Changing Careers - Anyone done it?


I know we have had Careers threads before, but with how that one went, I thought it might be worth opening up a new one.

I’m currently thinking about a career change. I am really lucky in that I have a job many people would love, and whilst I do love parts of it, I’m becoming increasingly convinced that it’s not good for me.

So, what I am asking the Sotonians Hive mind is, has anyone here made career changes? Would you have any advice on how to go about doing it?

I’ve only really worked properly in one industry, and it’s a pretty niche one at that. I’m not really sure how to go about working out what my skills (if any) are, and how they would be transferable to something else.

Thanks in advance.

I managed to move from my original industry (employee benefits consultancy) to a different one a few years back (global emergency medical assistance) - only managed it because I knew how to deal with their large corporate customers (insurers) and the company didn’t.

Back where I started though after 3 years. the overseas travel isn’t glamorous and couldn’t go ex-pat at the time because Mrs C_S was reestablishing her career after kids (& the kids were little). I don’t regret not doing the ex-pat bit? well maybe a little…mainly when it rains.

It’s true that the grass isn’t always greener though, unless what you do is affecting your health and relationships etc

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I am pretty much in the same place as you @KRG. I would love to change role but not sure what and I am sure I have a heap of transferable skills. But I also did a masters, 5 years continuous service with extra leave and pension etc so staying where i am or similar is a safe option. I do have an interview for a different council and role so hopefully I may have a small change that will help alleviate some of my anxiety of my work.


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.


I cant really give advice as my entire career has been one of accident and being in right place at the right time (or wrong place at right time as I have come to look at it). I have never had an ‘aim’ or goal, just a desire to use my brain as best as I could - it being a little scientific meant I always headed in that direction… I would say though that its so important not to get sucked into being a slave to one career - too many of us believe we are stuck with what we have as we have financial commitments and responsibilities that we dont believe we can change… and thus put up with many years of not being truly happy in our jobs - a third of our time + in roles we dont like, which impacts on the rest of our ‘free time’ with stress or in my case being a grumpy old fucker… I’d say, just go for it - work out what you can realistically do without financially and also whether mortgage will take a break etc whilst your retrain… we forget that when we left school or uni we had nothing - and we were not destitute… its just about doing it again. What you lose in cash, you make up for in loving life…


In 1994-95, I had a tumultuous year in the career stakes. Starting out at TESCO Hedge End, I was headhunted by ASDA Southampton, before moving to Liverpool and taking up a job as a Trolley Person when the loan and grant money ran out. I then moved to Comet, with what I thought was a job selling computers, but actually turned out to be a job selling guarantees. I finally settled as a barman, a job I retained for six years, long after I’d finished my degree and done side work as a computer programmer :smiley:

I’d love to do something else. I do love computing, but when you’ve been around it twenty years you realise that you’re just solving old problems with new languages, while encountering new ones all the time.

I quite think the paid cunt gig that the likes of Hopkins and Morgan have would suit me. Unfortunately, the roles never seem to come up.


There’s a niche website looking for a Head of Media.


I was more sober in the last one.
The one before that was pretty sober too.
Maybe when I can use spell check I can give some proper advice.
Glad you & ntiki are taking up a career in golf…

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My twopenneth worth, fwiw (i.e fuck all).
I never had a career in mind and ended up doing the job i do as it had recently come into the careers office I visited as my short term contract working in a bookshop came to an end (i’d just finished sixth form). I took it as it seemed OK, was local and there was a fit bird on reception. Unfortunately, i have stayed in that job for about 30 years and even was mug enough to get a degree in it along the way. I’ve done quite well. I co-own a business that seems to be going well for the minute and as such can determine, to a reasonable extent, the way i work. but the “profession” bores me.

I haven’t learned much, but one thing i have learned about my job, is that the job is rarely the problem. OK it bores me now, but i can cope. The biggest problems i’ve encountered are to do with people, structures and unrealistic expectations. When i worked for others, i was lucky enough to have 2 excellent bosses and unlucky enough to have 3 absolute bastards that seemed to take delight in making peoples life a misery. Luckily, most people i’ve met are terrific, but we all still come across some right old twats.

If you are young enough to make a change and it’s something you really want to do, do it. Very few people regret what they did do as opposed to what they didn’t. If you can do it before having a family (if that’s your thing of course) a mortgage and ailing parents to look after, then do it as 10 to 20 years fly by when in that groove and you are far less likely to take a risk. No job is 100% great for 100% of the time and into every persons life a little rain must fall.

