Career Planning/Career changer



I am in my mid 40's and seeking a career change. I've been on the hotel industry for 15 years as a bellman/concierge and feel like I need a change.

Here are my values that I want in my next career:

1.) Workplace must be a healthy work place - no dust, smoking, chemicals, or pollutants. (I have asthma) Obviously, construction work would not be a suitable career for me.

2.)Autonomy. I like independence in a job. I like to work alone and prefer limited co-workers and not working on a team.

3.)Physical freedom to move around. Variety. I do not like being confined to a cubicle for too long. I need to be on my feet most of the time.

4.)Must be moderate pay of 40k and up.

5.)The career must be respectable - must need some level of expertise, some college education or something that requires a level of talent and intelligence.

I am flexible on my 5 core values. However, not too flexible. For example, a healthy work environment is needed for me to be productive. Yet being confined to a cubicle isn't a problem as long as I can take some walk breaks, etc, from time to time. I am a ADD, restless type. Also, while seeking a mid-life career change and looking for a job that includes my 5 values, keep in my mind I am 45 years old. So time is a factor as well as competition with younger people to start a new career. I won't rule out college. But prefer short-term training to land a job. Any other careers considering would be helpful. Thanks.

The careers that I am considering:


Personal Trainer

Computer Programmer

Sales Manager

Truck Driver


Flight Attendant

ANSWER: Hello Todd,

Thank you for your question. I would probably first want to know what type of education you presently have. High school graduate, some college, college graduate, what was your major etc? This along with your interests, work values and prior work experience, & labor market data all would be important factors that you would want to consider.

Out of the choices you mentioned, I would say that Sales Manager, & Truck Driver might be the more preferred choices due to their limited training requirements, variety of job duties, autonomy and clean work environments.

The only reason I did not include personal training, and flight attendant is that they are fairly intensive professions, as far as physical demands go, and may possibly aggravate your asthma.

If you are looking for even more choice, let me know and I can suggest a career assessment instrument for you, but ultimately you will be your best guide as far as career choices go, and will gravitate towards the jobs that you ultimately really want to do.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi again Bill,

My bachelors degree is in Social Science. I have applied to Sales Manager position in the hotel industry with no luck. I am currently working as a substitute teacher and working part-time and Home Depot. I spent 26k for a college degree and haven't done much with it other than land a teaching job in Health education for two years until I was laid off. I considered going back to teaching, but I am a little burned out and do not think teaching is my destiny. I want to explore other options. I have been seeking out new careers since last year. I cannot seem to nail it---except I do know very clearly what my 5 values are.
My interests incldue weight lifting, hiking, camping, writing, computers, people and helping others.
My skills are writing, public speaking, basic computers, basic math, and customer service with some sales background.
I have worked in hotels, nursing, teaching, limo driving, roofing, restaurants as a waiter, bartender, several sales positions, and I cannot seem to find something I truly like. I don't have to have a passion for it.
But I want a career that I know is purposeful or at the very least I look forward to going to work in the morning. I burn out so fast in sales and get bored with it. I need constant challenges and variety. Maybe I have been in the wrong careers for a long time and don't even know it.

The career assessment instrument would be helpful. Thanks.

Hello Todd,

Since you have such a wide variety of interests, a career assessment may help you narrow your vocational search into occupations which match your unique personality and preferences. Ideally you would want to look at careers which you have both work and educational experience in, but if you are interested in re-training, the options open themselves up much more.

The most economical career assessment tool out there which I would recommend, is the Self Directed Search, or SDS for short. It is a self-administered exam that is available on-line for a low cost of about $5. You can take the test at the publishers website: The exam will provide you with a unique 3 letter code which will match-up your interests with a large variety of available occupations. Once you complete the exam, I can help your interpret your score if you like, but since it is meant to be self-administered, you may not need my help.

If you are willing to spend some extra money, there is another career assessment tool out there called the Strong MBTI which looks at a greater number of factors, such as personality, gender etc in matching test takers with possible careers. I have taken both and although both are reliable and scientifically researched, I found the Strong MBTI to be a better reflection of my true career interest. Since the Strong MBTI is not meant to be self-administered, a professional counselor would need to special order the test for you and could help you interpret the results.  

Career Planning

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Bill Rehkamp, M.S., LMHC


Hello! I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor located in Miami Florida that specializes in providing career guidance and counseling. I promise to listen to your concerns in a calm, positive, and non-judgmental way. I have over 12 years of counseling experience helping individual address a variety of career issues. Are you a student interested in working professionally in the mental health field? I can help you too! I provide career assessment, educational and career planning information to individuals who are considering changing or entering a new career. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


I have worked professionally as a counselor in several non-profit and government agencies for the past 12 years. I first started working on a crisis suicide hotline in Miami, then for a non-profit shelter helping adolescents and families in distress. I have worked for an agency assisting people with disabilities to seek and obtain meaningful employment, and have experience in employee assistance.

American Counseling Association (ACA), Professional Member

I have a Master's degree in Counseling from Florida International University, National Board Certification in Rehabilitation Counseling, and State Licensure in Mental Health Counseling.

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