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xahm

Adult career change advice

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For my husband. Please don't quote as the following info is more specific than I would like to leave up long-term.

He is currently deployed in the National Guard, but his normal full time work is policing. Basically, he hates it. The hours are bad, he doesn't like sitting on a car so many hours of the day, and the leadership is not always top quality, let's say. He'd like to make a major change into a new field. The question is, what?

An ideal job for him would involve a fair amount of communication and interaction, lots of problem-solving, and chance for physical exercise (or good enough hours he could exercise on his own time.) He's a brilliant, brilliant person who is happiest with lots of mental and physical exercise. He has a major in international studies and economics, which he earned while policing full time, serving in the guard, and having his first three kids. He can learn to do pretty much anything without significant difficulty. He's basically the smartest guy in the room in almost any room he goes in, but that doesn't make figuring out a life path easier. He is good at working with others, patient, and kind, but he gets very frustrated when there are outside restrictions that keep him from doing his job well. Working abroad is absolutely a possibility for our family. His references world be excellent. Money is always good, but we don't require a lot for our lifestyle.

Does anyone have any ideas either of jobs or ways to figure out a career path? I know there are folks offering help to veterans to find jobs, but my impression is that they are focused on reducing unemployment, not on matching people with long-term career happiness. If I'm wrong about that, please me know.

Thank you for any help you can share. 

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My DH was in the national guard when I met him and his full time job was as a correctional office.  Not quite the same but close.  And he hated it, though, honestly he was good at those things.

He's now a mechanical engineer.  How did he get to that point?  Well, it started with me basically just asking him a lot of questions about what he really wanted to do.  What did he enjoy, what things were fun, etc etc. Then started in college with a architectural major but switched up almost halfway through.  It originally took him nine years to finish his bachelor's but he started out part time, hadn't been in school for over a decade and a half, AND...we were having our 3 younger kids all during his schooling.  

Edited by happysmileylady
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Is there any opportunity for specialized policing?  Like tactical, underwater search and rescue (scuba team), heavy urban search and rescue, canine unit, mounted unit or bicycle unit?  Might be a natural transition.

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Has he considered actually working as an economist? While not physical itself, it would seem to meet most, if not all, of his other criteria. And leave time for exercise outside of work. Or maybe consulting. His experience with police work and the National Guard would seem to possibly be a good fit for security consulting.

Edited by Frances
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Are his degrees bachelors major / minor or does he have a graduate degree? In my area, you can teach at a community college and nowadays at a university as well with a graduate degree. Would he be interested in getting a graduate degree if he does not have one and needed one for a job he is interested in? 

Would he be interested in training / teaching at the police academy? I have no clue what the requirements are for this position but would it be more enjoyable utilizing his knowledge in his current field and building on it and passing it on?

Another thought: Community colleges around here often offer career path testing / aptitude testing. Perhaps a place to start?

Edited by Liz CA
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How about teaching? You need great people skills, good problem solving skills, and you're also on your feet a lot 🙂 He could also be involved with a sport or intramural after school sport. He could get an advanced degree while working/ during the summers, even online! My M.Ed. is through Penn State online, and it was a really great experience. 

I think a smart, patient, kind, hardworking guy with a policing background would be the ideal teacher!

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Our city is large enough that we have park police who ride their bikes through the parks and trails. He would get the physical exercise on the job, but our summers are incredibly hot. Would a shift from location but staying in similar job be of interest? 

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He's pretty sure that being a detective wouldn't really be satisfying, but he might try to switch to that to get the last couple of years he needs for certain pension benefits to kick in. 

He is considering teaching and going to grad school. Working for the state department or similar in economic development is his dream job at this point, but he also has certain goals in the military he wants to hit, so he doesn't want to leave the guard just yet. This latest tour might be changing his mind about that, though! I'm pushing him to talk to his old college advisor for grad school advice (graduated 2 years ago, so he'll still be remembered clearly), and we'll talk about the time line for a state department job. 

A lot of these other ideas are also interesting, so I'm looking to see what's available in our area. We are in a big-city suburb, so there are plenty of opportunities for change.

Thank you all! I want to help him find something that will be challenging enough that he will be able to be happy. His brother also owns successful business and wants to hire him to do some kind of analysis which is outside his area of study but could fit the bill. We'll be talking about the pros and cons of that, too.

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4 minutes ago, Ottakee said:

Totally different area but Sports Medicine, Physical Therapist, Physician Assistant?

He really considered this, but I doubt at this point he'll make a change involving redoing that much undergraduate work. He'd be happy to do a graduate program, but I'm not going to encourage working full-time while also a full-time student again. Been there, done that. More schooling will, hopefully, come with some kind of teaching fellowship or similar so he can leave the job he hates.

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Has he considered working at a university in the international student office? I know someone who did that. His military background was a plus, he got to travel, and he got to meet and help people from all over the world. It wasn't an extremely physical job, but wasn't completely sitting at a desk.

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9 minutes ago, mom2scouts said:

Has he considered working at a university in the international student office? I know someone who did that. His military background was a plus, he got to travel, and he got to meet and help people from all over the world. It wasn't an extremely physical job, but wasn't completely sitting at a desk.

That's a good idea to look into! Not one we thought of. I'd love for him to have that job for sure. Actually, I'd love that job. I'll see what he thinks. 

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12 minutes ago, xahm said:

That's a good idea to look into! Not one we thought of. I'd love for him to have that job for sure. Actually, I'd love that job. I'll see what he thinks. 

I have a family member who does this. She got a master’s degree in student affairs after living internationally for many years. I know that at some universities, these programs cover tuition, room, and board in exchange for being an HRA. 

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Would firefighting be an option?  Ii have a friend who likes it because even though the hours are long, he can use much of the time to read or pursue other intellectual pursuits or to do physical activities to stay in shape for his job.  He is in an area where pay is good and all of the firefighters have college degrees, but I think that may vary a great deal depending upon the part of the country you are in.  

Would being on the police force at a local university be a possibility?  Often these positions involve a lot of interaction with students, leading safety on-campus seminars, and other activities that would provide a different type of human interaction.  

 

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His college almost certainly has a career services center and alumni are generally able to use it (you may need to be a member of the alumni association).

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