I’m rambling now as you’ve got me thinking about what i should do!! Still not sure what that is…


I think nowadays doing a job you genuinely love is harder to find and what I have found is people in trades are happier than people skilled but working in an office or doing admin tasks.
If you have a choice you’re winning straight away.
Best of luck.


I love my job, I love what I do (most of the time) and, even if I say so myself, I’m good at it.

Saying that even I find the daily grind boring.

Ask anyone and I think most people find their job boring, once you’ve got used to it.

I admire @saintbletch for his move into teaching where he does, I’d love to do it but know I don’t have the faculties (no pun intended) to not let it get to me.

@KRG you’re young, if you’re not happy don’t stick it out, do what your heart says for a change!!


Hey, thanks for all the replies - it’s really appreciated. I’ve not had a chance to go through and read them all properly , but I will and I’ll try to reply.

I think when my current job comes to an end (probably selling the business) I shall be in the enviable position of being able to choose a job with complete disregard to the salary.

I love the idea of working outdoors having spent 30 years driving a desk, new forest ranger or similar appeals.


Trolley dolly at your local Morrisons more likely…

The alternative is the Ayatollah setting my daily tasks that even Heracles would have blanched at.


I work for the County Council. Career changes happen every time the Chancellor swings his cheesy bludgeon. I used to be an HR professional, now I’m a web designer (via project manager and a couple of spells as nervous admin, still feeling lucky to have a job).

Fuck austerity. You don’t see Rees-Mogg down the labour exchange.


OK it’s half time, I have a few moments.
I’ve done it quite a few times KRG.
1st up I was a buyer and got head hunted to become a field sales guy. As you all know I can spurt verbal and typed bs and I thought I was made and it would be easy. Luckily for me I had joined a company that actually invested iin training its recruits and so went through a lot of courses to realise Selling is a Science not an Art form. Was I successful in those days? No, but I had a company car and drive round Hants Dorset & The Isle of Wight.
Next 10 years I stayed in Electronics and sales moving up the food chain. Then one day packed it all in and threw in my lot with some lads mending broken computers.
I did some selling, some mending and even built the things, did training and made enough money to survive.
So 1980 - 1993 I had changed job function once and industry once.
'93 I did the big move and came here, started in IT Distribution and had to learn about processes and shit. Same basic career just a different canvas. 18 months I got headhunted to be the local guy for a Vendor.
Over 11 years with them I did change careers - I had to stop being a Sales Man ad actually become a Manager then a Leader. Training helped and at times it was hard and I snafu’d things - but that was how we all learned. Salesman with only a diary to keep happy to managing a multi-cultural team - Christ that was a change. Apparently, everyone things I was a legend at doing that even today.
Then the BIG change - I’d sold shit and my team had sold shit, sure we added call centres and service teams but it was still selling boxes.
But oh no, I had an idea so gave that all up and went off to open the 1st E-Waste factory in the Middle East.
Total change, yes some selling but shit load of everything else in an alien industry that I had to learn fast.
Suffice to say it was a nightmare at every turn - hell recycling was actually illegal here at that time - no Trade permits existed for it, so had to work with Government Departments on getting new laws drafted (yeah try doing THAT in UK) anyway, I was now running a business with no licence and no investor.
So I sold out to a Multi-National (having become an International Financier) we built the factory and boom. The Multi-National went bust.
So after 18 months of limbo, 12 months consulting to another competing Recycler I changed industries again.
So now, today I am leading a bunch of Millennials - Geeks - and (trying) to get the VC funding to take their product global.
yes, I’m now a Mobile App and Cloud Guru in the Event Industry. Everyday is a worry, sure we move forward, sure we have confidence sure the investors are keen and moving forward, sure I HOPE I will start commuting around the planet opening offices and signing partners

Thing is? I don’t regret a single change. Sure I would have had a decent pension instead of nothing IF I had stayed with that IT Vendor, but my sanity would have gone along with my integrity. I can’t do that.

So yes, get off your arse, stop thinking about it and do it.
Sure I may be an unemployed Brit looking for a job in a supermarket stocking shelves in Krakow next week but it ain’t about that, it’s about the journey and how you develop as a person.
Do it.


So (and don’t take this the wrong way, Phil), you made it rich on being able to… to talk? And type?

I have seriously fucked my life up.

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I must have crippled Glen Hoddle in a previous life.

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No I made it to being totally broke being able to talk & type.

But have had a helluva lot of fun along the way :roll_eyes: