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Quarter-Life Crisis....Advice Needed!

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    Quarter-Life Crisis....Advice Needed!

    I'm considering a major career/life change and I need to hear who this worked and didn't work for.

    I graduated college about 5 years ago and have worked a couple of office jobs since. The current one is the best of them--I have good coworkers, great benefits, short commute, sometimes flexibility in my schedule. I make a comfortable (but not amazing) salary. But even with all of those things, I hate sitting on my butt pushing papers and staring at a screen all day.

    Some days are obviously better than others, but will I feel this mediocrity for the rest of my career? Am I just being spoiled/unrealistic? Should I appreciate the good things about my job and just be happy that the rest of my life is wonderful? It's not that I hate my job all the time--it usually varies from "meh" to "ugh".

    A barn that I respect and have heard good things about just posted an advertisement for a barn manager and I'm really struggling with whether or not I should try to go for it. Whether I'll regret not trying to make the horse thing a career or keep my career and be able to afford horses in my free time. (I've been struggling with this since before I even graduated college and it's only gotten worse as I sit in offices all day, it's just coming to head with the job posting. I know that if I wait it's not like I can't try later.)

    Pros:
    Working with horses and horse people
    Being active all day
    Being satisfied with my work
    7-3:30 versus 8-4:30 (amazing for fitting in winter riding)

    Cons:
    Less money/benefits (not certain, but it's a good guess)
    Longer commute (10 minutes to 45 sucks majorly)
    Less stability/longevity (if I were to get injured or whatever)

    So folks--what do you think?

    #2
    Each person will give you a different answer. For me, the answer is no. I have been lucky to fall into jobs that are challenging and allow for a ton of growth. The stability of a regular paycheck with regular hours and health benefits is too important to me. I also get 5 weeks of paid vacation (12 years with current company).

    Comment


      #3
      Just commenting to follow... I struggle with this at well. Wanted to be a professional, went to college because I wanted the steady income (and lets be honest, parental expectation) and thereby hold resentment for my office job. I don't "regret" it but... All I can say is you're not alone!

      Comment


        #4
        Are you in a career track job or just a job? Is it a field that you could come back to in a couple of years and reenter with a good salary? In 5 years?

        You're young, and if you think you really want to do the horse life, I'd say give it a try. Be sure the pay/benefits (health insurance??) are enough for you to live on.

        It's a lot harder to do this once you have an established career and a lifestyle that demands a certain income level.

        In my early 20s I left a school teaching job to gallop racehorses. Now, I knew it was going to be a short term thing for me, but it was too good an opportunity to pass up. I'm so glad I did it and I'd still be kicking myself if I hadn't, but I knew I could go back to teaching.

        Comment

          Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Jo View Post
          Each person will give you a different answer. For me, the answer is no. I have been lucky to fall into jobs that are challenging and allow for a ton of growth. The stability of a regular paycheck with regular hours and health benefits is too important to me. I also get 5 weeks of paid vacation (12 years with current company).
          The vacation is a huge factor too. I may not want to take as much if I don't dislike my job, but I'd still want some and a lot of barn jobs don't offer much when it comes to that. I'm coming up on three years with the current job and that will bump me up to 4 weeks of vacation per year.

          Comment

            Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by blue_heron View Post
            Just commenting to follow... I struggle with this at well. Wanted to be a professional, went to college because I wanted the steady income (and lets be honest, parental expectation) and thereby hold resentment for my office job. I don't "regret" it but... All I can say is you're not alone!
            Yep....parental expectation was the biggest factor. I don't regret college or my degree as there are things about it that appeal to me. Do you have any advice on dealing with the resentment if I were to stay with it? It's obviously the safe and practical choice but I need to not be grumpy every Sunday night thinking I have to go back to work.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by B-burg Dressage View Post

              Yep....parental expectation was the biggest factor. I don't regret college or my degree as there are things about it that appeal to me. Do you have any advice on dealing with the resentment if I were to stay with it? It's obviously the safe and practical choice but I need to not be grumpy every Sunday night thinking I have to go back to work.
              Nope, I'm right there with you unfortunately! I find the parental resentment builds over time as well... all I can do is say that it allows me my horse and a reasonably comfortable lifestyle, so I meditate on it and try to enjoy the time I have with my horse. I was a working student for a considerable amount of time and loved it, never got burnt out.
              I do sometimes worry that if I took up horses as a full time job forever and ever, I would lose the immense amount of love I have for them. That does help.

