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Helpful ReplyDo you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career path?

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James
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2014/10/22 13:44:01 (permalink)

Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career path?

This question is more for the 35 year old and over, really, but younger members are free to join in if it applies to them.
 
At 42 years old, for the last couple of years, this industry has be tough and, although I remain passionate about it, it's a lot of stress for comparitively not much reward.  Those who know me, will know I work in a number of aspects of the fitness and bodybuilding industry as well as nutrition.  I got into this industry through nutrition.  I left school after my A-levels, had a year out them applied for Uni.  I applied for two courses: nutrition in 3 Unis and Economics in 2 Unis.  I got accepted in both.  I chose nutrition because my mother was always into nutrition and I was into training and, at 18, would do anything for bigger muscles - knowledge could only help.  Nutrition lead me to being a clinical dietitian, this lead me to setting up as a freelance nutritionist, this lead me to MT and MT lead me to all other areas in this industry.
 
So I followed my passion not my brain.
 
Don't get me wrong, I love nutrition science and, if I wasn't bogged down with BBing stuff, I'd do more consultancy which pays well; but it's hard, hard work when I do corporate work.  I also love the BBing scene but it dominates my life and I don't like that.
 
If I had studies economics, I could be doing financial investment things which I am also interested in - I just don't have the time and resources to commit.
 
I do not regret for one minute what I do, but I'm finding the stress heavy and a good proportion of people I help aren't greatful that at the moment, I am looking back and wondering about the different James Collier who works in the City in another reality.
 
Do any of you feel this way?
 
Am I having a mid-life crisis? LOL
post edited by James - 2014/10/22 15:09:10

James Collier - MuscleTalk Co-Owner
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#1
BROKEN
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/22 14:05:19 (permalink)
Some interesting comments James, and some deep thoughts, too deep for me.
 
I sometimes wonder the same thing.
I played rugby district level in my youth, and got to that level after 1 training session and 1 game for my local club. However my mum had no cash and was a single parent, so I gave up rugby after 18mnths to get a job on the weekends so I had money for buying clothes etc. 16-17 y.o.
I also couldn't play for the top club in the area, despite a number of requests to do so because there were no buses and mum refused to take me. This was probably only a pipe dream, but I did then go on to play at premier level in Scotland.
 
Then I left school after finishing my 6th year (final year) with 6 highers but had already gotten into the navy so wasn't worried (uni wasn't an option due to costs)
Navy wasn't right and I got an apprenticeship with bp (away from home as when I returned from navy I had a number of applications given to me and funnily enough they were all for jobs outwith commuting distance)
 
So here I am now at the age of 34, after starting as a mechanical technician offshore, I have jumped through consultancy jobs, support roles, senior ops roles and I am currently acting in the global maintenance manager role for an oil company. Expat position, so money is great, house is paid for, schooling for both kids paid for, tax free.
I am currently stressed to fcuk as to whether I stay as GMM or go back to Snr position, I am grumpy at home.
 
I never in my life wanted to go down an engineering role, I wanted to be a social worker and help people, but yeah, that never happened.
No idea what I could go and do now though, specially not that would support the current family lifestyle.
 
I think I am going through a mid-early life crisis
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northumbriman
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/22 14:07:31 (permalink)☄ Helpfulby sillynarbie 2014/10/22 14:50:47
Lol. I think we are all guilty of looking back and wishing we had made other choices at times. The only problem is that you always look at the other choice as though it would have been better.....
 
BTW, The james Collier who took the economics degree did do very well for many years but due to a few iffy calls leading up to the world banking crisis he hit rock bottom lost his home, his car and his family. He ended up in a cardboard box sleeping behind the office of some bodybuilding company office wishing like hell he had followed his passion not his brain.....
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The_Lone_Wolf
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/22 14:21:55 (permalink)☄ Helpfulby *animal* 2014/10/22 17:06:42
Good question and I do wonder about this too James... 
 
Although my career path is completely different to yours, I often wonder what would have been if I had chosen something different or had other interests.
 
I work in IT and have done since leaving school. When I was at school and the career talks would happen, everyone was saying the money was in IT.
 
