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Where to Go After a Lifetime in IT? 902

Posted by Cliff
from the starting-the-next-chapter dept.
Pikoro asks: "I have been working in the IT field for the past 20 years or so, and after getting hired by the largest financial company in the world, I thought I might have finally found a place to retire from. However, after working here for almost a year, I find myself, not exactly burnt out, but longing for a complete career field change. It's not that doing IT related tasks aren't fun anymore, but they have become more 'work' than 'play' over the last few years. Since all of my experience has been IT related, I'm not sure where I could go from here. What would you consider doing for a living, after being in a single field for so long?"
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Where to Go After a Lifetime in IT?

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  • by jalet (36114) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:33PM (#19055387) Homepage
    To Hell, of course !
    • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:43PM (#19055613)
      Insane?
    • by cytg.net (912690) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @05:39PM (#19058933)
      "an career in IT" - COMMON .. the question implies you've been around the WHOLE field of IT .. and I for one refuse to believe you.
      I know that feeling when its not enough "play" anymore, you're taking the blackboxing/exploration/creativity out of the equation and rely solely on allready aquired skills.
      what do you do?
      you aquire NEW skills in the field, wich has the potential to gap over to your current work
      Hows your AI doing? Datamining? It takes a long time for AI to become "boring" ..
      hundreds of possibilities im sure.
    • by heretic108 (454817) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @05:48PM (#19059041)

      To Hell, of course !
      Not necessarily. I made a complete switch away from IT 12 years ago (this month), and haven't looked back. Here are some keys to success:
      1. Re-organise your lifestyle drastically (and preferably quickly) to slash your financial outgoings - the lower your financial needs, the greater your freedom!
      2. Pay off any non-mortgage debt ASAP, preferably yesterday - keep only one Visa/Mastercard, with a low credit limit
      3. In your remaining days in the IT trade, save as much money as you can
      4. Only work as you feel able, feel free to slack off here and there without guilt, stall your bosses for time if/when they start questioning your performance
      5. If you have a sickness plan in your job, consider feigning some symptoms to prolong the paycheque
      6. When you get totally fed up with going into the office, tender your resignation on health grounds, and seek the best severance package you can get
      7. Sit at home for 2 weeks, take some long baths, keep intoxicants (booze, pot etc) and 'comfort foods' to an absolute minimum - feel your feelings - maybe take some long walks or hikes as well
      8. Write a list of things you really enjoy doing - no matter how weird or wild
      9. Choose about 3 items from that list, and for each item, ask yourself:
        • How can I mak an income from doing this?
        • What (affordable) training could I get to improve my earning potential doing this?
        • Is there a market for this? If not, could I create a market?
        • Could I sustain my interest in this area long enough to pay my training/startup costs, have some fun and save money?
      10. When you feel ready and inspired, get off your butt and persue one or more of these options
      11. Enjoy your goddam life!
      12. (maybe even) Profit!
      • by JavaManJim (946878) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @06:16PM (#19059353)
        I am gone from my previous IT job. Two years gone now. My goal now is to learn what I should have learned instead of wasting time during the endless 12-14 hour days performing IT work. And I LOVE heretic's list! Life is too good not to enjoy every second of it!

        So my list reads like
        . Clean house really clean - ongoing task
        . Learn Latin
        . Learn Greek
        . Review Math - learn ins and outs of slide rules - working on a little article/book here.
        . Find my old friends and learn what they like. I now have new hobbies from this.
        . Eat healthy, lots of antioxidants
        . Assemble electronic kits and build it myself over buying on basic electronic items.

        Currently I am on a Grand Jury. This is very interesting. Three month term for three days a week. Reviews District Attorney felony cases and evaluates if sufficient cause exists to go to trial. A great chance once in a while to practice your persuasion skills. Unlike a trial, we jurors can question the witnesses and detective presenter. We are treated quite well. Our break room refrigerator has a whole shelf of chocolate milk, another of white milk, finally one of apple juice. I can recommend this, contact your local District Attorney office. In Texas they are happy to take your name and put you on a voi dire list.

        Thanks,
        Jim

      • by Shag (3737) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @07:21PM (#19060025) Homepage

        I made a complete switch away from IT 12 years ago (this month), and haven't looked back.


        I don't think it needs to be that complete, even. I made an incomplete switch, personally. :)

        There are a lot of areas where you can take your massive IT experience, knowledge and skills, combine them with personal interests, and be extremely valuable to an organization. 3 years ago next week, I bailed out of hardcore IT after 15 years, including several in the dot-com world. Took my skill set and resumé and got involved in government-funded academic stuff dealing with natural sciences and science policy.

        I don't do it full-time, so overall it pays significantly less than the low 6 figures I peaked at during my dot-com days. But I travel all over the world (I'm +12h from home right now), meet tons of interesting people (astronauts, Nobel laureates, cabinet-level people, etc.), and spend fairly little time doing onerous stuff like the "laying on of hands" when a colleague's Windows laptop is ill. My cumulative IT experience is now something I "keep handy, just in case it's needed."

        When people ask what I do now, I just tell 'em that I make sure some small portion of their taxes is spent on worthwhile things, instead of hookers for beltway types.

