Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

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gbaby07
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Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by gbaby07 »

[Deleted original post for privacy sake]

Thanks everyone for the responses! Things are looking up with a direction on a new opportunity. Putting all the pieces together... now just need a little luck : )

Here goes nothing! :sharebeer
Last edited by gbaby07 on Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:10 pm, edited 23 times in total.
kidshrink
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by kidshrink »

I’ll take a stab at it.

I went through a few jobs working for various healthcare organizations. Lots of policies and procedures frustrated the hell out of me, because they seemed profit centered rather than patient centered. Turns out that’s how the real world works.

It was a long lesson, but I finally figured out I needed to interview administrators just as much as they needed to interview me. In that process, I also went to psychotherapy and helped work through my issues with authority and injustice.

My hypothesis for you is that you’re not happy with your current life or work, keep finding new ways to stimulate and distract yourself from the dissatisfaction, and keep pursuing this fantasy without a firm foundation.

My suggestion is to strengthen your financial foundation and mental state. You’re clearly intelligent but seem disorganized. The fallout with the ex-investor may have been a strong blow to your ego and self esteem. I’d consider building yourself back up before trying to launch again.

I recommend therapy for everyone, not because you have issues but because we all have brains. Good luck
DH0
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by DH0 »

Interesting perspective, I suspect a lot of people feel this way when they get out in the work force and all of their hopes, dreams don't go quite as planned.

The first step in getting out of a rut like this is introspection. You need to take a critical look at yourself and try to figure out where things went wrong. I'm an entrepreneur myself and have seen loads of tech/biotech startups fail. Lots of overconfidence and naivete from first time founders (myself included). Hearing that 'money' and 'autonomy' are your priorities is already a red flag. To do really well in a competitive field you need to have a natural work ethic and passion.

If you feel you have the passion, will and ability to make a leap start taking some risks. Get out there and meet people who have the job you want, figure out what paths they took, impress them, read like crazy and keep an open mind.
phxjcc
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by phxjcc »

Find a product of service which the company you work for can easily produce with little capital expense that has the potential to produce at least a 10 X ROI.

Look within the company for assets that can be brought to solving an evolving market need.

Put together a 2 year plan, detailed, not some BOOZ Allen 5 year blue sky nonsense.

Pitch it to someone that can carry it upstairs for you.

I pitched mine to the VP of sales that was the frat brother of the company founder and CEO.

Tell them what you need, how much it will cost, and WHO you need. As in: Kelly, Jim, Matt, and Sandy.
Tell them that you want to run it, to leave you alone, and you will give them quarterly reports.
Offer to forgo all your variable pay for the next two years.

I lashed together a team of 4 and some old servers and NAS, and in 6 months we had a prototype...and then the world changed and everybody wanted what we had. But that was just luck, dumb luck.

Think of Steve Jobs and the iPod...it's a little computer with a disk drive and plays music...and downloads music. They already made computer and did internet things.

They key is leverage core competency but pivot to do something that is needed but not being produced.
phxjcc
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by phxjcc »

Find a product of service which the company you work for can easily produce with little capital expense that has the potential to produce at least a 10 X ROI.

Look within the company for assets that can be brought to solving an evolving market need.

Put together a 2 year plan, detailed, not some BOOZ Allen 5 year blue sky nonsense.

Pitch it to someone that can carry it upstairs for you.

I pitched mine to the VP of sales that was the frat brother of the company founder and CEO.

Tell them what you need, how much it will cost, and WHO you need. As in: Kelly, Jim, Matt, and Sandy.
Tell them that you want to run it, to leave you alone, and you will give them quarterly reports.
Offer to forgo all your variable pay for the next two years.

I lashed together a team of 4 and some old servers and NAS, and in 6 months we had a prototype...and then the world changed and everybody wanted what we had. But that was just luck, dumb luck.