The problem I had back then was that I had no clue what I wanted to do with life. To compound that, I had no real interest in any career paths or jobs, so I opted to go down the IT route... 16 years later, I'm still working in IT and in a very easy, but also dead end job.
 
I currently have no career, but that is my choice. Only 2 weeks ago, I got head hunted for another role which was better pay, better prospects but I had to commute and work longer hours. Despite those prospects, I turned it down because that it was the wrong time for me and my family.
 
I work to live, I don't live to work. 

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wolverine83
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/22 14:39:13 (permalink)
I originally went to university to study for a hugely vocational career, but I never really settled into it and after a year I left and went to a different uni to study a subject I had no idea what I wanted to do with, just found interesting.
 
I had regrets and "what if's" in the back of my mind for years until I bumped into someone from my first year of my original uni (I purposely didn't keep in touch with anyone from that year as I wanted to draw a complete line under it) and in the few minutes of chatting he revealed how unhappy he was in the profession and wish he'd done something different. That really laid a ghost to rest for me.
 
I do still have worries about my 'career' and where it's going, as I've reached that stage where I have financial commitments and it would be difficult to start from scratch doing something else, but in terms of the original career I thought I'd have, I'm glad I am not doing it now. I would undoubtedly be far better off financially but I may also be depressed, alcoholic, and ultimately given it up anyway!
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brittas
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/22 14:48:09 (permalink)
On the face of it, I'm happy and in a good position.  I'm 37 years old and a Group IT Manager for a medium sized manufacturing company in Leeds.  I always wanted to work with computers since I was a kid but didn't get the best start as I decided to not go to college/uni and took an admin job straight from school.  By sheer luck and maybe a slight appetite from me, we did a IT system upgrade in this job and gave me a foot in the door in the IT world and I worked my way up.
 
I regret not going to uni, for both the experience and the fact that a degree may have given me a better career path in IT.  Although I put my management skills and appetite to climb the ladder down to my early, less IT focused career.
 
But at 37 and recently splitting from my wife...... I do wonder if I should do something else with my life.  In the next 6 months, we should have sold the house and the only commitments I'll have is my kids.  Eg, I could actually pack my job in and do something else.  Very much doubt I will do this and carry on as normal.......... in fact splitting with my wife gives me an appetite to progress even further and focus on my career, but part of me thinks about doing the opposite and becoming a nurse or something totally different!  A nurse was a random idea, but something practical.
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sillynarbie
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/22 14:48:46 (permalink)
The grass is not always greener. Everyone I know who works in well paid city jobs hates their lives. They work ridiculous hours, which they have no control over, and their jobs are highly stressful. If you have a dickhead boss, multiply the stress factor by 10.
 
My perspective is: what is important to me in life? Is money the number one motivator, or something else? If money is your sole motivator, then one of the above jobs will suit you well.
 
If, however, you want to do something you find interesting and that you enjoy, unless you are phenomenally lucky, you are going to have to make a trade-off.
 
For me, I priortise enjoying my job and enjoying my life. I'm about to start a post-doctoral position in another European country for not much money (35000 euros a year). But I enjoy my life. I enjoy my work. I work on evenings and weekends for fun. My job is basically my hobby.
 
I favour being excited to go to work on a Monday morning (having worked most of the Sunday) rather than dreading it, as most of my friends do. That's got to be worth something? Even if I won't ever be able to buy a house, lulz.
 
Ultimately, your problem could be that you have stagnated and become too comfortable in your job. Maybe it's not your industry or career, but what you are doing? Are you pushing yourself? You say that consulting work is difficult, but is that not MORE of a reason to try and do it? To try and challenge yourself?
 
For instance, I could have stayed in London to do a similar job that I'm currently doing. But I wanted to challenge myself to learn a new language and a new area of science that I wouldn't have the opportunity to do. Will it be difficult? Sure, but that's the whole point, is it not?
 
 
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makaveli1971 1996
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/22 15:09:20 (permalink)
I think it's natural to have these thoughts, we always wonder what if etc, but as above the grass isn't always greener, and really, it's probably best to focus on what you have got, instead of looking at what you haven't, or what might have been etc.
 
That said even though we're all guilty of doing it, it's just a part of life, our minds are always thinking.
 