        Maybe the OP should consider doing something similar - being a "soft IT" type in a non-IT organization.
      • by metlin (258108) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @07:28PM (#19060105) Journal
        Well said. I will just expand upon one of your points -

        What (affordable) training could I get to improve my earning potential doing this?
        Find an area that you like and that is profitable - for instance, business and management are extremely interesting and challenging if done for the right reasons. You could consider doing something like Operations Management, where problem solving is not very different from programming and you get to work on such things as Operations Research, Quantitative Analysis, statistics etc. Or you could consider doing something in economics, which is also a lot of fun.

        If the company you are at would pay for higher education, you could invest in getting a degree in business or management (or something related, but fun). Given your experience, you could easily get into being a market consultant or analyst at one of the top firms. Or you could get into strategy consulting, which also pays very well. A few years in strategy consulting and you could easily get on the board at one of the smaller companies.

        And if neither of these appeals to you, a startup is the way to go. It's fun, it's interesting and you can do some very interesting things. Besides, you get to work your hours and get to do it *your* way - the freedom is awesome (speaking from personal experience, yes).

        Finally, you could always go back to school and do a PhD in something you like - and go into academia and research.

        And oh, remember that if you are in technology, there are only a couple of options - you either go into research or academia, or you go with your own startup (otherwise, sooner or later, you either get tired of the job or run the risk of being replaced by younger people). If those do not appeal to you, business or management is the way to go.
      • by metlin (258108) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @07:40PM (#19060251) Journal
        Just a small bone to pick (forgot to add this in the other reply):

        4. Only work as you feel able, feel free to slack off here and there without guilt, stall your bosses for time if/when they start questioning your performance
        5. If you have a sickness plan in your job, consider feigning some symptoms to prolong the paycheque
        6. When you get totally fed up with going into the office, tender your resignation on health grounds, and seek the best severance package you can get
        Well, that is sort of unethical - of course, you are free to do as you will, but I'd just say that doing so with a clear conscience is usually a good idea.
        • by heretic108 (454817) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @08:52PM (#19061027)

          Well, that is sort of unethical
          Depends, of course, on the ethical position of the employer. 'World's largest financial company' brings up images of shareholders creaming off the sweat of the employees, and creaming off some morally dodgy investments as well.

          If they're a completely ethical company, confining themselves to ethical investments, with top-level consideration for their staff's welfare, completely honest and up-front in their marketing and treatment of clients/customers, then I'd be less inclined to screw them. But if they're the average fscktard employer and corporation run by a pack of MBAs with broomsticks up their back passages, constantly getting more value from their staff than they pay for, and screwing their client base as far as they can get away with, then IMHO they're Fair Game (TM)

        • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Thursday May 10, 2007 @03:13AM (#19063791)

          Well, that is sort of unethical - of course, you are free to do as you will, but I'd just say that doing so with a clear conscience is usually a good idea.
          I've been thinking of this whole "conscience" thing, as least as far as it relates to my job. My employer feels no compunction about using me up and will feel no compunction about throwing me away when I'm no longer profitable. Employers generally feel that their moral obligation is to their shareholders, not their employees.

          Granted, they won't harvest your organs, but I've been cheated out of overtime pay, and no one looks to have lost sleep over having done it. They did what was profitable for the company, because that's where their loyalties lie. Well, my loyalties lie where? With me. My self-interest. My bottom line. My quality of life. Why would I, why should I, have a morality, a conscience, a system of ethics that puts me at such a stark disadvantage with my employer?

          We're told that corporate managers not only can do the legal but ethically questionable, but they have a moral imperative to do as much as they legally can to maximize profit for the sharholders, even if some hippies may blanch at making money off of totalitarian regimes, human rights violators, and so on.

          Well, the main shareholder in my life is me, and I think I'm justified in maximizing my investment of time, effort, education, frustration, and so on. It would be wrong to be less that zealous in looking out for my investments, and though I believe in the benefits of morality, human decency, and integrity, I feel justified in having at least as much flexibility as my employer does when defining those terms for operational use within the context of my working life.

  • Jeoparody (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:33PM (#19055393)
    I'll take "Laughing all the way to the bank" for $100k/yr, Alex.
  • by taustin (171655) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:33PM (#19055401) Homepage Journal
    If you expect anything like the same money, about your only options would be producing porn videos, politics, or some other life of crime.

    Otherwise, get a job flipping burgers at your local McDonalds, and work your way up.
    • Re:Limited options (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Golias (176380) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @03:47PM (#19056807)
      If you expect anything like the same money, about your only options would be producing porn videos, politics, or some other life of crime.

      Otherwise, get a job flipping burgers at your local McDonalds, and work your way up.


      He got modded down as a troll, but he's exactly right. It was just about the best advice offered here.

      The worst thing you can do with a mid-life crisis is follow your impulse.

      Do not change careers.
      Do not buy an expensive sports car.
      Do not leave your wife for a 20-year old bimbo.

