career - life change advice

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by B_thickjohnny, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. B_thickjohnny

    B_thickjohnny New Member

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    I seem to be at some sort of turning point in my life. I'm 54 (55 in September) and have lived in Prague for the last 15, almost 16, years. While I love living here I find myself somewhat lost.

    I came here as a traveler originally after accepting a payout when the company I worked for in Atlanta decided to move to Newark. I didn't want to move to NJ so I was given a nice bonus. I thought I would do some travel through Europe then head back to the US and get back to work. But while in Prague I met another American who asked me to help him build his new real estate business. He was finding housing for people moving here but wasn't a real estate person; he only spoke Czech because of his parents leaving Czechoslovakia back in the 40s and was roped into the work because no one spoke enough Czech to read the papers, meet landlords, etc. I had experience and agreed to help him for six months. It turned into 15 years. It was a great experience - watching the development of the country and the people etc. But now it's gotten sort of boring. The economy is on hold, much like other economies. People seem to have gone back to their old ways of lying and cheating to get things they want. There's no regulation of the industry so it's still a cut throat business - more now than ever because before everyone made money. Now, it's "normalized" and it's much tougher.

    I was in a relation for several years but that went flat about a year ago. I caught him away for a weekend fling with another guy. That, I must confess, has put me into a bit of a spiral. I enjoyed the monogamy, the relationship - him!

    Now I'm in a dead end job with a boss who doesn't understand basic math. He expects me to bring in business but he doesn't want to invest a Dime. He thinks it should be easy to hire people on commission only although that's not how it's done here. You pay basic salaries. Offering a commission only position goes nowhere. So he agreed to lower than basic salaries and we got lower than basic employees. Mostly kids right out of school. He expects immediate results but again without investment. Our webpage is old and outdated but he refuses to pay to improve it. We don't have any client management system, no database system, nothing. It's all Excel spreadsheets. We do everything by hand whereas the competition has sophisticated on line systems, email blasters for promotions etc. He just doesn't get it.

    So after trying hard to build something from nothing and gaining very little ground, I'm ready to throw in the towel. But for what? I am not sure what to do next or where to go. I was thinking to head back to the States but again to what. My head is clouded.

    Not sure what I'm asking. I guess I'm just venting and hoping that something might bounce back.

    Thanks for listening....
     
  2. Riven650

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    You're in a sticky situation for sure, but I guess you're worried about jumping out of the frying pan straight into the fire. The catch 22 is that your current position isn't giving you enough self esteem to make you feel confident about your chances of landing a much better job. If you can get back to the US and start again you probably ought to go for it. It'll be tough, but work your contacts and something good will happen.

    I know what you mean by your head being clouded. I'm in a similarly isolated position. I used to be a self employed commercial photographer, but sidelined that work when I became a magazine editor. I was successful, but my life changed and I gradually became a carer - first to my parents when they became infirm, and then to my wife when she got cancer. I'm still self employed, but jobs don't come my way very often these days. I don't feel like doing the 'networking' necessary to get either the photography or professional writing going again. I think I've 'been there done that' and need to move on.

    I realise now that it's easy to lose sight of one's self when caring for others and I'm trying trying to rectify that my moving forward some of my projects. My main pursuit these days is music (I play guitar and sing) but that means lots of time practicing which can get a bit lonely. My other thing is sailing (cruising) which means a certain amount club of activities at some times of year, and I have got myself more involved recently, but I realise that without a proper 'career' I am still a bit short on peer support a lot of the time. What I feel like doing is to push the music to the next level and get a band together. Trouble is that my wife is my bassist and cancer/treatments have sapped her energy, so forward progress, at her pace, is painfully slow. Like you, thickjohnny, I'm just venting here. We just need a little sympathy and support. We both deserve it mate :eek:)
     
  3. nudeyorker

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    The best advice I can give you is to sign up with a couple of the sites like Monster and Career Builder. You can search by city or career. They give you several options to explore.
    When making a career and life change follow your dreams and see where they lead you.
    I know it's a difficult and confusing time but just take it a step at a time and don't give up hope.
     
