So, my back's stuffed and I need to retrain. Where do I begin?

#1
I hit 40 last year and it seems that my spine is deeply unhappy, 20 years of working in jobs which involve lifting and shifting have damaged the lower end and I have a permanent ache. It isn't the end of the world, but unless I retrain in a less physically demanding role then the future looks grim and I can expect to be sitting in Wetherspoons on a Tuesday afternoon within a decade. I'm not sure where to start with this, I was diagnosed about 6 months ago and initially went with the whole positive-thinking "use it as an opportunity to do what you really want to" line. Sadly, it quickly became apparent that the things I enjoy involve low pay, few jobs, and unless I have a field-specific degree, little prospect for advancement. Also, sitting on my arrse with a book and some beer doesn't pay at all. So I've decided to bin the whole thing and go for a more practical approach, checking out where the work is in the local economy and aiming for those jobs regardless of how dull they seem - a wage is a wage and I have kids to feed and a house to pay for. Unfortunately, other than knocking on the doors of recruitment agencies, I have no idea where to start with this. Has anyone else been in this position, and if so what did you do?

My morale and confidence has taken a bit of a knock and I'm pretty worried about competing with bouncy 20-somethings, pretty much everything on my CV counts for bloody nothing now. I just need to put a plan of action together and am struggling a bit. There seems to be a lot of clued up people from various fields on these forums and I'd appreciate any help getting some structure to this.

Cheers
 
#2
What do you do for a living at the moment?
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
#4
1. List what skills you have, and can demonstrate. Believing that you have the ability to manage a team of 50+ staff and a budget of £200m counts for nothing if you can't prove it to a prospective employer.

2. Identify what is the minimum income you need to keep above water, and how long you could keep afloat for unpaid. It is all great to bang on about being an entrepreneur, portfolio careers etc if you are in receipt of a good forces pension and other sources of income, or can afford to couch surf while you take the risk during start up. You just need to pay the bills at the moment, not fight Branson on his own turf. How much is enough?

3. Not all agencies are bad, but not all jobs go through them. Who do you know? Any mates or relatives you could work for, or even spend some time with to get a feel for the job and something on your CV. While you are at it, make a good "general" CV with basics ready to be adapted to any jobs you apply for.

4. Take a job, and give it a try. Don't be afraid to move on if it doesn't work out. It is usually easier to get a job when you already have one. Employers can be more keen to take someone with a current, verifiable track record of turning up than take a punt on someone on benefits.

Me? I worked for a mate unloading hazardous waste bins at various sites between jobs in the City. He did me a favour, and I grafted in return and had a good laugh while doing it. Mind you, my CV says "project management for initiative to enable environmentally friendly outcomes blah, blah, blah".
 
#5
@The_Duke is right about listing your skills. I would go further; you need to identify both what you can offer and what you can't. Identify where you have gaps and where there are adjacent skills that would enhance your employability that you could gain easily. Put a plan in place to fill the gaps to widen your skills base and start to implement it. This doesn't have to cost much money if any; there are loads of free resources around if you look.

My next thought would be to understand your back and how to manage it. Identify an excercise regime that helps to control it; probably lots of stretching and core work. Also work out what aggravates it. You need a plan to manage your back rather than just put up with the ache. I say this from experience; five years ago I struggled to put my socks due to back pain; now it doesn't really impact my life.

Next, the issue of portfolio careers. A portfolio career is just a posh term for working multiple jobs and revenue streams. There are loads of people doing it, some out of choice, some out of necessity. Once you have worked out how much money you really need and find that the jobs you can get don't pull that income, you may have little choice but to seek multiple jobs. It's at this stage that you need to plan, because you are chasing two or more jobs at the same time. Most people in a portfolio carear have a banker that puts bread in the table and then do other work to but wine beside it.

Next entrepreneurship. The idea that you need a military pension or similar to start a business is ridiculous. There are many people who fall into running their own business in their 40s because they have to. If your skills are in a field where the gig economy rules, you have stuff all choice but to get on and be a small scale entrepreneur. I meet people every day who are making a living with a micro business that cost them not a lot to set up; don't dismiss it. If it works, it will give you independence.

