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      11-08-2014, 08:32 PM   #1
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How did you know what you want to do?

How or when did you guys find out what your career would be? Are you doing what you like right now or are you stuck in a job that you hate but can't quit because you have obligations?

I ask because I feel unfulfilled. I am at a job that is pretty laid back and has really good work-life balance. However, I don't feel motivated and oftentimes I feel bored and unchallenged. I am hoping to find some answers or tips in the comments that you guys provide.
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      11-08-2014, 08:35 PM   #2
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I haven't figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I need to make a decision soon as retirement is only about 12 years away.
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      11-08-2014, 09:50 PM   #3
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But seriously, I am a liquor, beer, spirit salesperson for a distributor. My major was Health and Exercise Sciences.

Next time someone's asks you what you do, tell them your hobby or interests. That's what they do across the pond.
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      11-09-2014, 08:42 PM   #4
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i guess it was easy for me. i have always been a hands-on guy. i have always loved assembling lego sets and entertainment centers when I was a kid. Once I bought my first car (a 1990 325i) I couldnt afford to pay anyone to fix it so I bought some tools and read up on the forums and learned how to do things myself. I enjoyed it so I became an automotive technician. i do enjoy working on cars but i hate the politics and cheap ass customers that come with it, warranty flat rate pay sucks too. if i could find a job where I work on restoring older cars and being paid by the hour id do it. i just dont know if id be able to make the same ammount as i do now.
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      11-09-2014, 08:46 PM   #5
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Graduated with a degree in advertising, business and Dutch. Have been in sales since day one. Why did I start in sales? Could not find a job that tickled my fancy in the advertising field.
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      11-09-2014, 08:55 PM   #6
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My current job pays enough compared to how easy it is. A bit of long hours (55/week) but they seem to go by quick. I am in the process of getting into an entirely new career path that I was influenced into early on by a family friend. It's been taking me 1.5 years to get everything together for me to submit it though, lol.

Would you take a decent pay cut in order to get into the job that you want? I would.
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      11-09-2014, 09:26 PM   #7
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My first reply was a bit snarky, but there's a truth to it. I spent the first 8-1/2 years out of high school playing soldier. Loved the job until they tried to make me a recruiter. Got out and taught driver ed to GIs in Germany for a while. Left that and went back to the US and did asbestos removal for a year (job sucked, but pay was good) and went to school part time. Went to Germany again for a visit over Xmas and bumped into an American working for UPS. He said he could get me a job with UPS, so I stayed in Germany for a year and did that.

After a year I decided UPS wasn't what I wanted to do, so I went back to the States and ended up running asbestos projects. Really good pay for that considering I had no degree. Then I got hurt in a motorcycle wreck and was out of work for months. While recovering I went back to school and started driving a truck for my BIL's company. I finished school (BS in Geology) and did a 10 week internship at NASA and then got a job as an environmental geologist doing site assessments and building/installing remediation systems. That was cool.

The boss told me to learn how to network all the office PCs so we could have a server and shared printers (DOS/Win95/WinNT). I did that and wired the whole office and liked doing it so much that I applied for and got a job doing IT at a local university. That was 16 years ago and I'm still working at a university now as a technology advisor and instructor.

So I never really decided what I wanted to do. I just did whatever I could and eventually landed in a good spot. I guess you could say I decided what I didn't want to do a couple of times. But it's not always necessary to make a firm choice of what you want to do early in life. There's nothing wrong with that and if you do it and end up happy, you are a lucky person indeed. But it's also good to keep your options open until you find a good place to be.
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      11-09-2014, 09:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markus037 View Post
i guess it was easy for me. i have always been a hands-on guy. i have always loved assembling lego sets and entertainment centers when I was a kid. Once I bought my first car (a 1990 325i) I couldnt afford to pay anyone to fix it so I bought some tools and read up on the forums and learned how to do things myself. I enjoyed it so I became an automotive technician. i do enjoy working on cars but i hate the politics and cheap ass customers that come with it, warranty flat rate pay sucks too. if i could find a job where I work on restoring older cars and being paid by the hour id do it. i just dont know if id be able to make the same ammount as i do now.
Consider yourself lucky. Many people don't know what they want to do for the long term and I am one of those people. There are a lot of things I would like to do- things that involve cars, marketing, sales, helping people, etc. I just can't quite put a finger on it yet.

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Graduated with a degree in advertising, business and Dutch. Have been in sales since day one. Why did I start in sales? Could not find a job that tickled my fancy in the advertising field.
I'd love to go in advertising/marketing. I think I'd be pretty great at it. I did sales for about 5 years and thought about getting into it again. Not quite sure on whether it would be my career though.

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Originally Posted by Wrecker335d View Post
My current job pays enough compared to how easy it is. A bit of long hours (55/week) but they seem to go by quick. I am in the process of getting into an entirely new career path that I was influenced into early on by a family friend. It's been taking me 1.5 years to get everything together for me to submit it though, lol.