Think of Steve Jobs and the iPod...it's a little computer with a disk drive and plays music...and downloads music. They already made computer and did internet things.

They key is leverage core competency but pivot to do something that is needed but not being produced.
DonIce
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by DonIce »

You're early 30s, single, with a master's degree from Stanford, and experience in biotech. You're in the ideal position to try whatever you want to do. If you don't like your current job, quit it and try something else. You'll turn out just fine either way.
jharkin
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by jharkin »

DonIce wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 1:15 am You're early 30s, single, with a master's degree from Stanford, and experience in biotech. You're in the ideal position to try whatever you want to do. If you don't like your current job, quit it and try something else. You'll turn out just fine either way.
+1
30, single and already making double the median housold income for all age groups? I don’t see the problem...
livesoft
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by livesoft »

To get unstuck and switch gear: Get married. Have children. Seriously. Don't begin sentences with the word "Me."
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tedgeorge
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by tedgeorge »

It's possible you might be right where you should be for you. You are learning and possibly being a great team contributor who will move on to leadership roles later. If you are winning awards at your company, look around for or create a position that will help you grow. First time management is a great wake up call and would be good experience. Startups always have problems to solve, find one and do it.

Good luck!
tibbitts
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by tibbitts »

livesoft wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:57 am To get unstuck and switch gear: Get married. Have children. Seriously. Don't begin sentences with the word "Me."
+1
campy2010
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by campy2010 »

tibbitts wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 7:32 am
livesoft wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:57 am To get unstuck and switch gear: Get married. Have children. Seriously. Don't begin sentences with the word "Me."
+1
Livesoft: when your Stanford-educated daughter comes to you for professional advice is your advice to her "daughter, don't worry about your professional goals find a husband/wife and procreate". I hope not.
oilrig
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by oilrig »

I will play devils advocate here. You have a Masters from Stanford, tech experience, live in Southern CA (HCOL), and in your early 30's. You should probably be making more money than you are now. Im around your age, with a crappy liberal arts degree from a mediocre state college, and I make the same amount of money as you in a MCOL city in Texas. You should be making way more than me!

Im just guessing here, but your lack of net worth due to your big student loan debt has you plenty frustrated. Why dont you utilize your experience/education and get a FAANG or similar offer? Seems like you could easily get an offer for $200-300k total comp based on what kind of numbers we see thrown around here for recent grads with just a bachelors.

Switch jobs, double your salary, pay off your debt, increase your net worth, then maybe focus on starting your business. Or keep starting businesses on the side while you work for the bio-tech company, whenever your side business income exceeds your full-time job income, quit and focus on the business full time.

Good luck buddy, Im sure you'll be fine no matter what.
megabad
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by megabad »

livesoft wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:57 am To get unstuck and switch gear: Get married. Have children. Seriously. Don't begin sentences with the word "Me."
Me like your suggestion. Me thinks starting a family can be good for some that choose that path. Me also thinks that some might not take that path.

OP I think the Ironman thing is probably a good idea. It sounds like you need to find what satisfies you. For me, I have to separate my job from my primary forms of satisfaction (family, hobbies etc). I treat my job as a rational transaction—this is what the market is paying for my skills and this amount of work, is my current position in line with that? Then I separately find things outside of work that more directly satisfy me.
livesoft
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by livesoft »

campy2010 wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 7:54 amLivesoft: when your Stanford-educated daughter comes to you for professional advice is your advice to her "daughter, don't worry about your professional goals find a husband/wife and procreate". I hope not.
My daughter doesn't come to me for advice much less an internet forum. She's the same age as the OP and would run over any man alive. Watch out!

PS: Her mother would give her that advice. Marriage and children help give one focus to their professional life.
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Cyclesafe
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by Cyclesafe »

No matter what, everyone benefits from being fit. No matter how successful one is, health and longevity must play a dominant role. Congratulations.

