Hello Core77 community. I humbly seek your guidance --
I have worked in environmental and fixture design for retail the last 14+ years and have reached an impasse in my career development.
As an entirely self-taught designer/engineer and carpenter, my skill set is one grounded in on-the fly problem solving and unorthodox solutions. I have made do over the years by assessing design problems that are presented, then as needed, teaching myself the necessary tools to solve them.
However, I now find myself down a road with an employer where this instinct to self-educate is not valued and is, in fact, frowned upon. I find myself feeling stagnant in an organization that doesn't seem to want to push itself, let alone it's employees. I seek growth, challenges and opportunities to learn - and I find laziness, ineptitude and an inherent lack of enthusiasm. And so, by and by, I find myself constantly scouring job listings all over the country, in every conceivable design category and find only closed doors.
It seems that what I have come to view as my greatest asset to a potential new employer is in truth, my greatest detriment. It would appear that no one wants the scrappy guy who thinks and problem solves in an unorthodox fashion - they want the school taught drone that will serve as an unquestioning cog in their creative meat grinder.
I consider over and over what the cost (not just for me as an individual, but for my family of 5) to walk away from my full-time corporate job to pursue the educational credentials that seem to stand between me and progress - but my questions to anyone reading is this: Is that really necessary? Am I just stuck in a rut and acting like a child, with a self pitying and myopic view of the world? Should I just bite the bullet and go dig ditches? I just don't know anymore... as much joy as I find in solving problems presented by others, it kills me that I can't solve my own...
Is anyone able to share advice or stories of their own history with regard to overcoming the hurdles of being self taught? Any recommendations as to courses of action to create a more "credible" set of skills on one's resume?
I am not looking for any easy or quick fix, but I am hoping to find reassurance that what I bring to the table is (hopefully) valued in the workplace - and what that workplace might look like... because right now, things look bleak.
Blech. I'm sorry that this is such a loathsome first post to this message board, but I don't know where else to turn.