      They might all seem like VERY good ideas right now, but your rich, comfortable 60-year old self will thank you if you stick it out right now as you go through this "trapped in a life you hate" phase and keep cranking away.
      • Re:Limited options (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Knetzar (698216) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @03:52PM (#19056905)
        If he can afford to retire now, why not get a job that he enjoys even if the pay is crap? Why spend 10 more years hating the job?
      • Re:Limited options (Score:5, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @04:09PM (#19057309) Homepage Journal

        They might all seem like VERY good ideas right now, but your rich, comfortable 60-year old self will thank you if you stick it out right now as you go through this "trapped in a life you hate" phase and keep cranking away.

        I disagree. Whether you're rich and comfortable or not, when you're lying on your deathbed, are you going to think back on your life and say "if only I had tried this" or "I may not have done everything I wanted, but I gave it my best shot?"

        The only people who should ignore their dreams and stick with the lives they hate are people who believe in reincarnation. They believe they have another shot at it, they can try it again. The rest of us have to believe that we have to make it in this life or not at all. And while you may not make it if you try, you definitely won't make it if you just rest on your laurels and live in complacency.

        Live your life, it's likely the only one you get.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Golias (176380)
          I've spoken to too many 60-year olds who had to delay retirement for lack of funds, hardly see the children from their first marriage, and ended up having their sports cars repo'd to be so wild-eyed and idealistic about chasing that rainbow.

          It's not about "following your dreams". One presumed that's what you did to get where you are. What you are doing now is pining for the chance to see if there's more to life than what you've already accomplished.

          There is. And you already have it. Learn to appreciate
          • Re:Limited options (Score:5, Insightful)

            by DM9290 (797337) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @05:17PM (#19058571) Journal
            "What you are doing now is pining for the chance to see if there's more to life than what you've already accomplished.

            There is. And you already have it."

            Bullshit. that is a contradiction. What kind of a superhero is so awsome that they can accomplish all there is to do in life and be simultaneously such a retard that they dont know it.

            If you already have it, then kill yourself. why the hell would you want to just hold on and slowly watch the world crumble around you while you sit uselessly and smug in your knowledge that you HAVE it? explain the meaning of that? yes.. it would be great for your boss if you just kept on cranking away.. afterall.. thats what its all about right?

            life is not about stagnation. Its not about HAVING. its about growing. Its about seeing, learning and teaching.. and in the end its about dying. And it doesn't matter if you die broke because in the end. YOU DIE. You may as well die right now if you've done all you are ever going to do.

            Don't be a chicken shit. success is measured by challenges overcome, deeds accomplished, inventions and creations, not by dollars. I look at people 10 to 20 years older than me who have basically decided 'ohh.. my time to live is over' and it is beyond pathetic. It is the very definition of OLD. And the same time some people that age dont have that attitude.. and they dont seem old in any way. you can lose everything you have at ANY time. and in the end you WILL.

            Perhaps you'll have an interesting tale to tell when you are 70 so you wont be completely useless.

            if every man experiences a longing to find something MORE as they get older perhaps that is a clue. There *IS* something more.. and whoever tells you that you should just take it easy is killing you. They aren't a friend. They are a parasite holding you back.

            lets say someone works their ass off then hits 65 and is staring down a whole wad of cash.. then what? go and pay people to shuttle you around like an idiot for the rest of your days? Why did you live at all if that was all you ever thought to accomplish? sit around and uselessly accumulate for your entire life, and not only are you destroying your own life.. but you are destroying the lives of everyone around you by being a horrible role model. you and all your loved ones are being diminished.. with that philosophy you may as well all be oxen, pulling the plow. nothing more.

            Go live.. be human.

        • Re:Limited options (Score:5, Interesting)

          by abigor (540274) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @04:29PM (#19057723)
          'Whether you're rich and comfortable or not, when you're lying on your deathbed, are you going to think back on your life and say "if only I had tried this" or "I may not have done everything I wanted, but I gave it my best shot?"'

          Bingo! I actually have a name for this: the Deathbed Rule. When faced with a choice in life, choose the path that will lead to good deathbed memories and no regrets.

          By following this rule, I've done things that many might consider foolish - quit jobs to go travelling, spending months in other countries, and so forth. These days, I'm a contractor and I make it a rule to keep several months a year aside for fun stuff, even if that consists of just lazing around, spending time with my girlfriend and reading books, as I've done these past few weeks.

          By not following the Deathbed Rule, I'd probably have more money saved, but an absolute dearth of worthy life experiences - I'd have lived a "normal" life until now. What a terrible thought.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Golias (176380)
            I fully intend to be miserable on my deathbed about the fact that I'm dying, regardless of what I did or did not accomplish.

            I'm also guessing that it will be a relatively short interval in my very long life, and an experience which I will not spend any time remembering.

            I'm far more concerned about being as happy as possible for as much of my life as possible.
          • Re:Limited options (Score:5, Interesting)

            by AK Marc (707885) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @07:04PM (#19059851)
            By not following the Deathbed Rule, I'd probably have more money saved, but an absolute dearth of worthy life experiences - I'd have lived a "normal" life until now. What a terrible thought.

