Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

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kjvmartin
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Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by kjvmartin » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:45 pm

I've had some big life changes after starting an excellent government (LE pension) job with relocation across the country. Some new family/health issues and a surprising dissatisfaction there have caused me to do a 180. The new small town could not meet our daughters special needs, though I tried to get it worked out. I resigned the post I had been trying nationwide to get for 9 years after a short while and returned home. Tail is tucked between the legs on this one. My old (stable but no pension LE) job will have an opening early 2018. I now appreciate that job more, having experienced the "greener grass," and I can pick up where I left off. On the other hand.....I have not been unemployed since age 14 and I'm wondering if this might be a good opportunity for me to re-evaluate. We have a decent financial cushion, insurance benefits, and could survive off of my spouse's income if absolutely necessary. Maybe an opportunity to explore elsewhere? I got to thinking - If Bogleheads could start from scratch, where would they start over?

I've spent 10 years in the criminal justice/law enforcement field with an emphasis on technology. I've got good people skills, excellent written skills, an excellent memory, and am inclined toward technology. I have an average Bachelor of Arts degree, no major educational achievements. Poor at math, so I've avoided calculus and math heavy curriculums.

Things that have me thinking: The government IT job has usually interested me more than my own line of work. Of course, he had to take the math classes to get there. I filled in for him on several occasions. Probably no way around getting a computer science degree to get this kind of job, right?

I have also admired the Assistant US Attorneys I've worked with and met. What an awesome job. Seems a long, expensive, and uncertain road to get into a spot like that, though? I couldn't imagine being any other kind of lawyer, but that kind of legal work intrigues me.

I have been told I should be in sales, based on personality. I don't give up easy. When I worked in mental health counseling, I was often intrigued by the pharmacy sales reps I met.

Too late for most of those things, right?

Thoughts?

KyleAAA
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Re: Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by KyleAAA » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:56 pm

You probably don't need a computer science degree or to know much about math for your average government IT job. Depending on which niche you're interested in, a few industry certifications may be all you need. If anything, a CIS or MIS degree would seem more appropriate than CS.

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Meg77
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Re: Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by Meg77 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:19 pm

I think it's normal and appropriate to take some time to re-evaluate your options during a period of transition, particularly between jobs. I'm in my mid 30's too and have done no small amount of soul-searching and second guessing my career and life plans. We are at the age where many of us have put in a decade or more in one field and have climbed a few rungs of the ladder. We are competent, relatively comfortable. But the promotions and big raises don't come as quickly and the next rung on the ladder (often into management) may be a big stretch or may not even look desirable.

On the other hand, starting over from scratch in a new industry is much less appealing the further along you get on another track. Taking the massive pay cut that would typically involve isn't fun, and the newness and excitement of a different path would surely wear off after a year or two. Besides, you might guess wrong and dislike the different colleagues and office environment and culture of a new industry.

Here are my thoughts about the options you threw out.

Law - forget about it. This doesn't sound like some latent childhood dream, so there's no reason to undertake the costly and lengthy endeavor of getting a law degree. Then the 80 hour workweeks required for years after that. MANY people who DO dream of being an attorney and even get a degree and become one end up HATING it and either enduring it miserably to pay off their loans or switching gears entirely. Plus that industry is more than saturated according to the news at least.

Government IT - I don't know much about government jobs or IT so I'm no help here.

Sales - Try it! Sales jobs often have a pretty low barrier to entry, depending on what you're selling of course. If you're good at it you can make a ton and move up quickly, and the hours can vary widely and aren't bad at all in some fields (especially if you're making your quota). I have friends in pharmacy and medical device sales, and most of them work about 4 hours a day max (unless they are in surgeries). It's a stressful job though especially if you're missing your sales targets. Layoffs are common. And it's tough to get those jobs as they are very hot commodities.

There are all sorts of sales jobs though in every industry: realtor, mortgage broker, personal banker, software, auto, commercial furniture, retail, etc. etc.

What about some kind of IT sales?
"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

tedgeorge
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Re: Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by tedgeorge » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:28 pm

Can you think of any tech companies that support law enforcement using their hardware/software? Think about everything that you used in your job and the companies that made them for a start. That may be a perfect place for you if you wanted to try sales because you already speak their customers language and understand the problems they are trying to solve. I promise your math will improve once you learn about commissions!

If you are interested in IT, there are many levels of that field that you may be able to get into quickly. Primarily at the administration level where it's more repetitive work taking care of what is already there. Those could be system/network/security/etc admin jobs with certifications you hear about on the radio or tv ads. There are also tons of classes and information online that you can take for little to no investment to see how interested you may be in an area.

