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(Some Working Stiff)   Just turned 56, stuck in a dead end customer service job. My talents are in writing, music and the outdoors. Any ideas for a decent career change? Bonus: working at home?   ( divider line
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206 clicks; posted to Discussion » on 19 Jul 2021 at 2:59 PM (10 days ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook

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2021-07-19 2:01:00 PM  
Panhandling could cover all that.
2021-07-19 2:06:18 PM  
"Do you want to be a model, or just look like one?"
2021-07-19 2:11:51 PM  
2021-07-19 2:15:15 PM  
Cutting grass.  You can do that outside.
TikTok video editor.  Add your own musical score to local teenagers' TikTok videos.  Help them go viral!
Anti-Vaxxer.  Get online from your own home and spread the lies.  Get paid to influence others to die.
OnlyFans.  There must be a market for 56 year olds doing things most people don't want to see anymore.
2021-07-19 2:18:25 PM  
It's possible to do outdoors kinda work and work from home if you drastically change your ideas of what home and outdoors are
2021-07-19 2:20:59 PM  
Have you tried being John Denver?
2021-07-19 2:21:43 PM  
There's still parking spots for vans down by the river.
2021-07-19 2:28:44 PM  
Do you have access to a house-sized fumigation tent?
2021-07-19 2:32:30 PM  
Be a mime in the public park
2021-07-19 2:40:35 PM  
Troubadour?  That'll mix writing, music, and the outdoors.  Probably won't be able to work from home though.
2021-07-19 2:51:25 PM  
Panning for gold in various rivers has made a come back.
2021-07-19 2:53:59 PM  
2021-07-19 2:59:34 PM  
YouTube videos about local musicians. About music history. Review hiking/fishing/camping places in your area? Find a niche.

Do you have any IT skills or history? Try for a tech writer or knowledge base writer.
2021-07-19 3:00:09 PM  

DoBeDoBeDo: Have you tried being John Denver?

That didn't work out too well for John Denver.
2021-07-19 3:02:23 PM  
Freelance gynecologist?
2021-07-19 3:03:13 PM  
I'm 10 years younger than you, subby, but in essentially the same position. I just have my fingers crossed that my current job continues to provide enough to meet my relatively humble wants and needs.

I don't  think that there are enough "fufilling" jobs out there for everyone to have one, so I work to pay the bills and seek fulfillment in hobbies, friends and family.
2021-07-19 3:04:46 PM  
I've been reliably informed that if you just show up at roadside taverns, you can just sing for your room and board.  Eventually an agent of the hot young Queen notices you and invites you to perform in the palace, at which point, you've got it made.
2021-07-19 3:06:47 PM  

aimtastic: I don't think that there are enough "fufilling" jobs out there for everyone to have one, so I work to pay the bills and seek fulfillment in hobbies, friends and family.

Sadly, you are probably right about that. Same boat here. I do reasonably well but not well at all considering I've been at the same place for 21 years. And to those folks who say "follow your passion", well, fark off because I can tell that by using that phrase you've never worked a day in your life.
2021-07-19 3:07:29 PM  
It's seasonal, but what about summer camp councilor?  IDK what you do with the other three seasons though.
2021-07-19 3:09:53 PM  
Kinda depends on where you live- tourist/resort areas have different job opportunities than the middle of Iowa, as do urban areas vs rural areas. Obviously writing can be accomplished anywhere but there might be a better chance of including your other talents based on location.
2021-07-19 3:11:23 PM  
2021-07-19 3:11:25 PM  
Professional Bard in D&D games?

Now the serious answer:  At 56 you need to think really hard about doing anything drastic, especially when your interests/talents are in areas that generally don't pay very well (if at all) unless you essentially win the lottery (writing & music) or (outdoor/physical) are something that is very much a younger person's game.  At 56 your body won't recover like it did when you were in your 20s.

Then there's the whole (US anyway) health insurance thing.  If you're getting benefits from your current soul sucking job, that needs to really be factored into the equation in a big way.  Call around & see how much you will be paying for insurance that's completely out of your pocket (& at 56 you're getting to the age where body parts will start falling off so ignoring that is a really dumb option).

The good news is that your soul sucking customer service job is most likely only 40 hours/week (don't want to pay that OT doncha know...).  That leaves many hours in the day/week/etc to take your guitar/notebook to the local park, sit under a tree, & get creative.


