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Risk Tolerance and Career Counseling

March 27th, 2011 at 09:03 am

At MyMoneyBlog he did a full review of that book I mentioned:

http://www.mymoneyblog.com/book-review-the-art-of-non-confor...

"One interesting idea was his preference for what he calls Income-Based Financial Independence as opposed to Wealth-Based. Basically, he dislikes the traditional goal of having a “Number” of say a million dollars as a goal. Instead, he wishes to create a certain income from work that he likes to do, while also having the freedom and time to do all the other stuff he wants."

This would sum my own lifestyle, exactly. I want to live life doing what I like to do. But, flexibility is also important to me.

That said, I really liked this comment to the post:

"I think if you’ve got a dream you should pursue it. I just believe people should really consider their risk tolerance before jumping in!"

SO well said.

I did a post recently about how we are often criticized for being too "safe" and "boring." The thing is we LIKE to be safe and boring. & so we have found a way to live our lives that gives us freedom, makes us happy, but appears to be safe and boring. I suppose the author of this book was a little more into adventure, and so though it sounds like I could relate on many levels, I don't have to do something especially risky or "different" to find that happiness, myself.

I think the irony is there is so little conformity in our own lives. We can be labeled conformists for having the white picket fence and the 2.2 children, but that is about where our conformity ends. Wink

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It was interesting when I read this book review, because I just had the most insightful conversation with my spouse the other day.

I've always felt his parent gave him little career guidance but "You have to work a job you hate for good money." This is the complete polar opposite of how I was raised, and I have been annoyed how little his mind shift has changed after FIFTEEN years of being with me.

So, he tells me the other day that he just has NO IDEA what he wants to do. He is good at everything, so he doesn't know where to start. On top of that, he is extremely risk adverse. So, though he knows he wants to do something artistic (orelse he will never be happy), and he does NOT want to ever wear a tie again. But he can't resolve that side of his brain with his extremely practical nature.

For the first time I realized that though his parents' influence has always been very heavy in this, that he really has an internal struggle that I didn't quite realize before.

IT was ironic that he was telling me this just after I read about this book, and was thinking about risk tolerance in my own life.

Basically, my dh needs some serious career guidance. My only suggestions were to meet with the higher ups at the TV station (his dream job at the moment - and he knows everyone since he has volunteered there for YEARS). So he isn't getting anywhere with e-mails and trying to chat during events. I'm like - invite them to lunch and ask them for some career guidance!

Likewise, I think he should probably take some community college classes (dirt cheap here) and talk to the career counselors there. I am sure there are also other state resources for unemployed, etc.

One step he is doing is trying to finish some of his creative projects so he has something to show when he can network more, etc. It's a good start. He is planning a retreat next month (a free stay in the family cabin in the woods) to get away from the TV and internet and kids and just work on his scripts.

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In all this, I realized I was extraordinarily lucky because though dh and I both seem to have the same risk tolerance, I am perfectly happy in a well paying and steady career.

Of course, I don't think dh has to be worried so much about the "Well paying" and "steady" side of things, (being married to me!) but his practical nature will never let him move past that. It is what it is.

Believe me - our kids will get far better career guidance. I just couldn't stand to watch them struggle the same way.

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For myself, I identify with dh in that I also tend to be good at many things, and have many interests. As such, when narrowing down a career, I decided that a steady/safe/consistent job was what was most important to me. Accounting became the obvious choice.

I had seriously considered astronomy, biology, and music for careers. I even have a degree in the humanities. I totally understand how hard it is to narrow things down.

(Humanities - history, art, english, philosophy - was completely written off by the practical side of me - I just enjoyed studying it).

Through college I ruled out science.

My parents were extremely supportive "you can do anything in this world" types. OF course they were. My dad had little ambition until a community college career counselor suggested that he get an engineering degree. Was such a perfect fit for him. This left my dad with a strong sense that you can follow your dreams and do quite well. (Turned his life around significantly since he grew up poor and is now a millionaire).

That said, when I did express interest in music, my dad was always introducing me to his musician friends. He just wanted me to know it was a hard road. Not to discourage me - but to impress that it was something maybe better as a hobby than career. & that was with what he knew about me.

When we moved here, I immediately volunteered for a local wildlife rehabilitation nonprofit. I quickly realized it was not my thing. Thank goodness I didn't go to vet school. I loved caring for all the animals, and maybe I would have been happy as a zookeeper type. But, I just could not grasp the medical side of it at all. To me it was a re-assurance that I picked the right career. Phew!

My love for music and animals fits better as hobbies, for me. I know I could make a decent living teaching piano (I taught through college and had many music teacher mentors who did quite well financially), but I don't think it is as strong a fit for me as accounting is.

I know I Was very blessed to learn all this before I turned 23 or 24. Part of it was really getting my feet wet in a lot of different endeavors. Same careers that sounded great, I Was immediately able to rule out once I stuck my toe in the water. I figure the best I can do for my kids is give them those same type experiences.

5 Responses to “Risk Tolerance and Career Counseling”

  1. Jerry Says:

    I know a lot of people who believe that you have to hate your job in order to make a lot of money, but I also know plenty of people who actively demonstrate that this is not always the case. I would rather lead my life to become like the latter, than the former! (In fact, this is leading me to a lot more education than I anticipated way back in the day, but it does offer some insurance of a chance at an exciting and rewarding future, so it's worth it in the long run). I hope that your husband finds a great match for his interests and desires! He's lucky to have you there to help him along the way... as I am lucky to have my spouse helping me.
    Jerry

  2. Looking Forward Says:

    I'm doing what I love rather than making a pile of money. I feel like your life is more fullfilling that way too.

    I'm sure your DH will find something that will click for him. And he is lucky that he has you to help him out.

    I read your post about the weather. Yeah, can't be too hot or too cold or too rainy. Geez, you'd think we were hard to please or something! Big Grin

  3. patientsaver Says:

    Writing was something i seemed to have been born doing at a very early age. But i don't think i had enough life experiences then to understand how i could earn a living as a writer. So when people say, what did you want to be when you were little, i kind of draw a blank. Can't really remember being fixated on anything specific, although after a college internship working with autistic children, I knew that social work was not for me (or anything remotely similar).

    I remember also having trouble picking a college major. There was a fairly narrow window of time, and it seemed like such a momentous decision, one i didn't feel i have enough time to consider.

  4. MonkeyMama Says:

    Writing was another thing I dabbled with. I had forgotten.

    Yeah, I don't think it is realistic for the average person to finish college in 4 years and absolutely know what they want to do. Doesn't the average person change their career like 3 times?

    That said, I think having a degree gives my husband a huge edge. He will likely go back to college, but probably only for a year or two. I just don't think he will regret getting his degree - even if he never uses it specifically. He has a degree in business/marketing. It should be useful no matter what he decides - but I suppose that is why he picked it.

  5. ThriftoRama Says:

    Are you sure you aren't married to me? Hubby sounds just like me. Creative career, can't stand the desk, internal struggle and guilt when I'm not 'fully' employed. Like me, his is in a plum position to freelance in his chosen field.

    For me, it keeps me in the game, brings in a little money, keeps the network fresh and growing, and it's actually growing, so by the time the kids hit kindergarten, it will likely pay as much as a full time job-- in my pajamas, working from home. For creative careers, especially writing, sometimes starting small and building up from there is really key.

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