Starting over in a new career?

For months now I’ve been unhappy in my job, though in terms of “climbing the ladder” have achieved what I sought out to do. I just turned 29 and have realized that despite my accomplishments, it has not brought me any closer to feeling fulfilled.

My question to all you fine people is have you totally “reset” in your career before, and what do you think of doing so, both good and bad? Any advice, wisdom, or input in general would be greatly appreciated. I’m really very anxious about essentially starting over, but figure if I’m going to do it, I should do it now.

Sidenote: I am considering doing some traveling, maybe even getting a work visa to work abroad for a few months or year. If any of you have any travel suggestions or have worked/volunteered abroad, would love to hear that as well! Love you all!



I am 37 and am on my fourth career. Not job (there have been even more of those), but career. Honestly, I think that might probably be a symptom of my alcoholism. I was never satisfied and always felt unfulfilled. In fact, I feel unfilled in my fourth career now, BUT I am working on redefining myself based on WHO I AM, rather than WHAT I DO. It’s hard work to try to find fulfilment from within.

That said, I needed to do all those things to figure all this out. I needed to achieve the things I thought would make me happy and satisfied to still discover that professional success did not bring me happiness or satisfaction. SO, follow your path. Figure it out. But be aware that you may not find what you think you will find. That is the magic in the journey - nothing is what we expect.

On travel, yes, go do that. Even see about working and living in another country. I did so for 15 years. It was great and it gave me a new appreciation for home. But I needed to leave to find that. ESL programs can take you to wonderful places with a lot of opportunities. That is probably one of the easier routes to get a work visa. Or finding a volunteer program.



I joined the military at eighteen, right out of Highschool. Over the next 14 years I progressed throught the enlisted ranks, served in combat, was selected for a comission, got my degree, and made it to Captain. Saw the world. At age 31, I took an early-out lump-sum in lieu of retirement, moved from Japan back stateside, and started from scratch. Started a new career in corporate sales. Met an married a beautiful, wonderful woman, and have built a good life.

I’m glad I did.


Yes I did, 12 years ago. Worked in health care for 15 years (psychiatric institute), but my :heart: wasn’t in it anymore.
Quit my job and did volunteer work and looked after my kids for 2 years. Then started a new career in a health store. It pays bad, but I love it!
Follow your heart!


When I was a kid all I wanted was to be a chef in the navy.
Then I met someone so I left, and started pub management with my partner.
Then we split up and I went back to being a chef.
Then I met someone else and decided to work 12 hour shifts in a factory.
15 years later I decided factory work wasn’t for me and became a builder.
I now have what I consider to be a prime job on a large old farm that needs loads of work doing to it.
Problem is, I would like to be employed for the last 15-20 years of my working life so that I can get holiday pay and maybe rack up a bit more pension.
Basically, I’m trying to say, in my book careers are ok but sometimes we can be so centered on that career that life can fly by. Maybe what you’re feeling is the urge to do more than what you are with your life.
I wouldn’t be who I am today without doing all the other things I’ve done.
We only get one go at life, and you could, later sit back and think, yay I’ve got a big house, big bank account, big car.
But have you actually lived your life?!!
Get out there and see the world.


I didn’t change careers but I struggled to find work in my field after graduation. After working in a few completely unrelated jobs I decided to go back to school. It was the best decision I ever made. As a result I didn’t start my career until I was 30 but it was so worth it. If you have something specific you’d like to do go for it!! At 29 you have a lot of working years left. You don’t want to spend them being unhappy about it.


I switched careers from a fairly high paying attorney into very low paying public health and I couldn’t be happier. I still have everything I need on this salary and am able to support my family. For my early sobriety it was one the better choices I made.


I’m 27 and contemplating a reset of my own. I’m undecided, but I have lots of options if I’m willing to start from ground level, and I’ve got some time to figure it out. I doubt I’ll really know which career will be best, but I can at least decide which I’m going to try first.


Hey. I’m 38 years old…I was in the restaurant business for 17 years. Tried it after getting sober again and it just felt wrong. Now I’m studying to become a house builder. It’s been a great ride…I love learning new stuff and getting better at building. Money wise it of course means that I’m at the bottom of the pyramid again…but I’m getting by…if I compare working as a restaurant manager and being miserable 100% of the time to being a house builder and actually liking what I do…no doubt about it…the money doesn’t matter.


Ive changed career 3 times so far and im 30 i do really enjoy what i do now but still unsure where ill go with it as some would keep working up the ladder but im not sure id want to keep doing that now

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I started my own business in my early 40s, it was scary, but worked out well. It was a lot of hard work and a learning curve, but it was a good choice for me.

You are young, go for your dreams.


I was lucky and travelled during my young military years. Spent 4 of those in northern Italy. After 8 years in the military it was all sales jobs after that. All the while being a drunk. Got married at 37 and started a family. As my drinking progressed my jobs were getting worse as far as pay and happiness. My wife is much younger than me and her career was taking off as my drinking reduced me to changing jobs alot. All the while i was spiraling down it was tough to not be the main bread winner any longer. I felt like a loser and my jobs sucked. FAST FORWARD TO PRESENT: My former brother in law gave me a chance in sobriety to work for his business. Im a fricken maintenance man for industrial sewing machines!!! I love it!! Ive never worked with my hands or tinkered with mechanical systems before and its the best job ive ever had. Ive now had this job for 14 months and sober 2 years in july (HP willing) im lucky to have another boss at the factory with 30 years sober in june. Hes crazy as hell but keeps me grounded in my thoughts and has loads of suggestions for sobriety. I thank my brother in law all the time for this opportunity he gave me and i WON’T F it up!
Travel whenever and wherever you can and meet the people of the world. Be happy with whatever you do as it took me along time to find that. I know a man that joined the peace corps and did that and he said he loved it. Even found his wife while he served. Best of luck and thanks for letting me share.

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I never knew what I wanted to do when I grew up, still don’t.

I know what I don’t want to do though.

Here’s a tip.

Figure out how you want to spend your time, not just the what. The what is the work and work is work, no matter what you’re doing, it’s just work. But it’s the how that makes it fulfilling.

For example: my how list is:

Whatever the work is, I want:

To be able to be creative
To have a voice
To be empowered
To be a leader (not necessarily management)
To have a good work/life balance
To be recognized
To be able to recognize others
To celebrate wins
To learn from losses
To have the freedom to take risks
And to have the freedom to fail

If I have all those things, I’ll be fulfilled, no matter what work I’m doing. I am blessed to have this in my current job, which makes it exciting to go to work Monday mornings.


I circle around this from time to time. Work was a factor in my drinking, though I accept it had everything to do with how much I got wrapped up in it. That it seemed like the most important thing, but really it was just where I had invested the most time.

Since then I’ve accepted work on work’s terms. Now on a good day it can be a meaningful means to an end. I can contribute quietly to whatever I do and still go about my life happy, sober and free.

It’s not really an answer, yes or no, on whether to stay or do something new. For me, I’m obviously not certain. But now I feel like narrowing it down to that makes the potential answer so much smaller. So I do what’s right in front of me today while actively listening for what else may be.

Of course I also already had it pretty good. Others’ mileage may vary!

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