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Student of the obvious
 
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: Phoenix
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Who here's successfully done a middle age career reboot? What do you do before? Now?

I was divorced a few years ago. As a pilot, she made the big money. I was the stay at home parent. Previously, I had owned my own business, which we sold for a pretty good amount... not enough to retire, but enough to be pretty comfortable with lots of flexibility.

While home raising the kidlet (he turns 21 in April), I did some bookkeeping and sold stuff on eBay/Craigslist.

Post divorce, I worked a couple of accounting jobs, but found my business degree + bookkeeping experience did not qualify me to be an accountant.

Currently, I have two rental properties, both free and clear.

At 56.9 years old, I feel like I need to be doing something else. The rentals cover my expenses and then some, so anything I make in addition is going to be added to the retirement fund, car fund, and travel fund. I'd like to get more rentals properties, but find the crazy market a bit challenging, especially here in Phx.

Who here has completely changed careers? What did you do, and what do you do? I'm told I'm pretty smart, but feel hampered by a below average memory. Just mentioning that as I think "learn to program" is going to be a common suggestion and I'm not sure it'll work for me!

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Old 02-22-2021, 03:49 PM
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Actual Porsche owner
 
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I did. I went from aerospace engineer to magazine publisher at age 43. Now I’m retired, approaching 71 yrs old, and MrsWD and I are starting a new company. Long story, too tired to relate it all now.
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Last edited by wdfifteen; 02-22-2021 at 04:46 PM..
Old 02-22-2021, 04:04 PM
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I started out as a automotive tech and worked my way up to senior master ASE tech, and then shop foreman, asst mgr, etc. and then got hired by the manufacturer as a technical trainer and field tech rep and gave it all up to become a pilot at age 40 and basically started at the bottom of the food chain all over again and finally made it to the big leagues a few years ago.

If you don't 'need' to work its one thing - being relatively financially secure enough makes a HUGE difference on what you're able to do.. but starting all over from the bottom at an older age is tough. In my case, it worked out but i went through MANY rough years in my mid to late 40s trying to make ends meet.
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Old 02-22-2021, 04:11 PM
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Brew Master
 
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Can't offer you much by way of advice on changing careers mid life but I will say that if the rentals are making you money, find something you're passionate about and go after it. If you do something you like and that you're passionate about, you'll be successful AND enjoy doing it! Win Win
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Old 02-22-2021, 04:18 PM
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I was a n'er-do-well during my formative years, eventually quit that and trained hard to become a malcontent for most of my professional life; then I woke up one day and realized my life had passed me by and I've pretty much been a layabout for the last four or five years.
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Old 02-22-2021, 04:29 PM
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not as smart as I think
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Northern California
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I have had a few career changes, one might think I was on the lamb. I started in technology working in engineering and marketing (20 years)...then to commercial real estate (10 years) and most recently became a teacher (first year) after obtaining a MEd and two teaching credentials.
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Old 02-22-2021, 04:33 PM
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Here is what I know: Colonel Saunders started KFC at age 55. I think about that often. I am 55 in a few months.

My Grandfather sold his grocery stores and started as a Farmer's Insurance Agent as well as founded a community bank that today is a pretty big deal in Oregon. Both at age 55ish.

I was laid off from a failing Aluminum Extrusion company around 36. I spent some time figuring out what I wanted and started in Commercial Insurance at age 38. I would be more than happy to talk. My career was garbage before that move. I learned a ton and am super passionate about career development - because mine was so very poor.

You really do have the cat birds seat. Your "nut" is covered. I would suggest doing what you do best. I have always had people ask me about real estate investing as it has been a side gig for me for years. You seem to have the same. Can you show / sell people how to invest? Can you leverage your two locations and buy a 20 plex? Can you become a part time CFO to small business?

The value anyone has is what they can bring to the market. You ran a business. You sold a business. There are thousands of idiots out there that are making things up and have absolutely no idea what to do for the next step. They are happy to pay you to show them.

