Careers - Restarting

Apologies for the serious post.

Its coming to the time that I feel a need for a change of career and have no idea where to start…

As some of you may know, I’m currently working for an Aerospace company in Oxfordshire, and for the last 6-7 years (out of 10 at the company) I’ve been doing mainly Facilities Management as well as other bits of IT, CAD/Design Work (Models & Renders) Exhibition Design & Management, Photo/Graphics (inc Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom etc).
The day job includes Line Management, H&S inc IOSH course, CDM, Procurement for example as well as anything else you can imagine Facilities looking after day-to-day, including cleaning toilets.
This is a 35-hour week job, in the office, onsite and it pays well, with good benefits such as 30-days holiday, annual bonus for example but I really don’t like the job. I can do it, and seemingly well (on the annual appraisals) but it feels like I’m a Jack of All Trades, where I do my main job and a few little bits of the stuff I like.

Usual interests out of work are the obvious Music/Hifi, Photography, Films, Architecture/Design.

We are at the stage where the Wife has just got a new job, with a healthy pay rise which take some of the pressure for me to take a more ‘entry’ role somewhere, if needed to start again. We have no kids at the moment although they are planned in the next year or so, and with that in mind I’d be the likely house husband/main caring role if required.
Relocating is not on the cards, we have just bought a house and starting to renovate, the wife has taken a job in London but working from home 95% of the time.

I’m certainly not going to leave and do the same elsewhere, in this day and age, with the benefits listed above I could carry on and don’t want to leave just because, but it seems an ideal time to re-evaluate where I’m at, and especially post COVID, where working from home/flexible hours is more accepted.

Has anyone done a similar restart in their occupation, without knowing exactly what you wanted to do?
And any resources or advice?

Just to add, this is something I’ve been thinking about for the last year or so but due to various factors (at work and home) it was not viable.

Decide where you want to land before you jump.


Rob, it sounds like you actually have a pretty good job. Why not identify what you don’t like and raise those issues with your management before jumping ship?


Oh of course, I’m not just going to hand in my notice without having a plan, just no idea where to start!

Yes, the job is great, if you like Facilities Management, the problem is I don’t, I do it as it needed to be done at a rapidly expanding company. All of the stuff I do like (Photography, Exhibitions, Design etc) is now all outsourced so there is not a role at this company for it. I have asked and positioned myself over the past 3-4 years to take on that role to no avail.
Every annual appraisal (with a different director/manager every couple of years) its raised, what I’ good and and how that could be applied to my role, and every year nothing happens and I’ve drifted further away from what I joined the company to do.

I would start by listing what I want from a job and go from there.

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I just want to stick something up that you can take to be facetious but bears repeating.

If you commoditise something you previously did for fun, you stand a better than evens chance of it ceasing to be fun. I think you were on the Zoom pub where I mentioned in full honesty, that one of the reasons I do what I do is because I find it fairly straightforward to do it to an acceptable level; my existence is predicated around the path of least resistance. This means that I’ve never really had it ‘soured’ for me (you bastards do a better job of that) but my experiences are… not typical. Be careful what you wish for is all I would say.


I get the impression that’s it’s this stuff that you like doing. Are there jobs using this stuff that you fancy?

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Yep love my job and enjoy all of it. But it was a transition from jewellery to gemmology to watches so I have actually been in the same industry now for 21 years.

Currently going through the recruitment process and should be starting summer time. Not an easy job, but good pension and the rest fits in with what I want atm. Plus everyone in my family is surprised I’m not doing this job already.

Just do it, never too late.

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Rob - you have more talent, drive and IQ than I do, and yet I have managed to bootstrap my way between numerous wholly unrelated jobs, only eventually falling foul of my own comprehensive lack of business sense. Even then, failure is simply a waypost on the road of life. If you have the opportunity to chase a dream or two, do not for a moment hesitate. Better to regret something you have done and all that…

The pitfalls of turning a hobby into a career depend more on your personality type than anything else. I had an intense passion for geology and palaeontology, and still do - working in the field soured me intensely against the kind of people who thrive in academia, but not the work, the science or the chance to convey exciting new ideas to young minds: that stuff is the Best Thing I ever did (for me I mean).
Trying to make a living from hifi was delusionally stupid, but served the useful purpose of putting the whole topic into perspective and restoring the obsession to a healthier pitch.

