questionshave you ever made a significant career change?


I've spent the last 8 months eating too much, traveling, helping my mother, and finally, FINALLY ripping up the bonus room and de-crappifying the house. That's not yet finished, but I now have an opportunity to start over in a field closer to my original plans and I've signed up to start classes in a couple of weeks to become a coach to high school and college students dealing with ADHD, and related challenges.

My long-term plan is to become a certified Life Coach (although certification is not required to hang up a shingle and start taking on clients), and to add parent coaching and employment/management coaching if I can (I have more professional experience with the latter).

I've never been in a job where I set my own hours, get paid by the job/client, and am my own boss. I should be able to do this part-time, but it's still a big step. Has anyone else done something like this? Any advice or guidance? Warnings? Help!


Yes. I have been an auto tech, pipe fitter, coordinator for lift truck techs, manager of a shoe store, etc... I have loved all of my jobs.


Sorry, got busy at work...


Currently I am an Environmental & Safety Coordinator, and I volunteer for several places. When the DH and I retire, I will be a Park Host and/or workkamper. I am addicted to learning new things so sitting around or getting complacent has never been a problem.

My advice... DO IT! Whatever it is you choose. What else are you gonna do? Just think of all the new things you will learn. Besides, life is too short to sit on the side lines.


I can't offer much insight as I've only ever worked for someone else, but if you're motivated, self directed, and diligent, you should be just fine, especially if you're doing something you are passionate about.

j5 j5

Yes, retired from the Air Force in 2008 and shortly afterwards took a job in education (I was a recruiter for 20 years so it was an easy transition.

Found I didn't like it. Then ended up doing fraud investigations. That was enjoyable. I would never have attempted the investigations side except a friend suggested I try it. Worked out great!


So, what do you think the answer is? Tell me about your relationship with your mother. Do you ever have dreams about falling?

Please pay the receptionist on the way out. Thank you.


@90mcg112: LOL! The relationship with my mother is a topic for another post. Besides, DW limits the number of characters per post so I really can't go there.

In many ways the change is to a field that is related to my past work and volunteer experience, so that part of it isn't so different, I suppose. The scariest part to me is creating my own business, more or less. I've spent my entire career working in an established bureaucracy. I helped overhaul it several times, but there was a structure in place. I think that, perhaps, I need structure, or, at least, I'm a bit afraid of not having any. Then, of course, there's the whole thing about finding clients, billing, etc. Urgh! There are no coaches of this type in our area (or in our STATE as far as I know!), so I will be breaking new ground. The entire thing is scary and exciting at the same time.


Research, to bartending, and back again. Just my belief that applying for grants leads to alcohol.


I also have a B.S. in Psychology. While working on two Master's Degrees in Counseling, I worked in retail hell for 10 years. Upon graduation, I decided to turn my back on the whole mess and have been in administrative work in an industrial plant for 13 years. I love what I do now. I don't feel like any previous work or education experience was wasted - it all adds up to who I am now.

Yes, it is scary and exciting, but I think your destiny has already found you. You know what you want to do - now go do it!


Make sure some of the classes you take are business classes. Starting over in a new field is one thing, but you are planning on starting over in two fields simultaneously. There are plenty of people who find a new field that they absolutely love only to hate it later when the business management side of it causes them to fail miserably.


I started my own business 7 years ago and I can tell you that the one thing that most business owners take for granted are the day-to-day aspects of running a business; invoicing, billing, quarterly taxes, business model, sales structure, website and marketing just to name a few.

What kind of business are you going to be (sole proprietor, corporation, LLC etc.)? Make sure you keep receipts of every business expense and maintain a separate bank/credit card account. For accounting, I have used Quickbooks from the beginning and can't live without it.

Also, don’t be afraid to sell yourself 24/7. Even if you’ve never had sales experience, you’re going to have to learn to be the best salesperson you know or your business will suffer…especially with such an interpersonal business as life coaching. Don’t skimp on your sales charges to clients and be firm with payables. It’s your business and your livelihood….treat it with respect and it will reward you accordingly. GOOD LUCK!


@bbdickso1: As I read down the list of replies, I was really hoping someone would note all the issues you pointed out.