Your path has not yet revealed itself to you. My path was minor corporate minion until I was 35 when I got lucky. Sounds like you have done ALL of the right things and you need to be patient. Keep looking within and without your current company for the break that will launch the next phase of your life. Make sure you do something every day that increases the chances of this luck finding you. And above all, keep healthy.
"Plans are useless; planning is indispensable.” (Dwight Eisenhower) | "Man plans, God laughs" (Yiddish proverb)
Foredeck
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by Foredeck »

I have used a career counselor. That's worked for me.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by Sandtrap »

gbaby07 wrote: Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:52 pm . . . . . .
Have others been in a similar spot? How did you go about in "un-stucking" yourself? Also willing to acknowledge that I might be being a bit of a dramatic millennial? Thanks for hearing out my vent session.
Some random things to ponder:

Before First:
You are not "stuck in career". . . you are "stuck in your Self". . . (the outer reflects the inner and vs vs)

First:
There's an "ebb and flow" to life that goes (Ideally) through these stages of transitional periods.
a) Plan (goals)
b) Act (work like heck, strive like heck,. . . given that one has ambition)
c) Evaluate (did I make my goal? What steps have I succeeded/failed? Goal change? . . .objective vs "feeeeelings")
d) Repeat a-c, infinitely.

Sometimes we're good at doing this for work, career, corporate management. But, not quite as objective and aware per the larger picture of one's life journey in a comprehensive and holistic manner. This requires, maturity, self-realization, humility, and integrity, and strength.

Have you sat down with your Self and had a long conversation lately?

Next:
Folks have an innate nature (comfort zone)
a) To lead or to follow.
b) To pioneer with the challenge of risk and reward . . or. .
c) . . . To be perfectly happy sitting in the same chair for 30 years with known boundaries and rewards.
d) To have one's own unique vision and not be fullfilled until it is pursued with near ruthless ambition.
e) To be permanently confused and dissatisfied, disorganized and self destructive, etc.
f) In a-e above: with strength, humility, and integrity: or overconfidence and vs vs.

Where are you?
Follow that (to thine own self (and Self) be true)
Are you at a crossroads?
Decide if you are a developing warrior and pioneer. . . or someone else. . .

Actionably:
1
there's nothing wrong with being in any point of the above cycle except for being stuck in a stage and not moving forward. When we are not moving and goals are not accomplished or accomplished, then we are planning for the next OP.
2
Take this time for self knowledge, evaluation, etc.
a) For fun: Take the MBTI test at "personalitycafe.com", learn about others like yourself.
https://www.personalitycafe.com/forum/
b) Read: "Life Code" and "Life Strategy" by Dr. Phil (amazon.com)


I hope this is helpful.
Lot's of ways to do this.

I have had various wonderful older "mentors" in life and business at different stages of life. The above is distilled from that.
j :happy
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FishTaco
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by FishTaco »

It looks like you're just describing normal experience during the 30s to me.

Part of it is the comparisons you make to others. You probably have exposure to a unique sample of the population from your schooling that skews your perspective. There aren't alot of people that have amassed millions and had successful startups by their early 30s. In this new age of coronavirus and recession, there may even be fewer going forward.

Part of it may be where you live. Although there may be a higher chance of startup funding and success in California, the cost of living doesn't allow you to stretch your income as far. Your income is quite good for my area (Texas) but might not seem as good where you are.

Part of it may be that you're not appreciating the positives you have accomplished. Schooling. Successful online business. Excellent work review 9 months in. You may have had unrealistic or unattainable expectations for yourself, but you have accomplished a lot.

Its good advice to pursue some sort of career or personal counseling, as others have said.

The 30s can be a grind. I hope you avoid mine and others experience with that decade, but you might not. I've never done an Ironman, but have run a number of marathons, and we always said "The marathon begins at mile 20."
quantAndHold
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by quantAndHold »

I’m not clear from your post. How long have you been out of school and in the working world? Are your student loans actually paid off now? The feeling I get from your post is that you’re early in your career, thinking you should be further along than you are, when really, you’re probably right where you should be.

