Changing career/starting again

Going through some big life changes/ challenges at the moment and would like to share my story and would be great to hear of others experiences of changing careers/moving house/starting again.

After 8 years of starting our Organic Market Garden (veg farming) this will be our last season. It’s proper gutting as we’ve invested so much time, money and love into the farm but it’s really not financially viable- as not sure any farms really are. It’s sad state of affairs and reflection of what our society values that many of our fellow farming/ veg growing friends/businesses are on working tax credits just to survive. we treated tax credits as a farming subsidy as our farm is a couple acres it’s too small to get farming subsides even tho we serve between 150-200 customers/ house holds a week.
Now tax credits have come to an end and we have been moved onto universal credit which is a very different system. We’re going to get a lot less money and have to prove to some numpty at the job centre that we are a viable business which is an all round patronising, humiliating experience and a Massive waste of time. It’s crazy that farmers are not exempt from this

So there’s that and there’s the family/ farm politics…
When my partner and I moved back to the farm to start our business I didn’t know/mum didn’t tell me that the whole farm was still in my Dads name who left us when I was around 10 years old. As we had no contact with him we had no idea what would be in his will/ if he had another family etc. my mums way of coping/dealing with it was to ignore it all and hope for the best. We decided to go get legal advice and we’re informed that mum should divorce dad to secure at least half the farm for herself. Of course the bastard had to die half way through divorce proceedings and that’s when we find out after he left us he quickly started a new family and had 3 other kids… so now they are entitled to a % of farm along with my brother and me. It’s crazy and and so expensive - mum has spent close to 20 grand on legal fees and we have barely started the process. We will then have to through this all again when mum dies. It’s so complicated and legal advice is so expensive that we just need to remove ourselves from the farm and build a new life elsewhere.
That’s a quick overview of it!! I think I could write a book about it and we’re nowhere near finished!

It’s very scary but I’m excited to start again. Im planning on re training as an electrician- maybe getting into renewable energy (still wanna do something useful) any Electricians on here??
Also the idea of getting paid for the time you work is very nice, plus holiday and sick pay and pension is a bonus!

So it would be reassuring to hear of your guys stories of changing careers and starting over.

Thanks for hearing me out, it’s good to get it out of my head and I really appreciate the forum and how supportive everyone is of each other.

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I went from medical scientist in the biotech industry to doing an adult apprenticeship and becoming a fitter-machinist. It was a great change, I love working with my hands and creating things (and have a job that is very creative).

I also think that despite the stresses of re-training and unknown futures, challenging your brain and learning new things is great for your brain health and will help avoid things like alzheimers. Good luck with it!

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I’ll add that to the pros column! Thanks!

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Very sad to hear of you giving up organic farming.

I have recently left the sector having spent a decade working for an org wholesaler who gave up after 40+ years as it was too much of a struggle post covid/cost of living downturn. I loved the industry, which was populated by such a nice group of positively minded people, many of whom have also given it up.

I’m now a bit adrift as going into organics was my career change having got a bit old for my original career in music/entertainment/night economy etc.

I have vague ideas of starting some sort of catering-at-festivals company, or something I can build into a business that could be sold as a going concern to retire on, but am currently trying to find something that will keep me going while I develop the idea.

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The organic community is something I will be very sad to leave as it’s full of passionate lovely supportive people.
Where abouts are you based??

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If you go down the electrical route there is a huge amount of work in my industry (water) the big contractors on municipal work are screaming for people. And there is guaranteed investment so almost no chance of being out of work. Decent money too.

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London area, you? Amazingly there were only 2 fresh produce wholesalers covering pretty much the whole of the SE. We went as far as Oxford, Norwich, Southampton.
One of the things I loved was the network of tiny growers supplying each other (and us) with their excess. Often we’d be collecting produce from the same places we delivered to.
Yeah working with organic people was quite a change from the coked up backstabbing degenerates I knew in the clubs :rofl:

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North Devon, meat and two veg land. Lack of restaurants and cafes to sell high value greens and salads too

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We hardly had any restaurants coz they care more about consistent size/shape/prettiness than they do about org provenance They also dont want the faff of variable supply. You wouldnt believe the number who start org and change to conventional.
There were a few cafs in yoga centres etc but that was about it until the juicebar revolution but even they just didnt understand why they couldnt get things like blueberries all year round. I wasted a lot of time helping people seasonalise their menus

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Apparently if you have a large head you have less chance of developing Alzheimer’s.

I have a couple of friends who made the leap and changed professions and they are so much happier.

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Yep chefs are very difficult to work with! Very few understand seasonality

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Not sure how helpful this is as my advice is not passion/life based…

I’ve never been lucky enough (or unlucky enough) to have made a business from my passions.

