Changing Career

Updated on October 22, 2013
L.G. asks from Watertown, MA
7 answers

My husband has spent 15+ years in retail management - a good job with a lot of responsibility, but kind of rotten hours and not so great pay - but what other careers value that experience? He has a ton of experience managing people (full and part time), juggling schedules, inventory, customers, promotions, merchandising, hiring, training, firing, etc etc etc.... But start looking and it seems like the only thing you can do with a background in retail management is....retail management. He never finished his bachelors degree, but once we're in our 40's and have decades of work experience, should it matter anymore? So, if anyone has successfully changed careers out of retail, I'd love to hear how and to what, it would be amazing if he could have a more family friendly career (think Monday to Friday, not every Saturday, and not working Black Friday ever again LOL) ...Thanks so much.

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answers from Columbia on

Perhaps he might consider applying for warehouse management positions, or shipping management. These also tend to be good jobs with lots of responsibility, but better pay and benefits.

He might need to learn some new software or take some classes, but with his experience, I don't think he's too far from being well qualified for such a position.

Best of luck to him!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Yes, even in your 40's the degree matters.

What does he WANT to do? is there a certification he can get that will help him on his way to what he WANTS to do?

If he has experience with inventory, etc. - has he looked into a logistical position? Something like this:
Logistics Manager
About the Job
A growing, highly innovative manufacturing company in Central MA is seeking a talented and seasoned Logistics Manager to join its high-energy team.

This key position will be the focal point in creating and managing the production scheduling system for the Company. The applicant would be the in-house expert in leveraging and maximizing the MRP system across all departments and will play a key role in determining future MRP system needs for the company.

Duties Include but are not limited to:
The logistics manager ensures materials are available for production and products are available for on-time delivery to customers; plans and organizes manufacturing activities, delivery schedules and purchasing activities; maintains the lowest possible material and product levels in inventory and creates, tracks, and reports on the current production status of released components.

The general timeframe for production will be given by Sales and will need to be detailed at an operational level by the Logistics Manager in partnership with Engineering, Purchasing, Manufacturing and Shipping/Receiving departments. This position is a key liaison among all departments to ensure effective communication and to help meet production requirements.

or this?
Ensures Health and Safety is the number one goal by following policies, processes, and acting in a safe manner at all times.
Understands and administers a P&L balance sheet for all National Trans Terminals. In addition to monthly P&L management develops plans for growth, budgeting and equipment spending.
Manages company outside transportation expense by specific vehicle type. Works with Finance, National Transportation Directors to reduce outside transportation expense within scope of equipment managed. Sets up rollup P&L with Director of Finance.
Administration and management of all Clean Harbors Health and Safety guidelines. Investigates incidents, accidents and injuries. Implements corrective actions and discipline as needed.
Oversight of National Transportation Directors as determined by Vehicle Types. Identify capacities of the existing fleet in an effort to maximize equipment utilization. Knows the capabilities of each Terminal Manger’s office within the assigned grouping. Positions equipment as needed to ensure best customer service.
Support all Clean Harbors business units. Strong adherence to customer service. Utilization of Clean Harbor’s standard pricing systems when required.
Utilization of Clean Harbor’s electronic systems. Including but not limited to hand held devices, GPS tracking systems, worksheet and payroll systems, Pcard administration and trip and dispatch measurements.

He needs to gear his resume to highlight that he knows about customers, managing people, etc. Go to to find out what other things are out there that will utilize his background.

Supply Chain Risk Management - SCRM - work? It's popular and will utilize his skills as well.

Hope this helps!

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

When my husband worked in retail management (he was a manager at Petsmart and then at Home Depot), we realized that this wasn't something that we wanted to put up with for the rest of our lives. The horrible hours, the fact that he had to live, eat, and breathe his job. It just wasn't going to work for us. So, he went to school for six months to get a certification in CNC programming, and then started cold-calling machine shops in the area. He had to take a significant paycut to start on the ground floor of the new business, but he climbed through the ranks pretty quickly.

Not sure if that's encouraging but he was never able to leave retail with just retail experience and make even close to what he was making in retail management.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Gainesville on

All careers value management experience. The first step is identifying the job you want. Then you describe how the experience you have qualifies you for the job you want. The counselors at the unemployment office are helpful, but I found the advice in the book What Color is Your Parachute to be golden. I can't recommend that highly enough.
Also, if it's a scheduling issue, after 15 years in one place he should have enough seniority to choose his own schedule. There will be hiccups, sure, but he can probably get a good family-friendly baseline established.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Has he check out Tufts? You know, the health plan on Mt Aubrun street....they're hiring...


answers from Austin on

I was in retail for over 30 years.

No matter how far you go in retail weekends, holidays, inventory and being on call for major emergencies are part of the job.

I went from Large store to a mom and pop store. We were closed on Sundays no nights, but I was there from 8 am to 7 pm. 5 days a week. I worked Sat.. That is just part of it.

During the Christmas Holidays there were times I worked until 2 am and back at 8.. because of the restocking the shipping etc..

Then I started working for small businesses filling in when they went to market, when they needed extra staff. I merchandised, I helped them do off the premises events.

I also helped people open their own stores. I helped them search for staff.

I do all sorts of things now, some of it related to retail.. Some of it in different areas. I own my own business. The good thing is that I have control over how much I work.

He needs to think outside of the box. His management experiences will help him search for other careers.


answers from Washington DC on

I can just tell you that a degree matters whenever and always. My husband is 47 and is working on his B.S. now because he has seen how much it will help him. My mom is in her late 50's and about half way through her EdD program...she is a college professor after staying home with us when we were younger or working in the schools.

I completed my M.B.A. when I was 29 because I know it will open doors for me. It hasn't yet (one year later) but I am confident it will in the future. Even if it doesn't, I do not regret completing that degree program.

I have no idea on retail work since I only did it in my teens, but a career change should be doable.

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