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A Lateral Jump of Career can it be done?

#1 User is online   Gust Hubb 

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 03:07 PM

Hello all. So I am at the end of my rope, a burned out medical professional. I cannot keep doing this profession unless I want my life to be shorter than it already is probably. Essentially i need to escape, and knowing the diversity of the forum, I was hoping to get advice and suggestions on how to make a lateral jump (a the economically worst time in recent history).

My job basically is looking at glass slides with slivers of meat from people who have had a cancer removed or a dead body part removed. Sounds cool I know, and sometimes it is, but the profession as a whole is driven by increasing case volume, cutting costs (usually by minimal staffing and overworking the slide-monkeys), and focus on speed not quality of output. I realize these flaws are pretty much business as usual, and likely I will not escape this capitalist nightmare.

But here are a few of my favorite things, maybe that can be found in another job or profession? I am essentially a thinker, slow and meticulous, prone to ask why and look before leaping (problem in my current line of work). In the past and present I have enjoyed teaching, especially the tutoring and mentoring of someone learning the ropes of a complex science driven field. I ironically enjoy organization work, my favorite jobs this far being working as a base level librarian assistant and a gopher for quality assurance at a large coffee company. I enjoyed working over and improving product specifications, and in my field, fixing lab manuals and sops. Fuck, I enjoy a well loaded dishwasher and find folding laundry cathartic. So basically. I am a happy desk jockey I guess.

I am not fond of food service (people are sloppy and don't wash their hands, which freaks me out; also a pressure driven industry) and I decided very early on that scientific research was not for me (I find the hierarchical hypocrisy unbearable in a profession that is promised to be collaboration and rigorous investigation). I am pretty sure I like working with my hands, but never really tried anything beyond a brief stint as a summer dorm painter.

Jobs always at the back of my head have included trucking (love driving long distances for one), accounting, auto mechanics, construction, and if time travel were possible, returning to that QA job in coffee. I left that job for med school, one of my current biggest regrets.

Any thoughts welcome, and if you just want to roast me, at least the humor will lighten the shit days I live now.
"You don't clean u other peoples messes.... You roll in them like a dog on leftover smoked whitefish torn out f the trash by raccoons after Sunday brunch on a hot day."
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#2 User is offline   nacht 

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 03:44 PM

DO NOT OPEN A SMALL BUSINESS, especially a restaurant, retail store or some shit like that. You will need money to start it, it will require a lot of work and you will be fucked at the end.


If you are RICH enough, RETIRE and do whatever work (or not) you want to do including working on something for free.

If you are approximately aged between 40 and 50, RECOGNIZE that you might be suffering from a MID-LIFE CRISIS. This is not a myth. It is very real.
A mid-life crisis has the single biggest impact on your life and retirement finances. Men often blow their careers during this time. They do stupid things like lose their family. They also spend money on a sports car and shit like that, get buffed If you have to do something, do the last one :-)

A colleague gave me some very good advice that it is a lot cheaper to SEE A THERAPIST than to waste tremendous money by acting on any of the choices your brain is presenting to you.

There is a lot of wisdom out there (books, people etc.). Make your own judgement instead of going by reviews and other peoples comments etc.. I like "Man's search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl"
I also like "Thinking in Systems: A primer by Donella Meadows". Why, because we are a small part of a very large system.
Work is only a part of your life. It serves a purpose in making money so that you can live the rest of your life. If we are lucky it be be more than that but it should not play an outsized role in your decision making.
What kind of work you are doing and where you are working is not an accident. It is often an outcome of a process that found an eerily good match in many ways. There are always exceptions of course but that is what they are (exceptions)

Still CHANGE is possible and could be for the better, but it is more likely you will screw up. Things are in a quasi-stable equilibrium for a reason. So give it some good thought which seems to be your ken :-)

You can change yourself at work. You can become more assertive. You can question. You can explain. You can mentor. You can be the example of the culture you want to see. People will accept you. Some might not like it, but you will be mentally strong so you can ignore them.
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#3 User is online   Aptorian 

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 04:59 PM

Nacht's advice is too level headed. I think you should sell all your possessions and go to Vegas and bet your life savings on black.

