A midlife career change can be very daunting and requires careful assessment. After the age of 40, many people working in service, go through those times wondering whether they are really enjoying their work. It can be the same for you.
At the beginning of their career, perhaps you were excited about the job, meeting new people, working with new technologies, working in a big organization. Over time, the work seemed monotonous or you just didn’t get the satisfaction that was expected. It’s also possible that you discovered new interests, were looking at flexible work hours, or just simply, earning more money.
Under such circumstances going for a career change is a great idea. However, before taking such a decision, it is necessary to evaluate the present scenario. For that, here are my 6 conscious thoughts that might help you in making a midlife career change:
1 – Why do you want to change your career?
There are two primary reasons for you to be motivated to change careers. One, you are motivated to move away from something that’s not working for you (like the work environment, the company culture, the nature of work, or just extreme work-pressure). Second, you are motivated to pursue specific interests and activities that you always wanted to do but could not due to other compulsions. Hence, it’s important for you to understand why you are looking for a change. What do you expect in your new career that you are not getting here?
2 – Are you clear on what you want to do in your alternate career?
Before planning any change, assess well what would be different when you do change the career. How would you like your new career to be? How will the change affect the people around you, especially your family members and your social circle? Brainstorm with your family and a few close friends. Consider your strengths, carry out some research and evaluate the new career options. Discuss with people who will support you, but at the same time also discuss with those who critique you. This is the best way to find out the pros and cons of the decision.
3 – Consider working in the same industry
Look at work opportunities where you can utilize your existing skills. For instance, with whatever skills and work experience you have gathered over the years in your industry, would teaching professionals or recruiting people in the same industry be an option?
4 – Value alignment and skills
It is important to align your core values with the demands of the work that you do, that will help you to stay positive irrespective of what career or job you seek. So, spend some time and understand what is important to you in your new avatar. Also, evaluate whether your current skill-set is sufficient for your new career, or will you require a different skill-set? If the new carer is a different industry, then it’s also possible that you may have to unlearn a few things. Estimate how much time you would take to learn this new set of skills.
5 – Understand the pitfalls of a midlife career change
The best way to understand the snares and dangers is to speak with multiple people who have traversed the same journey are now in the profession that you are looking for. What worked for them, and what didn’t! Learn from their experience. Put down all the possible challenges you could face but more importantly, for each of them, write down how you plan to overcome them.
6 – The Decision must be always yours
After considering all the parameters, the final decision for change should be only yours to make. Take complete responsibility for that decision. Also, it’s always a good practice to write down your ‘changed’ resume, meaning, what your resume would look like when you have taken it up with your new clients or companies.
Having done a successful career transition myself, I now enjoy coaching people to help them achieve theirs. Do reach out for any questions and I would be happy to help. Midlife career change doesn’t have to be that daunting.