Career Change for Husband

Updated on June 27, 2014
A.G. asks from Boca Raton, FL
15 answers

My husband is not college educated and has spent most of his life working more physical jobs. For the past 8 years he has worked for the school system as a custodian. Pay is not great but it is steady work with retirement and health benefits. Two months ago my husband suffered a major catastrophic cardiac injury in which he almost lost his life and is still working on recovery. He is due to return to his job but he will not be able to physically do what he did before and quite frankly I don't know how long it will last before they let him go or it impacts his health further. I want him to have a career change that involves very little schooling, (6-12months) pays 12-15 an hour (of course more would be even better), that does not require heavy lifting, and has health benefits. He is in his early forties. Looking for any suggestions.

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answers from Dallas on

How about applying as a pharmacy technician? Many places will train there, just requiring that he take and pass his state licensing exam within a year or some similar timeframe. Will continue to think and post back with what i come up with...

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

Some good ideas to explore in other posts. I would add: When you say that "he will not be physically able to do what he did before," is that based on official, written opinion by his doctors? The school system is very unlikely to stick him right back into the same job unless a doctor formally signs off on your husband's being able to do that job, period. Is he really returning to his exact duties, or being put on what is often called "light duties" for some length of time? You need a LOT more detail about what the doctor has approved; who in the school system is in charge of approving your husband's return to work; what exact duties he is going to be performing and for how long until he's expected to return to full duties; etc.

Before leaping to telling him that you want him to do this or that, I would help him sit down with his bosses (and most of all -- with the human resources staff, not just his workplace bosses!) at the school system, and figure out exactly what he is going to be doing, and what impact his health will have on his future there. There may be other positions he can take and still stay within the school system, therefore keeping his same benefits, retirement plan and pay scale. Before you start hunting down schooling programs for him, find out if he can stay with this same employer in other capacities -- it may be more doable than you think. He will not get certain jobs due to his education etc. but the school system may even have programs where he can go to school part-time at night/weekends while working there and will get some commitment to a job for him once he completes certain education.

You seem to be assuming that he simply must leave the current employer but have you even tried talking to the HR department there first? Has he? If you and he talk solely to his immediate boss, the boss may have no idea what else is available. HR must be involved -- not just because they have the bigger picture (which they do) but also because HR should know more about any legal rights your husband has in his current job.

You do say that "I want him" to do this and that -- but what does he want for himself? It's good to have ideas to present to him, but be sure that you alone are not driving changes for which he may not be on board.

I'm sorry you got one reply that was unkind and made ugly assumptions that your husband is "lazy" and the poster's husband isn't, etc. I guess that some people don't value what custodians do, or understand that school system employees at all levels are chronically underpaid but keep our schools functioning. Your husband's job is a vital one that most of us don't witness in action, but should appreciate a lot more.

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answers from Dallas on

Does HE want a career change? You are quite specific on what YOU want.

Listen to him and communicate about what might best fit your family. I assume your marriage is a partnership.

Maybe his current employer would have a position that best suits him now.

I'm glad he's recovering! Best wishes!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Our community college has a course during which the student explores jobs, their requirements and the student's aptitudes.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

My husband is looking to hire machinists for his small manufacturing company, and there is a real need for them (they've only had a few applications). It's a vo-tech class here (not sure on timeframe, but not long) and can pay very well. They offer starting pay at $15/hr, but the highest paid machinist there earns around $22/hr. It does require standing and some manual labor, but depending on the company there's not much heavy lifting, and the more experienced workers just program the machines while the less experienced actually run them. Good luck to you both, I hope he finds something that works well for your family.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Richland on

This has little to do with college education, your husband has no marketable skills. Look at your requirements, very little school, good benefits. I hate to seem negative but your husband has been lazy his whole life and now it bit ya in the butt.

Okay how about I use my neighbor as an example, started working for a grocery store as a bagger, now is produce manager. That is what people do, to stay entry level.....

You need to add a masters to your education. If you are an underpaid teacher you are either lacking post graduate degrees that are pretty much required for advancement or you are in the wrong job market. Either way the ball is in your court. It makes more sense for you to move to another city with a better market, get your education up to par, than put your money on a man that is what he is.

Perhaps, and really I am just throwing this out there, once the pressure is off of him he can find something that he has natural abilities to do that pays well. It is a fact of life that the only way to remove the physical aspect of a job is to replace it with mental abilities. Not everyone can do that.

