Inspire me with stories about career changes

I’m bored shitless in my work. I’ve been office-based since graduation several years ago and can’t be arsed with all the bullshit associated with that (the corporate culture, the politics, the hierarchies). Thinking of retraining as a tiler or something as I want to be less sedentary and ultimately work for myself.

Have you or anyone you know made a dramatic change in career direction?

A former neighbor of mine decided she didn’t want to be an office worker anymore and so, in her 30s, went back to school and became a doctor.

I was, myself, working towards becoming a lab scientist after years of doing accounting work but my health failed and I had to leave school.

i would like to go to uni and train to do something but the idea of giving up on a full time wage is blood curdling to me. think i’m pathologically terrified of not having money having lived in poverty for much of my life.


Got made redundant in a fairly specialist field as a result of the financial crisis. Decided I didn’t want to do an office job and buggered off around the world to teach English instead. Did that for around 5 years, traveled loads and saved lots. Would recommend.

Sorry GH, meant to be a general reply.


Few years back an office job that was so dull forced he to jack it in and go retrain as a primary teacher.

Three years in, love it. Luckily I had MrS to finance us as I trained as I can see that would be a major obstacle otherwise.

I do however often think how much I’d like to be a gardener :sweat_smile:


There’s an ex-DiSer who used to work for the local council as an office bod, but had a complete change of career, trained to be a painter and decorator and now runs his own company.

The course wasn’t that long or expensive, and he already knew of a few friends and family who wanted jobs done, so that kicked him off, and he seems to be loving it in comparison to what he was doing before.

It’s stressful, obviously, being self-employed just starting out, with a young kid as well, but I think he finds it very satisfying.

If you do go into physical labour or construction though, you must look after your body. You can’t do it as a long-term career and enjoy a retirement if you’re unfit or don’t do something like pilates or yoga.


I’ve met quite a few in the past couple of years. One of our sites used to do a 15 minute warm up first thing every morning.

The job market for site workers has become increasingly casualised, meaning that there isn’t the same career path off site and into management as people get older these days, and decent pensions are very rare. A lot of guys I speak to are beginning to take steps to try and prevent the physical toll wrecking their back or knees by the time they hit 50, because they’re looking at working beyond 70 at this rate.

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if you’re not quite ready to take the plunge, if you’ve been in the same company/industry for several years it may just be worth looking into some different types of company. eg if you’ve worked only for large companies, try a small one, if you’ve worked in something corporate, try a different sector.

self-employment can be pretty tough and and from the sounds of it not necessarily an escape from all of the things you don’t like about office work.

i ended up not making the career change i was considering as when i thought through the details/the reality rather than the idea it just didn’t seem like it would work for me.

Was quite set to stay in dead end office oblivion before various deaths really confirmed to me that life’s simply too short.
Been scared to leave office work for the last five years but always hated it. Maybe poverty is incoming but it’s just genuinely not worth sticking around. Not even close really.

I was worried about going for my MA while I was doing a job that I was fine with but that wasn’t really what I wanted to do long term (and I had no friends nearby and was a bit of a recluse).

Biting the bullet was the best decision I’ve made for so many reasons (I’m on my way to doing work that I’m interested in, have had some really cool opportunities this year alone, etc.). Making a change can be worrying but I think the enthusiasm you have for whatever the change is to can go a way towards getting you through it.

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all good and well being dismissive of it but physical pain in your later years is no joke, let alone when it impinges on your job competency

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same…and i imagine it’s only going to get worse!

I was an insurance underwriter, now I’m a tour guide (and writer)

Suppose that’s a big change.


Got made redundant twice,bummed around on the free money for a while and then went freelance. Would recommend it.

What did you go freelance in?

I’m not just saying though but your writing is proper A*, would’ve been criminal to stay in bloody insurance

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what do you write?

It can be done. Years ago I was an analyst. Now I’m a development analyst


A few (rare) pieces for The Guardian on heritage/architecture/urban issues. Creative stuff for Caught by the River. Journalism stuff for local papers sometimes. My own website. Currently doing a few days a week on the culture team of a local business…researching economic impact of their partnerships, writing thought pieces for national papers on behalf of the CEO, so sort of ghost writing.

Sounda alright but aside from the matter the others are very infrequent and often poorly paid, if at all.


Thanks. Also I was shit at insurance. There was one good day though when we learned about kidnap cover and some ex-SAS guy came in and told us all the cool stories of how they’ve thwarted kidnappers.