            You obviously don't know any old people. I've heard the "you never wish you spend more time at work" when laying on your deathbed, but I've heard many, many (nearly all) dying people mutter something to that effect. They all wished they had just a little more money. Whether it was to leave to their loved ones, provide a more comfortable end for themselves, or what, I've never heard anyone say "I would be happy to be homeless now in exchange for the chance to go back and take that one trip between high school and college." After all, a $2000 summer before college (and another $2000 of lost wages at a crap job) would turn into almost $500,000 by the time that person died, if they invested it rather than spending it. Was that one $2000 trip worth $500,000? For some yes, for most, no. But then, few are the people that would toss that into an investment and just let it sit there for that many years.

            So, when you are laying on your deathbed in a state hospital you didn't select getting care from underpaid attendants at a horrible patient to worker ratio and you can't even afford to get an occasional candy bar from the vending machine, just think what two trips long ago for a $1,000,000 difference in resources is a regret or cherished memories well worth the $1,000,000 they cost you.
      • Re:Limited options (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Aging_Newbie (16932) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @04:31PM (#19057779)
        The commentors to this statement have it pretty right, but let me add my .02 worth. None of these are critical of you or your ideas, they are just good advice for many people in your situation.

        1. Keep your job - stability is fleeting and you will be glad you stayed with it when you are finally outsourced or laid off
        2. Start paying yourself from the nice salary you are making -
              a. if you are in debt, pay it down asap
              b. if you are not in debt, save money as much as you can
                    1. set up a fund to go around the world and fund it decently - 15K or so should do the trick
                    2. put everything in your 401K that you can ... the more the better ... when you are 59.5 you will be amazed how wise you were years ago
                    3. pay down your house so you can save even more
              c. whenever you start feeling that everything is pointless, look at the progress you've made and congratulate yourself
        3. Learn something new, maybe even pay for your own certs / classes -- once you have certs note how much better you are treated when they realize you are secure in your skills and knowlege and marketability
        4. Focus on your family and spend quality time with them. They are really the reason you are working anyway. enjoy them - they are your reward for putting up with the crap
        5. Remeber to look around and appreciate at least one thing each day. Whatever it is, it didn't have to happen and if you count your blessings you will find you have more than if you grump around expecting the world to conform to your perspective du jour.

      • New Horizons (Score:5, Insightful)

        by RonTheHurler (933160) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @04:47PM (#19058077)
        When I started in IT, my mentor confessed to me that all he wanted to do was quit and open an ice cream shop. At the time, I didn't understand. Now I do.

        After 15 years in IT, I quit (actually, not by choice. The dot-com meltdown of 2000 left me unemployed.) So, I started a toy company. You can see some of it at http://www.rlt.com/ [rlt.com]

        Now that the waves of destruction from the internet big boom have subsided, would I go back to IT? No way! I'm a toymaker now and loving it. So do my kids...

        As I've said before, programmers and sysadmins have some incredible advantages over most MBAs. You have LOGIC. You are CREATIVE. You have a propensity for
        PROBLEM SOLVING. You can think through and visualize a plan of action from beginning to end. You can change course and re-program the system
        when requirements change. You know that very few, if any, projects are ever really finished. You're a hacker who knows how to shoot from the
        hip to get a job done on deadline, even if it isn't "elegant". You know that "Done" usually only means "it works at the moment and when
        it breaks, we'll fix it". Guess what, these qualities plus a willingness to try and fail then try again (kind of like compiling) are what make entrepreneurs
        successful. Another advantage you have is that you won't have to hire some expensive tech guy to do your programming/sysadmin/DBA stuff for
        you.

        You can do it. Just remember- there are a million reasons why you'll fail, and everyone will be happy to remind you of them constantly. But there's only one reason why you will succede- because you make it happen. So, ignore the naysayers and the critics, trust your instincts and go start a business.

        Have fun!
        • by Golias (176380) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @05:10PM (#19058487)
          You know that very few, if any, projects are ever really finished. You're a hacker who knows how to shoot from the
          hip to get a job done on deadline, even if it isn't "elegant". You know that "Done" usually only means "it works at the moment and when
          it breaks, we'll fix it".


          And you say you're a toy-maker?

          Remind me not to buy my niece's next swing-set from you.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vertinox (846076)
        They might all seem like VERY good ideas right now, but your rich, comfortable 60-year old self will thank you if you stick it out right now as you go through this "trapped in a life you hate" phase and keep cranking away.

        Actually, my father (who has been retired for a while) worked 30 straight years since his 20's till he retired. He's currently well off and owns 3 houses, but he's always told me that if he had to do it over again he would have gotten a career change or stopped working when he was younger
  • Me? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tarlus (1000874) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:34PM (#19055421)
    I'd become a fireman.
  • Careers (Score:5, Informative)

    by Reason58 (775044) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:35PM (#19055433)
    This seems akin to asking Slashdot what you should be when you grow up. There's no way total strangers could answer this for you. Take a look at your hobbies, interests and what you do well at. Look at the classifieds and see what kind of jobs center around those things. See what kind of experience and education they require. Go from there.
    • Re:Careers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:49PM (#19055731)
      The question is not what HEshould do, but what would you do. The guy's looking for personal opinions. Instead of telling him why he shouldn't ask people what they think, try telling him what you think. Think of it as a brain-storming session for everyone reading the discussion, not just the original guy asking the question. Lots of people may get ideas from it that they would have never considered on their own.
      • Re:Careers (Score:5, Funny)

        by crabpeople (720852) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @03:29PM (#19056467) Journal
        You clearly dont understand how "ask slashdot" works. Someone asks a question, and then we all make fun of that person.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          In all fairness, I feel Pikoro is to blame: protocol on Ask Slashdot is to ask for legal advice so that responses can follow one of two possible formats:

