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On Career Change

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Leo

Footnotes & References

The TV Repair Man (Personal blog) I credit a friend of the family, a TV repair man by trade, for setting in motion the sequence of events that would lead to my eventual career and subsequent success.

Posted: July 25, 2015 in: Video Commentary
Shortlink: https://askleo.com/19917
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I'm Leo Notenboom and I've been playing with computers since I took a required programming class in 1976. I spent over 18 years as a software engineer at Microsoft, and after "retiring" in 2001 I started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place to help you find answers and become more confident using this amazing technology at our fingertips. More about Leo.

7 comments on “On Career Change”

  1. Hi leo,

    great video. Yes i totally agree with loving what you do will be a great benefit.
    I have to be honoust, i recently started my blog and then i’ve found you. And it will be basically the same kind of blog as you’re having.
    Although i’m just starting out.

    But i don’t really believe in competition, because we are all unique and bring other points of view to the table.
    As of now, i’m having a fulltiime job in the production/warehousing section, but i love technology so much.
    I’ve been playing and learning about computers since the last 20 years and i used to fix computers in my area for people and through advertising.
    i wanted to take it to the next level, so that’s why i started my blog.
    I’m married to my wife from thailand and my plan is to build an online income and move to thailand. i don’t need to get rich or something,
    but a steady income would be great. So i can provide for us.

    Keep up the great work and i will keep following you.

    Chris

    Reply
  2. I got started working from home back in 2003. I wanted to continue to be a stay-at-home-mom but at that same time, I wanted to contribute to the family income and be challenging at the same time. I felt confident that my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration would enable me to find something flexible. When I say it took me years, I’m not exaggerating. It was four years before I really got lined up with steady work. And I learned some hard lessons along the way. There is still about $1400 floating around out there with my name on it that I was never paid. I have learned so many new skills and discovered that I love HTML code and working with websites in addition to the customer service work that I truly love. I would encourage anyone who has marketable skills and who wants to get their feet wet working from home to create their profiles on any one of these sites (or all of them if they wish): Guru.com, ODesk.com, Elance.com, Freelancer.com, fiverr.com. These are good reputable sites that greatly reduce your risk of not getting paid for your work. And whenever you have the chance to pick up a new skill, jump at it! The more technologies you are familiar with makes you that much more marketable. But make no mistake, if your goal is to work from home, you have to take it seriously. Yes, you have freedom and flexibility but you have to be disciplined and professional about your work.

    Reply
  3. To the fellow thinking of moving into IT at the age of 55. Here’s my advise: Don’t Bother for your age will surely be used AGAINST You as it has me and I’ve got over 30 years of technology service and support that covers multiple platforms.

    I was laid-off over two years ago and since then have gone on over 50 interviews, in-person/telephone and as soon as the employer realizes they’re dealing with someone my age, all bets are off and they take evasive action the likes of which I’ve never seen. A position advertised/described wherein the new hire could come into the job at either a I or II depending on experience and background I interviewed for wasn’t brought to my attention until the second interview and it was only then that one of the interviewers blurted out to me that they were looking to fill the job at the entry-level. With over 30 years in IT, it was obvious at that moment I wasn’t going to be asked back for a 3rd interview and this was because of my age. In yet another interview, and this with the state of Nevada, I had a deputy director in an e-mail reply say the following: “the candidate we offered the job to had on-going direct experience with our systems because he worked for a contract vendor that has been doing our maintenance. He had the same advantage over every other candidate which is why he got the job offer.” I guess this explains why the woman who sent this is a deputy director. Talk about putting one’s foot in one’s mouth!

    But there’s another issue/reason why it’s going to be difficult for this career changer to break into an IT job at his age: existing employee’s. I’ve lost track of the number of times I found out after I’d applied/interviewed for a position that an existing employee, with less experience then me was offered the job. Employers want them Young, Dumb and Cheap which they won’t get from me. On the other hand, my salary demands don’t have me asking to start at the top of the pay scale but too many employers think that’s what I want. That’s not the case, but I’ve yet to have had the opportunity to prove them wrong, because I get turned down on account of my age. But I’m now seeing plenty of payback in the last 12 to 18 months. Numerous positions I’ve applied to in the past are once again being seen advertised again. Hmm, seems to me as if they can’t keep the job filled. Could it be because younger individuals move around and are not staying with their employers? Sure looks like it to me. But then considering the crap that’s been pulled by employers with me with just trying to get an offer, it really does make sense for employees today not to have ANY loyalty to the employers. Hell, what’s the point?

    Earlier this month I applied to a position which required the old fashioned method: download application, print it out, fill it out by hand and then proceed to Post Office and Mail it. Received a call asking that I come in for an interview. So after having to spend the night in a hotel and traveling over 400 miles roundtrip to do this interview, last week on the 20th I received a call from one of the individuals that was in the interview. He asked could I return next month for another interview. I was not given a specific date/time for this interview, instead I was told I’d be contacted the first week. Sure I said. Well on the same day I agreed to another interview, this employer turned around and advertised the position once more on Craigslist! Three days later, on the 23rd and it posted the job to the website I saw it on originally as well. The new deadline to apply: July 31st. Clearly after seeing me at the interview and the three interviewers (all of whom are in mgmt) realized, “oh gee, Mr. Kirschbaum is old and we want someone much younger!” Considering the location of this employer with reference to larger urban areas, I was likely one of two people who applied and given my background, I knew I’d be contacted for an interview.