How most people get ahead is not by graduating from a fancy school, then writing a fancy business plan and convincing someone to give them a bunch of money to run with it. Most people who get ahead in the long run get a mediocre job, then show up for work every day looking for ways to make things better for their boss and their boss’ boss. What problems need to be solved where you’re at? What opportunities is the current company leaving on the table that they shouldn’t? That kind of thing. Do that for a few years, and you’ll have a real career.

I’m guessing with current world events, there’s plenty of opportunity to prove yourself at your current company. It’s times like these where the real leaders come to the front of the line while everyone else is sitting back whining about how their career is going nowhere. Be a leader.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
Goal33
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by Goal33 »

livesoft wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:57 am To get unstuck and switch gear: Get married. Have children. Seriously. Don't begin sentences with the word "Me."
I was thinking the same. If you are married to somebody at your level who makes same or more you’ll start hitting financial goals way faster and then you may also feel less stuck as a team.
WS1
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by WS1 »

Yikes

Everyone is focused on the “get married have kids” half of the post and ignoring the “focus on others” message in the 2nd half of the post.
StealthRabbit
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by StealthRabbit »

Each job is 'free training' for your future, expound on that! Don't miss an opportunity to learn from others.

Glean what will be valuable, fill your 'skills toolbox' on the dime of others.
Keep your dreams and ideas alive.

There are 24 hrs in a day. Use it wisely. (I often worked 3 jobs age 15 to age 49, when I was finished working for others). I also spent a lot of time developing my own inventions and alternative wealth building strategies than employment.

Sleep is optional and overrated. (For many)

As above, I would agree wherever you are today is where you should be. (Do your 'best job' everyday). When you have exhausted your learnings and potential, you are ready and can improve on that... venture on.
Last edited by StealthRabbit on Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
rgs92
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by rgs92 »

livesoft wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:57 am To get unstuck and switch gear: Get married. Have children. Seriously. Don't begin sentences with the word "Me."
Danger Will Robinson! :happy
rbaldini
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by rbaldini »

It sounds to me like you're not really stuck at all. You make a good living, you have ambition, you have no debt. Just keep your foot on the gas. Note that a lot of people don't know what it's like to be you - most people don't have aspirations of running their own company (I don't) - so getting advice relevant to your situation might be difficult. Personally I left a large corporate company almost two years ago for a small startup with a much more aggressive culture. I work a lot more now, but on the whole my life is much improved: I was desperately bored at my old job, not growing as a professional, felt like nothing I did mattered. If your corporate job culture is anything like mine was (politics, red-tape, low productivity), maybe you need to look elsewhere. In any case, my thought is: you're young, single, and unencumbered. Don't settle now.
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by rustymutt »

Honestly, I stuck it out til I met retirement age, and boom, I was gone out of there. Never looked back. Retirement is way better.
I work for me now. I had the golden ring in my nose for 30 years. My nose got stretched thin. Customer service in a related tech industry. My faith in God help me personally.
Even educators need education. And some can be hard headed to the point of needing time out.
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vitaflo
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by vitaflo »

gbaby07 wrote: Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:52 pm Acknowledging this isn't helpful - I look at my friends who have had success as entrepreneurs and investors, and I feel as though I missed the boat, that this wasn’t how the story line of my life was supposed to go.
You may have hit on the crux of your problem here, that you think there's a way your life is "supposed to go". This shows a level of inflexibility and wishful thinking that can be difficult to overcome in both life and business. Life doesn't work like that. You gotta continually roll with the punches.

Personally, I think you need to stop listening to podcasts and researching the perfect opportunity and just get out and start doing things. Real entrepreneurs don't sit around waiting for inspiration to strike, they try a bunch of things and eventually one of them hits. This is why reading about successful entrepreneurs is a waste of time because they never talk about the dozens of failures they had before they hit it big.

