Midlife Career Change. Are You too Old to Change Careers?
Do you feel like you are wasting energy at work? You think you are not doing what you are supposed to. Then maybe it’s high time to find your calling.
Today more and more people are thinking about switching their careers. Many of them dream about leaving a boring office and making a favorite hobby their main job. But the older a person gets, the more difficult it is to decide on such a serious step.
In fact, people are changing not only their jobs, but also their field of activity. In the past a person could have worked for one enterprise all life long. Now if someone has been working for one company for more than 10 years, this will likely cause people’s surprise.
Indeed, many professions are losing their relevance, all the time you have to learn, to master new competencies, otherwise you will be thrown overboard. People usually change their occupation for several reasons:
- they have reached the maximum level;
- they feel like earning more;
- they are tired of the routine;
- they have tense relationships with colleagues;
- they want to spend more time with their family.
According to many experts, on average, you should change jobs every 5-7 years, otherwise the initiative will be lost.
More often people face a midlife crisis and want a career change at the age of 35-40. The first symptoms can be seen in a loss of interest in life, painful self-examination: “What have I achieved? Am I living right? Is this what I wanted? ” All these things influence people’s attitude to work. This is the very moment to think of the second career, but the main obstacle is the fear of losing money or simply failing. And if men are eager to rush into battle, then women are not inclined to change something dramatically.
Reasons you desire a career shift
Experts identify a number of symptoms showing that your current job is no longer for you. The main ones are:
- you are constantly bored while working;
- you don’t feel like reading special literature;
- it seems to you that in this area you have already achieved everything possible and there is nowhere to move on;
- you often catch yourself thinking about abstract things at work;
- your health is getting worse (in some cases, neuroses and panic attacks may happen);
- you don’t feel like going to work so that burst out crying.
Of course, extreme tiredness can cause these feelings. Therefore, before you resign and go in search of a new job, try to make an experiment – go on a long-term holiday, make everything possible to have a good rest.
Also, pay attention to relationships with colleagues and superiors, perhaps the problem lies not in the profession in general, but in your place of work. And only if your condition has not returned to normal after all those things, it is worth moving on to the next stage.
Changing career at 30s
Usually only employers, relatives and often people themselves are wary of career change at or after 30. All the rest – psychologists, employment specialists – say that this is the best age to find a job you are keen on and to realize your potential.
By this age you have life experience, acquaintances. If you managed to make a family then you have protection and support. It’s high time to change careers after 30. You are less likely to make a mistake and more likely to find something to do for a long time to come.
Who said that 30 is a breaking point? Many people have made this number almost magical, as if everyone, who passes it, is critically evaluated from the outside. As if there is nothing special to wait, so at 30 you can’t change anything. Indeed, they say so, but not everybody and only sometimes.
As some scientists say, our life is divided into the cycles of 7 years, which tend to repeat. Therefore, from 28 to 40 years, at the turn of the period, there are often times when you need to make important life decisions. And this is not a sign of failure or life breakdown, but a natural process of maturation and development. Changing values and views of life inevitably lead to the fact that at this age we change partners or occupation. Did you know that 34 is the most common age for a second marriage?
Career change at 40
Changing career at 40 is, to some extent, even easier than choosing a profession after school. Because there is experience of working in different environments, with different objects. And after 40 people know themselves better. Moreover, nowadays you can work and study remotely.
Changing your job at 40 is harder than at 30. Because it is necessary to maintain the level of income, to keep it high enough. Nobody wants to lose money even temporarily at the age of 40 because of children or loans.
So to change or not change your profession at 40? There are two strategies.
- You transfer to a similar profession in your field of activity. A surgeon can retrain to be an anesthesiologist or diagnostician. This can bring significant relief not only because of the novelty, but also because of the change in the subject and tools of work, the work schedule and the reduction of tension.
- Radical change of profession. When you were a lawyer and became a real estate manager. This is both physically and mentally more difficult. But many people do it striving for a pleasing business. First, make a choice of profession, get career ideas, then find courses, then go to a new job.
But if you really fancy changing your job, stop thinking about whether it is worth quitting, whether there are prospects, where to go to work and how to please the new employer. If you can’t decide on a cardinal job change after 40 years, turn your hobby into a stable income. Every person has hobbies, so why not make them give you income?
In a friendly team of hetman-devs.com we were happy to welcome a colleague who has managed to change his career after 50, and who does his job properly. His name is Alexandr. He graduated from Kharkiv Polytechnical Institute in 1983 and has a degree in automation and telemechanics as an electrical engineer. He used to work for a big aircraft engineering factory “Motorsich” till 1993 and for one of the big firms. We asked him a few questions about a new career at 50 and he gladly gave answers.