/at 55 I understand completely your longings
2021-07-19 3:11:44 PM  

DoBeDoBeDo: Have you tried being John Denver?

If you go this route, skip the experimental airplanes unless you make sure they're gassed up before you take off.
2021-07-19 3:15:10 PM  
I hear there is good money in burglary. Banks generally have lots of money, casinos too. You might want to start there.
2021-07-19 3:18:11 PM  
Traveling bicarbonate of soda salesman.
2021-07-19 3:19:41 PM  
Working outdoors from home is basically subsistence farming.  You can try that.
2021-07-19 3:21:58 PM  
Working is going to suck at times pretty much regardless, the question is one of  the nature, frequency and duration of the suck.  Either you're reporting to someone like management or clients if you work for yourself and there will be times you can't seem to please these people without giving too much of yourself.  And you'll have customers of some form regardless.

I could find work where my talents are, but trying to make money out of my genuine interests basically turned my interests into work and I didn't much like it.  YMMV.

This is not to say don't try to change it up.  Sometimes doing something similar for someone else is enough of a change of scenery.  The worst news is people don't tend to hire people past 50 to learn something new and that sucks.  It'd be a lot easier to suggest pursuit of a new career with new skills if you weren't around a decade from normal retirement.  Also not sure what your financial obligations are and if reduced income would be a problem even if it meant more fulfilling work.
2021-07-19 3:25:13 PM  
Are there any medical courier positions being advertised near you?  I work for a large med lab as a courier and was surprised that A) they prefer older drivers, even people in their early 70s and B) how good a job it is.  I can't say what requirements they will ask for but mine only needed a clean driving record and be older than 21.  It might be worth checking out if you're cool driving for a living.
2021-07-19 3:29:58 PM  

Madstand: Are there any medical courier positions being advertised near you?  I work for a large med lab as a courier and was surprised that A) they prefer older drivers, even people in their early 70s and B) how good a job it is.  I can't say what requirements they will ask for but mine only needed a clean driving record and be older than 21.  It might be worth checking out if you're cool driving for a living.

I'm curious- what's the pay average for something like that and does it come with benefits?
2021-07-19 3:36:25 PM  
too late to start over
2021-07-19 3:45:17 PM  
I'm your age and have worked at my latest job for 5 years.  I'm guessing you're like me - a jack of all trades, master of none?

I wish I had some good advice - I got this job through a temp/placement agency B.C.(Before Covid).
I'm not sure how they're doing things any more. Find someone with good marketing/verbal skills to spruce up your resume & put it on whatever the hot, new job-market sites are.

That's all I got. Good luck to you - I managed retail stores for DECADES, and while it can be fun when you're young it definitely isn't when you're older.
2021-07-19 3:45:46 PM  
You are unlikely to just fall into the perfect job based on your want list; you're going to have to create it yourself.  A lazy way would be to create a YouTube  channel and patreon for the wilderness perambulating you do.

I'd also say it is easier to pick one of the three rather than combine all three.  It might start with some freebie work done for a park, a marina, a cemetery... Places that need guides and/ or docents.  We went to a large tree nursirn recently and they had an outdoor patio are where customers wait for rides out into the groves to pick their trees. Sing and play.

My town has an artist on the plaza program where you can busk for bucks entertaining tourists.

There's always a market for art... Can you make stuff out of found natural materials? Chainsaw art? Walking sticks? Tiki poles? People buy that Shiat.
2021-07-19 3:46:51 PM  
I'm actively interviewing for IT and marketing positions. Gotta be an A level player. Entry level IT skills thru tier 3 skills accepted, as we can train anyone to do the work, but it is hard to train a person to have the right personality to go from supporting a kindergartener trying to get into their online class one minute to the next ticket being configuring firewall rules to allow specific ports to forward traffic for an application.
2021-07-19 3:52:35 PM  
If you don't mind the CSR part too much, you could become a pharmacy tech. It's part retail, part counting by fives, part calling insurance. If it's one of the big two pharmacy chains, it's also figuring out how to fame the system to hit all the stupid metrics that the bigwigs want, but keep changing their minds about which are important.
2021-07-19 4:02:25 PM  
Ray Wylie Hubbard said something along the lines of "If you want to be a musician, remember when your parents said stay in school and get and education so you can get a nice job?  Well, don't do that."
2021-07-19 4:02:52 PM  
Need more information. Good at writing - start writing content on some social media platform and rack in the advert dollars? Music - any performances? What do you play? You could do online lessons - my wife does piano over zoom on the weekends, as well as virtual mass on Sundays. Outdoors - that can be open ended. take some cool pics on social media to drum up a guide business? I work with a guy who is a fishing guide on the side and that sounds like the best job evar.
2021-07-19 4:18:00 PM  
I started over at 54 so I wouldn't listen to the 'its too late' advice.

