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FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / How do you know when it's time for a new job or line of work?

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Steve M
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USA

Nov 7th, 2017 07:35 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Always good, thoughtful advice here.

I'm in my third career iteration, having spent the last 16 years as a college professor on term renewable multi year contracts. No PhD, no tenure, but that was never my aim.

Prior to that I was a CPA and CFO in the construction business for 20 years. My youngest just headed off to college and my health is good.

But I'm just not "feeling it" as I used to as a teacher. It isn't the classroom work, so this isn't the typical 57 year old moaning about millenials. It is the business and my current location.

Higher ed is getting ugly, money is non existent and middle market schools are filling seats with kids who need a lot of supports but they are not funding the supports.

My current school is smaller than the one I left after 15 years and by all logic, I should be able to contribute more here and make a bigger impact, but the opposite has been true.

Among more serious academics at my prior institution I was well respected, even serving as the only non-tenured chair of the faculty senate. Here the culture finds new ways every day of letting me know I don't matter.

And it's really exhausting and dispiriting.

So how do you know when it's time to go?

And how do you know when it's time to just move the show to a new arena, or move on to a different "show" entirely?

(This message was last edited by Steve M at 09:38 PM, Nov 7th, 2017)

clf
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Santa Barbara, CA

Je Suis Charlie
Nov 7th, 2017 07:58 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The grass is never greener. Just cut costs, pile up the money, and get to retirement ASAP! Retirement means you do what you want, when you want.

Steve M
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USA

Nov 7th, 2017 08:05 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Retirement is certainly the goal, but at 57 I feel I've got one good act left.

I thought this move would be it, but it is soul sucking, especially since it it my wife's alma mater, we were married on campus and my oldest son is an alumnus as well.





larryguitar19
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South Florida

larryguitar
Nov 7th, 2017 10:17 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Your stomach will tell you long before your brain will tell you. When you feel, "I just don't want to be here..." it's time to go.

I quit my first job that way. I was working in a large law firm with a nice office overlooking the city and the water. I was well paid and well treated. But I hated my job and I could not fathom staying there just to vest in the profit sharing.

One day I had an out of body experience and observed myself walking down the hall to give my notice.

windmill
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Australia

older,better
Nov 7th, 2017 10:54 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

What would you rather be doing ?


Simple question, there should be a simple answer.

Chris Greene
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Idaho, USA

Nine mile skid on a ten mile ride
Nov 8th, 2017 12:05 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've told this story before but when we were still in Sacramento and both had pretty good careers going, I was sitting in a lawyer's office with a client, his attorney, and my boss as he was a better closer and this was a big piece of business. Here's the thing, we'd just gotten back from a trip in our old (new then) camper to Montana where I spent a pretty good amount of time fly fishing. I was sitting in this office, some stories up and overlooking the Sacramento river. I was staring out the window while my boss was making our presentation and daydreaming about getting out.

Well, the deal got closed and I was very happy with how much I'd just made but I called my wife after we left and said I just had to get out and do something else. We took a fair amount of time to start making and executing our plans but in August of 1994, moved to Idaho. While I remained retired for five years, I got bored and started the FDP for something to do.

I knew at 43 that I was done with the financial business. It was rewarding but soul sucking and I had to leave. My gut told me that day in the lawyer's office that it was time.

What's funny is that now, at 67, I wonder what I want to do next. I don't need to work but my wife wants to work for three more years until she's 65 and can get Medicare and her full pension. So I need to keep doing *something* for a few more years. Then, more RVing and maybe a little more fishing and golf.

Steve M
Contributing Member
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USA

Nov 8th, 2017 04:13 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Windmill,

Not so simple, one reason i have stayed is that i don't have a vision for "next" yet. In addition to teaching I"m one half or a two man business providing financial oversight to troubled contractors. I like it but it isn't big enough to depend on.

The other reason is the ubiquitous need for insurance. The older I get the sillier i find our system which rises it to a job.

Absent that need, I'm fairly confident I could keep things rolling with a little consulting added to the little business,

Finally, i will admit i have grown a bit fond of the academic schedule, especially summer. I can't see myself working at something that has me 9-5'ing it

Grey Goose
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USA/MN

What?
Nov 8th, 2017 05:07 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Soul?

I just try to remind myself to keep up and shut up

Soul.......