              Comment

                Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by Hej View Post
                Are you in a career track job or just a job? Is it a field that you could come back to in a couple of years and reenter with a good salary? In 5 years?

                You're young, and if you think you really want to do the horse life, I'd say give it a try. Be sure the pay/benefits (health insurance??) are enough for you to live on.

                It's a lot harder to do this once you have an established career and a lifestyle that demands a certain income level.

                In my early 20s I left a school teaching job to gallop racehorses. Now, I knew it was going to be a short term thing for me, but it was too good an opportunity to pass up. I'm so glad I did it and I'd still be kicking myself if I hadn't, but I knew I could go back to teaching.
                It is a career type job where people tend to stay once they're in. Therefore I'm nervous that if I left and were replaced I'd have to wait for someone else to retire (closest person is probably 10 years out from that). But I also honestly don't care if I have a "career and advancements" job as I'm not very ambitious when it comes to my work. (I care about the quality of stuff I output, but I don't live to work.)

                I am married, so I could go on my husband's insurance if needed thankfully. But we do have a mortgage on 20 acres and I've got 2 horses to afford. Not as tied down as having kids, but not cheap either.

                All important things to think about. And good to know people do it for a while then go back to 'real life'.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by B-burg Dressage View Post

                  Yep....parental expectation was the biggest factor. I don't regret college or my degree as there are things about it that appeal to me. Do you have any advice on dealing with the resentment if I were to stay with it? It's obviously the safe and practical choice but I need to not be grumpy every Sunday night thinking I have to go back to work.
                  Maybe look for a different place in the same line of nicely paid and benefits job that you will enjoy more?

                  Working with horses is slave labor, no other way around.
                  You are a slave to horses and their needs because that is what you have a passion for, caring for horses.
                  Working in barns is very different than being a client that goes there to enjoy their horse time, socialize with other clients, even if much of the work as a client, in self care barns, can be the same.
                  You as the owner and client can come and go at will.
                  Not so as an employee, you are on call at will of everyone else and their horses.

                  Many people move on to barn jobs thinking they will enjoy it as a job, all day around horses, how wonderful.
                  Most decide, some soon, others after some years, after some illness or injuries, it was not really what they wanted out of their horse experience.
                  Horses as a hobby is a whole different world as horses is your job.

                  I agree that, if you really want to give it a try, any time is a good time to do it.
                  Just be sure that is what you want and have a way to go back to regular life with regular job if you change your mind.

                  Reading your latest post, married, land and your own horses?
                  I stick with your job, horses as a job are a hard life if you don't have any other.
                  With family and your own horses, a barn job will mean many, continuous sacrifices by your family and your horses, put time and again in the back burner to your barn job, is the nature of the job.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    These are questions for you to think about and you don't have to answer them publicly. There's also no one answer - it's about how this fits for you.

                    I'd think for a bit about what is not satisfying about your job, and wonder if caring for horses will be more satisfying. What difference do you see there? Will making a positive difference for a handful of horses and their owners meet that need?

                    What other jobs might you be pointed at that would satisfy you better? How can you develop towards something that is more meaningful on your current track?

                    I'd be very worried about the salary and benefits. It's not likely to get better. So if it's not a job that pays respecting the position as a professional job then that says a lot about how it will go long term. Consider that if they are lowballing on the salary that says how important the horse care and management is to *them* and that this will not only be reflected in your salary but potentially other aspects of the job. Will they allow you to purchase as much hay and bedding as you think is appropriate for the horses in your care? Do they pay all their staff legally and follow employment rules? Do they have the funds for routine maintenance and repair of the facility as you think is necessary?

                    How will you feel if your employer, or other stakeholders, won't support you in your standards of care?

                    Consider for yourself what would happen if your husband is no longer willing or able to support you, via his salary or insurance. Consider what might happen if you were to be hurt on the job, temporarily or permanently.

                    As you say, vacation time is important, both for the ability to refresh and the ability to do what you want with your own horses. You have your land and your horses; will you still want to go home to play with them after you've put in a full day with someone else's?

                    Take a look at your credentials and evaluate if you'd be able to get a job back in an office in a few years, or if you'd have to go back to school; how would you refresh them?

