Choose a job you love,

So said Conficius.

I've had a pretty shit few weeks at work (not all work's fault - some personal stuff got in the way), and it got me to thinking about some people who love to get up in the morning because they do a job they really enjoy.

I fell into my current (and only ever) profession mostly due to lack of careers advice, and taking "time out" to decide what I wanted to do with my life, getting a job, and being unable to afford to go to Uni even if I had known what I wanted to do.

Must be a time of life thing, but I'd love to change career - or at least formulate a dream so that I can do it when I can afford it.  Not that I HATE what I do, and I'm quite good at it, but I don't love it.

Trouble is, 25 years after leaving school and getting a job while I thought about what I wanted to do, I still haven't got a clue.

Do you have a job you love, and what makes it so good?  What things should I consider about my likes/hobbies/talents that might help me make a decision?  Is the grass really greener on the other side of the fence?



  • I work in a cake shop - it's not the greatest job in the world, pay wise, but I love it. I work between 16 and 25 hours a week so I have plenty of 'me' time but I really look forward to going to work.

    In the past I have run my own business and managed my own shop but I wouldn't do it again.,

    Nobody 'wants' to work so you might as well find something you enjoy doing. 

  • You and me both Nessie, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.  I'll be 50 in a couple of years, so probably leaving it a bit late to change career!

    My job's hideous at the moment.  It's office politics, not the job itself, but when you spend 8 hours a day in an atmosphere, it grinds you down.

    I wish I'd chosen something that I could go in, do, and go home again, that didn't involve sitting in an office and having a backlog when I get back. Nursing, police officer something like that. 

  • Hi Nessie,

    I now enjoy my very part time job dealing in collectibles after leaving counselling. I enjoy it because I can root 'round all over the place as and when I want. I enjoy the "history" behind some things and when a collector who really values what I find enjoys it. Nice to hop around charity shops and chat to ordinary folk who (generally) do not have major issues and I can flirt with.

    My little business started off as an hobby and now is what I call my hobby jobby. It doesn't really feel like work at all. Less money than I had (generally). I would suggest find out what you can survive on financially, if totally independent, do your ordinary job to cover what hours is needed and start very part time on a job that doesn't feel like work to you, whatever it is. Later you can do less of the former and more of the latterimage

  • Hash - a lot of the nurses I know now have to do a lot of admin so strike that one off your list image

    Nessie - I don't love my job but for me work is not a vocation. Will I change careers in the future? Yes but not sure what to yet either. Certainly looking at your strengths will help, maybe even a chat with a career counsellor? Having a great life outside work is easier to do something about. For example, some of the things I do volunteering at the moment for I wouldn't work to do f/t but I love them when I volunteer.
  • Little Ninja wrote (see)
    Hash - a lot of the nurses I know now have to do a lot of admin so strike that one off your list image

    totally agree. Tother 1/2 says she has to do more admin type stuff. Also the hospital where she is is not taking on as many sisters as they used to and senior nurses are expected to play many Sister roles. That will get worse due to cuts.
  • This thread really struck a chord with me due to me going through some pretty tough choices at the moment.  I have changed my career successfully 3 times over the past 25 years or so.  I currently work in construction which I love but it is difficult as you have to be on site where the project you are working on is.  This means me living away from home Mon-Fri and travelling back home on a Friday night, getting in about 10.00pm and then having to leave for work again on the Sunday at 5.00pm.  Along with the running, my other interests it does leave you exhausted.

    Because of the recession projects have become thinly stretched - meaning you have to travel further.  I have worked like this for 2 years now and recently my health has become a real issue.  Its not nice being away from family/support when you are well, but if you are ill and in digs its grim!  I wonder if there's a difference because I'm female?  I'm currently signed off sick and work are none too happy with me.

    So, over the past couple of weeks I've been re-evaluating my position.  My job pays very well but no job can compensate for your health and family.  I've just applied to become a retail manageress for a top running store near to where I live - much less money but near to home and combining my interests with work.  Don't know what will come of it.  One thing is sure - even if I end up working part time as a checkout assistant i'm sure I'll be much happier!

  • Hello Nessie,

    I might be able to help you with some practical advice and also help you think things through re your possible career change. A short while ago I was paid to advise adults who were considering mid-life career changes; most of these were enforced through possible redundancy, but some just wanted to do something else with the rest of their lives. The important thing to bear in mind is you can make a choice and once you've made it all you need then is careful forward planning and determination to overcome the inevitable barriers.

    PM me and I'll get cracking by sending you some stuff to help you focus on what it is you actually want from a job.

    (I've helped a few people on here over the years)

    Just two points to consider before we start. Firstly, we are heading into a huge period of uncertainty re the economy, which will inevitably have major impact on employment - this will make things harder re changing careers... but this just means your plans need to be airtight and well thought through.