PM me if you want a pep talk.
Old 02-22-2021, 04:35 PM
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At age 50 I left the corp/manufacturing rat race and started a wholesale company. Sold business and retired at 62. A different type of stress.
Old 02-22-2021, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herr_oberst View Post
I was a n'er-do-well during my formative years, eventually quit that and trained hard to become a malcontent for most of my professional life; then I woke up one day and realized my life had passed me by and I've pretty much been a layabout for the last four or five years.
That is the key to success!
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Old 02-22-2021, 04:42 PM
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25ish years into this gig at a national lab has seen me in four or so careers - all engineering but different enough that you still start at step one, just with a bit of a steeper trajectory.

-Plutonium foundry in grad school and a little after that. I can say that I've actually held a pit! Picking up a jar of metal that's been sitting for years and that's warm, even through the gloves, is cool in an eerie way too.
-Designed and fabricated electrical and laser-driven detonators for 10 years. Lots of stats/6-sigma and all of that. These aren't grand-dad's blasting caps, that's for sure - still somewhere between arts-and-crafts and real science though.
-A&E Engr and program manager for security and safety enhancements for the stockpile - 5 years or so. Lots of travel to DC and the UK.
-Venue and asset-focused vulnerability assessment for Very Bad Things. Way too much travel and a really really heavy topic area (and that's saying something in this business). That one burnt me out even if I did get to play with lots of C-4 and spend time with some surprisingly chill and very specialized members of the military.
-And now - sexy CT radiography and metrology. No travel. It's actually kind of interesting and as an "apprentice" I get to WFH, which I sure wasn't doing before and for some reason they still pay me like before so It's All Good.

Only 15y until that pension (?) kicks in so I'm not sure what the last two careers will be. Never done much with beryllium or anything with infectious diseases, so maybe that's a place to check off more of the "dangerous things we shouldn't play with" list.

On going elsewhere - two engineers with specialized niches stuck with a mortgage in the NM mountains and nowhere else nearby to work pretty much seals the deal. We're here until the end of time...

Problem solving is problem solving, whatever the flavor!
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Old 02-22-2021, 05:27 PM
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Lee, you've been here a few times before.

At 53 now (how'd that happen?) so far I've been a

garde manger (cold food chef)

government cost accountant, DoD work

then started Modern Dad magazine

morphed into FirstTime Dad magazine

then custom publishing and marketing with a focus reconciling lead generation against media buy optimizing and CRM lead nurturing

then tween girl power fashion company

morphed into Traveler Kids, boys clothing

and now Tru6


Each of those adventures was a combination of extraordinary circumstances and opportunities with a real passion for the project and wanting to create and build something new and exciting.

It's cliche but true, you have to do something you really love to do. I think we've talked about that before. You are smart, clearly, and sensible, and I think that may be part of the issue with not finding something to do. Being prudent and pragmatic may be holding you back from taking the plunge into something new.

Of course the flip side of that is those qualities will help you be successful once you find that thing, a bit of a catch 22 perhaps.
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Old 02-22-2021, 05:50 PM
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The Unsettler
 
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Tech fire fighter primarily.

I solve problems.

It used to be (and still is at times) a lot of fun and I've got to play with some great tech.

But I'm tired. My time is not my own, someone always has a problem that they've made worse because they asked my advice and then ignored it and it's gotten old.

Likely retiring this year but won't quit working.

My plan is to get a gig at Lowe's wandering the aisles in an orange vest recommending fans and faucets to milfs and being generally grumpy and dismissive of people who don't know enough to know about what widget to buy.

Probably last a month before getting fired for my attitude but it'll probably be a blast while it lasts.
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Old 02-22-2021, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjohnson View Post
25ish years into this gig at a national lab has seen me in four or so careers - all engineering but different enough that you still start at step one, just with a bit of a steeper trajectory.