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Re: Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by Rupert » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:37 pm

Not law, and especially not law if your sole reason for doing it is a desire to become an Assistant US Attorney. Those jobs are hard to come by, and they don't hire many (or any, in most districts) recent law graduates. You'd have to grunt it out for years in a low-pay state prosecutor's office before having a chance at one of those jobs, or you'd have to virtually win the lottery (top of your class at a good law school) by scoring a position as a law clerk for a federal judge with influence.

kjvmartin
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Re: Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by kjvmartin » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:51 pm

Rupert wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:37 pm
Not law, and especially not law if your sole reason for doing it is a desire to become an Assistant US Attorney. Those jobs are hard to come by, and they don't hire many (or any, in most districts) recent law graduates. You'd have to grunt it out for years in a low-pay state prosecutor's office before having a chance at one of those jobs, or you'd have to virtually win the lottery (top of your class at a good law school) by scoring a position as a law clerk for a federal judge with influence.
Interesting. From what I heard about ASUS, they tend to make very low salaries (for lawyers). I did not realize how competitive such position was. 99% of the ones I've worked with seemed very much regular down to earth people.

Jags4186
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Re: Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by Jags4186 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:13 pm

kjvmartin wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:51 pm
Rupert wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:37 pm
Not law, and especially not law if your sole reason for doing it is a desire to become an Assistant US Attorney. Those jobs are hard to come by, and they don't hire many (or any, in most districts) recent law graduates. You'd have to grunt it out for years in a low-pay state prosecutor's office before having a chance at one of those jobs, or you'd have to virtually win the lottery (top of your class at a good law school) by scoring a position as a law clerk for a federal judge with influence.
Interesting. From what I heard about ASUS, they tend to make very low salaries (for lawyers). I did not realize how competitive such position was. 99% of the ones I've worked with seemed very much regular down to earth people.
For many being a US attorney puts them in a great spot for a judgship at a relatively young age. Also will allow them to get into either a big law firm above grunt level associate or it will get them to be in house counsel at large companies (usually in fields they had previously prosecuted...). It can also put them in a good position to run for office.

Jayhawk11
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Re: Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by Jayhawk11 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:15 pm

Yea, do not do law. I say this as someone who is a lawyer for the Federal Government. The amount of debt you're likely to accrue in law school will not be offset by a government attorney salary.

It is also VERY difficult to get an AUSA job. I went to an elite law school, worked at the best firm in NYC, and now have good experience as a federal government attorney and I still have gotten dinged from two different AUSA jobs. Those guys work A LOT too, and it isn't too glamorous. If you're on the civil side you're litigating FOIA requests, and the vast majority of criminal cases are immigration.

Rupert
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Re: Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by Rupert » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:47 pm

kjvmartin wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:51 pm
Rupert wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:37 pm
Not law, and especially not law if your sole reason for doing it is a desire to become an Assistant US Attorney. Those jobs are hard to come by, and they don't hire many (or any, in most districts) recent law graduates. You'd have to grunt it out for years in a low-pay state prosecutor's office before having a chance at one of those jobs, or you'd have to virtually win the lottery (top of your class at a good law school) by scoring a position as a law clerk for a federal judge with influence.
Interesting. From what I heard about ASUS, they tend to make very low salaries (for lawyers). I did not realize how competitive such position was. 99% of the ones I've worked with seemed very much regular down to earth people.
The salaries are not low for public-interest work. I'd say they range from around 75K to 150K, depending on number of years experience you have coming in. By way of contrast, Assistant District Attorneys will make half as much starting out (sometimes less) and never get to that 150K figure, unless you're maybe in Manhattan.

Another way into an AUSA job is through the JAG Corps. Former military lawyers get hiring preference.

J295
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Re: Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by J295 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:50 pm

Let me just say .... It's not too late .... you get one show and you're the star .... dig in and go for it, whatever it may be .....

knick17
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Re: Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by knick17 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:26 pm

I find myself in a very similar situation, just turned 30, just moved to a new countryand with family. I have a degree in Asian studies and years of experience in business management

TRC
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Re: Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by TRC » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:29 pm

IMO - tech sales is the most lucrative career you can get into with a 4 year degree (if you're good).

soitgoes2
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Re: Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by soitgoes2 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:49 am

The opportunity cost on law school is a killer, with the bi-modal salary distribution you could be out 100k + three years of lost earnings to be making LEO money as a line prosecutor. If being a ADA is your dream than it may make sense if you are as happy in LEO or elsewhere that likely makes more sense.

WalterMitty
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Re: Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by WalterMitty » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:54 pm

How about a job in the corporate world doing corporate security. Can be good pay, lots of companies are beefing up their security teams and having a tech background would be a plus.

kjvmartin
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Re: Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by kjvmartin » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:55 pm

WalterMitty wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:54 pm
How about a job in the corporate world doing corporate security. Can be good pay, lots of companies are beefing up their security teams and having a tech background would be a plus.
Interesting thought. Among others so far, but this is one I hadn't thought of.

2comma
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Re: Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by 2comma » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:40 pm

I've read too many "not law" especially big law posts here to ever recommend that. OTOH my ex FIL went to a no name law school and got a job with the Secret Service, became agent in charge in several cities and worked a couple of presidential details but that was a long time ago.

