Ideas for a different job
November 30, 2009 3:50 AM   Subscribe

How can I direct my IT skills to somewhere other than yet another boring IT job?

I've been unemployed for 3 months or so, not yet serious but enough to start getting disillusioned with my 'career'.

I've worked in IT for 15 years, never been out of work and I know I am not alone... however, the doubt that IT is what I want to do any more is now creeping in.

I have worked mainly from tech support up to infrastructure management and managed small teams. I'm a good techie, I'm a good team leader, I have a good CV that reflects this and I've found about 100+ positions to apply for, had a few interviews, come close, not quite got there. The feedback each time has been positive and I've not got positions as they've gone to internal candidates each time. I even interviewed at my 'dream IT job' (at Barclays) and came so close.

I am motivated (most of the time) and I relish the unexpected time at home with my 6 month old, I'm spending 50% of my time job hunting and some other ways to make money (ebay, PC support, some event planning but nothing that can get me a full time income) and 50% childcare.

However, I cant help thinking that maybe IT isnt for me anymore. Most of the jobs that come up for medium sized institutions with small-medium infrastructures that just bore me, I can do that blindfold, and usually in companies that dont give a monkeys about IT and see it as a burden and therefore treat it somewhere around the level they treat the cleaners.

I'm trying to come up with some other type of work where my skills - not just technical - would be valuable, and struggling to do so. I dont really want to start again salary wise either. I guess thats an impossible equation. (Oh and teaching I'm trying to avoid - my parents are teachers and its disrespectful for people to suggest this as if its some sort of last resort job that anyone can get).

Failing that, any good resources where us doleys can get together and whinge a bit? (I'm in the UK if you didnt get that from the slang!)

(oh and since I've been off work, all I now see is adverts for courses for getting people in to IT. I'll do you a swap!)
posted by daveyt to Work & Money (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I tried getting away from IT 10 years ago and didn't: it's the only thing I can do which brings in enough cash! A couple of years ago I was out of work for a few months and concentrated on creating stained-glass ornaments, a few of which I sold through However, you have to cut a lot of glass to make enough money, and I felt I would be destroying any pleasure I took in my hobby if I had to work at it around five or six days a week.

Having worked in teaching and adult training for several years, I agree that these are not jobs for "those that can't do". But they are very rewarding and if you know your subject you might find it worth a try. I know many sixth-form/further education colleges have a need for part-time evening teachers, so you might want to look at contacting a few places like that and seeing if they will take you on. You don't have to make a long-term commitment.

The only other thing I can suggest is to see if you can get some short-term contract work. It pays well and you get to call the shots in terms of who you work for, what you do, etc, and being a Respected Consultant is much more interesting than being "the IT monkey". You can also arrange to work x weeks "on" and y weeks off, which will allow for family time as well.
posted by BrokenEnglish at 4:32 AM on November 30, 2009

You sound burned out.

I'm trying to come up with some other type of work where my skills - not just technical - would be valuable, and struggling to do so. I dont really want to start again salary wise either.

These together is pretty much out of the question. IT pays well. Maybe you can move into management? Or take a salary cut to work at a smaller shop - non-profit maybe? I moved from a team lead at a large/mid-sized network (2k+ nodes) to running a tiny 50 person org. Much more personal interaction, less stress going from a 24x7 shop to an 8x5, but it's still a 'tech job'.
posted by anti social order at 6:09 AM on November 30, 2009

Maybe consider moving over to QA for a software development company? There's a lot of overlap in skill sets between IT and QA, setting up test machines and preparing environments, and I've known quite a few people who have moved between one or the other.
posted by octothorpe at 7:01 AM on November 30, 2009

Can you do any freelance/consulting work? In the states there a lot of small businesses that can not afford a full time IT Manager - but still need some work done.
posted by jaythebull at 7:18 AM on November 30, 2009

I work in a tech capacity for a medium sized Library system, and it's pretty great. It's varied work that's challenging and also fulfilling. Depending on the position, you may also be working to develop technology training programs for library patrons, as well as typical IT duties. You're probably going to have to take a pay cut, however.
posted by codacorolla at 9:29 AM on November 30, 2009

If you can cut it financially, maybe you would enjoy being a CTO-type at a startup? Folks who can manage the technical infrastructure, wrangle developers, and run webops for a startup can be immensely valuable, and you'd be senior enough to take an equity share.
posted by jenkinsEar at 11:31 AM on November 30, 2009

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