Steve M
Contributing Member
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USA

Nov 8th, 2017 05:25 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yikes,



009
Contributing Member
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USA

Nov 8th, 2017 05:34 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I’ve found myself working in a similar environment — financial/logistical limitations, professional and social near-ostracism, etc. Here, you have to simply look to/within yourself to find the personal satisfaction that will motivate you to continue doing your best in spite of the circumstances, and to keep/allow you to work until you can comfortably retire. It could very well be that only you and your students (and your wife) ever appreciate what you are doing, but that’s what matters most. Well, my two cents....

Grey Goose
Contributing Member
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USA/MN

What?
Nov 8th, 2017 05:35 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If it helps, I'm kidding a little, but just a little. Employment offers challenges, if you can get rewarding challenges, that's great.

littleuch
Contributing Member
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Florida

I'm not as clever as my dog thinks
Nov 8th, 2017 06:21 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

My sis in law is a professional career counselor affiliated with the University of Michigan. Her clientele seem to be people just like you that either want to or need to find a different path. Maybe you can find someone in that capacity in your area.

MJB
Contributing Member
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Who's we sucka?

Smith, Wesson and me.
Nov 8th, 2017 06:33 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Sometimes the devil you know is better than the one that you don't.

jefe46
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State of Jefferson

Nov 8th, 2017 06:37 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

It is time to move on when you have come to the point that you are thinking about it.

I retired from my first career at 46.. and within a year was at another business... 20 years of that and took another fork in the road. I see another fork in the road within 2 years.

It has to be fun and money, not just money, not just fun.

Steve M
Contributing Member
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USA

Nov 8th, 2017 07:41 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks to all, this is proving helpful.

009 - I'm trying to do just that, knowing that I'm serving the students and trying to take satisfaction from that. It's hard when the peer environment is bad.

Littleuch - I'm looking in that direction and have a colleague is that field. I'm going to ask for an open ended idea session about what might be next given my experience.

MJB - Testify! If I could undo my last move... I left the devil I knew for something that seemed vastly better and proved to be the opposite...

jefe - academia resigns me to not so much money, and therefore there has to be more fun (and free time). When it starts to feel like heavy lifting, especially on the political side, and the money is 40% of private sector FMV, it really starts to suck.

TheProfessor
Contributing Member
*********

MI

After 30 years, I should play better.
Nov 8th, 2017 07:55 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Academia has changed so much in the two decades I've been teaching at the university level.

As you are working as an adjunct, you have my sympathies (I did that for the first six years of my career.)

I often think that maybe there's something better that I could be doing, but never can divine what it is.

larryguitar19
Contributing Member
*****

South Florida

larryguitar
Nov 8th, 2017 08:24 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I am somewhat sympathetic to the OP's thoughts. I was in the Phd/academia track early on.

At some point I had a sense of how things were going to play out for the rest of my life and I abandoned it in favor of going to law school.

The reason I left the law firm was the same sort of sense. I could see the rest of my life laid out before me and I didn't like that feeling.

At another point I closed my law office and took a couple months off and did a lot of nothing.

In each of those instances I didn't have a plan about 'what next'. And I still had to worry about paying bills.

When I left my law firm I had maybe a couple months reserve in the bank and still had a family to support.

The world is all about how much certainty and structure we require.

I grew up as a military brat. I know all about it. In that world it's all about knowing exactly what you must do and the retirement and the benefits and you trade everything for it. There is a comfort to that. But there is also a price for that comfort.

Every person has to run their life according to what works for them.

I struggle with the thought of what would I do differently if I knew the precise date I was going to expire.

My general sense is that I would play more music.

(This message was last edited by larryguitar19 at 10:27 AM, Nov 8th, 2017)

Steve M
Contributing Member
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USA

Nov 8th, 2017 08:32 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Prof,

Not adjunct, full time multi year renewable contracts. 4/4 load @ 70% of the pay for a PhD with a /2 load

TheProfessor
Contributing Member
*********

MI

After 30 years, I should play better.
Nov 8th, 2017 09:04 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Sorry -- however, no tenure option, correct?

(fixed term and adjunct are often used interchangeably around here)

littleuch
Contributing Member
**********
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Florida

I'm not as clever as my dog thinks
Nov 8th, 2017 09:05 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

On a much lower non-academic scale I spent my entire working career embracing the "devil you know" analogy. But then there's the "boiled frog" syndrome. You put a frog in a pot of boiling water and he'll jump right out. Put one in a pot of cool water and slowly increase the temperature for a long period of time, he'll boil to death.

(This message was last edited by littleuch at 11:06 AM, Nov 8th, 2017)

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FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / How do you know when it's time for a new job or line of work?




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