-Plutonium foundry in grad school and a little after that. I can say that I've actually held a pit! Picking up a jar of metal that's been sitting for years and that's warm, even through the gloves, is cool in an eerie way too.
-Designed and fabricated electrical and laser-driven detonators for 10 years. Lots of stats/6-sigma and all of that. These aren't grand-dad's blasting caps, that's for sure - still somewhere between arts-and-crafts and real science though.
-A&E Engr and program manager for security and safety enhancements for the stockpile - 5 years or so. Lots of travel to DC and the UK.
-Venue and asset-focused vulnerability assessment for Very Bad Things. Way too much travel and a really really heavy topic area (and that's saying something in this business). That one burnt me out even if I did get to play with lots of C-4 and spend time with some surprisingly chill and very specialized members of the military.
-And now - sexy CT radiography and metrology. No travel. It's actually kind of interesting and as an "apprentice" I get to WFH, which I sure wasn't doing before and for some reason they still pay me like before so It's All Good.

Only 15y until that pension (?) kicks in so I'm not sure what the last two careers will be. Never done much with beryllium or anything with infectious diseases, so maybe that's a place to check off more of the "dangerous things we shouldn't play with" list.

On going elsewhere - two engineers with specialized niches stuck with a mortgage in the NM mountains and nowhere else nearby to work pretty much seals the deal. We're here until the end of time...

Problem solving is problem solving, whatever the flavor!
Must feel pretty eerie and awesome to put "Nuclear Weapons Designer" on a resume.
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Old 02-22-2021, 05:55 PM
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Cogito Ergo Sum
 
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Lee, since you are already playing in real estate, have you looked at any smaller places that would do well on AirBNB? There’s a few guys on YouTube showing how to to do it well and make good money. Still flexible like being self employed, but more income than traditional rentals.

Check out the channel Robuilt.
Old 02-22-2021, 05:58 PM
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Actual Porsche owner
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stomachmonkey View Post
My plan is to get a gig at Lowe's wandering the aisles in an orange vest recommending fans and faucets to milfs and being generally grumpy and dismissive of people who don't know enough to know about what widget to buy..
I kinda thought about doing something like that. I spent my last two years of high school and first two years of college working in a hardware store. I really enjoyed helping people figure out what they needed.
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Old 02-22-2021, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Nostril Cheese View Post
Must feel pretty eerie and awesome to put "Nuclear Weapons Designer" on a resume.
Well, that title is for the smart people. I'll settle with "component designer" and general "cranky jerk".

I've learned that it is true that the grass is always greener across the fence. It's still filled with dog crap, but at least it's different dog crap. Also amusing is how each journey feeds into the next and that you can take much with you.
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'78SC, lots of other boring cars...
Old 02-22-2021, 06:03 PM
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The Unsettler
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdfifteen View Post
I kinda thought about doing something like that. I spent my last two years of high school and first two years of college working in a hardware store. I really enjoyed helping people figure out what they needed.
I'm hoping to get assigned to gardening so I can get paid to yell "get off my lawn!" at people
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Old 02-22-2021, 06:12 PM
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Model Citizen
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stomachmonkey View Post
My plan is to get a gig at Lowe's wandering the aisles in an orange vest recommending fans and faucets to milfs and being generally grumpy and dismissive of people who don't know enough to know about what widget to buy.

Probably last a month before getting fired for my attitude but it'll probably be a blast while it lasts.

You'll be gone in a day if you insist on wearing an orange vest at Lowes.
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Old 02-22-2021, 06:25 PM
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Right out of highschool went into the steamfitters union briefly. Spent the next 30 yrs as power engineer for NYNEX, Bell Atlantic and then Verizon. Had a home improvement business also. Retired from Verizon in 2014 at 50. Still have my business going. Started a new job part time with the county medical examiners office as an investigator in 2015. Also teach firefighting and technical rescue part time.

Was a huge change of venue going from dealing with electric to dealing with the dead on a regular basis...

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Old 02-22-2021, 07:46 PM
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Old 02-22-2021, 07:57 PM
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