So this is more general job change advice… but think as broadly as you can and don’t be afraid of some c*nt interviewing you from behind a desk - they are absolutely no better than you and probably scared half to death by their “better half”, the mortgage, a weekend on their own with the kids, basic maths, an honest conversation, or something.
They are human, so no better.

What you’ve done has required passion, commitment, skill, decisiveness, perseverance, aptitude, problem solving, thinking on your feet, postivity, long term planning and a shit-tonne more.
All of which are important in any job from architecture to advertising.

No-one has it “right”, the career change is sometimes a step back to go forwards.

The hours will be longer, the what-the-fuckness will be real, and the why-the-fuck? will be frustrating - but you are transitioning and it will pay off - if you go into it knowing that.

There is only going through it and learning it.

But it’s weeks not years.
Then you get the rhythm and the confidence.

Do not be scared of jargon. That’s how insecure people communicate. It’s not important.
The important bit is in you and how you show up. Not how you speak.

Hope this helps.

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Thanks man that’s really helpful. Yeh farming makes you a really resilient person and I’m sure I’ll take that with me.

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I changed everything just over a year ago - packed up all my belongings and headed north to help look after my dad who has dementia. Changed career from an electrician to now work in healthcare, with a view to eventually becoming a psychotherapist.

It took me about a year to actually make the jump, but it’s the best decision I’ve made. I didn’t hate my old job, but changing to work in mental health was a big dream: a dream I thought was long gone.

Feel free to message for any chat about electrical work :+1:

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I am sorry that things have changed so much for you you that you need to stop something that you loved. Especially all the home/farm complications. However a re-start can be very liberating.

For 25 years I worked in film and TV as a props buyer/set dresser. It was a role that demanded a vast set of skills. I loved it as a younger man but as the years rolled on I got to the point where looking for the next gig filled me with extreme anxiety as the pressure of the role had worn me right down.

I left the industry, did maintenance in aged care for a couple of years during covid, but now I work for the local council in the parks department as a gardener. I haven’t been this happy in my work life since I started film all those years ago. I actually like going in and the people around me are great.

Just give it a go and try not to look back too much, you just might start a new passion.

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i’ll put this out there - don’t be afraid to put yourself into “tech” or whatever big corporations call themselves now.

most of the bigger companies don’t really require proficiency in anything beyong the microsoft suite of basic business tools, and learning the useable functionality of powerpoint and excel can be done in a weekend course. a four week course in SQL will make you instantly handy. it’s relatively simple, and doing so puts you on near equal footing with the current college graduates. most big companies build their own purpose-driven software tools - first you learn how to use them (like everyone else), then you learn how to make friends with the people who built them (so you can prove value by improving them or figuring out why they were built they way they were).

never give too much away in a job interview - you owned your own business, you managed your own infrastructure, you built purpose-built systems to serve it, you created dependable relationships. people love numbers, you can say that you increased revenue YoY by whatevs, you can say that you reduced redunant processes by eliminating also whatevs.

corporate jobs are silly but they can be dependable and launch you into something that you like more, and it’s just like any language - you can learn it quickly. and if it sucks, you can quit and use your precious experience to bolster all the bullshit i outlined above and move on to the next!

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I’ve had my own Plumbing and Heating business for the last 8 years, recently completed all the relevant Rrenewable training to fit ASHP’s and offer the government grants .

The amount of people that have got into it is still small and the same for solar PV but I think it will get bigger and bigger over the next few years. I’ve found the renewable jobs easier to get and better paid as well due to the lack of competition.

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I worked for myself doing small to medium property developments for the last 25 years but in the last few years breaking even was a win. Unbelievably difficult conditions from the cost of borrowing to the cost of labour, materials, the mortgage market whereby someone one can actually buy the thing you’re building.

In September I applied to my local council as a Building Clerk of Works. In a nutshell whatever the council builds/renovates/larger repairs then Architectural Services do the design for it and the CoW checks it’s been done correctly. Long story short I did my first job ever interview at 51 (scary but exciting) and was asked to apply for the Senior role. Now I’m managing 7 Clerk of Works and am loving it.

If you’d asked me a few years back if I’d see myself here I’d have said no way, and even if I wanted to I wouldn’t t know how to but my point is you may find you have the life skills to do the thing, and you learn how to do the job once you’re there.

And everyone is winging it for the most part

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I work in an industry that attracts a lot of second/third careerers and/or people in a holding pattern looking for something new and, from what I can see, the absolute best thing is once you’ve made up your mind then go for it. I’m sure there are so many transferable skills from running a farm, etc. that you’ll never think will help you on the next step that will absolutely set you apart, work ethic for one. Good luck!

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‘everyone is winging it’ is just generally great life advice

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