    But having a degree in electronics, and holding CompTIA certs that include A+, Network+ and Server+ along with an MCP and additional certifications from the ETA as well as holding not one but 2 certificates as a customer service specialist and being acknowledged as a SME with the ETA, as long as I’ve got some grey in my hair it doesn’t matter what I’ve got on paper or in my past. Like I said, employers want Young, Dumb and Cheap. And as far as being a Veteran goes, it doesn’t mean a hill of beans. Employers can brag and boast about how they go out of their way to hire and employ us Vets but it’s all just a bunch of marketing and advertising malarkey so the employer can cop some “good press”.

    I’m a consultant now but even that has it’s pitfalls. Work I did for a business that’s based out of Ronkonkoma, NY earlier this month does not look like I shall ever get paid for it. Isn’t the first time and probably won’t be the last.

    So to this fella who’s considering moving into the technology profession at the ripe old age of 55, sorry but you’d have much better luck with a job in the medical health field, seriously. Anyone over the age of 45 in my profession is seen as a dinosaur. This is true even if you keep up to date with what’s going on with changes to technology. I don’t have MS-DOS running on any of my computers but I’m still very much familiar with and know how to use it.

    Reply
  4. Great piece of mentoring, Leo. I always tried to teach my students the same lesson about doing what you love. From personal experience I would add: if you don’t love your work, it won’t be fun. And if it isn’t fun you probably won’t do it very well. Which means your work won’t be fulfilling (which is sort of a highfalutin’ synonym for “fun”) — notice the vicious cycle there. This is not just a self-centered argument; society (the consumer of your products or services) suffers as well when your work is less than the very best you are capable of.

    Here is my story of a mid-life career change, which serves to illustrate this principle. After graduating from medical school in 1957 I chose a career in academic medicine, eventually becoming a full professor and the head of a division of cardiology in a university medical center. During that era what had been called a Three Legged Stool of research, teaching, and patient care (each of which for me was great “fun”) grew a fourth leg, which in my institution came to dominate those traditional duties: generating patient-care income to replace dwindling state and federal sources of funding. Finding myself in conflict with many university policies, and no longer having much fun, at the age of 51 I decided to make a clean break, move to a different city and state, and join one of my former students in setting up a private practice.

    Building a new practice from scratch, working directly with my own patients (I found teaching them nearly as much fun as teaching medical students and house staff, incidentally), developing my own computerized medical record system (an avant-garde idea back in the early 1980’s), helping to pioneer the then-new field of cardiac ultrasound, and gradually becoming recognized as the go-to guy for solving difficult diagnostic problems in my area, proved to be rejuvenating, and every bit as fulfilling (i.e. fun) as had been my earlier days in academia. And thus I highly recommend making a mid-life career change.

    But… Our practice grew rapidly (eventually, after I retired, becoming the largest, 28-physician, cardiology group in the state) and we had to expand. As time went by, young candidates to join our group (often represented by agents, much like professional athletes) seemed to be more-and-more interested primarily in making money, not primarily in “having fun” as I have defined that term here. And, although they were very successful in achieving their goals, they didn’t seem to have much fun. And I think their patients–and, I fear, most consumers in what has become our enormous Health Care Industry–suffer as a result.

    Reply
  5. Hi Leo,
    I’m a 60-year old male at Chennai, India. I’ve shifted my career at the age of 50 years. At that time, I’d been in business management for nearly 30 years that includes many failed attempts in own businesses & big losses. I studied a course on ‘Technical Communications’ and got into employment after significant trouble thanks to timely help from unknown persons. After initial hiccups in retaining employment, I’m with a company for nearly 5 years now. During this period, I tried to shift from existing company, but as someone pointed out, every employer was looking for younger guys. Yes, my age was working against me.

    In my employment too, as a lone writer in my company, my job seemed to be secure but is a dead-end too. Last year, they gave me a lesser revision for the reason that I’ve reached the market maximum level for my position already. They said that the revision itself is due to my good performance record! This year, they are retiring and re-employing me as a temporary employee with the same pay without any increase! Though I still like my job but aged career shifts entail difficulties in both getting and being treated equally unless probably if one can offer something difficult to get!

    Now, I see I cannot hope to be in employment for long and it might end sooner than I think. Yet, I want money for my living. So, I looked for shifting to another career that can support me as a freelancer. After some searching and dithering, I’ve decided to become an English-Chinese-English Translator. Though learning Chinese from scratch won’t be easy, as I’m not passionate about Chinese, still I believe I can do it good enough. As you say Leo, we aged-shifters have to stop looking for regular employment and develop entrepreneurial mindset. There is no option if we want to shift and restart. Do we have?

    Reply
  6. Hi Leo,

    Thanks for making a video related to my question. Just awesomeness and I loved it!
    Along with reply’s from “Ask Leo fans,” you’ve firmly planted the seeds of inspiration for my future endeavors.
    And like you I’m a generalist loving everything related to technology and computers..

    After spending over 15 years of my life in business and radio advertising sales, I lean towards being a risk taker and entrepreneurial
    and I am considering starting an online business.

    I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

    Leo keep up the great work!

    Thanks,

    Scott

    Reply

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