    Secondly, I'm on the move and might not get back to you for a few days. I'm doing a job (That I love!) in America but have come home for a few days due to a death in the family. I fly back this evening.

    BTW this is pro bono - I used to stick the corporates for 120 an hour and I'll not be offended if you choose to work this out for yourself.

    Whatever you decide to do - the very best of luck

  • mmm-sometimes a big relief comes from stepping off the man made  and never ending "ladder" image On the career ladder your either climbing tirelessly to catch them in front or watching who the hell is behind you. Don't sound like fun to me.
  • Nessie, I'm just going through trying to change career.  I'm in my 50's, worked in advertising / marketing post university then got married (late 30's, had off-spring) and since then, have worked in voluntary capacity, around children.

    A few years ago, I was looking into teacher training (primary) having worked as parent volunteer for a number of years in my off-spring's school.  I was on the point of sorting something out when my ex walked out, so divorce, relocation etc followed.  Long story short, 5 years down the line, I'm now trying to get back in.  I'm looking at part-time PGCE (family commitments), but I'll need classroom experience.   I've applied for posts, got down to the last 2 to find the post given to someone currently working in a classroom.  Having got feedback from the schools where I've been for interviews, I've been told that if I could get experience, I'd be in a stronger position.

    I'm now arranging to work full-time, in a purely voluntary capacity in order to get the experience to allow me to apply for (the same) jobs!  Ironic, but the way it is.  I've no idea whether or not I'll get on to the PGCE course, it's highly competitive and I'm pretty old, but I need to regain my financial independence and it has to be work that is term time only.

    Apart from Corinth's help, could you identify some things that you like and see if you could do voluntary work there?  I would love to work with CAB, but it doesn't fit in with my commitments.  Maybe when the off-spring have moved out. . .

  • I left a job that I was very good at but I actively disliked in March this year.  Like you Nessie, it was something I fell into whilst I was thinking about what direction I wanted to go in and I ended up sticking at it for a while - well 7 years, which felt long enough!  It got to the point that doing the job was making me really ill and I ended up having to leave for the sake of my own sanity.

    I am now retraining as a sports and remedial massage therapist and I love it!  I volunteer at a couple of clinics and a professional sports team in order to get all my practice hours, so I'm getting a good impression of what the work will be like when I do it and for once I want to go to work in the mornings.  I have gone from being in a very confrontational environment to one where people want to see me and leave happy (albeit sometimes a little sore).  One of my clients said to me a few weeks ago that she'd been pain free for the first time in 3 years since seeing me the week before - it made me feel on top of the world!

    I will earn less money than I used to doing this work, but I'll have more time for me, which makes for a much happier life.  It also means that I'll have more time for housewife-y type things which makes both hubby and me happy!

  • I hate my job, have disliked most of the jobs I've done, with one or 2 notable exceptions.

    I do not think that work and I get on too well together. I have never worked out what I want to do when I grow up either.

    I know that I can cope with working part time both money and coping with working. I can't stay in the same job for very long - as I said the have been a few exceptions. I prefer to work temp contracts with big periods of unemployment in between.

    I'd love to be an artist. Don't care if no one ever bought my work, I just love doing it. I'd love to be a gardener - have been, loved it - had to leave when I moved. image

    I think what is being said loud and clear from everyone, including me now is that you need to get something out of your job - more than just money. Money does not buy happiness, growth, and all those other things we crave. If your work stops you from doing the things you really want to do then you will end up resenting the job, the company evens your colleagues.

    My partner loves his job. He gets to work early and stays late - he is responsible for his own work, how it's done, who does it eyc etc etc. He only really has himself to answer to. Other people in the company go to him when they want expert advice. (people outside of the company ask him when they want expert advice). He is still learning and growing and moving on. He would probably work for nothing - just don't tell his boss image.

    I think that you've hit a nerve with quite a few people here.

  • I'm in a job that is okay.  It doesn't make me jump out of bed with delight in the morning but neither does it bore me to tears.  However it does pay very well so I would struggle to change career.  If you're in a position where you can change career then I think you owe it to those of us who can't to go for it image
  • I have very little choice, I need a career that will allow me to be at home when the off-spring are.  The salaries for teaching / LSA's /school admin are very low - I have to put my family commitments before my ability to earn more money.  I'd like to be able to earn more for the security, but if I tried, it would have to be in a role that would be at the expense of the off-spring and I am not in a position to do that.

    This will doubtless open up a whole new can of worms, but I'm not sure that everyone who is "well paid" would struggle to change career ie earn less money, it's more a question of wanting or not to make the financial sacrifices.

  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭

    Corinth - you have mail.  No hurry - I've lasted 25 years.............

    MisterW - that's the dilemma.  I don't hate the job.  Some days I really like it.  Other days it's just crap, but every job is probably like that.  It pays well, my boss is flexible when I have childcare issues, and there's a final salary pension scheme.  I know that compared to others I am so well off, but the dreamer in me says different.

