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Rough week; Time for a career change? Maybe.

Friday, August 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

August
10
2012

I’m so glad it’s Friday. My week has been good, but also pretty stressful. I shouldn’t complain, as Lisa’s week was even more trying than mine, and her days have been even longer. I’m very happy that today Lisa is kicking off a much-needed three day weekend! She deserves it.

I’ve been working since 6:00 AM, and my goal is to finish up by mid-day, get my weight training workout in and then take the afternoon off. We’ll see how that goes. Seems like every time I try to do something like this unexpected problems start popping up left and right.

I appreciate that my job offers some flexibility with regards to my schedule, but the flip side is when there’s a network problem that falls under my charge I have to be able to drop what I’m doing and deal with it. I’m literally on call 24/7, and have been for about a decade. I haven’t had a real vacation in so long I can’t even remember the last time I got away for more than a long weekend.

I actually like my job, for the most part, but my company has been hit hard over the past few years. There’s a distinct possibility that I may not have a choice about moving on to something else within the next year or so.

More than two decades in the IT industry is starting to wear on me. I’m at the point where if I do have to find another job I’m seriously considering a career change. Of course at 43 years of age that’s not an easy thing to do, but nothing good comes easy.

I think I’d really enjoy helping others reach their fitness goals. Obviously I try to do that with my web sites, but I’m talking about on a more personal, one-on-one level. Training and coaching, maybe out of my home, sounds rewarding to me. Maybe I’ll look into getting some PT certs. Working with animals as a career is something else I’d love to do, but I have certain financial requirements that would be tough to meet without a heck of a lot of schooling in that area.

Anyway, sorry about the random musings! I’m going to get back to work, have a great day!

John Stone Fitness Comments

20 Responses to “Rough week; Time for a career change? Maybe.”
  1. I hear you on wanting to change career paths unfortunate being a Dad and having obligations that I have to pay every pay check to the ex I don’t see a feasible way to get into a new career until I have only myself to take care of. Funny thing is I want to switch over to IT from Payroll/Accounting.

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      • I just don’t think I can mentally handle being a software engineer for the rest of my life. It’s way too demanding in many ways. Going back to regular IT would be too boring in comparison, so I dunno what else is left other than management. I guess this makes me somewhat jaded. Computers aren’t as fun as they used to be.

        (I wish there was a way to get notifications when people reply to comments here… didn’t see yours until now.)

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        • Josh, I feel the same way.

          Great idea about the comment reply notification. In fact, I’ve been meaning to add that functionality for some time now but kept forgetting. It’s done! From now on all replies to comments will trigger an email notification to the comment author. 🙂

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  2. I have 12 years in IT, doing mostly desktop support. I did an on-call (admin in training) for about 6 months and couldn’t hack it. Now I have a job that when I leave, I don’t have to check my e-mail let alone take calls. As you know, this means less money of course. I’d love to work anti-cyber crime eventually.

    I really think you would be amazing as a trainer. You could start small, and then eventually do mostly training with some freelance IT work. You also might consider offering bike repair service and lessons. A guy near me (central VA) has a mobile bike repair station so he rides with a trailer or sometimes drives to houses, work, etc to fix bikes. Just a thought!

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    • Cyber crime would be a really cool field to get into. A former co-worker of mine now works for the NSA in that area, and I think he really enjoys it (been a long time since I spoke with him). When I worked with him he was finishing up college, and we all knew he was something special. Dude was brilliant.

      The bike repair thing would be awesome, but I simply don’t have the experience to pull that off right now. While I’m pretty good at working on my three bikes, there is a lot of stuff (bikes and problems) out there I’ve never encountered. Still, that is something I’d enjoy doing. Maybe something to strive for? Good thought.

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  3. I look forward to future blogs recounting your battles with the state of Florida over zoning your house as a business.

    With Groupon, Craigslist ads and the only competition being overpriced training sessions at box gyms – I think there is a great market out there for a trainer with a well-stocked home gym. You don’t have to lease a space. Your equipment is already a sunk cost; your website, and it’s near-decade-long history of success stories, is a perfect marketing tool.

    If I owned my house (my fiancee has to move every 18-24 months for her job(s), so we rent), I would already being doing this.

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  4. I have a number of friends that do physical therapy/training as their full time job. Sometime they find their job rewarding but frequently it’s incredibly frustrating. They themselves are motivated and dedicated but many times their clients are not.

    As you know, the gym time is only 1 part of a complex puzzle. If you do embark on something like that you will have to learn to accept your clientele’s lack of commitment. I tend to think this will clash heavily with your personality type.

    Carefully consider is this is a good fit for you. Ask yourself how you would handle 50% (optimistic) of your clients failing.