  4. Riven650

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    That sounds like very good advice to me nudeyorker :cool:
     
  5. borntobeking

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    Are you looking to remain in the real esate industry even if you returned to the States? Or are you looking to enplore other career options? Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com are excellent choices. This may also be the time to look inward and define your true passion. There may be something within you that you have always wanted to do but never took a step towards. I am somewhat dealing with that dilemna having been in insurance for the past 15 years but now looking to explore a career in art.

    Please keep us posted. I would love to hear how it works out.
     
  6. B_thickjohnny

    B_thickjohnny New Member

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    Thanks for the ideas. A few years ago a friend of mine working at the State Department suggested that I get into the State Department's Real Estate group. That's a specific group which overseas all US property holding world-wide. We worked together when he was stationed in Prague. I assisted on several deals which they did here including commercial transactions and numerous housing assignments. I've even done market studies for the Embassy to help them determine housing budgets etc. My friend said I was very qualified for a position like this so I got online and applied FIVE TIMES for five different positions. I never received even a call back. And I had two Ambassador's write recommendations for me. The job would be EXACTLY what I am cut out for. I would be living in the US but traveling to various locations. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get anyone's attention.

    Oh, I should say that people tell me it's easier to find work in the US when you're in the US. I find that people think I've been on vacation the last 15 years. I guess that goes for the State Department as well.
     
    #6 B_thickjohnny, Feb 28, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  7. helgaleena

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    Take some time off for a retreat to really think over your choices at a deep level. That could be done at the same time you are doing the research. If you have a spiritual practice, do it. Get in touch with your own inner life, your own hidden dimensions, in order to discover the best next step. It might be something completely different than anything you have done before this!

    Most of all, follow your heart. Your heart got you to take a chance staying in Prague for so long. See if Prague is part of your future or not, or if there is some other chance waiting for you to take it.
     
  8. killerb

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    I believe this is a time of transition for many people...

    I'm also in a similar situation...I've worked in one industry for about 10 yrs...lately I've been feeling the need to do something else...something MORE...

    I've also been feeling the need to relocate...

    I strongly believe that you should do exactly what you wish to do with no fear...

    It will work out for you.
     
  9. B_thickjohnny

    B_thickjohnny New Member

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    The "no fear" part is the part I can't get around. I don't know what else I can do. I've been in real estate since 1980 - that's all of my working life practically. I guess I need to find a career counselor to help me sort this out. Maybe sitting down with someone and going through my strengths (and weaknesses) I can see where to go.
     
  10. paneros

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    My heart goes out to you, thickjohnny and Riven650.
    Lots of good advice given, and as killerb says, this is definitely a time of transition for many people, myself included, and indeed everyone I know closely.

    The world is in transition, as are we, and the old structures are worn out, and need to be replaced with new and as yet unspecified ones (your boss hasn't got that yet! I worked in IT myself, and when you said he's running the business with Excel sheets, I thought, oh my God, time to leave when he's not listening to sound advice!)

    Along with the good advice of others above, I'd recommend making an appointment with a good Life Coach or similar, who will help you explore your skills and wishes, objectively identify hidden talents, etc, and formulate a plan with you to help move you forward. They'll also help you review and possibly change the way you interact with possible job contacts to maximise your chance of getting an interview.

    I also recommend you go to Free Career Test - Find a New Career with the MAPP Assessment Test, wherre even the free, limited assessment of your talents will most likely be very useful to you as a starting point in boosting self-confidnce and opening up possibilities - it was for me (and I have no associations with it as a business). It helps you identify the wider aspects of your skills, so you can how they might transfer to other areas of interest to you.

    Persistence is key. When you mentioned the applications you made 5 times and never received a call back, despite being perfect for the job - that doesn't surprise me. I find the same - they practically never ring back! So I always ring the day after I send in an application to ensure they received it, and get talking to someone who's going to progress it to the next stage - interview. And if not, I keep ringing until I do, or until another option I'm pursuing turns up.

