Second career

Interested to know which members are on a totally different second career after retirement or redundancy etc? Something that needed retraining?
Not really interested in similar second careers.
I’ve retired after 30 yrs from the police and now am part time Council Bikeability Instructor. A mate of mine did 30 years in Police then became a qualified nurse.


4 years as a Para then became an accountant.
Totally different enough?


Oh yes. Thankyou.

Retraining: this is interesting because my take on it has been continued education.
After uni (environmental sciences with chemistry) I trained as an environmental health officer; disillusioned with local government I studied for an MBA and moved into environmental consultancy, which took me into strategic planning in Eastern Europe. Returning from abroad I read for a PhD so that I could have a voice in a NGO.
Now I’m open to something new …


I didn’t really have a second career. Instead, I took a career break in my mid-30s. A friend wanted a part-time pub manager so I did this for a few years alongside doing some other jobs. I then cut out the other jobs and spent 3 years doing a degree and pub management. After this, I went back into the social care and mental health arena, sometimes doing more professional training as and when. staying in this until I retired.


Was a residential social care worker and qualified social worker from age 19 until 61. Retired early. Now I work in retail.

Similar skills needed, lol, but at least now no in-depth family assessment required, or indeed the rigours of Child Protection cases. I sleep better now.


Interesting thread. Been a management consultant for best part of 30 years. Now looking to build a bit of a portfolio of activities including writing, lecturing and the most different being minimalist landscape photography


I worked in a food manufacturing industry for 25yrs (starting as a laboratory tec) finishing as a shift manager

Took voluntary redundancy

Went into port work for 18 yrs (starting as a heavy plant driver) retiring as a shift manager

Only ever had 3 jobs (first was in electrical appliances manufacturing) …only last 9months in that, as I was dieing inside from boredom

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I was on the Child Protection team for 8 years, share your pain re the cases.


I was a research physicist working on silicon chip technology for 10 years, then trained to be a patent attorney. Took 5 years and lots of exams before qualifying. Definitely worth it.


I guess it partly depends on how much income you need and whether your pension is sufficient. If you can manage on the pension or maybe a part time job, volunteering can be hugely rewarding. I was forced to stop working in 2016 when I was 55, having been knocked off my bike. I got early retirement on the grounds of permanent ill health and can no longer do anything too stressful or demanding.

I was in a complete mess and adrift, having worked for years in pressured roles. I started helping a bit at events organised by a local arts organisation - taking tickets, serving teas etc. It was terrifying for me but eventually I gained confidence and started to do a bit more as my confidence grew. In many ways it saved my life.

These days I do a lot more including running the website, negotiating with agents and all sorts, as well as still serving the drinks and washing up. I ran one of the bigger concerts just before lockdown and had to introduce the band from the stage. To see 250 happy people smiling at you, rather than grumpy bastards at work is so uplifting. We are all volunteers and the gratitude we get from the audiences and bands is great. We work really hard to make our events run smoothly and it’s lovely to be thanked from the stage - bands don’t do that if the admin is rubbish. And you get to go to the pub with musicians who’ve made dozens of albums and are hugely respected. It’s a bit of a music lover’s dream really, and so rewarding, even though it can be really hard work at times. There is a hell of a lot of organisation behind the scenes to get a band on stage.

Sorry if that’s a bit rambling, but I hope it gives an idea that non paid work might be possible, and the sort of thing you may not have thought of.


Thanks HH, very interesting points.

Specifically a career change after retirement or redundancy? Or just in type of 180 degree switch in career path occupation?

I’ve made total career changes without either events. Yet been made redundant twice and not changed career.

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Just interested in 180 degree turns in direction.

Like HH I wanted to say that if income is not the issue then there are some great opportunities for volunteering in ways that can be properly engaging, challenging and useful.

I left medicine of my own choice in 2019 and did not need an income but I wanted to use some of my old skills and experience as well as develop new ones. I was lucky to be appointed to a responsible role in the Court system and have been ‘working’ (it is unpaid) about 1-2 days a week since my training finished. Totally different environment, intellectually challenging and a good group of interesting people to work with. I shall hope to continue doing this for many years.

My wife did something similar but very different on leaving the profession. She went to work as a volunteer at a farm growing organic veg. Total change. Loves it.

There are plenty of organisations, charities etc that need volunteers with experience and commitment. Can be very satisfying.


Just retired so back to Bluebell Railway to work on the carriages just as I can. It’s only at 15 minute walk across the fields! Beats 40 years working on clinical and medical roles at GSK and Pfizer.


Out of interest. Do you think that it comes from a sense of security? I.e. when made redundant you just want a job so you go for the safe path. When secure in a job it’s easier to think about other things?

The other point about volunteering is that you might be able to fit it around your regular job to give you a fresh interest if you are not especially satisfied at work but don’t want, or unable to change career path totally.



I actually tried to change direction after redundancy both times. But I had been doing something for long enough in a fairly small sector where people know each other and I had a very good reputation. This kind of worked against me. Employers willing to pay my asking price wanted me to do what I was known for doing. I’d been pigeonholed by then.

It’s no secret that I worked in the trade in my youth. I don’t regard that as a career though as I had left the trade shortly before graduating from Uni. I started out for many years as a graphic designer. I did commissions for some major clients. I was even the chief designer for a couple years and this was the job I loved most. But it didn’t pay well.

I actually did an about face within the same company in the space of 1 year to change profession. I went from chief designer to chief programmer in 12 months and hung up all my paint brushes so to speak. And I’ve been in IT ever since.

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I’ve had three very different carers during my working life, I started off as a diver in the Royal navy and progressed to being a salvage diver after I left. During the latter periods of that I started a part time apprenticeship in cabinet making and eventually after a few years opened my own workshops. Finally I for reasons unknown ended up in university and eventually ended up as a systems administrator looking after all the gubbins in one of the UK’s largest furniture factories.

I’m now retired and have no intention of working again at this moment