Help me start a new career
March 2, 2009 7:23 PM   Subscribe

I need a list of careers which do not necessarily require a University degree or formal training.

After 15 years of dealing with long hours, little pay and stress that was beginning to damage my health, I walked out on my job. I really do feel that I could use a change of career (worked in Broadcast), something refreshing with better hours, pay and challenges. Problem is, at my age (38) and with not a heck of alot of money in the bank, I really can't afford to go back to school. So, do careers out there exist that I could explore without having to invest time and money in school? For example, I noticed that one could begin a career as an Actuary by demonstrating proficiency through a written exam. Math isn't my thing, so that's out of the question, but I imagine there are other careers like that, where you can demonstrate ability and learn on the job...thanks!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Retail management.
posted by pluckysparrow at 7:32 PM on March 2, 2009

With limited money, I'd recommend What Color is Your Parachute. This book has countless exercises to help you determine what exactly you're looking for, what it was that you didn't feel you were getting or didn't like about your last job. If you use it, this book can provide you with a fair number of resources and leads in deciding your next step.
posted by SocialArgonaut at 7:36 PM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Radio officer on a cargo ship: Pays six figures, 6 months on, 6 months paid leave, great retirement benefits - requires 12 week training course.
posted by zia at 8:01 PM on March 2, 2009

What Color is Your Parachute really helped me during my own successful career transition.

That said... You're not going to achieve your goal overnight. But luck (based on hard work) is going to help you out in the coming months. I have lived your situation.

What were you doing while working in the broadcast industry? Can you transfer those skills to something else?

If you are unable to go back to school, you're going to have to make it with the skills you do have, and that means creating an inventory of those skills. If possible, also create an inventory of accomplishments. Combined, this will be your new resume.

When I did my own career transition, I initially (for 3 years) worked as a contractor, and was able to cobble together a somewhat steady income for multiple revenue streams. After a few years, I had actually set up quite a number of contracts when I was offered a salaried, full-time position, and I kind of wish I had decided to stick with contracting. Multiple revenue streams = security.

Anyway, What Color is Your Parachute really stresses the need for self-actualization: what do you want to do? Of course, not a lot of people know what they want to do, so the book offers a number of exercises to help you out. Often, people who change careers invent jobs for themselves, and these jobs may not have a conventional name.

Your local chamber of commerce or economic development agency may also offer introductory courses for entrepreneurs, or people who wish to become self-employed. These courses teach things like business planning, basic bookkeeping, networking and marketing, and taxes. It's also a great way to increase your network.

Anyway, if I lost my job tomorrow (and I might), I would probably start my own business:

- coffee shop on wheels, serving premium coffee and tea
- construction debris removal
- resume writing and employment counseling service
- handicapped/elderly accessible taxi service

But list out all of the tasks and skills you used at your old job. For example, if you were involved in any sort of budgeting, you will probably be a good project manager.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:19 PM on March 2, 2009

Public servant.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:45 PM on March 2, 2009

Depending on what you did in broadcasting, you could transition into professional theater, especially the audio department. There are traveling companies and venues in large cities also have house staff. No degree is required for these jobs (at least, my ex has no degree and he has managed to hold some very impressive positions).
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:48 AM on March 3, 2009

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