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To ask you for job/business ideas?

(37 Posts)
Loathemyjob Tue 18-Nov-14 09:11:32

Posting here for traffic and feeling desperate. Woke up at 5.40am in panic about the forthcoming work day and how much I am unsuited to my job.

Background: I suppose I'm fairly intelligent (at least academically). Oxbridge degree in history and MSc in International Relations. Am currently working as a litigator in the City and hate it. Have been doing law (including training contract) for four years now and it's becoming increasingly obvious to everyone that this is not sustainable.

I don't care about my job. I don't care about the clients. I don't like a lot of the people I work with. My lack of care manifests as lack of attention to detail, occasional errors and feedback that I am not sufficiently enthusiastic. No shit.

So, please, please people of mumsnet, give me some ideas.

About me - I have been described as a maverick. I am impatient, clever, not especially "good" with people (I'm not a people-person particularly - I can get on and make polite conversation but I'm not naturally warm or bubbly), I do not like being told what to do and am not great at taking criticism. I have generally enjoyed fighting against the norm - fighting for the underdog (I enjoy CSR and lead a lot of CSR initiatives at work), fighting inequality (I'm involved with LGBT rights), sticking my head above the parapet and challenging a lot of "City" attitudes. This does not always make me popular.

Ideally I want to run my own business and be my own boss. Ideas I've had include starting a tutoring business, a nursery (but lack of premises is proving difficult), going into property development/buy-to-let and buying and running a B&B. In theory, if push came to shove, I could probably free up around £80,000 in capital to start a business.

So - please, please give me some ideas. Re-training is a possibility (I've always been drawn to midwifery as I love babies and like medicine, but fear that I would be awful at building a rapport with women).

Just throw some ideas out there - am all ears!

MarshaBrady Tue 18-Nov-14 09:16:38

Can you shift more into CSR area? Or more to help people who would benefit from your fighting the norm attitude?

My concern would be that you would find midwifery, B&B, nursery, tutoring at odds too. Might drive you crazy, it's all people-based.

Although one other area - medicine and specialising perhaps, or is that too much of a commitment?

ThinkIveBeenHacked Tue 18-Nov-14 09:18:41

Could you use the 80k to finance and support yourself through some training in something new? A post grad or training in am whole new field?

Loathemyjob Tue 18-Nov-14 09:38:40

Medicine is something I'm drawn to but the re-training is daunting. Am not sure it's doable given existing family commitments.

Hoppinggreen Tue 18-Nov-14 09:39:03

Midwifery is about the pregnant ladies rather than than the babies so I would probably rule that out.
How about psychiatry or counselling? I know it's people based but the best people I know in these fields aren't exactly warm and fuzzy as they need a certain level f detachment.

Elisheva Tue 18-Nov-14 09:48:14

Could you do some voluntary work in a couple of different sectors to see where you 'fit'?
Go an work abroad for a year teaching/administration/build an orphanage.
Amnesty International has a recruitment page.
Other careers in the medical field - speech therapist, OT, pediatric nurse?
How about starting up some sort of advocacy agency?
Train to be a peace ambassador.
Foster troubled teenagers.
If money was not a consideration what would you do with your life?

Loathemyjob Tue 18-Nov-14 10:15:11

A couple more salient points I should add:

DD is 13 and I need to pay school gees for next 2.5 yrs (albeit with hefty bursary);

I'm a single parent though planning to move in with DP next year (who is very supportive of a career change);

I have an elderly mother so can't relocate abroad;

I need to keep paying the mortgage.

Loathemyjob Tue 18-Nov-14 11:04:57

bump

Elisheva Tue 18-Nov-14 12:55:15

Could you buy a franchise and develop that?

Loathemyjob Tue 18-Nov-14 16:42:17

Franchise is a possibility but from what I've heard, franchisees often get a raw deal.

Does anyone read my OP and think "I know someone like that who's a [insert job title]"?

HairStylistToBoris Tue 18-Nov-14 17:18:26

I know someone like that.... works in a NGO in London, its apparently full of mavericks! look on charity jobs or guardian jobs charity section. or amnesty as someone above said.

raltheraffe Tue 18-Nov-14 17:29:19

It may just be that you are not very good at being told what to do. In people who are very academic this can be due to the underlying feeling the person telling you what to do is actually not as smart as you.
I worked in medicine for a few years and hated every day of it. I mean hated it so much I would vomit every morning out of anxiety not wanting to go in. My problem is I was the most academic at my year in Cambridge and I found the basics of being a junior doctor (form filling and taking bloods) incredibly dull. Also I am not a people person at all and genuinely did not like talking to patients. I tried for years to be interested in what they were saying but I wasn't. The only doctor job I anywhere near enjoyed was neurocritical care as it was more science based and there was very little interactions with patients as most were comatose. Why I am like this is unknown, I was once labelled as ASD traits, but the next pdoc I saw said I was not ASD so the jury's out on that one.
I now run a business and absolutely love it. It is a very steep learning curve as it relies on being street smart rather than book smart and as I spend my entire youth studying I have a lot of catch up to do on social intelligence, but I am making good progress.
I would advise against a franchise unless you pick one of the good ones (eg McDonalds). I know a lot about franchising and the market leader in my industry guarantees turnover (not profit) and then takes 12.5% of the t/o as a mgmt fee. In my industry where margins are incredibly tight, 12.5% of t/o is a massive chunk. Having said that I personally know the franchisor and she is incredibly professional and smart.
There are a few things I would warn you about running a business: 1. forget days off. I tried to have my first week of holiday in a year last week and ended up working through as people let you down at the last minute 2. forget sick leave unless you are at death's door, it does not happen 3. be prepared to be "on-call" all the time, employees think nothing of phoning you at weekend or in the evenings. One texted me at 2 am last week. 4. spending money in business is easy, generating it is tough. Be prepared for customers not to pay bills, I probably spend more time in small claims than a judge dealing with them 5. whatever your capital outlay budget is, double it, it always turns out more than what you estimate. I would have gone out of business in my first month if it was not for a supplier kindly agreeing to defer payment for a month 6. do not expect to make much cash in the first 2 years and expect to make some schoolboy errors. I look back at some of the mistakes I made when I first started and cringe I was so stupid. However I learnt from them and did not repeat them.
Tutoring is a good business. I once thought about going into day nurseries, but the manager of ds's nursery said that they have brought in tons of paperwork and form filling and it is a tough industry to make cash in.
If you are really looking for a new career I would look at emerging markets. 3D printing is going to be massive and I really fancy moving into this, but it means retraining and getting tech knowledge (I may do an OU degree in mech engineering).
I love what I do and wild horses could not drag me to working for an employer ever again. I think it suits some people but not others. Perhaps you could dip your toe in the water with a bit of s/e tutoring and see how it goes.