But what I'd say without sounding harsh, is be thankful you have a career, a job, a house, a roof over your head, with food and water, they are some of the main things in life which a large percentage of our world doesn't have.
 
But again it's certainly natural to always want better, or think that you could have had better etc.
 
I'm always guilty of thinking why didn't I follow football through, I mean even if I'd made it in the third tier of English football I'd be getting more than pretty much everyone else for doing something I enjoy to do.
 
Just focus on what you currently have going on, as these thoughts are worthless and will just drive you nuts.

If you love something let it go,if it comes back to you it's yours,if it doesn't it never was.
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dirtyvest
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/22 16:41:16 (permalink)
Yes.... no idea what but at nearly 42 I am completely in a deadend job, that gives me nothing to take into a different job/career, on a below average wage in one of the more expensive places to live.
 
So yes, altho this job has some perks and I'm not the type to be totally career driven, I do kind of wish I had done something more...... but then that's no guarantee that I would have a better life, so I don't stress about it

Limits, like fear, are often just an illusion: MJ 12/9/09
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Rasputin
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/22 16:54:13 (permalink)☄ Helpfulby evertonfc 2014/10/22 23:40:35
Yes but then the idea floats away almost immediately and  the more I think about my life is pretty privileged  and many people would kill for it Ask yourself what would really make you happier. . I read this old fable today and its true.
 

Once upon a time, a rich businessman and his entourage visited a harbor examining some ocean-front property to buy and develop. Their business concluded, he was about to return to his helicopter and take off when he noticed a plainly-dressed middle-aged man sitting on a chair near the docks, smiling and looking out over the ocean.

 
The businessman approached the other and asked him what he did for a living that allowed him to simply sit back and relax even though it was only early afternoon. He replied that he was a fisherman, and that he had already caught enough fish for the day, so he was just relaxing and taking in the view. 
 


The businessman pointed out that he could go back out and catch even more fish and make more money. The fisherman asked what that would gain him. 
 

The businessman pointed out that he could save up enough money to buy an additional boat & crew and catch even more fish and make even more money. The fisherman again asked what that would gain him. 
 

The confused businessman replied that he could build an even larger fleet and hire captains & managers to run it. Once again the fisherman asked what that would gain him.
 

The businessman told him that then he would be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ocean. The fisherman smiled and replied, “But that’s what I’m doing now.”

Ra Ra Rasputin lover of the Russian Queen, Ra Ra Ra Rasputin Russia's greatest love machine (Allegedly)
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WhiteSnake
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/22 17:13:22 (permalink)
I was beyond lazy in school and flunked my exams.
No qualifications but somehow managed to end up on £50k driving a train 9 -5.
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Wes Borland
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/22 17:23:38 (permalink)☄ Helpfulby tac 2014/10/22 20:27:23
As someone else has mentioned when you fantasise about this alternative path you're presuming it would have turned out as well as the fantasy.

When we look at the past our view is always influenced by the awareness we have gained in the intervening years I.e we have the benefit of hindsight. This gives the illusion that we were in a position to make better decisions in the past than we were actually able to.

You made the best decisions you could in the past based on your circumstances at that time and the awareness you had up to that point. There's no way you could have had any more awareness than you did at that point.

Fundamentally it's a waste of time and energy ruminating on these things as you can't change the past. That sounds incredibly obvious but its a huge reason for not doing it.

Focus on what you can do to improve your circumstances today if you feel you have to.
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Fruity
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/22 17:32:35 (permalink)
I like to tell people I was an airline pilot for 10 years then following redunancy I owned a couple of restaurants and now I'm a train driver.  I don't like to mention the 18 months I spent on the dole when the second restaurant failed just when I had my son.  Bad times but it makes me so grateful for what I have now as I was very nearly on the scrap heap with no useful, marketable skills.
 
I have no real regrets now, as it turns out, but losing, well alot of money, to the restaurants really knocked my confidence for six but it's all part of who I am now.  A more modest and grateful version of who I was so..
 
 
 
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Suspirio
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/22 17:32:40 (permalink)
I had the career that I thought was the one but I then started to think I had made a mistake and retrained to do something different thinking I would be much happier. I wasn't. Now I'm back doing what I was doing ten years ago and I am much happier.
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tac
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/22 20:25:43 (permalink)
Absolutely. Working in hospitals, I often found I was doing most of the donkey work for the doctors, and, especially with the newer and inexperienced ones, ending up giving them advice about treatment protocols, appropriate levels of medication etc. The main difference between me and them is that they were better paid. By a factor of around 500%.
 