          1. 1. "IANAL, but..."
          2. 2. "Ask Slashdot isn't a substitute for an attorney, you retard!"
          It makes it very difficult for us to mock the Askee when they ask sensible IT-related questions!
    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @03:20PM (#19056311)
      You think I'm joking here, but it seems like every damn geek and his brother dreams of opening their own comic book, collectibles, or video game store--with absolutely no idea how to run a small business or how the market dropped out for these sorts of stores over 10 years ago (or how tough it is to compete with the big chains).

      When people tell you to "follow your dreams" what they mean is "follow your dreams--as long as your dreams are reasonable and you have the qualifications and skills needed to pursue them."

      • When people tell you to "follow your dreams" what they mean is "follow your dreams--as long as your dreams are reasonable and you have the qualifications and skills needed to pursue them."

        Personally, what I mean is go out and do it. If that means you need to obtain skills to do it, then do that first. I say follow your dreams, not get ahead of yourself.

        I also believe that there is nothing that you can imagine yourself doing (within certain realities of physics, of course) that you cannot conceivably do. Have you seen Ong Bak or The Protector? This guy Tony Jaa grew up watching pissed-off Kung Fu movies and no one ever told him that people needed wires to do these badass stunts where they run up the side of things and so on, and as a consequence he learned to do those things without wires. I don't mean the anime/kung-fu leap that sends you thirty feet up into the sky or anything here - again, reminders about physics apply.

        But the point is, how many things could we have done if no one told us we couldn't? If we weren't constantly discouraged from our "fool dreams" by parents, teachers, society...

    • Re:Careers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Golias (176380) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @03:56PM (#19057015)
      Take a look at your hobbies, interests and what you do well at. Look at the classifieds and see what kind of jobs center around those things. See what kind of experience and education they require. Go from there.

      That's good advice, as long as what you meant by "go from there" was "then stay in your current job that pays well, and have fun with your hobbies on evenings and weekends."

      Do you want to live like a 22-year old again? In a tiny apartment with a roommate or two and an old beat-up car in the parking garage? Having to borrow from family to buy any big-ticket items? With no health insurance? Being on the bottom rung of pretty much everything? Only without as much energy, naive optimism, or potential for growth?

      If so, then changing careers or starting a new business is a fantastic idea.

      Otherwise, find the fun in what you are doing now. Being poor when you're fresh out of college is normal. Being poor as a middle-aged man is depressing.
  • Cars oddly enough (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alcimedes (398213) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:36PM (#19055447)
    If you can get past the mess, I've found a lot of geeks are also good at fixing cars. Similarly complex systems that all work together, required trouble shooting of various systems, etc.

    The nice part is it's a useful skill in every day life, and if nothing else you might know when someone is going to rip you off at the local auto shop.

    • Re:Cars oddly enough (Score:4, Informative)

      by superpulpsicle (533373) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @03:09PM (#19056105)
      Car repair is like a dirty version of IT. It takes alittle less brain and more muscle. It is no more exciting than IT.
      • Re:Cars oddly enough (Score:4, Informative)

        by sheddd (592499) <jmeadlock@@@perdidobeachresort...com> on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @03:42PM (#19056715)
        Brain is useful in most any job. The best mechanic I know is damn smart.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lawpoop (604919)
        And generally it provides a more stable work environment. You can decide where in the country you want to work, and if you get fed up with your employer, you can go work for somebody else more easily than in an IT position. You can also work more easily in smaller markets, so you don't have to pay for expensive housing in metropolitan areas. Also, car repair is not something that is about to be outsourced anytime soon.

        Yes, you still have to deal with complex problems, trial-and-error fixing, and customer
    • by techpawn (969834) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @03:11PM (#19056129) Journal
      I knew the car analogy was in here somewhere
    • Re:Cars oddly enough (Score:5, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @03:17PM (#19056247) Homepage Journal
      You can get an ASE certification in automotive electrical systems by taking a six unit course and a $250 exam. If you know anything about electronics, and computer systems, you will find it trivial. Probably the two most lucrative areas in automotive work are electrical work, and the color matching/spot repair work in auto body. Difference is that if you go to work for a body shop, unless you're already a veteran you'll spend the first few months cleaning paint guns and sweeping up the shop, whereas with an ASE cert in auto electrical and a little bit of competence, you'll be making more than you ever did with computers. And you won't be on call. Unfortunately, I never got the cert, because I was too poor at the time :/ I did get an automotive heating and A/C cert, but who wants to do that shit for a living? That's actual work :)
      • by Golias (176380) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @04:08PM (#19057265)
        Difference is that if you go to work for a body shop, unless you're already a veteran you'll spend the first few months cleaning paint guns and sweeping up the shop, whereas with an ASE cert in auto electrical and a little bit of competence, you'll be making more than you ever did with computers.

