Career Changers: What won't/don't you miss about your first career?

  1. 2
    Hi, everyone! I just got accepted last week into a 1 year accelerated BSN program for this fall and can't wait to get started. I've been reading through the posts on these forums for a little while now, eagerly taking in the wide range of perspectives from those already working in the profession. It seems to me that just like any field, nursing has its ups and downs. Overall though, I have yet to hear anything that makes me want to turn and run in the opposite direction.

    I've worked in the IT field for 19 years and have often thought I might switch to nursing as a second career at some point. For most of those years it was a rather lucrative, high opportunity profession, but not any more (largely due to offshore outsourcing of jobs and the government's H1B visa program). For me, although I had an aptitude for it, I can't say I ever found anything intrinsically rewarding about it. So as wages fell flat and opportunities dried up, there was nothing about it to keep me interested in continuing on in the field.

    Here's what I will NOT miss about the profession I'm leaving behind:

    1. Employers who no longer want their own employees. Where I live, a significant number of IT jobs are on a contract basis. You're really only sure about having a job for the duration of a company's contract with a client. Those things dry up for all sorts of reasons, and when they do, your employer basically tells you adios if they can't put your skills to use on any other contacts they're trying to staff.

    2. Being at the mercy of having to commute to wherever your employer's client happens to be located. So many IT companies try to control costs by getting their clients to provide the workspace for their contractors. This means you could end up having to commute a total of 3 or more hours a day (AM and PM combined) just to get to and from work!

    3. Being expected to be available as needed 24x7x365...because I'm "a professional!" And not getting ANY additional pay (since I'm a salaried employee)...even when it means working all day Saturday and Sunday for several weeks in a row. (What...you want a day OFF? Well....you're not committed to your job!!!)

    4. Being expected to put in at least 40 billable client hours a week (although your employer pressures you to try to make that at least 45-50...and YOU don't get any of that extra money they bill the client for)...AND do all the other activities your employer wants you to do as THEIR employee...on your OWN time!

    5. Taking hours and hours and hours of computer-related coursework...all on my OWN time...just to stay current in the field....and then having the skills I master become practically obsolete every three years or so!

    I'm sure I could come up with more, but those are the biggies for me!

    As I said, nursing, as with any profession, seems to have it's ups and downs. But after years of dealing with the frustrations I've mentioned, I would just be thrilled to have an employer with reasonably stable staffing needs in a location that won't constantly be changing (and that won't take me 1 1/2 hours to drive to each way). I'll look forward to actually being paid if I'm ever going to be required to put in overtime and being in a profession with such a wide variety of working situations.

    Just so y'all don't think I have NO idea what I'm in for...I wanted to mention that I volunteered as an EMT for many years at a very busy station (so I've had the 'pleasure' of doing such things as cleaning projectile vomit off the inside roof of an ambulance). I had always really enjoyed doing patient care and have many reasons to believe that I'm well-suited temperamentally for the nursing profession.

    Anyway...had just been wanting to post this as additional food for thought that people can digest as they ponder going into/ staying with / leaving nursing. Would love to hear what other people have to say about the careers they're leaving or have left behind!
    NewDeb07 and oldiebutgoodie like this.
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  3. 10 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    Congrats on your acceptance. I have a CS background, was actually my field of study in college and my second career. I don't miss the computer bidness at all. It is THE most dog-eat-dog profession I know of. By comparison, nursing is pretty kick back, if not boring at times.

    Nursing is my third career, so I'll leave it just to when I was in pools and hot tubs. Way back.

    I miss: being outside at work. When it was hot, I'd jump into a client's pool to cool off. Having a good tan.
    I don't miss: Working in the sun from daybreak to sunset 6 days a week from May 1 to Labor day.

    I miss: Making obscene money in spring and summer for relatively easy work.
    I don't miss: Draining a significant chunk of my savings account every winter because the phone never rang. Doing collections.

    I miss: Having winters off and being able to kick it 4 or 5 days a week.
    I don't miss: Having to lay people off every year.

    I miss: Being my own boss.
    I don't miss: Being my own boss.
    whodatnurse likes this.
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    let's see...since graduating with my first degree I've been a teacher, bartender, and retail manager

    I actually loved bartending because I could be silly and got to meet some interesting folks; I guess my only problem was the crappy pay--I worked in the one restaurant bar in the country that didn't want bar patrons to sit at the bar after a long shift and have a drink; we didn't even have a tv; mgmt. thought a full service bar cheapened the quality of the dining experience; btw. it was frickin Red Lobster, not some 5 star dining establishment; I stayed just because I loved the work I did and enjoyed my coworkers

    Retail mgmt: hated having to depend on kids to show up to work and actually do something; I'm not a fan of doing someone else's job when I have my own

    HS algebra/geom teacher: I abhored administration; the students and their parent (singular on purpose) who provided no support; standing in front of a class of 30 (of which a portion had limited English proficiency) talking to myself; attempting to teach the handful of students who actually wanted to learn how to pass a stupid standardized test--forget about teaching them algebra and geometry; attempting to get a group of students who couldn't add 2+3 (I say this because they really couldn't +-*or / one digit whole numbers, but here they were in my HS math class). I hated that school, their motto, and everything associated with it; I have absolutely no positive memories other than the fact that I had the honor of assigning failing grades to more than half of them...should have been done long before.
    whodatnurse likes this.
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    I am an accelerated BSN grad from 22 years ago. Before that I was a probation officer full time for 10 years and did a variety of other stuff as well.

