Work and Jobs and Stuff

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Magical_Isopod
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Work and Jobs and Stuff

Post by Magical_Isopod » March 22nd, 2019, 8:46 am

Hey folks,

I feel like the age range on this site tends to skew a bit older, so I wanted to see if I could start a bit of a conversation about work and work culture and stuff.

I finished school in 2013, and I've had, not counting the emergency part-time gigs, 7 full time jobs. I lost three of those, was downsized from the best one, had anxiety-related breakdowns that made me leave another two, and now my current job basically sees me at a desk, playing on my phone all night, because I have nothing to do except answer rare breakdown calls - maybe 5 or 6 a month, max.

So now I'm looking for yet another job, and I'm desperately wanting out of my field. I've been working in industrial automation, which is ostensibly my field of study, but I've been roped into pretty much exclusively programming roles and... Truth be told, I hate programming. I am good at it *if I focus intensely on it*, which is hard to do with the ebb and flow of work in the industry. I did some brief stints panel wiring, but those jobs pay like crap. I liked the hands-on work, but I live alone and don't really have anyone I could split rent with if I wanted to.

I guess what I wanna know is... for those of you in your 30s and 40s, have you been through similar crises? Have you been able to find jobs that you feel secure in? Are career changes even possible without enduring financial oblivion? I just feel utterly lost, and I'm trying to find a way out of the woods, you know? I don't mind working hard, I just want fair pay and work that doesn't make me depressed or so stressed I'm having panic attacks. And that almost seems out of reach right now.

Also, the floor is obviously open to anyone else to ask for advice or rant about work or whatever else need be. Hopefully this ends up being a positive thread and not just the ramblings of a terrified 28 year old.

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Magical_Isopod
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Re: Work and Jobs and Stuff

Post by Magical_Isopod » March 22nd, 2019, 8:52 am

Oh, and I should mention. I already have an interview lined up with a security system install company. They seem to be paying around what I make now - I'd need some training, but that work is right up my alley. So perhaps not all is doom and despair.

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Re: Work and Jobs and Stuff

Post by hazeredmist » March 22nd, 2019, 9:13 am

Magical_Isopod wrote:
March 22nd, 2019, 8:46 am
Hey folks,

I feel like the age range on this site tends to skew a bit older, so I wanted to see if I could start a bit of a conversation about work and work culture and stuff.

I finished school in 2013, and I've had, not counting the emergency part-time gigs, 7 full time jobs. I lost three of those, was downsized from the best one, had anxiety-related breakdowns that made me leave another two, and now my current job basically sees me at a desk, playing on my phone all night, because I have nothing to do except answer rare breakdown calls - maybe 5 or 6 a month, max.

So now I'm looking for yet another job, and I'm desperately wanting out of my field. I've been working in industrial automation, which is ostensibly my field of study, but I've been roped into pretty much exclusively programming roles and... Truth be told, I hate programming. I am good at it *if I focus intensely on it*, which is hard to do with the ebb and flow of work in the industry. I did some brief stints panel wiring, but those jobs pay like crap. I liked the hands-on work, but I live alone and don't really have anyone I could split rent with if I wanted to.

I guess what I wanna know is... for those of you in your 30s and 40s, have you been through similar crises? Have you been able to find jobs that you feel secure in? Are career changes even possible without enduring financial oblivion? I just feel utterly lost, and I'm trying to find a way out of the woods, you know? I don't mind working hard, I just want fair pay and work that doesn't make me depressed or so stressed I'm having panic attacks. And that almost seems out of reach right now.

Also, the floor is obviously open to anyone else to ask for advice or rant about work or whatever else need be. Hopefully this ends up being a positive thread and not just the ramblings of a terrified 28 year old.
Kudos for opening up, it's not always easy for people to do but keeping things to yourself can be paralysing.

I changed career significantly aged 27 and I'm now 35, working in the IT sector. It's been a dramatic turnaround for me, having languished in jobs I didn't care about with no prospects. I took a big financial hit to do this initially, starting from an entry level role and making sure I was "that guy who would fix your problems". Volunteering for everything, working extra hours, studying for certifications in my own time, the lot. It isn't easy, but it does pay off.

Speculating to accumulate with your career can pay dividends and it's worked out very well for me in the long term. The biggest thing I've learned is if you want something, you have to push for it and make it happen yourself, set yourself a goal and dedicate everything to it, and make the sacrifices necessary. It isn't too late at your age to change direction.

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Re: Work and Jobs and Stuff

Post by Simonsloth » March 22nd, 2019, 1:55 pm

Well done for posting. I think it’s easy to forget we all have our own experiences and knowledge outside of the games world which are useful to tap into.

I jumped from school to university to work without a break although I wish I had one. I’ve worked in about 11 different hospitals/healthcare environments over the last ten years so
I can empathise that change is very tricky particularly when finding your feet. Even in the medical world you work your way up and find you hate what you’re doing so have go back to the bottom and retrain in a different field to get where you want to be.