Um, Leigh, at about 35 the only job he could find was janitor. What happened to the job before that? Over your life you build up skills, he didn't, you move up when you change jobs, he didn't. Sure he isn't physically lazy but he sure didn't put himself out there to move up. Eight years with a job with a high turn over and he isn't at least a supervisor? I was just saying he isn't going to suddenly develop ambition.

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answers from Denver on

Your husband has 8 years of experience at the same job working at the same school, he should have good references. His consistent experience shows that he's dedicated, reliable, and so on. Was there a time when he had rely on his resourcefulness to fix a problem at work or get some extra training to do the job? Did he work alone or with a team of custodians at the school, demonstrating he could work independently as well as collaboratively? Did the school principal ever ask him to do things last minute to help out, showing that he's flexible? These are all things he can talk about at a future interview to sell himself.

He could look into attending a 2-year trade school in something that would be a good fit. Salesperson at a company like Best Buy or similar might be a good option with opportunity to advance to a management position if he shows promise. He should first talk to his current supervisor about his concerns and him wanting to STAY with the custodial job in some other capacity- maybe he takes care of the fields by mowing them with the riding lawn mower. The custodian in my building cleans the floors with a machine that he stands on, so it's not so physical.

If it gets to the point that he does have to leave his job due to health reasons, he could temporarily collect unemployment if needed to fill the gap until he finds new employment- he has already paid into the system. Best of luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Look in your State's website for available jobs, there are skilled and unskilled positions etc. and that way he can retain his current retirement/health benefits and won't lose it.
There are various positions for schools under the Dept. of Education.
Or look for other State jobs since he is in that system already.
Public schools also hire for "Security Guards" too. And it can be for 10 month or 12 month employment. For example. As far as what I see here in my State.

Can he stand for long periods?
Or not?
Can he sit for long periods? Or not?
These are the things most people have to do in their jobs.

I have also heard, though I don't know it if is true, that Costo, pays very well. Like $14/hour but it is hard to get in. And that is better pay than many office jobs. Even the guys that stand at the exit at Costco, one guy told me he makes $12 an hour JUST for that job. But this requires standing for several hours.

What other skills does he have?
Does he have disability insurance?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

What you want for him may not be what he wants and if a new career isn't something that he wants, he won't do it.

If he is good at the job and loves his work, perhaps he could teach others how to do what he does in the excellence of how he does it. Perhaps he could start his own business.

I totally disagree with Julie S.'s assessment of your husbands skills, talents and abilities. Tri-Momof2's view of your husbands skills and dedication is much better.

Long story short, for anyone changing careers there are a few things to look at 1. What would you enjoy doing?
2. What training or schooling is required?
3. Is there a viable market for that in your area or will you need to move?
4. How much will it cost to pursue your passion? Cost = money & time.

He has to want this for himself and not you wanting it for him. Even though he may have had a cardiac injury, you have to discover from the doctor's what his limitations are and if they will last for a lifetime. Even then sometimes what the doctor's say doesn't supercede what a person believes. Steady recovery, health and healing to you all.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Erie on

Have him start taking the civil service exams.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Most careers that require very little education are physical/manual labor. That's just the way it is.

If he wants a career than will pay him more and that he will be able to do more desk work he needs to consider doing a 2 year program at a Jr. College. There are many degrees he can do if he just looks for a degree he's interested in.

He could do computer technician, photography, and many more.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

No suggestions, but best wishes for a full recovery!

Oh, and I just saw you're from Boca. I grew up there and my parents still live there:)


answers from Hartford on

You need have him to go to the Department of Rehabilitation Services loaded with all of his medical history. He needs to request to apply for services with them. His request ought to include help finding work that will accommodate his new challenges.

He will receive a work assessment so that they can witness exactly what he's capable of. The medical paperwork and statements that the doctors will have to fill out will be very important too. He will have a counselor to walk him through all of this, and if it turns out he can't perform any of his old job duties then he can request that DORS help with skills training which can include continuing education for a certification. This is a federal program. Their offices are often near the Unemployment Department offices.

They offer a lot more services too, and they're all geared towards getting people with disabilities back to work to help keep them off SSI and SSDI for as long as possible. They do it in such a way that it's safer for you, and teaches someone how to request appropriate accommodations as necessary and also help you understand the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992 as it relates to employment.



answers from Dallas on

What about a UPS or FedEx driver?

Or, a realtor? I believe it takes no more than 6 weeks to get certified as a realtor. Best wishes for him!



answers from Philadelphia on

Car sales? Real estate agent?

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