I get being stuck in a rut, it happens to everyone, but ya just gotta get out there and actually do things. Try a bunch of things, expect them all to fail, and expect to learn a lot in the process. Rinse and repeat. As long as you're learning from failures, you'll be golden. This holds true regardless of what you want to do with your life.
supalong52
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by supalong52 »

vitaflo wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:46 am
gbaby07 wrote: Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:52 pm Acknowledging this isn't helpful - I look at my friends who have had success as entrepreneurs and investors, and I feel as though I missed the boat, that this wasn’t how the story line of my life was supposed to go.
You may have hit on the crux of your problem here, that you think there's a way your life is "supposed to go". This shows a level of inflexibility and wishful thinking that can be difficult to overcome in both life and business. Life doesn't work like that. You gotta continually roll with the punches.

Personally, I think you need to stop listening to podcasts and researching the perfect opportunity and just get out and start doing things. Real entrepreneurs don't sit around waiting for inspiration to strike, they try a bunch of things and eventually one of them hits. This is why reading about successful entrepreneurs is a waste of time because they never talk about the dozens of failures they had before they hit it big.

I get being stuck in a rut, it happens to everyone, but ya just gotta get out there and actually do things. Try a bunch of things, expect them all to fail, and expect to learn a lot in the process. Rinse and repeat. As long as you're learning from failures, you'll be golden. This holds true regardless of what you want to do with your life.
I know you're in SoCal but went to school in the Bay Area. The reason we left the Bay Area for SoCal was to get away from the hordes of ladder climbers who all name drop the one person in their group who made multimillions in some random deal. Ultimately, what should be important to you is happiness and fulfillment, not some meaningless outward expression of success. That's what livesoft was getting at when he suggested you focus on starting a family b/c if you don't get it now you will get it then.
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by stoptothink »

vitaflo wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:46 am
gbaby07 wrote: Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:52 pm Acknowledging this isn't helpful - I look at my friends who have had success as entrepreneurs and investors, and I feel as though I missed the boat, that this wasn’t how the story line of my life was supposed to go.
You may have hit on the crux of your problem here, that you think there's a way your life is "supposed to go". This shows a level of inflexibility and wishful thinking that can be difficult to overcome in both life and business. Life doesn't work like that. You gotta continually roll with the punches.

Personally, I think you need to stop listening to podcasts and researching the perfect opportunity and just get out and start doing things. Real entrepreneurs don't sit around waiting for inspiration to strike, they try a bunch of things and eventually one of them hits. This is why reading about successful entrepreneurs is a waste of time because they never talk about the dozens of failures they had before they hit it big.

I get being stuck in a rut, it happens to everyone, but ya just gotta get out there and actually do things. Try a bunch of things, expect them all to fail, and expect to learn a lot in the process. Rinse and repeat. As long as you're learning from failures, you'll be golden. This holds true regardless of what you want to do with your life.
I remember lying in bed with my pregnant wife, in our basement apartment rental, about 5.5yrs ago and turning to her and asking "we'll be OK if I never do more, right?" I was 32, with a STEM PhD from a top school, and a public health director in a public entity making <$70k/yr. I was spending so much time wallowing in the fact that I had lost a significant percentage of my life's savings in the real estate crash and then most of the rest 2yrs later in a divorce (after putting the ex through dental school). Nothing had gone as planned and I should have been so much further in my life. That was kind of the moment when I stopped thinking and started doing. Got out of that dead-end job and into private industry (where I had zero experience and my education wasn't directly relevant) a few months later, and have almost doubled my income and greatly increased quality of life since. My renewed motivation inspired my wife, she's since more than tripled her income and will be finishing her undergrad later this year (after having dropped out of school after her 1st semester a decade earlier).