                    That 45 minute commute you mention almost completely eats the advantage of ending your day an hour sooner.
                    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I think you should get the info on the BM job so you have the actual job description. Most jobs of this type, with those limited (for a horse job) hours, are going to offer low pay and few or no benefits. Especially if they hope that one of the benefits is a free stall, which it sounds like you don’t need. The numbers might make up your mind for you. What would your horse career goal be? If it involves riding and/or training, keep in mind that many groom and BM positions are not going to offer many (or any) riding opportunities.

                      You may not be an ambitious corporate worker bee (I’m not either) but you should certainly investigate ways to get a new job or career track that uses your degree.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Lots of great advice here already. Don't have much to add but I'm in the same boat as you. I went to college and now work a well-paying 9-5 with great benefits. But a huge part of me wishes that I could give a career in horses a try.

                        As much as I want to be an enabler, honestly in your situation I would keep your current job. You have 20 acres of your own to care for. I can't imagine working all day as a barn manager and then going home to manage my own horses and property! It sounds like a recipe for burnout, especially with a 45 min commute. If I were you, I'd keep my office job and put all of my efforts into making your property the best it can be. But it is hard to wonder "what if", isn't it?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          If you were single, I would say go for it.
                          But have a husband and your own horses and responsibilites and I think you would end up with resentment on both sides ...

                          Your husband may resent you having to be away , because a BM is not a 9:00 - 5:00 job. Even if it starts out that way.

                          If you have to be away to attend to an emergency with your own horses, the boarders at the barn you manage may resent you because they might need you too.

                          And the BO might get pushback from clients if they think you arent there at the barn enough.

                          I understand about your work not being challenging enough .

                          But being a BM is a really really tough way to make a living.

                          Another thing to consider is that there is a real risk of you being injured on the job and not only will not be able to do the job as BM, you wont be able to take care of your horses.

                          And vice versa. You might get injured riding or taking care of your own horses and not be able to work as a BM.

                          Just something to think about.

                          Good luck.


                          .
                          Certified Guacophobe

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by equinelibrium View Post

                            As much as I want to be an enabler, honestly in your situation I would keep your current job. You have 20 acres of your own to care for. I can't imagine working all day as a barn manager and then going home to manage my own horses and property! It sounds like a recipe for burnout, especially with a 45 min commute. If I were you, I'd keep my office job and put all of my efforts into making your property the best it can be. But it is hard to wonder "what if", isn't it?
                            Agreed, and it also sounds like a situation where you would ride your own horses far less than you do now, so any of horsey goals you have would be put on the back burner.
                            Is there a third option? Is there another job you could find that pays well, has a short commute, benefits, but doesn't bore you to tears? What would make you feel like you were doing important work that matters?

                            I was the kid who went to college because of parental pressure. It worked for me...I enjoyed college and got a job I liked making maps and image graphics, so although I was at a desk all day, my work was creative and interesting, and definitely made a difference to the armed forces and national agencies. I've still never lost the vague dream to work with horses, but realized it wasn't a great plan. Now it's just changed to some sort of retirement wish to have a few boarders or something. I probably won't do that either.

                            Now, I am the parent pressuring my child to go to college when he's not really sold on the idea. I really hope it's not something he resents in the future.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I remember listening to a radio program that discussed "modern work", and one of the central themes was that a lot of modern work is disassociated from the product or the effect of the service. Used to be, you were a baker and baked bread. Now, thousands of people work for Keebler and almost nobody actually deals with the bread itself. Used to be, you built watches. Now, you work for whatever conglomerate owns or manufactures Timex or Rolex or whatever, and you have no connection to the building of the watch.

                              The other thing about modern work is that there are usually ladders in the conglomerates that do not exist in the non-conglomerates.

                              You might be very happy working as a barn manager. But there is no where to step up, and there's no reason for you to get a raise of any significance, since the size of the barn is the size of the barn, the # of horses are the# of horses.

                              Whereas, if you keep pushing papers, there are more important papers, and there's a ladder to climb (usually).

                              So whether you are a daily do-er or an ambitious mover-upper kind of matters in the question.

                              (Being a business owner is the best, she says, from personal experience, but it's not a door everyone is willing or able to open).

                              Comment


                                #16
                                The great majority of careers are not exactly thrilling 5 years in.

                                Not to say you shouldn't consider alternatives, but that is just a reality. It takes time - often lots of time - to get to the point in a career where you have the kind of perks that afford things like flexibility, money for horses, more interesting projects.

