I Need a New Job
September 25, 2013 10:04 PM   Subscribe

I need a new job, and I have no idea what job I might be good at and enjoy. Please give me ideas for some jobs that I haven't thought of. I'm in my late 20s and working as a research analyst for a large firm, and I can't take the feeling that I'm not doing anything worthwhile (or even enjoyable) with my life. I'm not sure what to do. Do you know of any unconventional careers that might be a good fit? Please give me an idea of where to get started.

After talking it through with my partner, here are some things that I am particularly talented at:
  • Getting people across all walks of life to open up about themselves and things they're interested in.
  • Asking questions and getting people to explain how things work
  • Researching and finding arcane pieces of information
  • Introducing people to each other
  • Giving things the little bit extra to get them actually started - I co-founded a successful(ish) non-profit
  • Event Co-Ordination, although I don't want this to be my everything
  • Database management (both Access and a proprietary database), but I wouldn't want this to be my entire job.

Things I really love include:
  • Talking to people
  • Intersectionality - like where technology and art come together, or where digital and analog collide
  • Videogames
  • Travel
  • Blowing people's minds
  • Introducing people to each other and to new things
  • Getting people excited about things and ideas
  • Reading
  • Political wonkery
  • Listening to music
  • Learning
I'm not big on writing, although I can do it if I have to. I'd also rather not work in a corporation anymore. I'm looking for a job with a minimum of tedium, but I understand that every job is going to have a component of this. I just don't want it to be the entire job anymore. I don't want any job that makes me feel like I'm taking advantage of people.

Throw away email address: TimeForASock@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (13 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
You might consider working for a university in fundraising or something, particularly with the nonprofit experience.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:08 PM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

Except for the political bit, your interests actually line up pretty well with jobs in sales or sales support. And you can easily work in sales for yourself, as a manufacturer's representative, or for small companies like sole proprietorships, partnerships, or sub-chapter S corporations, if being vital to a small group of people, with constant management interest and attention appeals to you.

You might also want to do some vocational testing, to further narrow your job search to interests you think you have, and validate that task and responsibilities you think you'd like to have actually correspond with real jobs. Many local community colleges offer low cost basic testing and guidance using instruments like the Strong Interest Inventory and the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, and you can also find reputable vocational testing and counseling services through local psychologists and vocational rehabilitation counselors, or sometimes, through state employment services offices.
posted by paulsc at 10:34 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Some type of job at a museum or art gallery?
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 10:50 PM on September 25, 2013

Service designer.*

You'll likely need to get some education, but the skills are critical thinking, research, ethnography, collaboration, mentoring, learning, which all lead to innovative ideas, actions, and outcomes.

Most people in this field come from management consulting, digital agencies, industrial design, architecture, and strategy. They all have seen the need for a more holistic approach that brings together a great expanse of knowledge to solve complex, human problems.

IDEO, Jump, Method, Continuum, and frog all have service design as part or as the basis of their offering. Teams are collaborative and bring together a variety of expertise, so your research experience would be well received.

* I just happened to link to this firm, but the story is pretty similar at any of them. Some large organisations also support service design internally, such as P&G, Citrix, and Wells Fargo.
posted by qwip at 11:00 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

There is a glut of MFA grads competing for most art gallery/museum jobs... super competitive. If it interests you, I'd start by volunteering first.
posted by jrobin276 at 11:15 PM on September 25, 2013

- Certified professional mediator
- Customer advocate
- Ombudsman
- Tour guide
posted by Dansaman at 11:18 PM on September 25, 2013

Previously, and w/r/t jrobin276's point.
posted by MonsieurBon at 11:27 PM on September 25, 2013

Working at a public library. You wouldn't necessarily have to be a librarian and get the degree etc. Libraries increasingly need people who can do marketing, fundraising, make new things happen especially if they relate to technology (and the funding to support it). And if your role involves any kind of front-of-house service, your people skills will help a lot in that environment too.