Now I got the grades at O level to do whatever subjects I chose at 6th form, and if Id got the A level grades that I did in science subjects rather than arts I would easily have qualified for medical school (at O level my grades were all As in both arts and sciences, so could have gone either way).
 
If I'd got a medical degree, then gone on to psychiatric training and residency (which would have taken no longer than the qualifications I did eventually obtain) then I would have ended up doing basically the same work I do now - but commanding, as said, about 5x as much money.
I'm too old now (and with tooo many family responsibilities) to commit to 7-8 years further full time study - but I do look back and wish Id had my head screwed on a bit better when I was 18 and done it then.
I dont know anyone in my current line of work who is MRCP who is on less than £100k/pa (and many are on considerably more), and I dont know anyone who isnt who is on more than £30k - although often, with or without membership of the royal college,l we're basically doing much the same work.


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tac
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/22 20:28:00 (permalink)
Wes Borland
As someone else has mentioned when you fantasise about this alternative path you're presuming it would have turned out as well as the fantasy.

When we look at the past our view is always influenced by the awareness we have gained in the intervening years I.e we have the benefit of hindsight. This gives the illusion that we were in a position to make better decisions in the past than we were actually able to.

You made the best decisions you could in the past based on your circumstances at that time and the awareness you had up to that point. There's no way you could have had any more awareness than you did at that point.

Fundamentally it's a waste of time and energy ruminating on these things as you can't change the past. That sounds incredibly obvious but its a huge reason for not doing it.

Focus on what you can do to improve your circumstances today if you feel you have to.



That's acually an enormously sensible post, mate - well worth baring in mind!


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JimRat
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/22 21:28:04 (permalink)
Interesting point of view tac. 
 
Changing career has been on my mind for the past couple of years. I'm 1st generation British Asian so my family always pushed me to be a doctor / dentist / lawyer / accountant and I was reasonably academic at school, despite coming from a working class family.  I subsequently trained in medicine at a top London medical school and am now working as a GP. 
 
I often wonder whether it was worth spending 6 years at university, accumulating a substantial student loan, to enter a career which is now ravaged by media denigration and political interference. Several of my close friends had pursued Finance related degrees, of shorter duration, which led to decent salaries at a much younger age. 
 
Although I could have become a GP Partner earning a good wage, I'm now forging a career in Sports Medicine, in an attempt to combine my career with my passion for sports injuries and musculoskeletal problems. I agree with one of the above statements that sometimes it isn't about thinking about what could have been, but making the best of what you already have. 
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teapot
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/22 23:05:10 (permalink)
All i'll add is that it's never too late to do something else totally audacious if you have the drive and passion for it, you can make the opportunity happen for you if you want it enough. You need a little luck probably at the right time, but the harder you work the luckier you get.
 
^^ This is all well and good until you have a child, then it all changes, or just becomes harder, much harder, but still possible!
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James
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/23 09:04:38 (permalink)
Interesting comments, thanks guys. And good point, Northumbriman.
 
It's not about money; the stress of my work currently, is having negative affect on the quality if my life - that's my issue.  I'm still hoping things will improve, so I can step back a bit.

James Collier - MuscleTalk Co-Owner
@JamesCollierMT


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doc
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Re: Do you ever look back and think you could/should have gone down a different career pat 2014/10/23 10:52:42 (permalink)
James
 
 
At 42 years old, for the last couple of years


I wouldn't have had you  a day over 52 , maybe its the long paper round you should be regretting
 
Quite happy with my path , didn't really know what I wanted to do and couldn't have planned for it as the communications industry that I work in didn't exist when I was doing my qualifications , its good work and paid fairly well but there's lots of travel , 30 hour shifts and you have to be flexible to the point where it comes before family or bodybuilding which can be a pain in the 4rse , especially if I want to compete .
 
Did consider doing my commercial pilots license 7-8 years ago in a similar mid life crisis but risk/reward just wasn't good enough.
 
 
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