OP, if you continue to think about the past and that "you should" be further ahead, you'll probably never get there.
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Watty
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by Watty »

gbaby07 wrote: Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:52 pm Have others been in a similar spot? How did you go about in "un-stucking" yourself?
It was back in the 1980's so it was a lot different but I had moved from the midwest to work as a computer programer in Silicon Valley right after getting a Computer Science degree. That paid well but that was long before the salaries there were crazy like they are now.

When I was your age I was starting to want to buy my first house but the Bay Area has always been expensive and the only type of house that I could have afforded was a tiny dumpy house. I helped a friend and coworker move into a house like that which he bought and even he was laughing at how bad it was. That convinced me that I did not want to settle down in the Bay Area.

In traveling around I found a city that was inexpensive back then that I liked so I found a job and moved up there where I literally did not know anyone. I was able to find a job that paid the same but since the cost of living was so much lower I was much better off. My impression is that for technical jobs the regional pay differences are not nearly as much as you might think and usually not nearly enough to make high cost of living areas a good deal financially unless you are some special situation like where you get large amounts of stock.

Since I did not know anyone that forced me to get out of my comfort zone and get involved with lots of activities and meet lots of people since if I did not do that I would not have much to do in evenings or weekends.

I was renting an apartment but ended up buying a house within about ten months that cost maybe a fifth of what it would have cost in the Bay Area. Within about a year of moving I met the woman I would eventually marry and within two years we were married. Part of my meeting her was that with being so socially active I was meeting lots of new people each month, back in the Bay Area I was in a rut and did not meet a lot of new people. We had one kid and have been married over 30 years now.

In my career I stayed on the technical side and never went into management because I did not have the right personality for that and I had no desire to get get into management and move up the corporate ladder. I always had jobs that paid well but I never really made the "big bucks" but that was OK and I retired when I was 58.

My path was likely much different than what you seem to be looking for since by the time I was in my 30's my job was pretty much "just a job" which is not to say that I did not enjoy it or find it interesting but by the time I had a wife and kid a lot of life was focused on my life outside of work.
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by LesBleus** »

livesoft wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:57 am To get unstuck and switch gear: Get married. Have children. Seriously. Don't begin sentences with the word "Me."
+2 :sharebeer
anon3838
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by anon3838 »

livesoft wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:57 am To get unstuck and switch gear: Get married. Have children. Seriously. Don't begin sentences with the word "Me."
Hmmm. Take a person who is dissatisfied with their current situation, throw in a spouse and babies. That sounds like fertile ground for plenty of resentment later on.

I get the point about the selflessness involved in having a family...but I don’t think other people can/will bring happiness or contentment. That comes from within. ✌️ ☮️
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by dziuniek »

Everyone is wired differently, but the best job I ever had was washing carpets at an airport - 3rd shift...

A bacherlor's and two masters degrees later - I am not more happy working. (and still make less than you - so no complaining!)

So I've come to the conclusion that work is overrated and I need to get out of that arrangement sooner rather than later. Easier said than done though!

I've settled into my job, but I also don't have an identity as it relates to work. I'm not sure that makes sense. I don't identify myself as a worker at X, doing Y. Some folks certainly do.

The Ironman thing seems to make sense as it gives you goals outside of work, which for most of working stiffs is just that -work.
CardioMD
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by CardioMD »

I can really identify with this. My undergrad was in finance and I worked for a start-up as a business analyst for 5 years. I felt stuck and couldn’t figure out what to do. It really is a miserable feeling. I decided I wanted to help people so I completed a masters degree in medical sciences and another masters in public health in my spare time. Took prerequisites for medical school and somehow got in. Even though residency was the hardest time of my life, it was also a thrill ride and I’ve loved every second since leaving that start-up.