    Also, becasue the world is in transition as are we all, it's a great time to start connecting with others who are also in transition from the deeper parts of who you are, and explore new possibilities of creating a life from your passion. So explore what networking/collaboration clubs/societies are in you area - or online.

    It's a non-linear path, this change, so it can feel like 3 steps forward and 2 steps back at times, but stick with it, stay true to your heart, go deeper past your fear to explore what's behind it, to liberate yourself from it and come from a place of integrity and belief in yourself, and things will start to flow in your life, opportunities will arise through unplanned, unanticipated ways. I wish you all good luck in your quest!
     
  11. killerb

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    good idea!
     
  12. sexplease

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    Follow your heart. Everything else will take care of itself.
    Sometimes when I'm feeling a little ennui, I take a little time and do something for the less fortunate.
     
  13. DavidXL

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    I'll second the advice to take a career test. In college, I remember not being sure about grad school and felt like I was on this inevitable path toward a certain course of study that I thought would be a natural fit for me, but I wanted to see what else was out there. At my campus career center, I took a test that at the time was called the Strong-Campbell test. It is called something slightly different now, but you can find it by Googling it. I remember being really surprised that out of all of the professions out there, the one I was looking to avoid ended up being a perfect match on the test results. It ended up giving me the comfort I must have been looking for, I pursued the profession I had been focused on, and I've been pretty successful and have had an interesting and rewarding career. (Though, that's not to say I don't have career frustrations!). Anyway, it was very helpful to me and might give you some ideas.

    Good luck to you!
     
  14. Mogluver

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    I am guessing that part of your problem is that you would be a foreign hire, even though your an American. Years ago I was substituting teaching for the Army in Germany, they wanted me as a full time teacher, but since I would be a foreign hire (living in Germany) it is very difficult. Now, I don't know if things change, and I sure don't understand the system very well. People get hired to work for the government all the time, my best guess is that your current address is the issue. Don't know if this helps, good luck and let us know how it works out.
     
  15. B_thickjohnny

    B_thickjohnny New Member

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    I think you might be onto something actually. I heard this before, that living in the US and relocating to DC for the job - a job which required extensive overseas travel - is easier than living in Europe and applying for the job. Either way you have to move to DC as that's where the office is located. Makes no sense but knowing the US government it's par for the course.
     
  16. EagleCowboy

    EagleCowboy Well-Known Member

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    I've changed careers 4 times already. All of them by choice. Had I stayed 3 more years at one of them, the job would have been non-existent due to bankruptcy. But that job I couldn't wait to leave it!

    It's kind of spooky, not knowing what lies ahead of you even if you can pull it off. But I don't regret doing any of it, and I'm in the process of doing it again.
     
  17. helgaleena

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    If you have family stateside that can receive mail for you, apply with that address--? Incidentally, that book I said I was reading in PM? It left me confused. I don't think there's a guru in a book that will help after all. You are your own best guide.
     
  18. EllieP

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    Well, I lived in Atlanta and Florida as well as Texas, and I can tell you that Texas real estate is going like crazy compared to the other two. Prices are amazing! My cousin just bought a house in Austin that's bigger than mine here in Florida for less than half the price. And he bid on it! Crazy.

    I want to move back to Texas so badly. :sad:
     
  19. NCbear

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    I second the advice to step back and think about your own personal goals. I also second the advice to take a career assessment test, if at all possible.

    The reason I'm advocating the latter is that you said you'd only been in real estate since 1980. Don't think about it like that! Instead, think of it as fulfilling certain specific types of professional activities since 1980, many of which can translate into other kinds of careers.

    Think of talents and aptitudes you have, and then try to fit those to your goals (moving back to the USA? stepping into the nonprofit world? traveling through Europe or Asia? working in healthcare? etc.). Those tests will help you reframe your work experience and the various areas of expertise you developed during that experience.

    Good luck! PM me if you'd like.

    NCbear (who's been through similar reframings before and survived to tell the tale :smile:)
     
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