I need some guidance

Well, it’s been some time since I’ve written in here. To be honest, I haven’t been feeling it a lot lately. Every time I think things in my life are getting better, they take a turn for the worse.

I’ve been busy living my life and haven’t had time to write; right now I’m just trying to get through everything intact.

I’ve had a lot of fun (birthday party, monster truck rally, being picked to be on a TV show) but once again I am facing a crisis in my life.

Things aren’t going so well at my new job, and more and more I am seeing that this industry just isn’t right for me. I took this job so I could make some money, get out of my depression and focus on what I really want to do: run my own business.

So what’s happened now?

Well, I’m facing losing my job, which means I would lose my home. I’m struggling to find a backup plan since most reception/admin jobs don’t pay enough to allow me to stay where I am (or put enough away to start a business!) and no one will hire me because I’m over qualified.

I’m not ready to start my business (still don’t have a solid idea or plan, and the courses I took through Humber were a crock of shit).

So I’m trying to find some new job, but the challenge is finding something decent in a different industry that uses all my soft skills. Part of my problem right now is that my mathematical learning disability is making it really hard to work with all the charts, graphs and number analysis that I have to do as my job. (I can do some of it, but it’s really difficult for me)

I’m incredibly strong in the written & spoken communications areas and all the stuff that traditionally goes with that; but other than journalist or editor, etc. (which I’m not qualified for, anyway) I can’t think of any careers that would pay decently and are something I could do with minimal math or analytical thinking. I’m good at processes and stuff, too. My dad suggested looking into non-computer engineering IT positions. I don’t even know where to start.

I need a job soon; I don’t really have the time or money to go back to school for anything. Plus, as I learned firsthand, a lot of courses are full of shit, once you’ve been out in the real world.

Readers, what is your job/career path? Why did you choose it and how are things going? Any suggestions for me? I’m really lost.

10 thoughts on “I need some guidance”

  1. There's always call centres. I know it's shitty, but it would give you a place to work while you're on the lookout for something better.

    Also – and this is probably bad advice – you don't have to put everything you've ever done on your resume. If you do a skills-only resume with one or two minor jobs on it, rather than a full chronological one, you're probably more likely to get hired since they're turning you down for being overqualified. Just a thought!

  2. Ellie's advice is good.

    I know this is info that you probably don't want to share publicly, but I am wondering what pay range you consider minimum to get by… would something in the 40-50k region be enough? What about marketing, PR, or communications coordinator positions? They tend to pay in that range and will absolutely take advantage of your communications/language skills.

    You could also try positions like reservations manager in a hotel. Entry level hospitality jobs kind of suck for pay (front desk, server etc.) but one step up will pay salary instead of hourly and depending on the job itself, might pay reasonably well. I would avoid restaurant manager jobs, they pay crap, but hotels can pay a bit better.

    But if I were in your shoes right now, here's what I'd do:
    1) Update your resume and get it ready for job searching.
    2) Go in and meet with recruiters at all the recruiting firms in your area, and get them job searching on your behalf. (That way if you're in their database and they know your strengths, they'll call YOU when something comes up that you'd be a match for rather than you having to put in the effort. It will reduce the amount of time you need to spend job searching)
    3) Make your business plan your key priority right now. If you don't have your business idea yet, then spend some serious effort figuring out what your business should be and get THAT out of your head and into a real, solid business plan so you can take action on it. Hire a business coach if you can afford to. If not, see if there are any meetup groups in your area that focus on business planning or figuring out your dreams. Read books that will help you figure out how to find your passion. Talk to your friends and get their ideas. Think about what you like spending your time doing and what energizes you. Turn that into a plan.

    And while you're doing all those things… save as much money as you can and put it into an emergency savings fund. Most business don't get off the ground without some financial cushion or investment.

    Have faith. Things have a way of working out :)

  3. I'm an Inside Sales and Environmental Coordinator. I spend a fair amount of time doing admin type tasks, customer service and keeping up regulations for the Industrial Waste Sector. It's something I've been involved in in some way since i was 8 – working at my public school on reviving the recycling program in my school and city.