Would you take a decent pay cut in order to get into the job that you want? I would.
My current job is pretty chill. I work 40 hours a week and stress is very little to non-existent. It is definitely steady and stable. I just feel like I could do more and deal with people. Although I support others, I don't really deal with them that much on a daily basis. I enjoy solving problems too.

I would definitely take a pay cut for the perfect job/to do something I really, really enjoy.
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      11-09-2014, 09:51 PM   #9
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My first reply was a bit snarky, but there's a truth to it. I spent the first 8-1/2 years out of high school playing soldier. Loved the job until they tried to make me a recruiter. Got out and taught driver ed to GIs in Germany for a while. Left that and went back to the US and did asbestos removal for a year (job sucked, but pay was good) and went to school part time. Went to Germany again for a visit over Xmas and bumped into an American working for UPS. He said he could get me a job with UPS, so I stayed in Germany for a year and did that.

After a year I decided UPS wasn't what I wanted to do, so I went back to the States and ended up running asbestos projects. Really good pay for that considering I had no degree. Then I got hurt in a motorcycle wreck and was out of work for months. While recovering I went back to school and started driving a truck for my BIL's company. I finished school (BS in Geology) and did a 10 week internship at NASA and then got a job as an environmental geologist doing site assessments and building/installing remediation systems. That was cool.

The boss told me to learn how to network all the office PCs so we could have a server and shared printers (DOS/Win95/WinNT). I did that and wired the whole office and liked doing it so much that I applied for and got a job doing IT at a local university. That was 16 years ago and I'm still working at a university now as a technology advisor and instructor.

So I never really decided what I wanted to do. I just did whatever I could and eventually landed in a good spot. I guess you could say I decided what I didn't want to do a couple of times. But it's not always necessary to make a firm choice of what you want to do early in life. There's nothing wrong with that and if you do it and end up happy, you are a lucky person indeed. But it's also good to keep your options open until you find a good place to be.
Thank you very much for sharing that! I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experience. I was reading Michael Berger's "E-myth" book and he went through a similar thing- didn't know what he wanted to do and just did whatever that came along. At one point his brother-in-law suggested something and he found his calling and has been doing it for 30 years.

I recognized then that there are a lot of people that didn't find their calling until their 30's or even later in life. I suppose I am in that camp. I don't know whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. I just feel that I should do some soul searching since I'm about to reach 30.
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      11-09-2014, 10:20 PM   #10
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Fresh off of school, decision was mainly:
-whoever paid the most.
-whoever was the closest from home.
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      11-09-2014, 10:29 PM   #11
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I haven't figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I need to make a decision soon as retirement is only about 12 years away.


I stumbled into my field by accident and decided to stay. I was working in a bank as a teller PT and doing my undergrad FT. Applied internally for an auditor position and decided to pursue a degree in accounting. Moved on to work for several ad agencies (love the ad business) and now in financial consulting.
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      11-09-2014, 10:42 PM   #12
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To this day, I've never done anything as fun as the time I spent in a "Blues" platoon in Korea. That was a great year.

Check it out.
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      11-09-2014, 10:53 PM   #13
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m_six if you don't mind my asking, are you married?
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      11-10-2014, 12:58 AM   #14
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Some great points and stories in here, especially Mark's recounting of how life can sometimes take you in directions when you go with the flow.

For myself, I am a computer programmer. I never knew what I wanted to do. Didn't do well in school, because I didn't really care. Took all the AP classes and all that but in the end even though I applied to some colleges, still had no idea what I'd study.

Meanwhile, this entire time since I was about 7 or so (in Russia) - when I decided to go check out this computer class, wanted to sign up, got my brother interested, and the rest was history - we both ended up always heavily into computers. We ran our own BBS (precursor to what forums are today) back when 14.4baud modems were the norm and 56k was a unicorn. Did BASIC programming as a young kid and was hacking DOS command.com when I was like 10. I used to create ANSI drawings (using ASCII characters) from scratch using the character codes as a kid.

Dabbled with programming, and eventually during high school my brother taught me enough to be a web developer. I got my first ever job (contract) for $50/hr while still in senior year of high school. Dropped out to work full time for a public web company (during dot com bubble before it burst). My salary was more than most of the teachers were making so they couldn't really tell me not to do it.

I tried some other things along the way, some failed businesses, but always came back to programming; now I do it full time and I love it. Never went to college.

Sometimes it is just under your nose, something you've been into for a long time, that you can turn into a career. Other times, it's not so easy.

If you're approaching 30 and doing this soul searching, I suggest to reconnect with your inner little kid about what got you excited to be doing or playing with, and see if any of it resonates with a career change.

Could also be you're not being challenged enough where you are (you didn't mention what you actually do at your job) and might need a change of scenery/company rather than full blown career change.

It all depends on your ambition, value of what you do vs. how much you make, etc... Some people choose lower paying jobs that they can sleep better at night doing, whereas others will "sell out" and do something they hate or dislike but it brings home the bacon.