raltheraffe Tue 18-Nov-14 17:34:05

The OP does not sound like someone suited to buying a franchise. The problem with franchising is it is similar to being an employee in that you have to develop and run your business in the way the franchisor dictates. This can be good for some people, but I think a maverick like the OP would do her nut in being told how to develop someone else's brand. Plus all the fun stuff like logos etc is done for you so you do not get to stamp your own personality all over the business. I think building a business is a bit like painting a piece of art and franchising is more paint by numbers.

Laquitar Tue 18-Nov-14 17:36:15

Politician?grin

From the examples you have given and your persona i think the most suitable would be property bussiness but not sure the time is good for that, i dont think it is.
Tbh i am struggling to think of a job/bussiness where you are not told what to do (directly or indirectly) and where it is ok if you can not take criticism.
I am not saying this as a criticism (grin), but i am really trying to think of one and i cant.

raltheraffe Tue 18-Nov-14 17:39:05

I get a million times more criticism a business owner than I ever did as an employee. When something goes wrong the buck stops with you. Also when I was a doctor most of the criticism I got was fair, as a business owner you can take some criticism which is incredibly unfair and unwarranted.

Lambzig Tue 18-Nov-14 18:11:43

Please don't go into sustainability or CSR. You would probably need to retrain (most have a postgrad degree in a relevant subject and chartered status).

If you are in house, in most companies there is a glass ceiling as head of CSR/sustainability is as far as you can go. You also have to an incredibly good people person to engage staff with the issue, as unless you are a co-op or an Innocent it's not a core business issue despite the lip service.

If you go into consultancy you will be told what to do by clients all the time as well as the consultancy company and there is a lot of sales targets you would need to hit.

It always sounds to outsiders like a nice business to be in, but it's pretty cutthroat these days. Doesn't pay very well either.

raltheraffe Tue 18-Nov-14 19:14:08

If you are considering medicine I would recommend you do some voluntary work or auxillary nursing and see how you get on. At the medical school I went to we had to do 2 weeks unpaid as an auxillary nurse. It would be really valuable to get an idea of how a ward functions. If you are not a people person you would get on in surgery, I trained in neurosurgery and many of the neurosurgeons were not warm fuzzy types.

kentishgirl Tue 18-Nov-14 19:15:45

You really need good people skills and tolerance for most of the roles you have suggested.

I'm a bit like you in some respects. We don't make great employees unless we find the right role in the right company. I can fake sufficient interest/people skills though and have a strong work ethic so even if I'm bored/fed up, I don't piss about while I'm being paid to do a job.

Own business? Maybe, if you can find something where you won't need to do much marketing/sales personally. Can you think of something you could provide on-line only? It's bloody hard work though, and has even more boring stuff than a normal job as you have to be prepared to do everything, and financially it can be very stressful.

Loathemyjob Tue 18-Nov-14 19:19:50

Thank you for comments. Keep them coming. I'm definitely drawn to setting up my own business - I like the fact that the buck would stop with me.

LaurieFairyCake Tue 18-Nov-14 19:21:13

Activist/pro bono equality/rights litigator for a charity?

There must be a litigator job for the CAB or something ?

LineRunner Tue 18-Nov-14 19:31:37

Do you like investigating things?

Antidote Tue 18-Nov-14 19:36:31

A maverick who doesn't like criticism or being told what to do and who losses attention to detail when not completely engaged in the project? I would be hard pressed to think of a worse job than medicine!

Similarly any health care professions, education and childcare.

Why not try air b&b to see what kind of feedback you get and to get a feel for the hospitality business?

You could also look into campaigning/ working in the charitable sector, using your legal training but not as a litigator. For example look at the "all trials" campaign, and "give well".

NorksWar Tue 18-Nov-14 20:44:53

Along similar lines to a day nursery, if I had the money I would look into some sort of children's play centre - a more upmarket version of the dreaded soft play centre.
There is somewhere near me that has softplay but with educational toys mixed in and a healthy cafe attached.
Lots of H&S restrictions I would imagine, but something that you could really make a success of if you get it right.

bodhranbae Tue 18-Nov-14 20:58:11

How about a social enterprise?
You get the best of both worlds - own boss/self-employed whilst batting for the underdog.
In some regions women setting up social enterprises have access to a lot of resources and assistance.

Loathemyjob Tue 18-Nov-14 21:20:47

I do like hospitality - I currently rent out a cottage in France and really enjoy it (obviously someone else manages it but I take all the bookings, get feedback, organise renovations). Not sure of feasibility of doing it full time - would need to buy a much bigger house! But it's an idea!

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