I can't do too much... even though it seems like I can
February 1, 2014 11:43 AM   Subscribe

I have a part time job as a legal secretary and another one (or two, sometimes) delivering pizza. In my jobs I deal with customers and clients, invisible house numbers, rickety stairs, icy hills, lifting up to 25 pounds, sometimes working a total of 55 hours per week, things getting way too boring and then frantic, poor phone lines, dangerous neighborhoods, moody bosses, court deadlines, hot ovens, etc. etc. What I like is mainly the variety, flexibility, typing, driving around, friendly interaction, and food smells. What I dislike is the pay.

Main problems in looking for a better job: I cannot stand all day, or work too much in a hot or humid environment. I can't do shift work but I might make an exception for the 3-11 shift. Also, sick people creep me out and sick animals freak me out. I just don't have the patience for things that take brains that I have no interest in, such as finance, insurance, or most legal secretary jobs (see, mine at least involves personal injury and an entertaining boss, so it's not too dry).

My office skills are good to excellent but I need to learn more software apps. My math skills are average. My concentration is frequently below average (I've been working on this but there's only so much I can do.)

I'm pretty good at deciphering things and have a good eye and a sympathetic ear, and like to run around. I can make a decent impression but will never be super-polished. I like art, for whatever that's worth.

I can't drive the big rigs (just trust me on this). I wouldn't make a good handyman either. I also need a job where I have a pretty clear idea of what I'm supposed to do every day, and a reasonably clear idea of how to go about it. I don't think I'd make a good career woman unless it's the type of career that even a kid would find fascinating.

So...what would you hire me for? How would you suggest I make more money? Is there anything worth going back to school for?

I am female and just over 50.
posted by serena15221 to Work & Money (8 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Wow...you sound sooooo much like me. I hope there are good answers to this thread.

Some things that I was thinking might apply are dog-walking/pet-sitting (though might entail sick animals at times) or being some sort of admin assistant at a university. The university environment seems a lot more forgiving of quirkiness and a lot less pressure-cooker than the corporate world, though that could just be my misguided perception of it.
posted by whistle pig at 11:51 AM on February 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was a movie theater manager and my job was very eclectic. I was on my feet a lot but I worked with customers, managed staff, made popcorn or sold tickets if things got crazy. I also set showtimes, predicted attendance, ordered and managed supplies etc. The people I worked with were youthful and fun! The shifts are generally 10-6 3-11 or 5-1 am. Unless you come from outside management you would have to start as staff and work your way up but that shouldn't be much worse pay than the pizza gig. Management salaries are not great but they are ok and come with benefits. Pick a big theater 12+screens and in a larger city for the most opportunity for advancement.
posted by saradarlin at 12:13 PM on February 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

So...what would you hire me for?
Your description gives a good idea of what you don't want in a job. As a potential employer, I'm interested in what you do want to do. What do you enjoy, feel passionate about, want to work toward? How you present yourself plays a huge part in what is possible career-wise. That isn't to knock what you wrote. I scalped your question to focus on the things you mention positively:

My office skills are good to excellent.
I'm pretty good at deciphering things.
I can make a decent impression.

I like to run around and have flexibility/variety.
I enjoy friendly interaction, I have a good eye and a sympathetic ear.
I like the smell of food. I like art.

Perhaps the answer to your question lies in exploring that list of abilities and passions. I don't know, it was just something that stuck out to me from your question.
posted by 0 answers at 12:45 PM on February 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

What I dislike is the pay.

How much money do you want to make? Answering that question will help constrain the parameters of the problem a lot better.
posted by deanc at 1:20 PM on February 1, 2014

Have you thought about applying to other law firms? I worked at a big law firm in Boston and our senior secretaries made $80k+
posted by ewiar at 1:53 PM on February 1, 2014

bring a fresh, piping hot pizza, redolent of basil and oregano and peppers and (when i make them) briefly broiled parma prosciutto into a law office and ask to speak to the hiring manager. tell the receptionist about your paralegal skills as you're standing at the front desk holding the pizza. the receptionist will buzz the manager "there's a paralegal here with a pizza who wants to work for us!" this will at least get the hiring manager out of his/her cage to come talk to you.
posted by bruce at 3:06 PM on February 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

Real estate. Start in admin, get a feel for it, then eventually get your license.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:26 PM on February 1, 2014

Could you manage a take-out food operation itself?

Start each day arriving when the line cooks do -- but not at 8:00 sharp. In the daytime you could be hustling corporate accounts or handling deliveries and writing up schedules; at night you stick around for the rush and leave at 6:15.

I worked at a restaurant that had a small cafe with a thriving take-out/delivery business; they backed up onto the same kitchen. The overall operation was un by a bookkeeper and an executive chef and such, but finding a good person to run the take-out area was a big win for the owners. You might like the variety: a smaller pool of employees to schedule; repair the delivery truck when it craps out; tinker with the delivery "hot boxes"; etc.

Good luck: the only comparable combination of variety might be Consultant or possibly Espresso Repair Person (in an area with enough restaurants & cafes).
posted by wenestvedt at 12:23 PM on February 3, 2014

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