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Old 09-13-2012, 12:45 PM
12 posts, read 151,598 times
Reputation: 41


I’m about ready to turn 50 , and I’m at that place in life where I need a new career that I can get into in a few months, that will pay well and hopefully last me for the next 15+ years.

Currently I work part-time doing a job that I don’t like , but I’m doing it just to make ends meet since I’m one of those many people that got hit hard by The Great Recession. I got laid off in 2010 and I have not been able to find good and steady full-time work since.

I don’t have a college degree. At this time, I don’t have a lot of money, my personal credit report is fried , my family and friends can’t help me financially, so I can’t afford to go to any of those career schools to start all over again. I really don’t have enough money to try to start a business on a shoestring and the businesses I could start (based on the books and magazines I have read), none of those businesses would work and be successful here in Los Angeles. I’m bad at math, so I can’t become a Bookkeeper or an Accountant or Tax Preparer. I looked up careers for people 50+ years old on the AARP website, but most of those require having a college degree and or money to go back to school to be retained in a new career.

Though I know that the real estate field sucks right now, but I know that as time goes on, things will pick back up again in this field. So right now, it seems like the only new career I could think of that I could afford to get into, is becoming a Real Estate Agent. I thought about going to school to become a Paralegal (something I could do and I think I could enjoy), but several friends of mine have done that in the last 2 years and mainly the schools are there to take your money and it is almost impossible to get a job as a Paralegal (here in California) unless you have at least 2+ years of experience working in a law firm . . . so then you end up in that catch 22, where the case is “How can I get experience if nobody hires me?”. LOL!!!

So what other career ideas should I consider (under my circumstances), that does not take too long to be trained/get into and does not cost a lot of money to get into the career and pays well? I live in Los Angeles, California, and I don’t won’t to relocate. Also, I'm not interested in doing any type of sales or commission work/careers.

Thank you for your help and ideas.

Last edited by WilsonWade50; 09-13-2012 at 01:05 PM..
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:23 PM
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,665 posts, read 69,678,834 times
Reputation: 26727
I completely changed hats when I was 50 and opened up my own business (a restaurant) on a shoestring budget of $15K. It kept me very busy and a roof over my head for the next 16 years until I closed it last year. I've parlayed that now into doing a little catering to previous customers and am also doing a little eBay selling of a unique collectible jewelry item which (using the collectible items I'd had stashed away for years) I designed and put together myself. It all very much depends on what you enjoy doing and then twisting your brain around how you can turn that into something which others don't or can't offer. That's probably not very helpful but I'm just throwing it out as hopefully some sort of inspiration! Good luck!
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:52 PM
110 posts, read 383,615 times
Reputation: 98
If you don't mind something that's not exciting, filing clerk, medical billing, and data entry type jobs are still common in that area. They're easy to get as long as you can alphabetize and type at a moderate speed.

Don't do retail. It's hell for people 50+, as it requires you to be on your feet constantly, and talk to often whiny customers. You don't need that.

You won't become a paralegal without passing a special licensing exam (and possibly some courses, I believe), though they do make 50-70k. It's not easy work, and you're up to the whims of your supervising atty, so I wouldn't recommend it unless you have a special love for the law, and don't mind get yelled at in high pressure situations.

What do you like to do? Any special interests?
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:23 PM
Location: North Fulton
1,039 posts, read 2,425,091 times
Reputation: 616
Have you thought about working for a very busy realtor? Some realtors do so well, they need an administrative assistant. Maybe you can get in real estate that way.

I don't think I would go the paralegal route unless someone was willing to train you. Many paralegals have bachelor degrees these days.
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:38 PM
Location: Military City, USA.
5,574 posts, read 6,500,449 times
Reputation: 17117
Check out the book "Cool Careers for Dummies" at the library or bookstore. It talks about lots of "behind the scenes" jobs that don't require a degree that most people don't even think about.
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:23 PM
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, 615' Elevation, Zone 8b - originally from SF Bay Area
44,551 posts, read 81,085,957 times
Reputation: 57750
What have you done before? I started my latest (and hopefully last) career at age 57. Since then I was promoted to manager and hired someone to take my place aged 54. I was able to find an opening that was fairly unique in requiring a combination of the experience and skills that I acquired in my first, 17 year career in CA and in my second, 16 year career here in the Seattle area. People can make suggestions that make sense if we knew what your experience and skills are.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:25 PM
12 posts, read 151,598 times
Reputation: 41
Hello, Everyone.

Thank you all so very, very much for taking the time to read my post and offer your suggestions. Since my post was kinda long to begin with, I did not want to toss too much more in it (i.e. OVER sharing ), at the risk of it scaring away people (if my post was too lengthy).

Since I’m getting ready to hit 50 , I really want to start anew, start with a clean sheet of paper, while not really wanting to do anything that I have done in the past . . . so I’m open to new adventures career wise.

I guess one thing I can add, that I left out of my original post, I don’t want to do anything where I will get my hands dirty (i.e. hard labor . . . working on cars or machines or yard work). I don’t won’t to do anything dangerous (i.e. being some sort of road worker or taxi driver, guard, working with explosives or dangerous chemicals) . . . I have grown quite fond of coming home alive each night. LOL!!!