You have no shortage of talent and ability, you just need to hitch that to something you have sufficient passion for, and I feel certain you will make a success of it.


Yeah the hobby became a job for me, now it’s not a hobby but a job.


Be a hifi dealer. Basically you buy stuff and sell it for more than you bought it for. Be nice to people and have nice biscuits.

Or do summat in H&S. Lots of that sort of stuff seems to be needed.

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List the skills you have, that you want to use, in your new endeavour.
Then list skills that are associated with what you know, that you could move sideways into, and pick up quickly.
How far are you willing to travel, what is the lowest salary you will accept, or can live on.
How long are you willing to wait, to be retrained, reskilled, and make an acceptable wage.
I spent twenty years doing something I didn’t really like, but didn’t hate. I worked to live.
Took four years off, then did something totally unrelated to my previous job.
Did that for 10 years, self employed.
Then worked for five years at something, completely unrelated, again.
I never made much money, but it was enough.
Would I go back to any of those jobs, probably, but equally I would try something new, if it came along.
Set out what you will and won’t do, minimum requirements, and happy searching.

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I agree with this. Do you want to spend your time fucking about with 3d modelling and the like? Well find jobs in this field.

Don’t turn a hobby into a job, but do look at what skills you have and stuff you enjoy, and see if there are any jobs that need those skills. Find areas you’re actually pretty good at, and then find a job that suits.

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Just to add, there are two parts of my job, that are integral but I can’t stand:
Line management - being an introvert and having to deal with multiple problem staff over the years means this is something I can do but dread.
24/7 call-out - I’ve been on this for 6 odd years, call outs in the middle of the night, wearing thin.


But thanks chaps, I’ll have a look through and make some lists in the morning. :+1:


It’s important to recognise stuff you really dislike, especially if you don’t just suspect this but actually know it from experience. For me, quite a small amount of unpleasantness could be enough to sour an otherwise great job.

It’s also worth giving a little thought to how any chosen career might develop over the years and whether you might like or dislike those developments. We tend to think in terms of ‘getting a job’. But few jobs stay the same. Often it’s all but impossible to tell how they’re going to change. But if you can see to any extent which way things might go, then that might help you avoid disappointment/dissatisfaction five or ten years down the line. It might also help you put up with discomfort to begin with in return for real reward later.


Offering the flip side to some views / experiences noted. Turning a passion into a living doesn’t always lessen / detract or dilute interest or lead to disaster.
Discipline (Dirty word I know) does come to the fore quite rapidly but being ‘into’ something does have an upside if you strive to learn and do what ever ‘it’ is to the best of your ability. ‘It’ also means you believe in what you are doing with your time / life. The chances of being fulfilled are considerably higher if you like / love what you do. This is handy if things like contentment, meaning, purpose and satisfaction are on the ‘wants list’ Certainly I’ve failed in numerous ways (Sometimes spectacularly) but I’ve also learned a few things too. There are challenges / hurdles (Often more difficult than towing the company line) but with a little passion to see through the painful learning curves there is IMHO great value in following a dream.

As my Nan used to say:
“You don’t become a good fuckin’ sailor in calm waters!”


This comes with every job.
The higher up the ladder you go the less time you spend doing the bits you like and the more time you spend managing people,
An old friend once said to me “It doesn’t matter what you think your job is you end up working for HR”


I’ve deliberately managed to avoid it, despite having “manager” in my job title a couple of times.

However a refusal to do line management really does put a big full stop on career / salary ambitions. Almost nowhere offers a purely vocational career path, so if you won’t manage you won’t progress.