        Dude, I'm pretty much in the middle of the pack when it comes to programmer salaries in my region at my level of experience, and I've yet to meet an auto mechanic of any kind who makes half as much as I do.

        These days, when a component of an electrical system in a car fails, they don't bring in an engineer to rebuild it. A shop monkey reads the diagnostic computer that tells him which part to replace, he replaces it, and the car is back on the road a few hours later.
        • Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by oneiros27 (46144) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @04:57PM (#19058263) Homepage
          That's funny -- I'm in the middle of the pack in progammer salaries, and my brother, an auto mechanic (Ford Senior Master Mechanic -- basically certified to work on anything but the hybrids) and a college dropout but has consistently made more than I have for the last decade. (hell, he was making 2x what I was, 'till I switched companies a few months ago).

          The thing is, for some mechanics, they don't get paid by the hour. Well, they do, but not the number of hours they work -- the number of hours the estimator gave. So, it's not uncommon for my brother to get paid for 80hrs in a week. He's good at diagnosing, and getting cars fixed and back out the door. He typically works 2 stalls at once, so as he's waiting for parts for one or for fluids to drain, he can work on the other. Yes, he has to work on Saturdays once a month -- but he's never gotten paged at 2am for a downed mail server, and there's no chance of him getting outsourced as they need people near where the cars break, not 1/2 way across the globe.

          The problem is, he's come to realize that there aren't too many old mechanics -- their backs go out after a while. I'm guessing that someone who's been in IT for 20 years might not be in the best shape for bending over an engine block all day.

          Personally, if I were to look at the automotive side of things, I'd look at getting certified on Hybrids -- I don't know what it'd take, but it's my understanding that there aren't that many folks who are rated to work on 'em, so it might be a useful opening. ... oh -- and when a component of an electrical system fails -- someone has to pull it out. And those little diagnostic computers aren't nearly as useful as you think they are. (One dealership had me keep one for a few weeks, while they tried to diagnose a random stalling problem ... I'd have taken it to my brother, but I lived 600 miles away at the time)
  • Which IT? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by avronius (689343) * on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:36PM (#19055455) Homepage Journal
    If you have a great deal of project management experience - there is an ocean of opportunity out there that does not involve "IT". Construction / manufacturing / etc. all require project managers to keep new ideas on track and on budget.

    If you have a great deal of experience with risk managemnt - there may be an opportunity for you in the stock market.

    It's all about which areas you have experience in, and how comfortably you are at adapting your skills to a new environment.
    • Re:Which IT? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by darkuncle (4925) <darkuncle@darkun[ ].net ['cle' in gap]> on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:51PM (#19055769) Homepage
      avronius is right - "IT" is a term so broad that it really doesn't accurately describe what _anybody_ does for a living. If what you're doing feels like more work than play, my advice is, look at what you do for fun when you're not working. Do you like to game? Like to build stuff? Like to run services out of your house? It may not be that you're burned out on technology in general, but rather on the particular aspects you've been stuck in for a while.

      For instance: it would only take about a week of Windows desktop support to burn me out, but I'm pretty certain I'll be doing network/application architecture and hacking on UN*X and OSS apps until I'm permanently retired (and probably for fun thereafter). After all, this is what I was doing for fun before I figured out I could get paid for it ...

      You might also look at getting out of the "world's largest" anything ... diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks notwithstanding, nothing makes me burn out faster than having to deal with the mind-numbing, soul-crushing bureacracy of most large corporations.

      In summary: find something you like to do (might even be in tech), and find a company to do it for that's small enough to be flexible, fun and still concerned about the individual. Maybe easier said than done, but there are certainly a lot of places hiring sysadmins and programmers lately ...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Intron (870560)
      I knew a guy who quit designing ASICs and went into construction full time - kitchen and bathroom remodeling, decks. He's never short of work now and he's happy.
  • by CaptainPatent (1087643) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:39PM (#19055523) Journal
    Sometimes it's simply a matter of finding the right company for you. There are so many different companies offering so many different career experiences in general. Finding one that isn't right for you may make you think you want to do something completely different when in reality you may just need a better boss, more flexible hours or more (or less) human interaction time. I'd look around at what else is close by before you make a leap in (potentially) the wrong direction.
  • Move to Paradise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:40PM (#19055531)
    If you have a nest-egg, like ownership of your house, you can consider moving to some 3rd world country. Like Costa Rica. The typical $400K American home can be replaced with an equal if not nicer $100K home in a lot of these countries. Then get a job teaching CS at the local university. I'm sure they will love to have a native english speaker with real-world industry experience. The pay won't be much, but combined with the rest of your nest egg you should be able to live comfortably with a low-stress, high-reward job in a really nice climate.
  • Bike messenger (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ponos (122721) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:40PM (#19055535)

    I read this story on kuro5hin about someone on IT who went on to become a bike messenger. I'm not sure it would fit you, but it is a physical job and it is clearly not stressful. I am not sure how much someone like you earns, but I guess you probably have a lot of savings, so you could try anything you like. Other lame possibilities include "writing" a book, becoming a critic for some obscure thing that you always loved (say, a cheese specialist). For what it's worth, I like cooking, but I've heard it's stressful.