I would reiterate hazeredmist’s point about sometimes throwing yourself into something and being a yes man is much more likely to get you noticed and promoted. It’s easier doing that with something you’re passionate about. I’m involved to an extent in hiring (and thankfully not yet) firing and if I identify someone with energy and enthusiasm I am much more likely to give them more responsibility, pay and a different role.

I’ve hated a lot of jobs, fell out of love with a few and now like my current job. I don’t skip to work but I don’t resent going either. That’s fine with me. Tolerable, sometimes enjoyable but rarely detestable.

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Re: Work and Jobs and Stuff

Post by Magical_Isopod » March 22nd, 2019, 2:18 pm

Tolerable is literally all I want. Show up, do my thing, feel like I've done my part, go home, get paid a fair wage. So far in my life, I've only felt that when working retail, and when I first started my current job (I was working days with the Controls department, always doing work - usually small quality of life improvements). When I moved to my actual role, they basically sat me at a desk with nothing to do, and I've become so utterly bored that I'm lazy - when work does come up, I don't even know how to tackle it because I've been non-working for so long that I forget what working hard *is*. I hate it. Add in all the toxic gossip and people making shit up about everyone else to spread rumours, like a fucking high school, and it's just insufferable.

But I see what you guys are saying. Like, if I were to get a job installing alarm systems, or laying fibre, or building panels, I know I'd probably work hard and aim to impress. The key is finding that kind of work, at a rate of pay I can survive on, and in a workplace that isn't a toxic shithole.

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Re: Work and Jobs and Stuff

Post by Suits » March 22nd, 2019, 3:06 pm

Job satisfaction is key. Find something you enjoy or have pride in and the rest will follow.

My advice is to not try and pick something you already like but something you can find enjoyment in.

Just be keen, willing to help and show interest in things even when you really don’t. Never say, “that’s not my job.”

It shows nous and enthusiasm - you’ll stand out.

If only it was that easy.
Magical_Isopod wrote:
March 22nd, 2019, 2:18 pm
Like, if I were to get a job installing alarm systems, or laying fibre, or building panels, I know I'd probably work hard and aim to impress.
I’m a Health, Safety & Complaince Manager for a company that installs alarms to the Government in London.

I’m 35 and qualified professionally in 2010.

I didn’t choose this career, it was offered to me while I was an office Jr.

The two ladies that filled the role both went on maternity leave and I was asked if I’d like to train to qualify (which took two years).

There’s a lot of luck involved for sure but to even be considered to be the recipient of luck you have to make yourself available for it first.

The right attitude will put you in the right sight lines.

Good luck man 👍🏽.

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Re: Work and Jobs and Stuff

Post by Alex79uk » March 22nd, 2019, 4:48 pm

I've worked within Early Years and education for 23 years now, and to be honest I've had enough of it. I've applied for an intensive 14 month social work course, which you complete alongside being on the job. Keeping my fingers crossed but places are very limited.

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Re: Work and Jobs and Stuff

Post by Chopper » March 23rd, 2019, 8:05 am

Great advice from Suits there, every line.

It seems from social media (in North America in particular) that there's a growing resistance to the idea of 'work hard and you'll get on' (implying that this is a myth) but in my experience it still holds true, as long as you incorporate the second half of Suits' advice, which is that you also need luck. In particular you need to be lucky enough to have a good manager/someone who will recognise your work and encourage you and challenge you, or at least not hold you back.

If you can cultivate a good relationship with management, and I don't mean brown-nosing, but if you happen to get to work in a place where you get on with some of those folks, then all the better.

The other thing I would say is that you don't need to be a go-getter/super ambitious person, but if you build a reputation for getting things done, you can have a very nice career. I know from experience that you don't need to be the smartest guy in the room, as long as you're a reliable go-to guy, as those guys are super valuable to a certain type of management. Again this ties back to Suits' advice.
Magical_Isopod wrote:
March 22nd, 2019, 2:18 pm
When I moved to my actual role, they basically sat me at a desk with nothing to do, and I've become so utterly bored that I'm lazy - when work does come up, I don't even know how to tackle it because I've been non-working for so long that I forget what working hard *is*. I hate it. Add in all the toxic gossip and people making shit up about everyone else to spread rumours, like a fucking high school, and it's just insufferable.
This is different for everybody, but I had a similar experience and it is an absolute killer. A few years ago the company I worked for got taken over, and we (in IT) suddenly were put into a holding pattern - no new projects, no exposure to new technology, no challenge associated with implementing new systems - as the politics was sorted out. Maintenance only, and therefore essentially nothing to do for 18 months. It really killed me - totally drained my motivation, to the point where I now just don't want to work any more. Before this I wasn't super-dynamic or anything, but I was keen and eager. That's all gone now, to the point where I have to simulate it for work now. And we also fell into the whole gossip/backbiting/make up conspiracy theories about management thing because we had such a void to fill. Incredibly unhealthy from a psychological point of view.