There's no right or wrong. I didn't always love programming and didn't see myself doing it permanently at first, but it was the one skill I had that I could cultivate and bring in an income that, without a college degree, is hard to match elsewhere. However after many years at it, it's become something I am really passionate about and love. I enjoy a challenge, problem solving, using critical thinking, and creating things all of which programming encompasses.

You can find your niche. It's out there. First, pinpoint what exactly is bothering you about the current situation, which will give you some insight as to how to go about correcting it.

Hope this helps.
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      11-10-2014, 01:15 AM   #15
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^ too long to quote so I'm just going to reply.

First, thank you for the insightful post! Second, to answer your question, I am a financial analyst. It is my first finance job and I'm coming up on tao years with it. As mentioned in another post, I have been involved in different industries doing completely different things; mainly because I didn't really have a direction to go toward. I wanted to try finance because I thought I was good with numbers so why not try it out.

After a while I realized it's not for me. I find it tedious and for the most part I don't really interact with others. I talk to my lead and co-workers here and there throughout the day but I often find myself being bored. I am more of a social creature and enjoy being out there dealing with others.

I don't really care about what I do anymore. I don't feel motivated to get out of bed in the morning. I come in later than I did before. I find no meaning in my work. I did read somewhere that I should go back and try to remember what I enjoyed as a kid. I haven't really thought much about it except I know I like interacting with people, traveling, helping others, and doing something meaningful.
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      11-10-2014, 01:21 AM   #16
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What does "something meaningful" mean to you?
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      11-10-2014, 01:28 AM   #17
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What does "something meaningful" mean to you?
I like helping people. For example, helping forum members get good deals on cars, donating to the homeless, or planning trips for friends and family. I like taking care of things for people.

Don't get me wrong though. My company does important work and it feels nice being part of it. However, I feel like I'm not really contributing all that much. In other words, I can be easily replaced.
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      11-10-2014, 01:34 AM   #18
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Interesting. With your financial background, perhaps something like financial planning, managing portfolios, or similar, may be a natural progression. Many people need this kind of help and my limited understanding is that it can also be a lucrative career path or even business path.

Donating to the homeless or volunteering is obviously not a career, and you can do it alongside anything you do as your main bread and butter.

Another option is taking your financial skills and working for a non-profit whose mission you align with. This tends to be lower pay but can be rewarding.

One of my most rewarding projects was setting up an ERP system from scratch for a statewide non-profit that has helped and continues to help tens of thousands underprivileged kids have mentors and do well in school, and provides each of their kids - every one - with a college education, all completely free to the kids as long as they meet the requirements with their grades and mentoring.
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      11-10-2014, 04:30 AM   #19
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+1 on a lot of stuff the Professional Orangeer said.

I found that I wanted to be in business when I was going through high school. I couldn't find anything that I really liked or wanted to do to the future. Nothing excited me much except of the concept of making money. I had no clue how I was going to make money but it definitely wasn't through the means of employment or some sort of profession. Went to school and got my degree in Business just for the purpose of learning the basics with trade, accounting, finance, marketing etc.

Fast forward about 7 years and numerous jobs with low pay, I decided to go into manufacturing due to the opportunities at the time. I have no passion for the field or business I'm in. I have no love for manufacturing or the products that I produce. What I do love is the money it brings in. Money and time is what I have gained after couple years and I can spend said money and time to do the things that I actually enjoy. I still enjoy the daily challenges of managing a business and the problem solving but it doesn't really satisfy me that much compared to spending time with my family or golfing.

I find that its really hard to truly enjoy a career or business when you still rely on it for your financial needs. I could be manufacturing dildos or selling fish for all I care, its all the same to me. It all depends on ROI and time invested. Fulfillment for me comes from other things unrelated to work and I like to keep it that way. Work is work. Some people live to work, I work to live.

OP if you're bored and unchallenged at your workplace, why not use the free time to start something on your own? Could be an online store that sells bacon or goat porn, whatever you like, just make sure the initial investment is low and keep it that way. Creating something out of nothing and making money is also very fulfilling in its own way.
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      11-10-2014, 07:46 AM   #20
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lol @ goat porn.

I didn't know that this is what I wanted to be. In fact, I don't think I'll want to be this 5 years down the road. I started manufacturing work early, worked under all the old fucks and did whatever they told me and learned a ton. Went into prototype CNC setups and programming like wire EDM, milling, cutter grind, and lathe. Enjoyed making something from nothing, now I get to mainly work on prototype drawings and product development.


I really want to make sandwiches, though. LOL
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      11-10-2014, 08:33 AM   #21
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m_six if you don't mind my asking, are you married?
Yes, I am.

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I really want to make sandwiches, though. LOL
Bacon sammiches, right?
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      11-10-2014, 08:37 AM   #22
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Bacon sammiches, right?
I was unaware there was any other kind!

Billups Bacony Palace, I'd call it.
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