    Having a 2 year old (and planning another possibly) means that I'm probably stuck here for a few years anyway (unless I get made redundant, and with the public sector cuts, that's a possibility) so it's a pipe dream, but a very foggy one where the "dream job" isn't specified.

    I've done voluntary stuff in the past, but again, without knowing what I want to do, how would I choose where to volunteer?  Also, with a 2 year old, I don't have much (any) spare time.

    Sports massage - hmm, that sounds interesting.  Must ponder...........................

  • Scotty4Scotty4 ✭✭✭

    anyone watch the new Reggie Perrin last night and imagine doing the same thing...............??image

    I can't say that I hate my job (civil servant). Let's just say that I don't care much for it. I'd just like to be doing something more constructive/rewarding. 26 years after leaving school and I still don't have a clueimage 

  • Firstly - good on you Hannabelle I hadn't picked up on that (mind you web time is very much get in past and get out again at the moment)

    I briefly held a job that I loved but the 'management' wrecked it for me and in the end when it was made permenant they used the process to get rid of me - I was too good and they couldn't take the credit for an area which was growing fast and sucessfully in that particular organisation since everyone knew who I was and what I did in a very short space of time.

    Now I am unemployed but have signed up for a part time degree in Health and Nutrition which has interested me for years I used the crap work situation to get started.  I am going to be flying close to the edge for a while yet but then I have been doing that for 3 years now only I am learning about something that interests me which makes it all feel a bit more pleasurable.  The nutrition course in south wales are linked to NHS planned demand so job prospects are pretty good.  With any luck due to past work experience and study I will be acreddited with a couple of the first year modules which means I should hopefully get through a bit quicker than might have been possible

    I am finally making moves to seel my mothers house which should leave me with enough to support myself through the last two years provided I find part time work to go along side it soon

    PS I will be looking for a case study in the new year image

  • WombleWomble ✭✭✭

    I used to work in telecoms, various jobs initially and then settled into a specialism that I was good at but not excited by. I left on 'redundancy' terms (long story) and worked freelance/contract for four years. I have supported a particular homeless charity for many years. Homelessness is an issue I feel very strongly about. I had already been volunteering each year but during the contract working phase I started to volunteer in the office between jobs. One day they offered me a temp contract at peanuts pay (but more than JSA) as they were in a hole and I could do the job. During that temp contract another, new, post came up. I applied and got it.

    I used to joke that I would end up working here and now I do. I'm on half the money I'd get in my old industry but this is where I want to be. There are still crappy days but I'll be here until they force me to leave. And then I'll keep volunteering. In fact, I still volunteer at Christmas anyway. So they pay me to do my job and I still do over 100 hours volunteering a year for the same organisation.

  • I used to love the industry I work in; fast-paced, exciting, not knowing what tomorow would bring, immediate (almost) results, getting to talk a lot. Then, to help a friend, I moved into a quieter sector and now I don't want to do this anymore. I can't work out if it's because it has none of the buzz of what I used to do; the fact I'm pretty much alone with most of my team in a different office; my boss is unpredictable and often difficult (and then at times warm, kind and charming); the industry (financial services); the commute or just general disillusionment with what I chose to do with my life.  At this rate, I'll retire, look back and think - your life has been wasted, nothing you did added to humanity, in fact at times, you were party to the f*ckwittery that you so loathe. 

    I'd love to sell stuff I make, but I know this is a saturated market and so much of what other people sell is way better than the toot I churn out. I always wanted to write, but since I didn't get anywhere in a writting competition about five years ago, I'm not had the confidence to start again.

    I think for the time being, I might have to stay a corporate whore. Take my salary as it enables me and MrANTB to do the things we love and then thoroughly indulge my passion for cooking and stuff at the weekends. Just writing this makes me want to weep. Good job it's Friday and I have a weekend of foraging, pickling, partying and hopefully, first proper run for about three weeks to look forward too.

    Womble - Good on you! I used to volunteer at a homeless charity too and had nothing but admiration for the people who worked there.  

  • You can either love your job and work with the worst people on the planet, or you can hate your job but love the people OR you can enjoy your job a bit and enjoy the people you work for...

    I am the latter. 

    It's good.

  • I genuinely enjoy the majority of my job (I envy the person who enjoys every minute of theirs).  There are parts I hated, but most of these I have delegated elsewhere now.

    I work for myself, do as much or as little as I want, have decent family time in between, and it pays well.  I would like to think what I do is worthwhile and helps people as well. 

    Despite all of this, I'm not sure if I would do it all again if I started afresh.  Given the amount of time I have studied, had stress to get here etc, I would probably have joined the army when I was younger.  It is one of my regrets.  Oh well.........