With writing, music and the outdoors as possibilities and a desire to work from home. I dunno. Writing can be done from home.  Music and the outdoors not so much.

One of my kids works in a day care center. She does a lot of singing with the kids and outdoor playtime.  It doesn't pay a great deal, but she is enjoying the hell out of it. (I'd kill myself if I had to do that, but I'm not exactly a people person )

You could try tutoring in writing. There are a lot of online tutor jobs out there. You'd get writing and working from home out of that.  I looked into it back when I was starting over and the pay varied but most of it was decent.

Or if your writing is more creative writing, you could keep trudging along in customer service and write in your spare time and pursue getting published.
2021-07-19 4:21:51 PM  
Something with Education or a State Pension. Computer Support for a local Uni would work...but you'd have to check if any offer work for home options and you'd have to train for any specific software they use.
2021-07-19 4:23:58 PM  
A lot of private schools have teachers with passions, rather than teaching degrees and certificates.  If you love outdoors, music, writing, you might be able to inspire the next generation.

It's not terribly hard, and because you can kick troublemakers out at the drop of a hat, it's a hell of a lot better than public education.  Downside is usually the benefits are minimal, unless you join a pretty well established private school.

If you can tolerate sitting for hours, professional drivers can make bank.  Avoid the gig driving, and join a fleet, either courier, delivery or big rig.
2021-07-19 4:25:26 PM  
Win the lottery, then write a number one hit song about it, which you can then expand into a 15 part novel series, writing it while perched in your new tree house.

encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.comView Full Size
2021-07-19 4:28:57 PM  
Try pimping, but note, it ain't easy.
2021-07-19 4:28:58 PM  
Go to Google and search remote jobs. You'll end up with a list of opening for remote work. Find one that incorporates writing (blogs, emails, content, etc.). If you have applicable experience, apply.

Good luck! I hope you find something that interests you.
2021-07-19 4:29:56 PM  
Two recent retirees I know became bored quickly and have taken driving job;, one drives senior citizens to and from medical appointments, the other drives a mail truck between two nearby towns.
2021-07-19 4:33:16 PM  
Lloyd Dobler explains what he wants to do with his life2
Youtube Kb7bdqIwbpc
2021-07-19 4:41:02 PM  
Step one: figure out what people want

Step two: acquire or manufacture what they want

Step three: sell it to them.

Step four: after building successful business based on previous 3 steps, sell business for as much as you can get for it to someone who will sell off anything of value and burn everything else to the ground.

Step five: retire or if not enough cash to do so, go back to Step one.
2021-07-19 4:43:53 PM  
Have you tried using an Oxford comma?
2021-07-19 5:43:56 PM  
Pediatric Oncologist.

You would get to tell kids that they have cancer.  And they'll pay you to do it!
2021-07-19 5:44:48 PM  

friendlytarget: Have you tried using an Oxford comma?

He would make a great journalist - as real ones don't use the Oxford comma. However, community journalism* is a dead-end job that probably won't be around in 10 years.

*I'm a community journalist.
*Gotta love it that Sheetz pays more than a weekly editor position.
*Should I have used slashies?
2021-07-19 5:45:37 PM  
Is subby going to poke his head out?  I'm pretty good at suggesting sometimes overlooked job opportunities, but more information is needed - Education level?  Fitness level?  Geographic region? Willingness to move? Music - do you like music, or are you a skilled musician?  What kind of writing - corporate communications, creative, technical? Outdoors - do you just enjoy being out of doors, or are you an outdoorsman (remote camping, backpacking, hunting, survival skills, whatever)?  Do you have any start up capital to run your own thing?  A spouse that can get you on their insurance if we consider self employment or contract work?
2021-07-19 5:49:07 PM  
Become a Park Ranger, or just do like my wife's step dad and go to the local hiking trails and pick up trash etc. It was great exercise he got in the wilderness every weekend and he could feel like he did something good for the planet so satisfying even if he wasn't getting paid.
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