However if you want some career suggestions I would say that your profile sounds like you'd be a shoe in for a Knowledge Management position at a Medicinal company. Novo Nordisk here in Denmark would probably be curious.
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#4 User is online   Gust Hubb 

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 05:03 PM

Definitely staying away from small businesses, haha no worries there. And definitely not rich, so stuck working.

I am not 40 but I guess I am getting there. Hard to say if there is a component of midlife here because it is primarily career focused and not financially or household destructive. I have been waiting to be happy in my job since I started and the training education required is approximately 13 years of school/on-job training. I am finally there, around 2 years out from training completion, and the end is horrid. I know medical professionals aw a whole live un various stages of burn out or obsession, and I see why more everyday.

I guess it doesn't help that every massive pivot in my life has been for the better.

Counseling is in the works, so I definitely will have that to help me evaluate my life and reasons.

Appreciate the resources.
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#5 User is online   Gust Hubb 

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 05:05 PM

View PostAptorian, on 15 May 2020 - 04:59 PM, said:

Nacht's advice is too level headed. I think you should sell all your possessions and go to Vegas and bet your life savings on black.

However if you want some career suggestions I would say that your profile sounds like you'd be a shoe in for a Knowledge Management position at a Medicinal company. Novo Nordisk here in Denmark would probably be curious.


If you have any contacts or suggestions, I am all ears. Consulting is definitely on the table and I enjoyed travels to Europe in my last job.
"You don't clean u other peoples messes.... You roll in them like a dog on leftover smoked whitefish torn out f the trash by raccoons after Sunday brunch on a hot day."
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#6 User is offline   James Hutton 

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 05:09 PM

Ehm, Gust Hubb, are you me? Monitoring this thread.
Secret message: "Keep up the good work, yours truly"
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#7 User is online   Aptorian 

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 05:23 PM

View PostGust Hubb, on 15 May 2020 - 05:05 PM, said:

View PostAptorian, on 15 May 2020 - 04:59 PM, said:

Nacht's advice is too level headed. I think you should sell all your possessions and go to Vegas and bet your life savings on black.

However if you want some career suggestions I would say that your profile sounds like you'd be a shoe in for a Knowledge Management position at a Medicinal company. Novo Nordisk here in Denmark would probably be curious.


If you have any contacts or suggestions, I am all ears. Consulting is definitely on the table and I enjoyed travels to Europe in my last job.


Don't know anyone in the private sector but Novo Nordisk/Nordic is heavily present in the US as well, it's their biggest market. I think any given Medicinal company could be interested, the question is what the job market looks like in that sector in your country.
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#8 User is online   Gust Hubb 

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 05:23 PM

View PostJames Hutton, on 15 May 2020 - 05:09 PM, said:

Ehm, Gust Hubb, are you me? Monitoring this thread.


Guess it is possible. I have been waiting to have a break with reality, but my alter is Corv, or at least I thought.
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#9 User is online   Gust Hubb 

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 05:24 PM

View PostAptorian, on 15 May 2020 - 05:23 PM, said:

View PostGust Hubb, on 15 May 2020 - 05:05 PM, said:

View PostAptorian, on 15 May 2020 - 04:59 PM, said:

Nacht's advice is too level headed. I think you should sell all your possessions and go to Vegas and bet your life savings on black.

However if you want some career suggestions I would say that your profile sounds like you'd be a shoe in for a Knowledge Management position at a Medicinal company. Novo Nordisk here in Denmark would probably be curious.


If you have any contacts or suggestions, I am all ears. Consulting is definitely on the table and I enjoyed travels to Europe in my last job.


Don't know anyone in the private sector but Novo Nordisk/Nordic is heavily present in the US as well, it's their biggest market. I think any given Medicinal company could be interested, the question is what the job market looks like in that sector in your country.