In reality though, it doesn't matter whether you want a good full time job, a contract, a portfolio of part timers and contracts or your own business. You have to get out there and market yourself.

Go along to your local networking groups and meet people. Start talking to people; make it a mission to meet someone new every day. Don't be afraid to ask for advice or introductions. Most people are open to a chat or a coffee. The worst that they can do is say no. But they might just be the one who opens the door. Small businesses struggle to recruit because they can rarely afford to use a recruited. They hire by word of mouth and referral so you have to be out there.

Personally, I've never got a job through a recruiter and very rarely hired through one either. If you do follow this route, remember you still have to stand out.
 
#6
Train driver ? 50 ish k for sitting on your arse and just pushing buttons as most would have you believe. No previous quals needed and no upper age limit within reason. Plus they have a hard on for ex mil police etc
 
#7
Train driver ? 50 ish k for sitting on your arse and just pushing buttons as most would have you believe. No previous quals needed and no upper age limit within reason. Plus they have a hard on for ex mil police etc

Yep, gotta couple of mates ,ex RGJ, doing it ( so not the brightest tw@ts that ever lived ha ha ) plus one who is a signaler - level crossings, rail switches , etc..

It is a teeny bit more involved than just sitting on your arrse, as you can imagine..... there's brew drinking and porn rewarding for a start....plus what to do during your actual breaks? ;-)
 
#8
Yep, gotta couple of mates ,ex RGJ, doing it ( so not the brightest tw@ts that ever lived ha ha ) plus one who is a signaler - level crossings, rail switches , etc..

It is a teeny bit more involved than just sitting on your arrse, as you can imagine..... there's brew drinking and porn rewarding for a start....plus what to do during your actual breaks? ;-)

I'm one myself mate and resemble the not brightest twat remark
 
#9
Train driver ? 50 ish k for sitting on your arse and just pushing buttons as most would have you believe. No previous quals needed and no upper age limit within reason. Plus they have a hard on for ex mil police etc
The OP mentioned his back problems? I can't imagine sitting for long periods is going to help them. How do you find it?
 
#10
The OP mentioned his back problems? I can't imagine sitting for long periods is going to help them. How do you find it?
All depends on the type (class) of unit/engine that you are driving. Some are an absolute nightmare for backs and others, have a more ergonomic seat and cab environment. Strangely it isn't necessarily an "old v's new" problem, as Southern found out to it's cost.
 
#11
The OP mentioned his back problems? I can't imagine sitting for long periods is going to help them. How do you find it?
Very true dinger he did indeed did. He was also looking at suggestions on what to retrain as etc... etc.... hence just throwing it out there for the chap...

Personally I don't find it too bad and without knowing exactly what is up with the OP it could turn out loads of sitting down is bliss to him or it could be an utter bag of Shoite.

Ups to hims to decides
 
#12
The OP mentioned his back problems? I can't imagine sitting for long periods is going to help them. How do you find it?
I've had L4/L5 'work' done, and at the time was told there's them that can stand, but not sit and them that can sit but not stand. I'm in the latter group. I can stand for maybe 20 minutes before I would REALLY like to sit down - this was a problem while still serving!! I can quite literally sit all day, but that brings other problems. Say, when driving, after a couple of hours I'm quite stiff (fnar fnar!) when I get out the car.

Re pain management, as mentioned, stretching and exercises. You'll find what helps and what doesn't. Stretching is very good, free and easy! Look at the interweb but seek proper advice too.

Jobs- without knowing your background and skills, I can't make any helpful suggestion. Hopefully you'll find that after leaving the job that was causing /exacerbating the pain, things should get better. Sometimes I have to grit my teeth, knowing that I will suffer for a couple of days for the task I am about to do, if you know what I mean.

Good luck.
 
#15
I've had L4/L5 'work' done, and at the time was told there's them that can stand, but not sit and them that can sit but not stand. I'm in the latter group. I can stand for maybe 20 minutes before I would REALLY like to sit down - this was a problem while still serving!! I can quite literally sit all day, but that brings other problems. Say, when driving, after a couple of hours I'm quite stiff (fnar fnar!) when I get out the car.

