It pains me to see that experienced and capable people, such as yourself and myself, cannot count on employment like our parents and grandparents. It used to be that one could find a job with a company and retire from the same company after thirty or forty years. These days, according to one study that I read, individuals might change careers four or five times before they retire.
I'd come to accept four or five jobs for a working life, but four or five careers, no way. Coming to recognize this, I'd chosen automobile technology, exactly for the reason that I figured it'd be “in demand,” and because all toolboxes have wheels. I could always go somewhere else. I managed only ten years as a master technician. The best way to describe the last couple years were as a burnt-out husk, too stupid to realize I didn't WANT to be in the game anymore.
I was told that I had to play the game their way, which I staunchly refused. It made me more enemies than friends, added a whole lot of stress, and really didn't lend to a winning determination. After I lost my last technician job in January 2012, I decided I'd had enough and that I had to look for something else. I used my unemployment money to pay off what little debts we had, and it gave me time to turn around.
Now, let me explain, the catalyst for my reinvention has not been so much financial, but spiritual. I've been one of Jehovah's Witnesses for about 20 years [information at JW.org] and I've always wanted to expand my ministry. One of the things about this ministry though, as opposed to other religious organizations, is that it is completely voluntary. Many people misunderstand this, thinking that my ministry is my living, but nothing could be further from the truth.
As far as financial changes go, my wife and I made major changes in order to lead a simpler life. Thankfully, she is an accountant, which was a huge help in learning how to control expenses and pay off debts. In the US, debt has become a way of life for millions, which doesn't make it easy, in the least, to break free. I mean, for house or car, it makes sense, because not everyone has the cash to just BUY one outright. On the other hand, striving for the latest widgets is a tiring and expensive business. Suddenly, out of work, BOOM, pain.
So, I've gone from a $60K job as a Toyota/Lexus Master Automobile Technician to a sub-$30K Freelance Automotive Writer. Clearly, some adjustments have been necessary. We have no debts, we lived light in the mountains of Northern Peru, for nearly four years, and we are happy. I’ve been back in the United States for a couple of years, now, and we’re still making ends meet and perfectly happy. I don't think I could have planned it any better.
As far as finding freelance work, it can be a chore sifting through the chaff for the one good grain of truth. I would suggest to instantly ignore any unsolicited offers. Second, I could check out a couple of freelance portals, such as Upwork.com or Freelancer.com. Skyword.com is an excellent content creation and marketing company. I think I'm registered on maybe a dozen freelance portals, actually. I would also suggest reading up on freelancing blogs, how to market yourself, and how to write.
Your professional background may be a huge help in this regard, but keep in mind that it will start small and you are not limited by your own experience and education. Freelancing doesn't have to be writing, because pretty much everything is online these days. I mean, I can't change oil online, but I can write. Other people do web design, graphic design, virtual personal assistant, even consulting. With your experience, could be another source for leads. Anything you would take the time to study and understand could be your calling.
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