So without really knowing your situation, I would definitely be behind a change there, before it is too late. As long as that change doesn't cause you further distress.

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Re: Work and Jobs and Stuff

Post by Magical_Isopod » March 23rd, 2019, 8:49 am

The "growing resistance to hard work" is less about people refusing to work hard, and more about the toxic ideation that hard works means instant success, and all those who don't find success simply don't work hard. Which, of course, isn't true.

Now, to be fair, I grew up in one of the poorest cities in Canada. I went to high school with people who freely confessed they were only there so they could get on welfare the second they graduate. Those people *exist*. But it's also true that employers have this really shitty "sink or swim" attitude where they refuse to give even basic training, refuse to even tell you their company standards, and then fire you the second you make a mistake. So it's not even a matter of luck or hard work - it's a matter of corporations needing to pull up their bootstraps and actually train their workers and allow room for error, instead of expecting everyone to be flawless from the word go.

My last job before this one, it was this constant game of "Guess what the manager is thinking," and no amount of can-do attitude could have saved that job. This guy would give vague information on a project, then peace out and leave me to the wolves on customer site. The amount of stress that's put me under, constantly guessing my way through jobs... It's damn near killed me. Is it so much to ask to have straightforward tasks?

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Re: Work and Jobs and Stuff

Post by Suits » March 23rd, 2019, 11:03 am

Magical_Isopod wrote:
March 23rd, 2019, 8:49 am
Now, to be fair, I grew up in one of the poorest cities in Canada.
I grew up in a South Wales town called Bridgend, which is pretty poor and is sadly famous for teenage suicudes.

I left there when I was 22 and moved to London - which was wild at the time and a massive shock but worth it.

It sounds like you know what to look for in a good employer and at least you have the ability to spot when a job isn’t for you and the when the environment is wrong.

It’s also clear that you have aspirations, which is critical. Lots of people are just happy enough to do the bear minimum for what they need, which is fine, some people are motivated differently.

Unfortunately there’s no easy answer or process to any of this but you seem to have the intelligence to know when something isn’t right and are comfortable pulling the plug on something when it’s not working.

Talk to lots of people and earn a reputation for being helpful and happy - that’s always something people remember regardless of what situation it’s in.

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Re: Work and Jobs and Stuff

Post by Magical_Isopod » March 23rd, 2019, 10:52 pm

Suits wrote:
March 23rd, 2019, 11:03 am
Magical_Isopod wrote:
March 23rd, 2019, 8:49 am
Now, to be fair, I grew up in one of the poorest cities in Canada.
I grew up in a South Wales town called Bridgend, which is pretty poor and is sadly famous for teenage suicudes.
I grew up in Sarnia, ON. Population 79,000. Highest per capita use of amphetamines in Canada by a country mile - and that was BEFORE fentanyl. Also, the cancer rate is one of the highest in the country, and the Aamjiwnaang reserve just south of the city has a globally unique fucked-up birth rate (2-3 girls born for every 1 boy) due to decades of pollution from the chemical plants that prop up the city's economy.

And I was poor even by that city's standards. Not the worst off (Queen and Campbell streets are like stepping into another world), but I basically had the option of getting on student loans and permanently moving out, or... I guess I only had the one option, really.

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Re: Work and Jobs and Stuff

Post by Chopper » March 24th, 2019, 6:22 am

Magical_Isopod wrote:
March 23rd, 2019, 8:49 am
The "growing resistance to hard work" is less about people refusing to work hard, and more about the toxic ideation that hard works means instant success, and all those who don't find success simply don't work hard. Which, of course, isn't true.
Agreed.
Now, to be fair, I grew up in one of the poorest cities in Canada. I went to high school with people who freely confessed they were only there so they could get on welfare the second they graduate. Those people *exist*.
And that's fine by me. I also come from an area with a big welfare culture. But we live in the rich developed world, and my personal view is that the government should provide adequate welfare to those that need it. Making a massive generalisation here, maybe things won't get better for this generation of welfare recipients, by providing a certain standard of living, and housing, you're giving a chance to the next.
My last job before this one, it was this constant game of "Guess what the manager is thinking," and no amount of can-do attitude could have saved that job. This guy would give vague information on a project, then peace out and leave me to the wolves on customer site. The amount of stress that's put me under, constantly guessing my way through jobs... It's damn near killed me. Is it so much to ask to have straightforward tasks?
I take a different view of this, it's just the way the world works, but maybe that's a personal thing. The 'fear of failure', while extremely unpleasant while you are experiencing it, is par for the course early in your career, and often later too. If it's any consolation, you get better at handling it as time goes on.

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