Were you afraid of a career change?Alexander: “I was afraid of changing a job after working for so long for “Motorsich. But leaving my previous work place wasn’t really scary but unusual, as I had been working there for so many years. While working there I changed a lot of fields of activity within one enterprise starting with a mechanic and finishing with the head of marketing department. I wasn’t the only one who left the job, I guess, this is due to the situation in our country. You have to find some extra job when you get retired.”
Experts give some tips how to deal with your fears:
- remember your successful experience of change, how you started something, did something for the first time, how scary it was at the beginning and what helped you cope with the task;
- collect positive examples from the life of friends and acquaintances;
- think of your relatives, they had a lot of changes, and they coped with them; find inspiration by reading biographies of famous and successful people;
- keep in mind that the most dangerous thing is “burnout” in the profession. Once you get to this stage of aversion to your own work, you can never return to it.
The only way to cope with your fears is not to bite the hand that feeds you. You need to act gradually, step by step: go to study courses or do what you want to do as your hobby. Gradually absorb new environments, make acquaintances, study specialized literature. Indeed, in the process of learning a new occupation, it may turn out that this is not at all what we need.
Which difficulties have you faced?Alexander: “The first and most important difficulty is the level of English, it would be much easier to work if I knew English better. But at least I’m not afraid of English alphabet. Moreover, Google can help me. So I hope to increase my knowledge in the process of working. Also working from home is something different from what I did before. There are always things that distract you or prevent you from fulfilling the task even if you are alone. I’m not used to such a way of work as it relaxes you too much. I don’t have any difficulties in communication with my colleagues. Everybody is friendly even if I have problems at work. My manager helps me at once.”
Career change tips
Do you regret your decision?Alexander:Alexander: “Absolutely not. Why should I? It’s better to be sorry for something you have done than for something you haven’t. Time will tell.”
The later you realize that it’s time to change your life, the harder it is to take this step. The transition to the status of a beginner can be extremely painful for an already established professional in adulthood.
What advice can you give to people who are thinking about changing careers but are afraid because of their age?Alexander: “It’s only up to you to make a decision. It’s not worth changing something after listening to someone’s advice. Every person should take into account his character and proclivity. If you are like me, don’t be afraid, you’ll get somewhere anyway. It’s not a very good idea to change careers at such an age in our country, because life expectancy is not very long, and you won’t be able to enjoy all the benefits it could give. But if circumstances make you change something in your life, just do it!”
To start a new job ask yourself: “What career should I pursue?”
It may seem the easiest thing for some people, as they finally get an opportunity to make their childhood dreams come true, to turn their favorite hobby into the work of life. But for the rest this question may seem an insurmountable obstacle. Then a career counseling specialist can help you in search of a new occupation.
The next step is to take an advantage of your own resources. All the skills and experience that have been accumulated over the years of life can be used as keys to mastering a new job.
Leveraging your past work
Why have you chosen this field of activity?Alexander: “I haven’t chosen, it’s more likely that a job has found me. I was offered to work, and I didn’t refuse because there was a hope I could cope with it. When I worked before I gained extensive experience in so many fields such as marketing, advertisement, a little bit programming, copywriting, rewriting and so on. It wasn’t a professional level, of course, but I had to deal with many things.”
There is one more effective advice – teach others what you know yourself, give knowledge as this is the most valuable commodity. People love to improve, they are open to new things, if something new makes their life better. Therefore, you have every chance of becoming an in-demand specialist in the field of education. Lessons like these can make you a lot of money.
Gather job information
Is there anything special about your job?Alexander: “The only peculiarity, I have, concerns the topic of my job. New terms, new specifications… As for work algorithms, there is nothing new for me. ”
It is necessary to carry out work on the study of the labor market: what can you do, where to apply your abilities and experience? Which of your friends are ready to join or maybe invite you to work?
In addition, there are many courses and additional types of education that can be combined with the main job.
It would be irresponsible to call a career change after 40 or even at 50 an easy matter. Before changing your occupation, you should make an analysis of the consequences of your decision. Here are the main points to think about in advance:
- Confidence in your choice. If you don’t know what you want, you definitely shouldn’t give up your old occupation.
- Previous experience. Think about what knowledge and skills you already have and whether they can be used in a new place. It’s good if you still have the opportunity to return to your previous activity after 2-3 years. Remember that sometimes even the smartest decisions are wrong.
- Salary. The beginning of a career remains a start even at the age of 40. A career change is likely to result in lower income.
If you are confident in your decision, be proactive in your training and job search. Start small and keep learning – after a couple of years you will be able to compete on an equal footing with more experienced employees. Remember that the choice is not limited, in almost every field there is an occupation that can be learned at any age.