                                When I was in my twenties, I was an assistant product manager at a manufacturing company. I liked the people, boss was OK, good company, nothing to set the world on fire. Stayed there for 8 years. The entire time I was there I kinda missed the barn management job I had briefly entertained the summer after college.

                                Amazing how the moments that were fun - the hack on the nice client's horse, the pleasure of walking through the barn on a late afternoon enjoying the peaceful sounds of horses happily munching on hay - stuck in my head so much more than the crummy bits. The freezing cold mornings when the pipes burst and there was no one available to authorize (or pay) a plumber to come fix things. We hauled water in tubs from the farm house on the property - necessary but so not fun. The rude clients who found fault with everything we tried to do for them. The clients who didn't pay, or the ones that didn't particularly care for their horse's welfare. The challenges of getting hurt and not having health insurance or even a decent wage to pay out of pocket.

                                When I thought about it honestly, I knew that path was not for me. I wanted to OWN the nice horse (and nice tack, and afford the shows and clinics and training...) not just be the person who handed the reins to the client/owner. I did not want to end up like our head trainer, with no retirement savings, no health insurance, and sub standard housing (the "barn apartment") ... without options.

                                So instead I built a career. I worked my way up, changed firms (and roles) several times to pursue better opportunities. There were many years that I rode - as so many working amateurs do - on nights and weekends and around family time and other responsibilities.

                                But you know what? I wouldn't trade it for anything at this point. Now, as an older AA, I have a really nice farmette, two lovely competition horses, the means to afford training and clinics and shows and whatever else I want to indulge in. I am able to offer my older horse a cushy retirement right here at home. I have a nice home and a healthy retirement plan. I have a lot of flexibility in my work schedule - this past year I spent a month training in FL - and a lot of latitude about the projects I work on and the colleagues I collaborate with. It is pretty much a dream scenario.

                                It takes time, and effort. There will be a lot of "meh" periods. It's paying those dues, and it's generally how the world works.

                                I still recommend it. Good luck.
                                **********
                                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                                -PaulaEdwina

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  I remember listening to a radio program that discussed "modern work", and one of the central themes was that a lot of modern work is disassociated from the product or the effect of the service. Used to be, you were a baker and baked bread. Now, thousands of people work for Keebler and almost nobody actually deals with the bread itself. Used to be, you built watches. Now, you work for whatever conglomerate owns or manufactures Timex or Rolex or whatever, and you have no connection to the building of the watch.

                                  The other thing about modern work is that there are usually ladders in the conglomerates that do not exist in the non-conglomerates.

                                  You might be very happy working as a barn manager. But there is no where to step up, and there's no reason for you to get a raise of any significance, since the size of the barn is the size of the barn, the # of horses are the# of horses.

                                  Whereas, if you keep pushing papers, there are more important papers, and there's a ladder to climb (usually).

                                  So whether you are a daily do-er or an ambitious mover-upper kind of matters in the question.

                                  (Being a business owner is the best, she says, from personal experience, but it's not a door everyone is willing or able to open).

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    First of all, I am very skeptical that a BM’s day will regularly end at 3:30. BTDT and it did not.

                                    Second, I don’t think being grumpy on Sunday evening is a major red flag. It’s called work for a reason. I think if your work doesn’t make you (general) miserable and gives you the means/flexibility/whatever to live the lifestyle you want, you’re doing pretty well. I know others feel differently but I tend to think the whole “follow your passion” advice is counterproductive. I would rather have a steady job and a passion (horses) as my hobby than try to make my passion my job and end up burned out, resentful, injured, and/or broke.

                                    Maybe you'd find this a helpful read? https://www.calnewport.com/blog/2008...y-never-heard/ The main point is to know what lifestyle you want, then fit a career around that vision.

                                    Best of luck!
                                    Building and Managing the Small Horse Farm: http://thesmallhorsefarm.blogspot.com

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      My opinion is stick with a job that offers, medical, retirement and leave benefits and has a decent salary that is steady. While the idea of working as a BM might seem fun in reality it's probably not as fun as you think.

                                      I had a job such as you describe, paid good, had wonderful coworkers, got a lot of time off and they were very understanding when I had horse emergencies and was late etc. I hated the job itself but all the benefits made it worth staying.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by blue_heron View Post
                                        Just commenting to follow...
                                        Just a FYI.
                                        In the upper right corner above the original post of the thread is a box that says subscribe. If you click that you will get a notification when a post is made in the thread(s) that you subscribe to.



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