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    • I’ve already got a lot of experience in that area, actually. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of hours I’ve spent composing emails with support, diets, training, advice and so on, and the only thing I’ve asked in return is that the person who asked for that advice simply follow up with me. 95% never do, and that sucks. In fact, it sucks so bad that I mostly don’t bother to do that any more. Now I require that people demonstrate that they are serious before I invest that kind of time in helping them for free.

      Key word there, “FREE”. If someone is paying me, then that’s time s/he bought and I owe her/him my best. If that person doesn’t follow through and live up to his or her end of the deal, well, there’s nothing I can do about that. While I would do everything in my power to help the client (after all, part of the job is motivation–as I well know from 10 years of running JSF), if the client gives up then I can’t control that. So yeah, I get it.

      Kind of like how you’ve failed to deliver that video you promised me about 3 or 4 months ago. 😉

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      • Agreed on the video. Unfortunately I’m on the injured reserve list right now (and have been for several weeks). Took a big spill at Winter Park in Colorado and aggravated a previous shoulder injury. Watching me try to put on a tshirt is pure comedy. Hopefully will get to videoing it once I can put weight on my right arm again!

        I understand how you differentiate free vs paid time. Also, I definitely think that there is a niche for a whole package approach to body re composition including personal training, nutrition support, and telephone support–similar to what mastover does.

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  5. John, after 31 years doing IT for the government (33 years for my wife), we both decided to retire and move to Florida. You’re already there so that’s one thing you don’t have to worry about.

    Leaving IT was good for me because as you said it can burn you out. I was happy while working but I felt the passion running out after so many years. Also the field has changed a bit and my skills weren’t keeping up. At first I thought, how could I do anything else? IT is all I’ve ever known. But over a year later I can’t say I’ve missed even one day. The people I worked in the office with were nice but you don’t have that problem.

    I only want to share my experiences with you and hope you can come to a decision that is right for you. Hope to see you sometime in a Florida JohnStoneFitness.com get together.

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  6. My best friend was a sys admin for a small startup for about 10 or 11 years (< 50 employees). The 24/7 on call thing was something that always irritated me and I never agreed with because I was experiencing first hand how it took its toll on him and aggravated him. We'd be in the middle of something and he'd get an IM or text from a coworker about something being broken, and would have to drop everything, jump on his VPN, and fix it.

    Well after 10-11 years, he got fed up with that, along with the subpar executives in general. Now he works for Cisco (HQ is in our city), makes 50% more, has crazy benefits, and when he goes home, that's it, *he's* home and work *isn't*.

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  7. In October 2009 my wife and I worked at the same company. We were both let got at the same time. She was starting to consider becoming a professional dog trainer. We had her website – and were thinking of a way for her to go “part time” to make the transition. I actually started training people in CrossFit here in Tampa to cover her income while she got things up and running. Well getting downsized was the best thing that happened to us. Withing a couple of months her business started to take off…. now she is one of the top trainers in Tampa. http://www.elitedogacademy.com I struggled to find work in IT for a couple of month, then my phone rang and I had a great interview to be an IT Director. It paid off and I started my job January 2010. I also have been in IT for close to 15 years in the Tampa bay market. Vendor positions are good if you can get one – but it is still a sales related cycle. EMC, NetApp, Cisco, VMware, Riverbed, F5 and Checkpoint are all companies that I have in my production environment and the turnover with my Technical Consultants from those companies are high.

    Now you mention money – My wife was making mid 40’s a year as an account rep for a large mail house – after 3 years of being a private dog trainer she has more than doubled that. She loves what she is doing and does not consider it a “job”.

    I can tell you that in my 6 months acting as a level 2 certified CrossFit instructor at a pretty good box in Tampa – it was a constant worry about non-guaranteed income. Push someone too hard – they quit. Push them too little – they become disinterested and quit. Car breaks and they have to buy tires – the quit. For me I am 100% happy in IT. Maybe you should consider re-branding yourself for a Manager / Director / Senior Solutions Architect and stop considering a Systems Engineer position.

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    • Hey Eric, thanks for the insight.

      Your wife’s success story is awesome, and inspiring! That’s exactly the sort of thing I would really enjoy doing. How did she learn the skills? I mean, I’m good with dogs, but I could no more market myself as a dog trainer than I could a pilot instructor. Maybe she’d like to expand to Orlando? 😉

      I doubt I could land a management job in IT: not only is the market bad right now, I am entirely self-taught. In other words, while I have more than 20 years experience in IT, without a college degree no company would even consider hiring me for a management position. Besides, if my current job goes away, I think I simply want out of this industry.

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