PS You do not actually get to spend all your time reading books, as some people seem to think. Saying "sssh" is also not necessarily a thing.
posted by Athanassiel at 12:06 AM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

You are (pretty much me) and I am very happily if not affuently working in the public sector helping unemployed, welfare dependant people with employability skills, employer contacts, work experience placement and mentoring, language training, creating programs for youth outreach and furtherment, etc, etc. I don't think furtherment is a word. You get the picture. There's a bit of media/political/etc contact lobbying and presenting our work, lots of empassioned people involved, and plenty to get het up about. My techy sides let me bring the mindblowing and impress the socks off of people by creating toolchains that really cut through the bullshit and give results direct to the user (ex. using a set of ITTT filters to get superfiltered job ads to a clients cellphone daily).
posted by Iteki at 12:16 AM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

I too came to say sales. I was in high tech data networking sales. I taught my customers about what the technology could do for them. I learned all about new technology in the field and about what my customers would use it for. I worked in maintaining my sales databases and mined them for information that made me more effective in discussing what my customers were currently using and how it could be optimized.

I was constantly (and still am) connecting folks to one another, "Hey Bob, you manufacture awesome thingamabobs, Jillian here NEEDS thingamabobs! You should talk!"

I still get calls from my former customers (five years later) who want to bounce ideas off of me.

I have nothing bad to say about sales. If you sign on with a good company you get excellent training (so you know your product and you feel comfortable discussing it with customers) you typically get customers assigned, and the flexibility and perks are outstanding.

I have traveled extensively for my job, I have made friends with my customers so no matter where I go in the country (and in some places the world) I have someone I can call up and go for drinks with.

Sales is one of those jobs where no two days are exactly the same.

Once, a social worker friend of my parents was making fun of me, "Hah, saving any lives with sales?" (she's kind of a bitch.)

"Actually, I worked on restoring telephone and data services to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, so in a way, yeah."

There are a lot of people out there who are snobby about sales. You're selling out, you're about the money, you're not helping people. Bullshit.

I was the person at the monolithic phone company that they could call and get answers to questions, get information about new products that could help them do their jobs, or who could get what was broken fixed and back in service. Goddam RIGHT I was a lifesaver.

There's a parable about two constuction workers. One man was asked, "What are you doing?" He answered, "I'm laying bricks." His co-worker was asked the same question and responded, "I'm building a cathedral that celebrates the Lord."

So to some sales is a sleazy money grab, but to the sales professional, it's an honorable profession that just happens to pay a shit-ton of money.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:59 AM on September 26, 2013 [5 favorites]

A state or national politician's local office.

Or, you know, run for office yourself!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:01 AM on September 26, 2013

Well, I'm not sure how this fits into the non-profit world and it might not be what you wanted to hear, but I think you might be good at human resources. HR people are sort of like therapists for offices. A lot of career fields are full of talented people who don't know how to express themselves emotionally, and when it comes to blows and someone gets hurt, HR is the department that steps in and says, "Whoah, you two. Let's cool it down and see what's really causing the conflict here." You need to have the rare human gift of gaining peoples' trust and reading between the lines in order to do this well. The HR department, depending on the company, also sometimes handles recruiting and interviews. Recruiting/hiring would let you use your talent for getting people to open up about themselves, since the first line of contact any potential employee has with the company is through the HR recruiter. Recruiters who aren't phony-baloney make a huge difference in how companies woo prospective employees. Having interest in the field helps a ton, so maybe you could look into HR careers in the creative/advertising industry, based on your interest in digital art?
posted by deathpanels at 7:29 AM on September 26, 2013

You don't say how much money you aspire to make. Making lots of money is pretty pleasant, and database management pays quite well. Non-profits need DBAs, too. You could work with an agency as a consultant/ temp, request placements in non-profits and education, and/or in interesting locations. If you are a well-skilled DBA, you can make enough money working part of the year or part-time to do a lot of interesting stuff in your free time. A friend did this with excellent results.

In addition to looking at the job titles and descriptions of interest, consider looking at what type of environment you're looking for. There are non-governmental organizations who need staff to help them solve problems and help people around the world, and more interesting companies that have fantastic environments. Also, keep taking classes, getting certifications, and learning. It tends to banish boredom/ tedium.
posted by theora55 at 11:50 AM on September 26, 2013

« Older Say I wanted to move to the Netherlands...   |   Do I have to register w/ the police in China... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.