What next? My career stalls.

I’m at a loss in my career. I don’t know what to do. I’m stuck, stale and looking for something new to do but I think the direction I’ve ended up taking has locked me in a path and I’m not so sure I want to be there anymore.

My first computing job was providing Network and PC Support for an Oil Company, installing and maintaining OS/2 Networks for them. This moved onto a long and enjoyable technical contract for a large financial company in Edinburgh, where I worked in a small technical team developing their core Banking system.

We built the Client-Server Hardware and Systems Software to allow the Development teams to build the staff facing applications. Other than that everything was ours. I was the particular expert on Systems Management and REXX, ensuring the Systems Management tools were installed and configured on the Clients and Servers, and that they were as reliable and self monitoring (and fixing) as possible. Creating Intelligent Startup systems to load and test components, a distributed scheduling system when the purchased system failed, distributed problem determination tools, etc, etc. You get the idea, pretty much a hardcore techy.

That lasted for five years, and in the latter part I was the sole resource working on the implementation of a Virtual Classroom system for the distributed Branch network. Luckily the Company who were the resellers of this system pulled me across once my final contract had expired, and there I stayed for a few years.

With a chance meeting with the large financial once again, I was taken back but this time into their Human Resources area under the banner of e-learning.

That’s where I am now. I’ve worked on reviewing the incumbent Virtual Classroom system, managing the e-learning Supplier Panel, creating Processes and Standards for the development of e-learning for our various LMS systems, and providing technical support to the Businesses.

Now though, things are at a bit of a stalemate. I’ve been conducting a review of various Collaboration software Suites and that seems to be where my direction is lying, but I can’t see where I should be, or could be going.

To recap. Hardcore Technical guy from OS/2, Networks and Systems Management to Business focused Virtual Classroom, Collaboration Suite and e-learning working on Standards, Strategy and Processes.

Where to now? What could I possibly do from here? The dream of actually making a living out of writing is nice, but I’m not sure that’s career making material yet.

Am I destined to stay in e-based systems? Is there a career out there for me? Are there any e-learning people out there who could give some advice, or am I destined to stay where I am doing what I am? Where to now?

8 comments on “What next? My career stalls.”

  1. ghani Reply

    Maybe try to make a list of the things you like best about your job, and the things you miss about your old jobs, and see if anything comes out at you? Maybe there’s a different direction that you could take that you’re not seeing yet.

    Or you could go whole hog into the Movie Blog – i think it’s great and surely there’s potential for lots of ad revenue?

  2. Richard Reply

    That’s bizarre Ghani, I’ll tell you why someone else asked me similar advice the other day and that’s what I suggested. Goes to show that you can’t really take your own advice can you!

    I think I’ll give that a go.

    Thanks for the good words on Movie Blog. I’d love to make that more of a living, it’s encroaching more and more on my own life, but it’s not giving me any money. At the moment it’s for the love of doing it.

    The thought of writing for a living though is something I am starting to seriously consider. Just how exactly, other than writing!

  3. Steve P Reply


    You may have already considered this, but have you tried “What Colour is my Parachute” (available at all good bookstores)….it covers a lot of approaches including the one mentioned above and certainly gets you thinking along the right lines…

    It may even help you to link your writing role with another gift that you have and hey presto out pops a new career (well you never know!). But seriously, I found it good for getting me thinking in a positive way. New versions are released each year so its bang up to date.

  4. Just sayin... Reply

    Hey Richard, between you and the rest of us here, have you every thought about getting your own movie blog going? To be honest, your posts are the only reason I visit the site – someone I work with turned me on to the site, but yours are by far the more intelligent and interesting posts…I certainly wouldn’t read if you weren’t posting. Too many misfired rants and forced outrage otherwise…

    Just sayin…

  5. Richard Reply

    Cheers Steve, glad to see you’re still around and looking at the site – lunch sometime?

    I haven’t looked at that book, but I will now. Thanks for the advice.

    Just sayin. That’s interesting. Where did that thought come from? I have to say a huge thank you for the words about my posts. That really does add some light to the day, I am truly getting worn down by the number of negative comments I’m getting on the MovieBlog. I listed what I’d been called the other night and it was a stunning list!

    I have thought about that, but there are two reasons. John has been really kind in giving me a chance to write for his site, and I am loving it. I’d like to at least repay him for that. Plus, I’m not writing enough for my own site, especially when there are so many out there.

    Watch out though, I’m working on possibly doing the Scottish version of the MovieBlog AudioBlog. So hopefully after Star Wars my friends and I will cut one and it’ll be on the blog thereafter.

    Don’t hold your breath for the same level of intelligence though!

    Thanks again for those good words though, very, very appreciated. Keep coming!

  6. Just sayin... Reply

    No offence intended to John at all, but to be perfectly blunt, I feel like you are a more natural writer – it feels like you represent yourself well and you’re not trying too hard to find things to rant about just for the sake of ranting.

    Don’t worry about what you’ve been called. Human nature dictates that for every person who complains, there are an exponentially larger number of those who approve.

    As a final thought, don’t feel too obligated to The Movie Blog – like I said, I visit the Movie Blog to read your posts, so you’re helping to direct and keep traffic to his site. You are doing the favour by making the site more attractive to a larger audience.

    That being said, if you are happy with the situation, indeed keep it up. John seems like a good-hearted person, (the guy I work with who turned me on to the site knows him) and Lord knows it can be hard to make any money at this anyway, so if the association scratches that itch, then it’s a good thing. For now, that’s where I’ll go to read your posts.

    Just sayin…

  7. Richard Reply

    Thanks for that Just sayin. I didn’t think you meant anything against John, he’s a top block actually, or he seems it over the Net.

    Well do keep visiting then, and I’ll keep posting, but I have that thought in my head now and we’ll see how it goes.

    There’s been a marked increase in the visits to the site since I joined, but I never thought it would be down to my writing or style. There was the redesign, the audioblog came along soon after, etc, etc.

    Good words, and thanks very much, I really do appreciate it.

    I think MB is at least paying for itself, not sure how well it is making money. For me I find the advertising in websites far too intrusive to the experience so I’m unsure how I would earn the funds on my own. Labour of love I think.

    Well keep visiting.

  8. ghani Reply

    The good thing is, soon iTunes-like movie download sites will be out there (I think Sony is trying to do one?), then i’m sure they’ll have affiliate programs, and hopefully that will be a much-less intrusive way for sites like The Movie Blog to make a bit of money. Of course, first we have to wait for all the bigwigs to pull their finger out…

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