page, build one. Start contacting via LinkedIn people you know but haven’t talking to in years. See who in your network works in fields you find interesting and ask them out for coffee. Get their impressions of their industry and where they think it’s headed in the next 5-7 years. Do you have gaps in your education or resume? If so, start filling those. Then, when you see the light at the end of the financial tunnel, look to make your move.

If you really want to be a financial adviser or manuf rep, see if there’s anyone in your network who currently does that. They may know someone who is either 1) looking to retire/get out of the business, or 2) looking to bring another person on. It’s much easier to work with an existing book of business than starting anew.


#14

If anything, I’d stick around until after the next pres. election… you should rake in boatloads of cash.

A lot of folks in regional economic development come from a sales/media background. I can’t offer any input on income, but there are a lot of public position incomes that are published; if your current company is part of the chamber of commerce or something, you could get involved that way.

If you’re just kind of bored, I’m sure baltimore has a number of programs to help startup businesses. You could go to one of their networking events, there’s usually a good mix of tech folks and business folks. You may find someone looking for 10 hours of consulting/week in exchange for equity, which may turn into a fortune or may just be 10 wasted hours. If anything, you might meet some advertising clients.


#15

[quote]ProRaven wrote:
I’d love to own a gym…

I’m open to ideas, and appreciate any suggestions. [/quote]

To me, this sounds like you’re just bored. As others said, that’s what 23 year old blondes and convertibles are for. What are your current hobbies and interests? Can you use your current salary to find fulfillment elsewhere?

Do you volunteer, coach any of your kids’ sports, travel, cook, paint, spend time woodworking, skydive, scuba dive, etc? Having an active life out of work makes the time spent at work much, much more tolerable.


#16

Have you considered Porn?

i think that would be a good alternative, if you have the goods, that is~

My $ 0.02~


#17

[quote]Edgy wrote:
Have you considered Porn?

i think that would be a good alternative, if you have the goods, that is~

My $ 0.02~[/quote]

good to see it’s worked out for you, Edgy.


#18

Two quick points:

1.) If you explore your opportunities, go through some interview processes and get offered a position in a different field, one that you feel will be more enjoyable to you, and they offer the kind of money you’d be comfortable with, then question answered. No need to continue “sucking anything up.” You’re off in a bright new direction, money is fine, and it can be just what any thinking/feeling human needs at times: a change. So go out and interview for some things.

2.) Take it from someone who knows a SHITLOAD about the financial services fields: If you are looking for a change for the better in terms of interest in what you’re doing, passion for your work, lifestyle, and new fire in the belly, Do. NOT. go into financial services. Everyone who’s been in it until your age or a little older is trying to make a switch just like you right now, only in the opposite direction, unless they’re making money that they’re just not willing to give up. (Yes, the money can be fantastic, no doubt. But no, you will not refresh your soul in finance – you will crush it.)


#19

I’d also look to small to medium businesses in your area. I don’t know if you’re on the business or creative side, but you could slide into an executive level marketing job. Any managerial experience?


#20

[quote]Damici wrote:
NOT. go into financial services. Everyone who’s been in it until your age or a little older is trying to make a switch just like you right now, only in the opposite direction, unless they’re making money that they’re just not willing to give up. (Yes, the money can be fantastic, no doubt. But no, you will not refresh your soul in finance – you will crush it.)[/quote]

Shit, all I needed were a handful of courses in college to learn that, lol