I guess my point, as cliche as it sounds, is to find something you love and just do it.
“The stock market is a giant distraction from the business of investing.” -Jack Bogle
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gbaby07
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by gbaby07 »

Thanks everybody for the replies! I had a moment there :oops: Appreciative and thinking about what may be next :sharebeer
Humility101
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by Humility101 »

gbaby07 wrote: Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:52 pm Bit of a personal post, but I would appreciate some sage advice. How did you handle feeling “stuck” re: your career? How did you find open, white-space opportunities?

In my early 30s, single, and live in a west coast city. I currently work at biotech company in a pretty good area of the business. Salary is mid 120s, net worth is <$100k due to climbing out of student debt. At my current rate, I won't be able to purchase a home in the area for another 5-7 years.

Now, I have an unrelenting feeling that I'm not where I should be. I graduated from a Stanford/Harvard/Yale with my Master’s a few years ago. At the time, I was very involved in the tech scene and had an internship in venture capital. I decided to forego a role in venture capital because I strongly believed in my ability to operationally lead a startup. I was in my mid-late 20s at the time. I had worked out a business plan for a company, and to make a long story short, was pushed out by my only investor who took the idea, ran with it, and eventually sold it for $10-20m last year (yeah, that stung).

Me, facing near six figures in student debt, decided I need to find a job within the next two months before I graduated. I ended up getting a job I didn’t particularly enjoy at a startup. I figured I’d stick it out for a year. I became so frustrated in that job that I started an online business, which I still run it today (~1 hr/wk of work) and nets me ~$500 in profit/mo.

On a positive note, I am performing well here having won a company-wide award before my first year here. Several people have told me that if I ever started my own business, they’d join me. Although, I can't settle into the idea of corporate America due to the limited autonomy and capped financial upside.

Acknowledging this isn't helpful - I look at my friends who have had success as entrepreneurs and investors, and I feel as though I missed the boat, that this wasn’t how the story line of my life was supposed to go.

In fact, due to this sense of not meeting my full potential, I decided to start training for the Ironman. It provides structure (distracts me?) and puts me in a situation that demands my full attention, is hard to achieve, and requires mental toughness - all things I tend to enjoy. I felt without the Ironman, I would get too anxious/antsy and perhaps leave my job prematurely before a proper subsequent opportunity unfolded.

I want a situation that I can sink my teeth into, which results in me spending the majority of time outside of training and work reading, listening to podcasts, and researching market opportunities. I tell myself, "Keep going, find an opportunity to create and bet on yourself."

In order to give some semblance of direction, I'd love to optimize for money and autonomy (but doesn't everyone on this forum?). I'm almost certain I'd love to run my own company (leadership is constantly in my reading/podcast line ups), but the recency of events tilts me to consider making a push for an investment role.

Have others been in a similar spot? How did you go about in "un-stucking" yourself? Also willing to acknowledge that I might be being a bit of a dramatic millennial? Thanks for hearing out my vent session.
OP,

Number 1: Do not get married and have kids. Flexibility is your greatest advantage right now, and those two things would limit it regardless of your next move.

Number 2: Do your Ironman and read Principles by Ray Dalio. The most important Principle is Pain+Reflection=Progress. Do not compare yourself to where others are or where you think you should be. Instead, reflect on your past decisions and outcomes, recognize where the errors were, and move forward with future decisions based on the information available to you. Don’t make the same mistakes.

It seems to me that you made a huge mistake (maybe from a contract standpoint) with your former investor. Let me share with you where I am coming from for context.

Early 30s, married, one kid, comfortable financial situation. I’ve worked huge corporate, mid size as well as startup. I have a masters and bachelors from good state schools. I’ve been successful in my career field (SaaS) and I also enjoy the startup mentality and autonomy. I am not a founder (yet), I am motivated, but you definitely have more independent motivation than I.

I recently left a rewarding six figure income job to take on a leadership role at a start-up. Three weeks later they did an across the board 50% paycut. I also just fell off a OneWheel scooter and fractured my skull in three places. I’ll make a full recovery.