    You have transferable skills that can cross many boundaries. Maybe you'd like the hospitality end of things, or perhaps you'd like to learn and become passionate about a hole host of other things. I happen to reside in the KW region – RIM is always looking for people. My industry is always looking for people to handle inside work, regulation compliance, health and safety stuff. It's a grab bag of all kinds of different things. The best part is that there will always be waste so the industry, though seemingly small, is consistent and dynamic. Projects are always coming up to challenge you and the base work is the same so there is some semblance of normalcy as well.

    Spend some time with yourself and really figure out where you want to be. Baring that – branch out into any and all sectors. Your skills transfer no matter what.

    Good luck – we'll be watching you transform from the caterpillar feeling you have now to the beautiful butterfly again in a new position!

  4. I agree with ElleDi's advice. You can be selective about what you put on your resume, and what you choose to highlight. If you feel that something will make you look overqualified, tone it down or don't mention it at all. On the other hand, if you are sure of a specific field and you only have limited experience relevant to it, don't be afraid of highlighting them.

    When you mentioned your soft skills such as communication and dealing with people, I thought of PR and marketing as well. But these positions may take some time, you'll need to send out a lot of feelers and ask for lots of informational interviews. In the mean time, would you be willing to do some type of receptionist jobs at hotels? I had a few friends that did that and it paid around $15 and up – not the greatest, but it may tied you over while you're looking for the real thing?

    Fingers crossed for you, let us know how you do in your search.

  5. Thanks everyone for your suggestions so far.

    …I actually work in marketing/advertising right now and am trying to get out of it! That's the kicker. All my skills (except for the math) lend themselves to this kind of job. But it really isn't as great as most people think. I need to find something else that I can use my skills in and make a decent wage.

    I've definitely been looking into some receptionist/admin type jobs since I've got a lot of experience in those areas. The trick is just finding something that will pay enough to allow me to keep living in Toronto.

    $45k+ would be wonderful, but I don't know how attainable that is right now (no training or schooling). I think $35k+ is the area I would need to live decently for a while. I could certainly do it on less, but I'd have to get a roommate again and live pretty tight. It's doable but not the ideal.

  6. You said you took some courses at Humber-some colleges/universities offer career counseling as part of student services. With some interest, aptitude and personality testing, you might be able to figure out other jobs that use your transferable skills. Good luck!

  7. Wow, 2011 seems to be the year for career changes!

    Have you updated your resume and posted it on Monster and Workopolis? I've gotten a couple of calls from recruiters since I uploaded it in January. Admin jobs are pretty boring, but the good thing is that with a non-stressful job you can put your mind to the task of sorting out your business plan.

    Drop me a line if you ever wanna go for coffee, we can mope about our respective fields and brainstorm some ideas :)

  8. I'm sorry things aren't working out at your new job! I know what you mean about being disillusioned with marketing/advertising. I'm an account director at a small interactive studio and it's definitely a challenge on a good day.

    I'm always thinking about 'plan b' if I decide to get out of advertising and there are a few things I'd be curious to try…I would get back into more of a public relations role, try something in real estate, or work as an editor/proofreader. I have always thought working at a library would be fun for someone like me that loves to read. I'd also love to work with a TV show as a producer. What about a position doing communications with an organization like the SPCA, with your love of animals?

    I agree with some of the advice above: be selective with what you put on your resume, then upload it to some career websites and chat with a recruiter when you can.

    Good luck!!

  9. I'm an editor/proofreader and believe me, this industry has its issues, too. Outsourcing and glut of freelancers, for one. And although I work for a company, you'll never be rich. I'm actually considering taking an admin job for the same reasons you are–just to figure what I want to do and to escape a bad situation. You're not alone–all the best to you! I do recommend meeting with a career counselor. It will do wonders for your self-esteem, and he or she can spruce up your resume and cover letter.

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