Plan on making that my weekend party time, a job hunt, nets cast wide. I worked for pharma adjacent last, so is a possible direction.
"You don't clean u other peoples messes.... You roll in them like a dog on leftover smoked whitefish torn out f the trash by raccoons after Sunday brunch on a hot day."
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#10 User is offline   Tsundoku 

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 05:58 PM

Avoid truck driving because too many IT companies are currently working to make it a dead career. Plus you'd be turning something you like into work, and that sucks. Plus the pressures in that job to do things in unrealistic timelines are very real and have very nasty consequences.

Accounting/stats/data analysis I think would be a great fit for you and guess what? It's one of the most-mentioned future-proof careers I've been reading about for a couple of years now.

Vehicle mechanics always have a job and most I know seem to enjoy it. It's an apprenticeship though afaik and apprentice pay sucks.

Construction is too "seasonal" for want of a better word and is a bellweather for the economy. You're either flat out or unemployed. At least that's the way here.

You could always emigrate here though ... :whistle:

This post has been edited by Tsundoku: 15 May 2020 - 06:02 PM

"Fortune favors the bold, though statistics favor the cautious." - Indomitable Courteous (Icy) Fist, The Palace Job - Patrick Weekes

"Well well well ... if it ain't The Invisible C**t." - Billy Butcher, The Boys

"I have strong views about not tempting providence and, as a wise man once said, the difference between luck and a wheelbarrow is, luck doesn’t work if you push it." - Colonel Orhan, Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City - KJ Parker
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#11 User is online   Gust Hubb 

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 06:27 PM

View PostTsundoku, on 15 May 2020 - 05:58 PM, said:

Avoid truck driving because too many IT companies are currently working to make it a dead career. Plus you'd be turning something you like into work, and that sucks. Plus the pressures in that job to do things in unrealistic timelines are very real and have very nasty consequences.

Accounting/stats/data analysis I think would be a great fit for you and guess what? It's one of the most-mentioned future-proof careers I've been reading about for a couple of years now.

Vehicle mechanics always have a job and most I know seem to enjoy it. It's an apprenticeship though afaik and apprentice pay sucks.

Construction is too "seasonal" for want of a better word and is a bellweather for the economy. You're either flat out or unemployed. At least that's the way here.

You could always emigrate here though ... :whistle:


Oh gods how I want out of this fucking city/state/country. I think my job may be livable somewhere else, but not here. But trapped by family, about 9 years left to stay stuck.

All that is incredibly helpful. How would I even begin looking into accounting? Is that a reapply to school thing? Apprenticeship? I can handle myself with computers just fine but no programming experience.
"You don't clean u other peoples messes.... You roll in them like a dog on leftover smoked whitefish torn out f the trash by raccoons after Sunday brunch on a hot day."
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#12 User is offline   Siergiej 

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 06:58 PM

How do you feel about the tech/software industry? You mentioned you enjoyed QA work and writing specs/documentation. There's lots of QA/Testing opportunities in tech. A lot of people find manual testing boring but I enjoy it - it can be repetitive but it's all about focus and attention to detail. Even though it's not my job at the company I work for, I often ask QA to send me testing assignments because then I can just sit in a corner for hours and figure stuff out without being bothered by anyone. Click around stuff and document reproduction steps for bugs.

I imagine QA might be a step down in salary in your circumstances, but in tech advancing through career is relatively fast and salary increases are significant over time. And with your resume you'd probably have doors open to plenty of paths.

Alternative to QA could be technical writing, though I think that's a much smaller market.


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#13 User is offline   Mentalist 

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 07:52 PM

As someone who deals with workplace injuries for a living (and thus is inherently biased)

-stay away from construction. Trying to get into a manual labour job after 40 is recipe for over-use injuries, and a whole bouquet of associated issues.
-trucking isn't gonna go away in the immediate future, but mid-range prospects are not great.
-If you enjoy meticulous, detail-oriented desk work, I recommend looking into insurance. That can have its own challenges (if you end up being an Adjuster, you can have a lot of hate coming your way from people whose claims you deny), but that might depend on position and how thick your skin is. On the plus side, as far as I know, there's no specialized education, and medical background could be a general asset.