Up-vote for @bbdickso1's comments!


I'm an engineer by school and for the bulk of my (short) career I have been working in a strictly engineering capacity in manufacturing. A little less than a year ago I was asked to fill in as a department manager for production, which is something I had always balked at in the past (a brief stint as a shift manager was very unfulfiling). I thought I would deal with the job for the few months it took for them to find a permanent replacement, but to my surprise I found I absolutely love it! I'm still in manufacturing, so it isn't an industry change, but the overall job is completely different.

Additionally, my husband and I are in the process of opening up a small store, which is completely new territory for me. I'm excited about the idea of eventually being my own boss but for now the store is just on the side. It sounds like you are following your heart and have a good plan - good luck!


Billing and AR/AP can be done easily with software (or someone VERY fluent in Excel and macros)

When setting my own hours I had a few rules to keep me from slipping into bad habits.
1. Pick a time to be in your office every working day. You can be early, but you should be there by this time.
2. Schedule your administrative time in your schedule, every week. Otherwise you're doing billing over dinner on a Friday night.
3. No drinking in the office ;)

I like the altruistic field you are going into and thank you. Good luck.


@bbdickso1: I gotta agree totally.
My problem was that I'm a lousy salesman. I've started a few biz, and blew them up.

So, to start:
I was a music major/ math minor. Two years later the stats were that 1:6 had a job related to their major after a year from graduating. My buddy teaching part time at the local music store counted into that, my other friends selling candles didn't.
So I became a machinist, I did OK, and transfered from PA to CA. Forgot to tell me it was a temp gig.
Then I became a welder. Then an oil field welder. Then I got hurt.
Then I learned to program Cobol, and I did that for a year. I was the only screw driver literate person on the floor, and I became the Banyan Admin. The corp went to M$. "New blood!"
I got my MCSE- and I ended up being Tech Support for a couple large corps in a row.
Three major motorcycle accidents, 4 marriages, 6 kids and 45 years later, I'm a part time overflow PC fixit guy.
Such a long strange trip it's been.


Thanks for all of the great suggestions! I am scheduling some classes on establishing and running a private practice. DH had a business for many years and was an economics major so he will be a great help there.

As far as selling myself, well, DH is a born salesman, so he is saying that, too. I did my stint in retail many years ago and I can sell STUFF, I can sell SERVICES, and I can sell IDEAS, but selling myself is tougher. Actually, I'm expecting to have a hard time telling people they have to PAY me for my service. (Too many years as a volunteer.) I'll just have to get over that, I guess.

The last big change I made was within the same field. I sort of did things backwards. I started off in HR as a consultant, then took a position as an HR Director. This meant I went from a non-supervisory let-me-tell-you-how-to-do-things job to a supervisory/managerial let's-get-things-done job. I discovered that I am a better manager than I am a worker.

This will be an adventure!


One essential point -- you never, ever retire. You just change careers and interests, even if it is an unpaid career. Humans are not meant to sit idle, you should always have a passion or goal. You either change and grow ... or you die.

That said, few people have simple, linear lives. We have many interests, abilities and skills. Expose yourself to many and varied experiences, because you'll never know what you really like, till you try it. I have lived by these principles.

I worked as a photographer, photo finisher, newspaper photographer and camera shop sales. I loved it.

I worked as an auto mechanic. Loved it. Also started rebuilding and racing motorcycles.

Spent time in the military ... which is never just one job. You do it all, get it done. I loved it. I "retired" from that, to get my engineering degree.

I taught college, did research. I loved it!

I started a business ... long hours, but fulfilling. Loved it.

Now I farm. Guess what ... I love it.

Just do it.


Well, just as an update, now that I have finally starting telling people that I plan to shift careers, I received an inquiry today from a company looking for an Employee Relations Manager. I guess I'll send them a resume. I have no idea what their idea of an appropriate pay range is for this job, but I can be bought, especially if the duties are the parts of HR that I liked (dealing with the people, not the paperwork). As DH says, it doesn't hurt to send in a resume. I don't have a decision to make unless I get an offer. And if I do get that job, I can still get started with my coaching training.

It's been a looooong time since I've updated my resume! Urgh!