  • Interesting thread. I've always felt it's not a good idea to try and get a job that's based on your hobby, because I reckon you need some variety in your life. That way, if one of the bits of your life is going pear-shaped, you can always 'escape' to another (eg going for a run if you've had a crap day at work). Same logic suggests not working with your nearest and dearest. But I'd be interested in hearing people who make it work.
  • I love my "actual" job as a manager in a construction company and all the challenges it brings and the company I work for are second to none. I will probably retire here!

    However, I leave every morning at 6:45 and get home about the same time in the evening.

    My work therefore does take a lot out of me as person, so I don't "love it" as a whole package!

    In essence then, work / life balance is sometimes better than doing a job you love, especially if you are a young Mum?

  • I am under-utilised and bored in my job.  I did a couple of stints of voluntary work (outside work time) which got me quite a few interviews but not that elusive offer.  Not seeing those jobs come up in the current work climate so nothing to go for at the moment but still looking.  The problem now is that the voluntary work was a few years ago and I need to do another stint probably.

    I do feel a bit lost and have fairly low esteem because I've been in low-paid, drudgy work all my life.  Everywhere I've worked, colleagues (and friends outside work) say they can't believe I'm not in a more exciting and better-paid role where I can use my brain, skills and general life experience.  The problem is my qualifications and lack of ability to sell myself don't reflect how able and adaptable I am to new roles.

    Good luck Nessie, Hash, Jeepers and all the other people looking for a change/new challenge.  I hope we all get there.

  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    Running Kev wrote (see)

    In essence then, work / life balance is sometimes better than doing a job you love, especially if you are a young Mum?

    Agreed on the work/life balance thing - which is why this is more planning for a possible future change rather than a current change.

    ROFL at the "young Mum" thing - I'm a Mum to a young child, but I'm a <cough> more mature Mum.  Still more than 20 years to retirement though.................

  • its a very individual thing the work/life/enjoyment balance thing. things shift over the years too depending on current committments and family situations.  

    im fortunate that i have a job i love and have rarely felt that 'hate it and dont want to go today' feeling. i work with lovely people whom ive known some of for many years so we have the 'nostalgia' chats about how various thngs within the job have changed(with much amusement smetimes). i have however had peaks and troughs where having left for a brief spell on maternity leave found i was 'out of the loop' and almost a sense of demotion.  this was partly due to reduced work hours because of having a babyto look after too but as running kev said , sometimes the  importance of being at home with a child outweighs the importance of how you are feeling at work at that time...gradually as they get older things get back to normal and i found over time i was 'reinstated' so to speakimage

    having said that despite the job i have and love id really like to have my own business selling childrens clothes online...maybe my new year challenge!

    parklife, be confident and oush yourself forward if you want to do it- someone can only say no!!image

  • They bloody well have Loulabell - loads of times.  Always the bridesmaid is the phrase that springs to mind in terms of what interviewers have told me over the years.  The amount of times I've been told I was the second choice for a post but the other person had more experience ..... image

    Thanks for the encouragement tho'.  I'll try to push on.  

  • aw, that is a pain in the arse when you KNOW you are better at a job that someone else thats doing it!! grrr!! a friend of mine was an assistant manager  at a retail shop for years when in actual fact she had been doing the managers job for bloomin ages far better thatn he was!! ij the end she kept getting over looked, told them to sod off, (in a more polite way) and got another job in a shop few doors away as manager- she said ahe wished she had done it years before!!
  • I don't know if Id've been better Loulabell but I only go for jobs I really want, so would've given it everything if Id've been given the chance.  I had lots of enthusiasm but this has been ground away a bit over the years.  I've been ready to throw myself into jobs, only to fall at the last hurdle and an employer's then lost out on an eager, enthusiastic and hard-working employee and I'm back to square 1.

    Ho hum.  Onwards.

    Separately, I've been shocked at appointments where I currently work.  Panels have appointed people into roles which they blatantly can't cover.  How can they not see this when it's obvious to us 'coal face' workers?  They've wasted lots of money on people who I can only guess talked the talk at interview but couldn't walk the walk and went off long-term sick with stress.

  • Parklife - I am in exactly the same popsition. i am looking for another job right now. i have had a few interviews from the numerous jobs that I've applied for - though it seems some are out of the frying pan into the fire.

    Where I work - the staff are great and the service users are great, I wouldn't want to change them - it's my actual job. It's boring, dead end, does not challenge me nor does it provide any scope for growth - movement etc. I've just stagnated over the past 3 years. I do exactly the same thing every day, down to having the same conversations - literally. It gets you down after a while and I find it hard to be cheery every morning. I'm bored and I want my life to be better. I like the money but it's not reward enough. I want to feel like I'm doing something for me as well, which I'm not.

    Yeah - undervalued and underused sums it up. you sound a lot like me.

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