Finding the courage to change career path
October 2, 2016 9:27 PM   Subscribe

Been thinking about changing career path for a while. I tend to analyze (and overanalyze) every major decision before taking any action. Fear of poverty and disappointing others have held me back. What should I know about prospective careers that a job ad wouldn't necessarily tell me?

I have the following skills:
- listening / understanding other perspectives
- the ability to read very carefully and write very carefully
- documenting every action in writing
- good with small day-to-day details / small projects of X months; not so good with big ambiguous X years project planning
- an empathetic approach to problem solving (being told I'm super polite)
- ability to place yourself in an imaginary space
- researching a topic from all sources (primary and secondary)
- like learning new things with help from someone or structure
- good team player/ helping others
- happy to spent most of the day alone doing my thing (alone defined as uninterrupted; being surrounded by co-worker is ok as long as I have earphones; ideally a studio to myself)

Have yet to learn how to manage:
- high stress
- major decision-making
- constant talking all day (introvert)
- training others
- managing others
- talking your idea up to others
- anticipating issues before they occur
- business acumen
- talking yourself up

What careers would make use of the above can-dos?

What should I know about these careers that a job ad wouldn't necessarily tell me?

(I also have technical skills with CAD and adobe software but I would like these not to be the focus)

Thank you
posted by oink to Work & Money (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Your profile is missing the key facts:

Are you good at math?
Are you good at standardized tests?
What foreign languages, if any, are you at professional proficiency?
Can you work 60-70 hour weeks with vigor?
How well do you ask for things and deal with rejection?
posted by MattD at 11:45 PM on October 2, 2016

I have mostly worked in social research in public sector settings, and that matches some of your points. Being good at understanding others helps to figure out their knowledge needs, there's a lot of reading and writing (and obviously researching), it's often team based but without constant talking. However projects do tend to have longer time frames, say 6-18 months. On the commercial side, in market research, projects tend to be quicker turnover but there's more stress and longer hours.

You'd need to know or learn research methods - types of research methods and when they're appropriate. People tend to specialise in either quantitative or qualitative research, but it's good to know basics of both, especially some statistics, how to run a focus group, design a survey, and conduct an interview. You can learn these in a graduate diploma or certificate at many universities, a year's full-time study.

What would a job ad not tell you? Your findings are often not applied, or you might not know what a client did with them, which can be frustrating. It can feel too far removed from the 'real' action, where decisions and changes are made. Your work tends to move slower than wanted by others - clients want information immediately, research takes a while. It's often cerebral and dry, not much space for creativity.

From your previous ask-me, perhaps you work in architecture? There's consultancies specialising in local planning (research & strategy) which might find that background interesting.
posted by yesbut at 1:44 AM on October 3, 2016

Paralegal or a lawyer (not primarily client facing)?
posted by gt2 at 5:15 AM on October 3, 2016

to answer above:
reasonably - not university level
yes decent memory
two languages
after kids - no to 60-70 hours - before kids yes
used to it
posted by oink at 6:54 AM on October 5, 2016

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