STT Resident, I received your message loud and clear, but I don’t have a clue or an answer for that. That is why I’m here on this website, seeing if someone can give me ideas based on my current circumstances. Congratulations on taking 15K and starting and running a successful restaurant for 16 years. 15K was a lot of money back then . . . yet it is still a lot of money today. If I knew that I could do something like that, I would, but since I live in Los Angeles, the odds are very slim of opening and operating a successful restaurant here . . . very, very slim to none and “slim” just left the building . . . and “none” is making a mad dash for the exit as I type this. LOL!!!

Lostfan13, I do enjoy the monotony of doing the everyday office work, paperwork processing, even data entry work . . . but it just does not pay that much for the cost of living here in Los Angeles. I thought about trying to get a lowly job as a mailroom clerk (to work my way up to something more interesting and exciting), but even the companies that offer those jobs, their requirements are to high for me to apply for them . . . which I often do not qualify for, since some require working in a mailroom for at least a year or more. I figure if a person has good common sense, just how hard is it to learn how to work in a mailroom. Since I enjoy repetitiveness, data entry is just right up my alley, but about 15 years ago when I was thinking about getting into becoming a medical biller either working for someone else or having my own company, most of the people that I talked with that were doing it or were trying to do it said, in most cases, the companies that train you to become a medical biller are only there to take your money . . . in many cases, nobody will hire a newly trained medical biller, they pretty much want someone that has at least 2 years of experience and it seems that you have to know all of the right people to try to get business as you can not easily open up your own business and try to get business from doctor offices, hospitals, medical clinics, as most of them turn down people that come to their office or send them solicitations in the mail . . . so upon hearing so many similar negative stories like that, I opted not to pursue that career. Yet at the time, for those that were lucky enough to get business to keep them busy 40 hours per week, the average medical biller would be making about 40K per year . . . that is still very low for the cost of living here in Los Angeles, but if it were easy to get work after completing a medical billing program, then I would do it . . . even at 40K per year, but that is the only reason why I can’t do it even in 2012. Yet at this point in life, I would be happy to make 40K per year and would much rather be a medical biller than a Paralegal. I don’t want to do retail and I have never looked for a retail job ever. As I really do not enjoy dealing with people face-to-face AND having to put on a smile and a happy face, when I don’t want to . . . I prefer jobs where I don’t have to put on a smile and happy face hundreds of times per day AND act 1000 times nicer than I am normally as part of my daily work routine. I think I would be okay completing a Paralegal training program and passing the required test for licensing BUT again, based on some of my friends that have recently done the training and passing the test and getting their Paralegal credentials, nobody will hire them without having at least 2 years of working experience as a Paralegal. One close friend that went through the training in 2010 and completed it in June of 2010, was never able to get a job as a Paralegal till this day, but he just landed a job in July, where his Paralegal schooling helped him get an office job, since some of his duties involve legal issues . . . but had he not had that training, he would not have got that job, so it was a matter of luck that he was able to get that job, because since he got laid off in 2009 and had completed his Paralegal training by June 2010, he had been looking for “any” job, even though it was not for a Paralegal . . . so him being open to any job, that is how he finally landed the job he just got this past July. However if my friend had known how hard it would be to try to find a Paralegal job after training, I doubt if he would have spent the money to go to school for it. Yet I do have an interest in law . . . but it has never been on a level to become a Lawyer, yet I think I would enjoy more of the clerical/paperwork processing and office aspects of the Paralegal job.

Berkeleylake, I thought about it back in 2010, but everybody that I went to that knew about and or was working in the Real Estate field said that due to the nature of the work, I would be better off becoming a Real Estate Agent, since the people giving me advice, said that many real estate offices would not want to hire just an office clerk of sorts, they would mainly want someone with a real estate background to help do work when extra help is needed . . . as near as I could figure, just a lowly office clerk would not be sufficient or very much help in a real estate office. So I gave up on the working in a busy real estate office idea.

Thank you very much, Michigan Transplant. I will be sure to check out that book “Cool Careers for Dummies" and see what I might find.

Hemlock140, the bulk of my career history has been working in offices processing paperwork and doing data entry. Yet since The Great Recession, these types of jobs are very scarce in Los Angeles at least, yet most of these jobs do not pay well here . . . so it makes it tough to consider applying for one of these jobs, due to the high cost of living here.

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Old 09-16-2012, 07:47 PM
Location: PA/NJ
4,045 posts, read 4,426,662 times
Reputation: 3063
I don't know if it's been addressed yet but are you able to relocate? Depending on the job you're looking for there are better locations out there with a better quality of life balance.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:52 PM
Location: West Coast
1,189 posts, read 2,553,167 times
Reputation: 2108
Interior Design comes to mind, or stager. Those are big in L.A, and you could probably just be an apprentice under an established desiger or stager that needs help.
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:19 AM
653 posts, read 1,802,383 times
Reputation: 447
Ah, 50's nothin'.
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