    If you're looking for a complete change, try a physical job (not necessarily manual labor as in "construction worker"), one that requires you to use your body.

    P.
  • by stinerman (812158) <nathan.stine@NosPaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:40PM (#19055541) Homepage
    Truck driving is becoming quite lucrative these days. Go find an outfit and have them train you. Many will pay for your CDL training if you sign on for X years.

    You get to see the country and sit on your ass all day. I couldn't think of a much better job.
    • Re:Drive a Truck (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dmiller1984 (705720) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:53PM (#19055819) Homepage
      Truck driving is not all it's cracked up to be, though. My friend recently quit his trucking job to go into IT. *Insert comment about the irony* Although you get to drive around the country it isn't like you actually get to do anything when you visit places. You just watch the scenery go by and continue to drive. It can also be very dangerous as trucks can be extremely difficult to handle, especially when the weather is bad. Although the pay can be good if you have done it for a while, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to get any type of loan if you have just started trucking because truckers are paid by the mile and the bank needs to have an idea of how much money you make in a year. This probably isn't pertinent in this case, but it is something to think about.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by davidsyes (765062)
      But, don't wear the tight denims. Go for loose fitting. I heard (years ago) that the proximity of the engine heat and all-day sitting in tight pants overheats the family jewells (for male drivers, at least), reducing their (viable?) sperm count.

      So, if you're still looking to reproduce, get a cool (engine) cab if you can, or maybe get a dish drying rack and sit on it. Wait, you're from IT, so get a dish rack to sit on and then use a laptop cooler and let it remove the heat between you and the seat.
  • Bingo. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zyl0x (987342) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:44PM (#19055635)
    This is exactly why you're not supposed to choose a hobby as a career. Careers are meant to be something you're good at, and can stand doing, but not something you want to do for fun. What happens when you do something you enjoy over and over again? You stop enjoying it. You need to learn to separate your hobbies from your skills. Well, I guess it's a bit too late for that.
    • Re:Bingo. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Ynsats (922697) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @03:26PM (#19056415)
      I think you are missing the point.

      You don't need to learn to seperate your hobbies from your skills. I would venture to say that that is the worst thing you can do. A hobby is work that you don't get paid to do. If you enjoy your hobby and you are passionate about it, why can't you make a living at it too and then be passionate about your job? Employers want employees that enjoy coming to work. That's why they offer so many incentives like day-care, flexible schedules, cafeterias, company transportation, discount programs, recreational activities and so on and so forth. They WANT you to LIKE to come to work. They don't want it to be difficult for you to come to work. Why do they want all that? Because a happy employee is a productive employee that contributes to the good of the compnay which benefits everyone, including the employee.

      If you chose to seperate your hobbies from your skills, that's up to you. However, if you have developed skills then it's obvious that maybe, at one point, enjoyed those skills enough to focus on them. So if you are artificailly limiting yourself by confining your skills to work, you must find your hobbies just as dreadful. Mainly because you aren't as skilled at your hobbies as you are at your work which is based on skills you likely enjoy more.

      IT is a hobby and a job for me. I didn't get into it because it was something that I could stand doing for decades. I got into it because I really enjoyed working with the computers. I also saw a good deal of earning potential that could support my other expensive hobbies and the skill sets I could pick up were also transferrable to my other hobbies. Also, no matter how much I know, no matter how much experience I have, there is ALWAYS something new around the corner to discover and learn about.

      There is a tremendous potential for growth in any profession as long as you are willing to look past your nose that you are seemingly keeping on the grind stone. You should take it off every once in a while. You might see things for what they really are. Afterall, if you keep your head down and grinding away, how are you ever going to take a look and see all the opportunities around you? Don't go through life with such large, self-induced blinders on. You are missing way too much!
  • I'd go teach (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Noodles_HK (861825) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:45PM (#19055649)
    Teach Elementary School math, or science. Or High School. Or Community College. I know I enjoy teaching part time, and I can see enjoying teaching full time. My kids comes home with unclear math problems, and I re-teach them... and mostly having a good time doing it. You'd not be doing it for money, but usually the benefits are acceptable.
  • Logical. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:46PM (#19055667)
    The logical next step after working a lifetime in any field is the grave.
  • That depends (Score:4, Insightful)

    by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:52PM (#19055789)
    What do you like to do?
  • Hate Job? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fozzmeister (160968) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:53PM (#19055809) Homepage
    OK most people actually quite hate their job, IT people are very lucky in the fact they generally do enjoy their job and it's also well paid. Your job is more work than play, well your still one up on most people, think _very_ carefully.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ArsonSmith (13997)
      If you hate your job then get a new one. Simple as that. IT or not. It is people sitting in jobs that they hate because they don't want to get another one that creates jobs that people hate. As an employer if I can pay someone crap to do crap work than I will. If nobody will do that job then I will have to pay more or go without. IT is just usually filled with above average intelligent people who understand this. That is why IT jobs are typically more fun. I have also watched jobs go from fun to shi
  • by Gogl (125883) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:56PM (#19055855) Journal
    ...I wanted to be... a LUMBERJACK!
  • MBA? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Darth_Burrito (227272) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @03:40PM (#19056665)
    My friend left IT to become an MBA. He's graduating this quarter, and will be doubling his old salary. In his own words, he wanted to make the transition from the person writing the reports to the person requesting the reports. Of course, whether or not he'll achieve that as a consultant is debatable, but hey, he still doubled his salary and gets a change of pace. The two years he spent in the mba program served as a nice break from reality as well. Or as he would say, "Grad school is the snooze bar on the alarm clock of life."
  • by fruitbane (454488) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @03:53PM (#19056921) Homepage
    I'm training to be a librarian after a few years in IT. Librarianship is a usually a 2nd - 4th career :) And IT can be really useful in the field. Degree takes 2 years and the pay sucks, but it can be pleasant and rewarding. Librarians are the best people to hang out with at parties.