I got into the computer field pretty early on. I sucked at math so I got a psychology degree - nooooo jobs. But then I went to a federal program (for the habitually unemployed no less) and learned to become a machinist. Funny thing was I needed trig and the guy who taught it made my high school/college math teachers look bad - I finally learned something. But I I wasn't sure I wanted to be a machinist for the rest of my life and then I lucked into a masters in CS and even without the math background, I had to take 3 prerequisites to enter the program and I was in and it was all computer stuff - no electives or junk like you'd take for a BS degree. I never worked on anything as a programmer or later as a systems administrator for 30 years that required any math. With that said most CS programs back then were under the the college's math department so they made you do math. My department was it's own thing, not under the business school or the math department. I'll warn you though, my mega corp slowly but surely started off shoring programming and the sysadmin groups were getting off shored too. If my mega corp is doing it (and they have always been more employee loyal than most) you can bet others are too. If you can get a government IT job you'd probably be less vulnerable to that especially if it required a security clearance. At least think twice about IT in the future.

The thing I've started telling young people is that there are a lot of good paying jobs in healthcare and most of them cannot be outsourced/off-shored. And there are a lot of jobs besides nursing. The downside is they operate 24/7 365 days a year so it's hard to find jobs that don't involve night shifts, weekends and holiday work.

One final comment on sales. I read a study that talked about a company with high turnover of sales people after some pretty expensive training. The thing they found out is people that do not internalize failure and just move onto next prospect were successful. If you blame yourself for a missed sale it's going to be tough to be successful for very long. My never got a HS diploma (did get a GED) ex BIL started selling cable and wire. He must have been good at it because he ended up making 3 times what my computer/tech trained ex wife and I made per year. On thing I have been told by sales people I've known is if it gets too lucrative a lot of companies tend to find ways to keep raising the bar. My BIL switched jobs frequently and I think he was smart enough to know to target employers that were paying higher commissions. I'd suck at sales worse than I did at math but if you have the skills it can be a very lucrative profession.
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Re: Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by GCD » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:31 pm

I'm making a few assumptions here.

I read "relocation across the country" as a fed job, probably FBI, SS, DEA, USMS, ATF. If the agency isn't one whose sole mission is LE, it generally doesn't force you to relocate and certainly tells you ahead of time where you are going. Having a special needs daughter whose needs could not be met after the transfer is a very reasonable excuse for quitting. You already passed a background and made it through FLETC or Quantico so you should be good to go with many non-LE focused fed agencies.

Try USAJOBS.com. There are a ton of 1811 positions there and every fed agency has some sort of investigative position. Yeah, the big 5 won't tell you where you will be going, "needs of the agency" and all that, but the postings for the U.S. Forest Service, etc. all specify a specific place. You might be able to find a spot that works for you.

There's some pretty esoteric stuff out there. The Smithsonian has 1811s, they do art crime investigations, are on the same pay scale and retirement as FBI agents and know for certain they will be based out of DC.

Re AUSAs. Yes difficult to get, no don't need to be Ivy league or perfect GPA. Actually, Ivy leaguers tend to bail after checking the box for trial experience. They weren't exactly looked down on but everyone knew they weren't there as career employees. And the USAO does need career attorneys. I don't think they make you relocate like the Fed leos. If you are willing to work in Kansas or wherever the competition is much lower.

I wouldn't give up on the CJ career unless you want to.

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Re: Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by MP173 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:41 pm

I had a similar conversation with myself at age 34 and switched to a sales position. It was brutal for six months (learning curve of the product/service), then I started developing customers and here I am 27 years later doing the same thing. It was one of the best decisions of my life.

To be fair, I worked my tail off for years (no problem with that) and learned to deal with the rejection involved. Spent many nights in a Super 8 or Comfort Inn in Muscatine, Iowa, Decatur, Il, St. Louis, Mo, etc and ate lots of not so healthy lunches from Casey's Convenience Stores while driving to the next town.

But it paid off for me in so many ways. Do not settle for being miserable with your career.

Ed

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Re: Re-inventing career in mid 30s? Law? Tech? Sales?

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:13 pm

Meg77 wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:19 pm

Sales - Try it! Sales jobs often have a pretty low barrier to entry, depending on what you're selling of course. If you're good at it you can make a ton and move up quickly, and the hours can vary widely and aren't bad at all in some fields (especially if you're making your quota). I have friends in pharmacy and medical device sales, and most of them work about 4 hours a day max (unless they are in surgeries). It's a stressful job though especially if you're missing your sales targets. Layoffs are common. And it's tough to get those jobs as they are very hot commodities.

There are all sorts of sales jobs though in every industry: realtor, mortgage broker, personal banker, software, auto, commercial furniture, retail, etc. etc.

What about some kind of IT sales?
I do IT sales (enterprise software) and moved into this industry without IT or B2B sales experience. It is a rollercoaster but if you are financially set then the majority of stress can easily be managed.

It's definitely not too late, I have no degree and before I came to my current employer I was a retail manager for almost 5 years.

I hit my 3 year anniversary yesterday with Megacorp, and the money has been pretty good. Averaged ~$120k/yr so far, with the top 20% of reps pulling in $250k+, and the top 10% $500k+.

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