This post has been edited by Mentalist: 15 May 2020 - 07:52 PM

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 Jump Around, on 23 October 2011 - 11:04 AM, said:

And I want to state that Ment has out-weaseled me by far in this game.
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#14 User is offline   nacht 

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 08:33 PM

View PostGust Hubb, on 15 May 2020 - 05:03 PM, said:

Definitely staying away from small businesses, haha no worries there. And definitely not rich, so stuck working.

I am not 40 but I guess I am getting there. Hard to say if there is a component of midlife here because it is primarily career focused and not financially or household destructive. I have been waiting to be happy in my job since I started and the training education required is approximately 13 years of school/on-job training. I am finally there, around 2 years out from training completion, and the end is horrid. I know medical professionals aw a whole live un various stages of burn out or obsession, and I see why more everyday.

I guess it doesn't help that every massive pivot in my life has been for the better.

Counseling is in the works, so I definitely will have that to help me evaluate my life and reasons.

Appreciate the resources.




Most men's midlife crises start with work with the question "Is this all. Am I stuck in this stupid system. Is there nothing I can do about it" This is the genesis of a mid-life crises.
Maybe you can clarify what exactly your profession is? thirteen years is a long time to walk away from. Then you can get concrete suggestions.

I dream of moving to Uruguay. God knows how that place really is. I am actually learning spanish just in case :-)
But do not even consider leaving your family. You will regret it forever. But if you have a lovely understanding spouse, take her/him and the children along. children often won't mind.

You seem to be doing important work. You are doing your part to help people. Maybe they will never be able to tell you directly but your conscientious work (vs say sloppy work) might make a big difference.
In addition, you have access to a lot more resources than you think (your colleagues who are experts in something or other, labs, samples etc.). You might very well be able to pursue your private research. A lot of great discoveries came from self-motivated amateurs.
You can also have a life outside. For example even teaching basketball to kids can be very satisfying while you see them progress and see their effort.









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#15 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 03:13 AM

Have you considered manwhoring?
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#16 User is offline   Tsundoku 

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 03:22 AM

He's content to wait for the next 2 Dresden books to be published.

Unlike some. ;)
"Fortune favors the bold, though statistics favor the cautious." - Indomitable Courteous (Icy) Fist, The Palace Job - Patrick Weekes

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#17 User is offline   Slow Ben 

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 04:29 AM

I don't know that i have any good advice, but 2 things that popped in my noodle.

Is it possible to teach what you're doing now? You might not enjoy the work, but if you already have the knowledge and you enjoy teaching.


If you really thing you'd enjoy being a mechanic, diesel mechanics can make decent money. If you'd invest in 6-24 months in a good diesel mechanic program you can make around 50-60,000/year.
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#18 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 05:00 AM

View PostTsundoku, on 16 May 2020 - 03:22 AM, said:

He's content to wait for the next 2 Dresden books to be published.

Unlike some. ;)


That was an indie art project.
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#19 User is offline   Gorefest 

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 08:06 AM

Histology is becoming quite a sought after skill again in scientific research. Did you consider becoming a research technician at a university or medical scbool? You'd get to keep doing the fun stuff you like but less of the work overload, and much more variety. Although I dont know what the US research climate is like. I know you said you didnt like the academic politics, but if you go the tech route instead of the postdoc route you avoid most of the exposure to it.

This post has been edited by Gorefest: 16 May 2020 - 08:08 AM

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#20 User is offline   Mezla PigDog 

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 08:24 AM

I have two suggestions having made a jump from medical research to medical product design and manufacture to medical product regulation. Your point about quality assurance sticks out to me.

1. The lab you work in is probably certified to a laboratory quality standard by a US accreditation body. You could get a job with that body which would entail auditing labs like yours and checking they are following the requirements appropriately. It is a meticulous job and people don't like regulators very much - it's a huge deal when you turn up at their door so you get to keep some professional distance. Check out the ANSI website and let me know if you want more details.

2. Work for a digital pathology product manufacturer in R&D with a goal to move into QA. It's a huge development area as they are essentially making products to put people like you out of a job. Once you get into medical device QA you are set with a career for life because it isn't going away and you can translate the skills to any product type.

My two cents. Good luck.
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