    Also, electricians are paid well. There's a lot of apprenticeship required, but as it's a hands-on kind of job it likely has much higher satisfaction than IT. It also pays well. You could pick up some other handyman skills and work at home improvement, or even get on Monster House at the Discovery Channel. Who knows!

    But seriously, those are two I like. It doesn't mean you will. If what you're asking is if your years in IT pre-dispose you to a different field, I'd say it depends on what part of IT you were in and what you were doing.
  • by consumer (9588) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @03:59PM (#19057079)
    Working for a giant financial company can make anything lose its fun. Why not try doing IT for a different company, working in an area that you care about? Maybe you love playing guitar, so you go do IT for a guitar manufacturer. Maybe you want to feel like you're helping people, so you join the IT staff at a non-profit you support.
  • Go for it! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Joe Decker (3806) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @04:19PM (#19057537) Homepage
    What would you consider doing for a living, after being in a single field for so long?"

    Five years ago I left technology for good to become a professional nature photographer. [joedecker.net] There are catches--the pay is terrible (but I made a lot of money in tech.) When I'm out in the field, particularly the far north in summer, the hours can truly suck (but I love every single minute of it, even if I don't... can't get enough sleep.) Some of the people in the art business are difficult to work with. (True anywhere, likely.)

    On the other hand, I love my boss (myself), even when he's a hard taskmaster. My overall level of happiness and sanity has gone up--way up. Despite oft-long hours, a lot of flexibility in when that work gets done allows me an incredibly varied and rich social life, as well as to serve on the board of directors of a non-profit. People who don't pay me who appreciate my work often write me in appreciation of what I do.

    There is an obsessiveness to the tech culture, a "60 hours a week or you suck", a cluelessness apparent in the constant dicksizing about how much one suffers at work. For many, this gets in the way of having a happy and grounded life. Don't get me wrong, I love technology and gadgets, I miss writing code (and still do now and then), but not for a moment in the last five years have I missed being pulled into the obsessiveness of the Silicon Valley tech work culture.

    I'm not suggesting that you go become a nature photographer, that was my dream, not yours. And, as many other folks here suggest, don't rush into something. Make sure you take care of your future, don't leave yourself worried about how you're going to eat. Don't leave yourself to be asking "You want fries with that, sonny?" when you're 88.

    BUT....

    Do go out and find something you love. Something that lets you have whatever kind of life you'd like to have, while working. Life is too short to waste.

  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @04:27PM (#19057691) Homepage Journal
    I got tired of IT and decided to just take off traveling for a bit and discovered what I enjoy. So I come back here to the States for six months (April - September), make my ridiculous money for those six months, save about 1K a month and then take off to a third world country for October - March. I own my land here outright, I live within my means and in the winter months I enjoy my time exploring spending 4.00 a day for my hotel room in Marrakech or traveling around Thailand (monthly rent 160.00). As long as you're not trying to live in Europe or Japan, you can go pretty far on 1K a month.

    Life is short and no one on their death bed ever says "Oh boy I sure wish I could have worked more!!!!"
  • by aibrahim (59031) <slashmail@@@zenera...com> on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @04:41PM (#19057973) Homepage Journal
    Do whatever you like, so long as you are prepared to work at it. I left full time IT after 14 years back in 2000. I still do IT stuff, but it short term contracts and consulting.

    What I chose was film and video production. My IT experience had some relevance. In fact it has increasing relevance. Still, after 7 years this pays only a fraction of what I made in IT. Part of that is my fault, because I am taking it "easier" than I should be.

    I am MUCH happier however.

    The point is to put some serious thought into what you like to do, and try and do that professionally. Some people like fixing cars. Other folks like hockey. (I did that too, but never full time despite trying to become full time.) Whatever.

    Before you make any changes, study your new area. Gain some expertise. Do it as a hobby for a bit to make sure you like it enough to try it as a profession.

    This may sound familiar to you, because its how I, and probably a lot of folk here, got into computers.
  • I recommend poker (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nsayer (86181) * <[moc.ufk] [ta] [reyasn]> on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @05:59PM (#19059171) Homepage
    Poker makes an excellent 2nd career for IT personel:

    1. You're your own boss.

    2. No physical or athletic requirements.

    3. Lots of probability math to wrap your head around.

    4. You can work from home if you like, or from a variety of physical locations.

    5. No retirement age.

    6. If you're either very good or very lucky, you can be on TV.

    I bet I get moderated "funny," but I'm perfectly serious.

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