I do not feel bad for myself and I don’t want anybody’s sympathy. I will learn from the decisions that led to the negative results above and move forward with making better decisions.

Cheers to your future success!
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cashboy
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by cashboy »

gbaby07 wrote: Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:52 pm How did you handle feeling “stuck” re: your career?


after decades of working in corporate america i came to the following conclusions when i felt 'stuck':

i was not my 'job'.

i was not my 'career'.

i was 'me'.

once i concentrated on that i was 'unstuck' and able to move forward from there.



i found that if if one concentrates on that stuck feeling one might seek to escape it - and perhaps make a faulty decision.

good luck!

my best wishes for you!

:sharebeer
Three-Fund Portfolio: FSPSX - FXAIX - FXNAX (with slight tilt of CDs - CASH - Canned Beans - Rice - Bottled Water)
CobraKai
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by CobraKai »

livesoft wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:57 am To get unstuck and switch gear: Get married. Have children. Seriously. Don't begin sentences with the word "Me."
He's looking to unstuck himself from his job, not lock himself into the job even further.
CobraKai
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by CobraKai »

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=311290&newpost=5174957
Goal33 wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 9:57 am
livesoft wrote: Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:57 am To get unstuck and switch gear: Get married. Have children. Seriously. Don't begin sentences with the word "Me."
I was thinking the same. If you are married to somebody at your level who makes same or more you’ll start hitting financial goals way faster and then you may also feel less stuck as a team.
That's assuming both partners "stay the course" over time.....and there is no eventual divorce down the line (a crapshoot in this day and age).
JaceSpade
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by JaceSpade »

Here's a book that seems written for someone like you in mind. Ambitious, searching, knowing you're meant for great things. It even mentions Jack Bogle and this forum. Interesting read. It's helped me get my act together.

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anonsdca
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by anonsdca »

I think job, career, movement is like investing. You need to assess your risk tolerance for movement.

Like someone said, $120K salary, age in the 30's, good industry, you are sitting pretty nice. I didn't start that way except for the age.

My story

I have been in the same industry for 20 years and it is a gigantic industry (but my job is a small niche inside that industry) and it has been changing since the day I entered. And I mean massive changes (healthcare).

I started doing what I was doing for around $30K, got a nice opportunity to move to make $60K, got another to make $90K, another to make $140K and finally another to make $180K. I am about done now.

But, I was constantly and aggressively seeking these moves. I was always looking for new opportunities and when I saw them, I went for them. I felt like I was good at what I did, and I never burned bridges, but I would eagerly move if the opportunity arose. I will never forget one new boss who said, "congrats, you created this opportunity".

Saying all that. I really believe, if I wanted to, I could have remained at that $60K job--which of course, I likely would have moved up, and be making more money later/today, but I was not built that way. I was seeking new and newer heights both position and salary. I was OK taking on some risk in my employment situation.

Assess your risk tolerance. You have it good now. Spend a great deal of time deciding how you want to get where you want. Then just take those steps.
Normchad
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by Normchad »

If you don't like the way you are feeling, change the way you are acting. Seriously, everybody is responsible for their own happiness.

It sounds like you should mentally "quit" your job now, and focus your available time on either finding a new job, or starting your own gig.

The tone that comes across is that you think you should be running the show. Nothing wrong with that, but if that's in your DNA, you may never be happy working for anybody else. So take that, and start your own business.

You sound smart, inquisitive, and hard-working. I think those are all necessary for success. Unfortunately, they don't guarantee success, you also need luck along the way. And for some people, that luck never comes. But hopefully for you, if you keep chugging, it will, and you will find what you are looking for.

But to get unstuck, change something big. Quit that job in your head, figure out what is next, then quit it for real and get after it.
siker
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Re: Feeling stuck in career - what did you do to "unstuck" yourself?

Post by siker »

Thanks for the original post and all the subsequent replies. I found a lot of points made that are worth thinking over, and will help with my career.
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