How to plan a career change? (i.e. I want to make more $$)
September 19, 2015 6:35 AM   Subscribe

I'm working in a field that I moderately enjoy and it's an okay position for now, I don't think it's what I want to do for the rest of my life. I'm giving myself about 3-5 years to form a solid plan to switch careers to something that will (hopefully) pay me a bit better (and maybe enjoy it). I'm trying to figure out where to start? (I'll also take any career suggestions if you have 'em)

I know that money isn't everything, but after really doing the math I don't think that my current job matches the lifestyle I'd like in life.

I'm in my late 20s and currently working at a school as their "librarian" (I'm not an actual librarian) /education assistant. I "like" my job and I'm enjoying the summers off for traveling (which is why I want to stay in this position for about 3 more years). The money is okay for now, it's liveable, but in 5 years I'll max out my pay band and I'll be making $35k for... ever? I would really love to buy a house, seriously save for retirement, and maybe (hopefully) start a family within the next 5 years. I'd like to enter a new career where I could (maybe, eventually) make $60K (not right off the bat, or anything).

I have a BA and I wouldn't *mind* going back to school if it was something I could do in the evening/summers. To be honest, I would prefer that, because I really don't see myself as qualified for anything outside of libraries/schools. I did consider going back to university for 2 years for a teaching degree, but I don't think I have the temperament to really enjoy teaching (teachers get paid quite well where I live). In the past, I've fallen into the trap of finding careers based on what I was really "PASSIONATE" about and I don't think that it's really worked for me. I just want to find a job that I can do well and that pays me enough to live the life I would like to.

What is the best way to go around a career change based around money? Should I just start looking up average salaries for careers and see what jumps out at me? What else should I be considering?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
What skills do you have? In particular, how are your numerical/analytical skills?
posted by peacheater at 6:38 AM on September 19, 2015

Are you trying to make $60k in New York, or in Omaha? Because you essentially need a higher paying job in Omaha to make that happen.

What do you not like about teaching?

You could be an accountant, in sales, marketing, health care, a paralegal... from where I'm sitting there are a lot of jobs to potentially pay more. So the question is, what skills do you have, and what aspects of a job are important to you (good or bad)?
posted by J. Wilson at 7:02 AM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Don't neglect the world of non-profit. Many have missions that include collection and dissemination of information for which you probably have pretty good skills. These organizations can be found most anywhere, but there are more near centers of power like big cities, state capitals, and DC. Pay is not necessarily low, and you may be supporting s cause you are interested in.
posted by SemiSalt at 8:43 AM on September 19, 2015

Update from the anon OP:
it looks like it might be good to provide a few more answers based on the responses, so far.

re: numerical/analytical skills. I think they're okay, I was never a math whiz in high school and ended up avoiding it after high school. I don't know if I was ever "truly" bad at math, or if I just never gave myself a chance. My analytical skills are all right, although I don't think I use them very much in my current position. I would be interested in giving myself a second chance at math and really trying to find out my abilities.

I guess what I don't like about teaching is the ridiculous amount of hours I see teachers put in. I'm not even a teacher and I end up taking enough work home from the school, I don't even want to think about the work I see them take home. I'd like a job that mostly stays at work. I actually love the organizational aspect of my job: organizing materials, finding resources, ordering items, etc. I like "behind the scenes" work. Interacting with the kids is fun, but I think I could live without working with children.

Hopefully that will bring a bit more insight to my question!
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:48 AM on September 19, 2015

Well... since you're currently working in a library and presumably have lots of library skills, what about an MLS? You can certainly do it online or at night/summers if there's an ALA-accredited school nearby. Tuition varies widely depending on where you go, so keep that in mind.

I have an MLS and rarely recommend someone go get one, but your pay range is not unreasonable and if you focused on technical services or acquisitions classes and tried to get a job in that area of librarianship, I think that would fulfill both the organizational aspect and "behind the scenes" element of what you're looking for (those are also the best kinds of library positions to mentally leave behind when your workday ends).

It can be hard to find a full-time librarian job quickly after finishing your MLS, but those willing to work part-time or relocate tend to have decent options. Also, your years of experience in a library would put you miles ahead of many other library school students. MeMail me with any questions!
posted by jabes at 10:11 AM on September 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Human resources bureaucrat, business or corporate
Low level business-to-business sales of pretty much anything - big upside if you do well!
Corporate executive assistant
Cop or firefighter (won't be 9 to 5, overtime may be required but will be paid)
Pretty much every para-professional healthcare job
posted by MattD at 11:49 AM on September 19, 2015

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