Re pain management, as mentioned, stretching and exercises. You'll find what helps and what doesn't. Stretching is very good, free and easy! Look at the interweb but seek proper advice too.

Jobs- without knowing your background and skills, I can't make any helpful suggestion. Hopefully you'll find that after leaving the job that was causing /exacerbating the pain, things should get better. Sometimes I have to grit my teeth, knowing that I will suffer for a couple of days for the task I am about to do, if you know what I mean.

Good luck.
I suffer with similar back problems and find I have less problems /pain if I regularly do light manual work mixed in with an equal amount of desk jockeying.
 
#16
I hit 40 last year and it seems that my spine is deeply unhappy, 20 years of working in jobs which involve lifting and shifting have damaged the lower end and I have a permanent ache. It isn't the end of the world, but unless I retrain in a less physically demanding role then the future looks grim and I can expect to be sitting in Wetherspoons on a Tuesday afternoon within a decade. I'm not sure where to start with this, I was diagnosed about 6 months ago and initially went with the whole positive-thinking "use it as an opportunity to do what you really want to" line. Sadly, it quickly became apparent that the things I enjoy involve low pay, few jobs, and unless I have a field-specific degree, little prospect for advancement. Also, sitting on my arrse with a book and some beer doesn't pay at all. So I've decided to bin the whole thing and go for a more practical approach, checking out where the work is in the local economy and aiming for those jobs regardless of how dull they seem - a wage is a wage and I have kids to feed and a house to pay for. Unfortunately, other than knocking on the doors of recruitment agencies, I have no idea where to start with this. Has anyone else been in this position, and if so what did you do?

My morale and confidence has taken a bit of a knock and I'm pretty worried about competing with bouncy 20-somethings, pretty much everything on my CV counts for bloody nothing now. I just need to put a plan of action together and am struggling a bit. There seems to be a lot of clued up people from various fields on these forums and I'd appreciate any help getting some structure to this.

Cheers
You could do a degree and get financed by Student Finance, you also get money to live on and other benefits, especially if you have kids, it's a win win situation, you don't have to pay it t back until you are on over £21k and even then it's a minimal amount monthly, just make sure you pick a degree that interest's you and will get you the salary you want , you just about have enough time to get on this year if you are very quick.
 
#17
You could do a degree and get financed by Student Finance.
Is a degree really going to get you a job over 40? Sure, not having one might sift you out at the application stage, but if you've entered through the hidden jobs market by networking, it won't make much difference.

Unless you do something truly vocational; I've got three friends who are lawyers (one a barrister) who started beyond 40. Big commitment though. And when you do qualify, you still have to do the entrepreneurial bit; you aren't going to get articled to a practice at 45.
 
#18
Is a degree really going to get you a job over 40? Sure, not having one might sift you out at the application stage, but if you've entered through the hidden jobs market by networking, it won't make much difference.

Unless you do something truly vocational; I've got three friends who are lawyers (one a barrister) who started beyond 40. Big commitment though. And when you do qualify, you still have to do the entrepreneurial bit; you aren't going to get articled to a practice at 45.
Depends what you want to do, you're very unlikely to get a desk job without a good level of literacy, a degree will teach you this and much more , it also demonstrates dedication to the job and subject, over 50s are often at their peak , enough experience to be very knowledgeable but not quite senile.
I've known over 50s study and get their RICS certificate, that leaves at least 10-15 years of work before retiring or death.
 
#19
I work for a Company which makes pyrotechnics. The factory itself is a specialist area and HMF are welcomed. Generally you can start on the factory floor employed by an agency. Once we know more about your work ethic then a permanent contract can appear, promotion etc. What I am trying to say employers want to see what they are getting and an agency is a good way to do that. Even working on the shop floor the pay is better than an administrator role in the nearest city and all for a 4 day week but many dismiss the lower end job market. If you have specific qualifications/experience then the jobs open up within the group and the pay is very good. Promotions often come from in-house. We have a very low turnover of staff and many have been there for 30 years. Don't underestimate what appears to be a job with little prospects. You may be surprised.
 
#20
Try ALDI or Lidl, 40k - 60k for Assistant Managers - Store Manager.
 

Similar threads


Latest Threads

Top