I’ve changed careers a couple of times. Once was a change of role within the same industry and the other was a what-the-fuck-am-i-doing type move.
I started professional life as a software developer and after about 10 years I moved into marketing for high-tech / software companies. The change was significant and for a long time I felt out of my depth but eventually got on top of the brief and, if I say so myself, excelled. It involved ridiculous amounts of foreign travel, massive stress and lots of ca$h. I really didn’t enjoy it on reflection but some inner work ethic kept me going and stopped me asking why I shouldn’t just move on.
Eventually, I started my own business as a consultant which I enjoyed slightly more as I could control how much work I could do. I’d built quite a good reputation in my little niche of the software industry and the work poured in. After 6-7 years I noticed that it became more difficult to get contracts on my terms and this caused more stress and forced me to take contracts I didn’t want. Again I wasn’t happy - wasn’t happy as in depressed wasn’t happy.
During this time I volunteered to run after school code clubs - teaching kids how to program. I really enjoyed this and knew that working with kids was what I was meant to do. I’d long been told by people close to me that I should go into counselling or work with kids.
I decided that I wanted to retrain as a teacher (IT) but before I made the leap and spent a lot of time and money retraining, Mrs Bletch suggested I take a temporary position as a teaching assistant at one of the schools where I ran a code club.
I did this and in the interview, the Head said: “you do realise that this role will involve working with children with social, emotional and mental health issues?”. I didn’t, but blagged it. I got the job and spent the 6-month contract working with abused, autistic and Down syndrome kids. It was a massive shock. That was 3 and a half years ago and I know that I now have the best job in the world.
I’d seen the shit that teachers go through and realised that I don’t want to have to deal with that so have decided that I want to do exactly what I’m doing. I have a little bit of an issue at the moment as my boss is leaving and she, her boss and my team are pushing me to apply for the role. I really don’t want any responsibility and this would also mean being out of the classroom more, so I’ll likely stay where I am.
So my advice?
Whilst this is easy for me to say with my mortgage paid (and if I recall correctly you just starting one) do something, anything you are passionate about. Worrying about transferrable skills is important but nowhere near as being happy all day, everyday of your life.
From this distance, you should work music, maybe at a venue or for a small music label. They’d be getting an amazing asset. (No charge for the employment consultancy)
One phrase you used in the OP -
If that touches anywhere close to the discussions we had here, then it sounds like you’re doing the right thing.