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Old 04-13-2010   #21
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
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Posts: 928
I own and operate a technology consulting company. It isn't as cool as it sounds, and I work a gazillion hours for not much pay once I pay all the taxes and overhead. I'm looking for a career change.

It takes a big man to cry...It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man.

-Jack Handy
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Old 04-13-2010   #22
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
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This is a good thread. I think teaching or the medical field are at the top of the list. As a teacher you get about 3 months of paid vacation every year that you can count on, with the bulk of that during the summer. Plus excellent benefits and a retirement. What other job compares?

I was recently laid off from an engineering job. During my last three years as an engineer I took a total of 5 weeks of vacation. Most of that was consumed by three day weekends and extra time during the holidays, which left me zero time for what could be considered a real vacation. Add to that the fact that I consistently had to put in late nights, and it really sucked. I guess it depends on what company you work for, if you are lucky you will get three or four weeks of vacation.

Americans have less vacation time than any other developed country, even the Japanese. Most Europeans get 30 to 40 paid days of vacation a year. I think the average in the U.S. is 14, I had 10 as an engineer.

I am probably going to go into teaching at this point, less money but more time freedom.

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Old 04-14-2010   #23
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Seattle, Washington
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Can't complain a bit about nursing when you're not there - and that happens a lot. The actual work is hard, stressful and underappreciated. However, I made money during my three week trip to NZ this year (lower cost of living). At the VA we get 5 weeks paid plus 2.5 weeks sick leave. That's in addition to 14 or so federal holidays where you frequently have to work, but you get double time. Health, retirement benefits are great. We get paid to go to a nursing conference at least once a year - this year was in January in Miami for me. As a kicker - the VA also agreed to repay most of my nursing degree loans. Plus the VA is going to pay for me to go to nurse anesthestist school and pick up my salary for the duration. Four days off every week to go kayaking/skiing. Right now there's pretty much 100% job security for experienced RNs.

All that being said, I work in the Medical ICU. I regularly see people die in pain from incurable disease. I clean up poo. I go to work at 3am. I am addicted to coffee. I stand no chance of becoming rich. I continuously fill out bullshit paperwork that has no meaning. The environment is high pressure, high stress, people don't smile or laugh nearly enough. I live under flourescent light bulbs. The vast majority of our patients have psych complications. It's a difficult job to see yourself in for 40 years just from a stress and physical labor standpoint - but there are many other nursing opportunities besides ICU work.

So in conclusion, nursing has a lot to offer the kayaker/ski bum, but you really do need to be dedicated to helping people at their worst. It's important to enjoy being with people and being academically interested in medicine. You won't make it in the profession simply for the wage benefits - you need to be altruistically motivated to some degree also. Before signing up just because it fits your lifestyle, come spend a day or two with a nurse in a hospital. Anyone is welcome to shadow me if they'd like to check it out.
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Old 04-14-2010   #24
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
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Stay single, than any job you pick will offer more time and money. Buy all your toys and house first, than stay single for as long as you can.
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Old 04-14-2010   #25
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Durango, Colorado
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I own and operate a small ad agency. In the good times, I made decent money and had lotsw of schedule flexibility. These days? Too much schedule flexibility and not enough money. Probably time for a career change.
You can never step into the same river; for new waters are always flowing on to you. - Heraclitus of Ephesus
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Old 04-14-2010   #26
Winter Park/Canon City, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2009
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May-Oct I'm HB at a rafting company on the Arkansas River. Still get to raft every day, but also do all the guide scheduling, payroll, management, paperwork, etc, as well as transpo coordination, taking reservations, manning phones, and working the front desk/check-ins, not to mention the millions of minutae that come from 40 or so guides and up to 400+ guests a day. This does mean that I work EVERY day. In 5 months last season, I took 4 days off. But I love my job, and I play on the river every day, which helps a lot (until low water).

Nov-Apr I work in management at a ski resort. Good living wage, 4 10's/week, 4pm-2am. Ski for free pretty much every day, have the option every single day. A nice perk is the resort exchange program allows free skiing pretty much anywhere in Colorado except Vail/Key/Breck/Beaver Creek.

Been doing this for the last 7 yrs, and I wouldn't change it for the world. I spent 4 years after college in a very well-paying, upwardly mobile business management/sales job, but at age 25 I felt like I was missing out on life, even if I was raking in the cash. Quit and never looked back. The wake-up call for me was a complete physical breakdown on a very mild 7 mile ski-in on my very first hut trip. All those hours spent in the office making the big bucks had taken a toll on my physical well being.

Income was cut severely the first few seasons, catching back up these days. Quality of life has gone WAY up. At age 32, due to my lifestyle and work choices, I'm in better physical shape than when I was 22.
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Old 04-15-2010   #27
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 141
Plant Operator, 28 day rotation, 4 nights on, 2.5 days off, on for 3 days, off for 1.5, on for 3 nights, 2.5 days off, 4 days on, 7 days off( all 12 hour shifts with an hour travel each way). A lot like gettin an extra 12 weeks vacation each year. One can some times get a little OT in and make a few extra $ for gear. One week earlier or one week later and I could have been on the Grand in May, mabey next year....
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Old 04-15-2010   #28
jonny water's Avatar
Geologist, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
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Research geologist for the USGS landslide hazards team. I play in the dirt all around the country and sometimes in other countries. I have friends all over the country that paddle and when I am in their town, we boat.

The key to choosing a lifelong career path: find one you love. Any way you look at it, you are going to spend most of your life working. Make sure you enjoy doing it.

Government jobs are pretty sweet: lots of paid time off plus sick leave (I get 6 hrs leave and 8 hrs sick every 2 weeks) and job security is great once you have the job (jobs can be tough to get).
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Old 04-15-2010   #29
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Fort Collins, Colorado
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Posts: 394
Nobody has as much fun as a teacher with a hobby they're crazy about. I'm just sayin'.

Pay's shitty. 180 work days a year is not shitty.
Dude, I'd see you on the river but I'm hardly ever out there.
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Old 04-15-2010   #30
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Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 05
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Originally Posted by SimpleMan View Post
Nobody has as much fun as a teacher with a hobby they're crazy about. I'm just sayin'.

Pay's shitty. 180 work days a year is not shitty.
I'll second that. But we work 185 days-wtf?

"There is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Look here! If you've really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?" -Wind in the Willows
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