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Changing Career Paths in your 30's

Updated on February 11, 2015

Coming to terms with the Big Change!

Whether you are considering changing your career path or you already have, I hope this information will be useful to you. I recently decided to make a drastic career change and move halfway across the country. I was 32, living in Madison, Wisconsin, fairly content, but feeling there was something more out there for me. My current job at the time was in property management. An industry I basically fell in to after I moved back to the Midwest from Seattle when I was in my twenties. I worked there for seven years and not to toot my own horn, but I was great at my job! Which is why the decision to leave it was very difficult.

So, why did I leave? For several years, I had been working on a personal memoir that had recently been picked up by Morgan James Publishing. In fact, the contract was signed a week before my 32nd birthday. It was a dream come true. Getting published was one of those goals I put on my vision board with the understanding that it may be unreachable. Having reached this unreachable goal gave me a sense of accomplishment and further fueled my need for something more!

The decision to leave my job came just after the odd coincidence that my best friend and acquisitions editor were both moving to Denver, Colorado. When my friend asked me to go with him, I took a leap of faith and as I had done many years ago with my move to Seattle (with the same person oddly enough), I decided to move!

Long story short, here I am. I spent the first few months finishing up my book and preparing it for the publishers. I knew I would need to start working soon and that it would be more than a year before I would see any income from the book, but I found myself with a desire for change. I was fortunate enough to be living downtown and didn't need to drive, so I sold my car. I swore to myself that I would spend the next few months finding my passion!

Before I had left Madison, I put my resume up on a few web-based employment search engines and applied for several positions I found on Craigslist, but nothing panned out. I was contacted by several companies on through the online portals who seemed as if they were trying to sell me a job rather than have me apply for one. It was discouraging. I knew I really wanted to write, but I had a B.A. in Psychology and my employment history consisted of property management and customer service. That doesn't really qualify me to apply for a journalist position somewhere.

To help me sort it out, I picked up the book: What Color Is Your Parachute? 2014: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers Paperback by Richard N. Bolles.

Bolles comes out with a new version every year. I highly recommend it.

Unfortunately, all the things I liked to do were creative based (i.e. photography, crafting, writing, etc.). This left me with even more of a challenge in finding a new career path. The market is saturated with artists and I had no work background in the industry allowing me to get my foot in the door. On a positive note, I knew now what I wanted to do. I just needed to figure out how to do it!

In marketing the book, I knew I needed to get caught up on the social media industry, so I started looking in to different ways to promote myself as well as the book. After a great deal of research, I began to understand just how much effort would be needed from me in the next few months to build my marketing platform for promoting the book. For this reason, I started looking in to part time, temp and freelance work. I thought that if I could find a way to bring in just enough money to make ends meet, but not get caught in a gruesome 9-5 job, I would be ecstatic!

Here are some of the opportunities I ran across in my search:

Surveys & Paid Email:

Although there is not a lot of $ to be made unless you are extremely diligent in keeping track of each site, it is still virtually free money and who can pass that up. I have been using several sites for the last month and I have made close to $200.00.

My two favorites for easy money are Mindspay and Jobs2shop. To be honest, I don't usually do most of the offers they send me. Usually they don't apply to me (i.e. hair regeneration, diabetes, etc). However, for just reading the email, you will receive $.05-$.15. That adds up after a while. I set up a separate email account and made it part of my morning routine to check it. Jobs2Shop will actually send you more email based on your activity. I have been keeping track of it and I think I bring in at least $5.00 per day with these two sites and another one that I should mention, PandaResearch. It has a similar set up, but doesn't pay out as well. It may not seem like much, but $5.00 per day for 30 days is $150.00.

Another one I use, less often is Inbox Dollars. You can still get paid for checking email, but you have to log on to the site to do it and I usually forget about it. If you like playing games, this is a good site for that. You can earn rewards for playing games from GSN, but unless you win big on that end the pay out is pretty small. In two months, I am only up to $12.02. The payout for emails is only $.01.

I am also looking in to two other programs that I believe to be in the similar realm, Project Payday and MTTB to see if they are legit. The idea of making extra cash from home is exciting, but there are so many scams out there that you just never know. I guess you could say I have trust issues with online employment! I will check the both out and report back on what I find.


In the world of technology, there is also another way to make extra cash using your smart phones that I just discovered yesterday. There is an app called Gigwalk that you can download, which will enable you to earn $ for small random "gigs" in your area. For example, there may be a company who is interested to know if a specific display has been set up for their products in a specific store location. You would apply for the gig through your app, go to the store and photograph the display, submit it via the app and receive payment. I will definitely be exploring this one further and finding out if there are any other applications out there that are similar.


In my searches for lucrative "work from home' jobs in the career field I was looking to get in to, I stumbled upon two websites: Elance & Freelancer. Both of these websites are great for finding odd jobs doing what you love. I found listings that met every one of my interests. Now I just need to beef up my portfolio in each of these categories to really begin marketing myself.

At first my brain was overloaded with too much information. I didn't know where to begin, but I knew the first step was to organize all this recently acquired knowledge in order to determine just how to go about utilizing it. I decided to first start by updating my new and existing profiles and then getting myself in to a routine so that I could maximize my time spent on each project. After all, I still had the marketing for my book to take care of and needed to make updates to my Esty and Ebay shops. Through trial and error I found what works for me and I am now in a good place where I can begin to fully explore this big change I have brought upon myself.

In my next post, I will let you know what I find out about the other opportunities I am able to read in to this week. I hope the information provided will be helpful to anyone who is in my similar situation and looking to explore a drastic career change such as myself.

Thanks for reading!!


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