    I do NOT miss:

    A miserable residency requirement that forced modestly paid people to kill themselves to live in their service area, mostly by working 2 jobs.

    Being in court, having to testify, waiting around.

    A career that was completely dependent upon local conditions e.g. not transferable.

    I do/did miss: (Until I got my current gig in community health)

    I did miss routine schedules, weekends off, Christmas, being able to take a vacation when I wanted to.

    I missed professional respect.

    I missed hour long lunches.

    I missed autonomy and independence. I missed this so much that I clawed my way to my current RN job which gives me that. But I found it very hard to secure in nursing.
    whodatnurse likes this.
  7. 1
    I won't miss only making 27k per year in NYC.
    whodatnurse likes this.
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    I have a B.S. in Kinesiology and was in Pharmaceutical and pop sales for 9 years. I start nursing school in the fall so this is mostly about what I don't miss.

    I don't miss rediculous unobtainable expectations from sales managers trying to justify their jobs/large salaries.

    I don't miss being treated like I am an idiot when I don't meet expectations that my customers laugh at.

    I don't miss being pressured to sell by manipulating the truth/facts (never did, that's why I sucked as a salesman).

    I don't miss being told that the people in my position are preventing the company from growing and that all of us will need to take a pay cut. This coming from managers who don't come out into the field to see the situations we are dealing with.

    I did enjoy when the plant and sales managers told me that I (and everyone in my position) would need to reinterview for our jobs. I told them, "Thanks, but I don't think there is any future in this company and I've been going to school at night to get into nursing school and just got in. So I don't want your interview or need this job." Then I got to smile and wave at them everyday at the plant for 2 months as I worked out my time before my severance kicked in.

    I CAN'T WAIT TO START NURSING SCHOOL.
    whodatnurse likes this.
  9. 1
    I have been in design and construction admin for 20 years, and will be starting nursing school in the fall.

    I won't miss:
    - Cubicles, opening mail, phones, adding machines, copy machine duty
    - Handling umpteen rolls of construction drawings
    - The perception of any situation in a paper-pushing office as a true 'emergency'. (Think "hospital" people)
    - Jobsite visits on 95 degree days or after torrential rain
    - Feeling that my job doesn't help anyone on a meaningful level, like a mouse on a wheel
    - Showing 'commitment' to my job by putting in unpaid overtime hours; watching those billed hours go into the bosses' pockets
    - Those who chuckle at my return to school

    I will miss:
    - predictable, kid-friendly hours
    - kind people who have been encouraging of my return to school
    whodatnurse likes this.
  10. 1
    Quote from PsychRN03
    let's see...since graduating with my first degree I've been a teacher, bartender, and retail manager

    I actually loved bartending because I could be silly and got to meet some interesting folks; I guess my only problem was the crappy pay--I worked in the one restaurant bar in the country that didn't want bar patrons to sit at the bar after a long shift and have a drink; we didn't even have a tv; mgmt. thought a full service bar cheapened the quality of the dining experience; btw. it was frickin Red Lobster, not some 5 star dining establishment; I stayed just because I loved the work I did and enjoyed my coworkers

    Retail mgmt: hated having to depend on kids to show up to work and actually do something; I'm not a fan of doing someone else's job when I have my own

    HS algebra/geom teacher: I abhored administration; the students and their parent (singular on purpose) who provided no support; standing in front of a class of 30 (of which a portion had limited English proficiency) talking to myself; attempting to teach the handful of students who actually wanted to learn how to pass a stupid standardized test--forget about teaching them algebra and geometry; attempting to get a group of students who couldn't add 2+3 (I say this because they really couldn't +-*or / one digit whole numbers, but here they were in my HS math class). I hated that school, their motto, and everything associated with it; I have absolutely no positive memories other than the fact that I had the honor of assigning failing grades to more than half of them...should have been done long before.
    OH, I can relate to this. I was never a regular teacher, but I did sub for HS algebra and geometry for six weeks once while the teacher was on maternity leave. I had the exact same experience you did. I even had one parent come in for a conference (fairly impressed a parent would even show up). Turns out he had nothing better to do. He was living off the system...of course. He said, "Now what class is this? Algebra? That s*** is hard! I wouldn't do anything in that class either." Said this in response to being told that little Johnnie refused to even put his name on his paper. Wouldn't even pick his head up off the desk. That was about seven years ago. I'm sure he's a really successful person today.

    In my previous life, I was a tax accountant. I don't miss:

    • Deadlines
    • Management who were never satisfied with any amount of tax savings I achieved. It was just "my job." But, oh, a tax increase (due to rate increase or something the company was doing), and I was the devil himself.
    • Working really long hours for no extra pay. And being EXPECTED to do it.
    • Time sheets. I was in public accounting for several years. I still wake up on the last day of every month grateful to God that I don't have to do these anymore.
    whodatnurse likes this.
  11. 1
    I agree with RedRobin:

    Won't miss cubicles, nor the mouse on a wheel feeling.
    Will miss working from home!
    whodatnurse likes this.
  12. 0
    Quote from Corvus
    I agree with RedRobin:

    Won't miss cubicles, nor the mouse on a wheel feeling.
    Will miss working from home!
    I am about to start my fifth week of an accelerated BSN program. I've never felt MORE like a mouse on a wheel in my ENTIRE LIFE!!!! (huff puff huff puff huff puff huff puff huff puff).


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