MidLife Career Change: How To Make A Success Of It
The days when you choose a career in your teens and stick to it for the rest of your life are long gone. These days people change career several times over their working lives. There are several reasons for this.
Some people were made redundant and had a career change forced upon them in the financial downturn whilst others simply realised that they had made a mistake. Some traditional industries (such as some heavy industry and manufacturing) died out whilst new opportunities for employment sprang up. The retirement age is rising and people are fitter and healthier in their sixties and seventies than they have ever been. This gives an opportunity for several career changes. Many people find that their original career choice is incompatible with their caring responsibilities (children or elderly relatives) and need a change of job to make their lives manageable.
Midlife is a typical age for a career change. A typical midlifer is financially secure and no longer has the responsibility of raising a young family. If your children have now left home, you may no longer be prepared to stay in a job that is not making you happy and you may want a change. Here’s how to make the switch and make it a success.
Choose something that you are passionate about
There is no point in swapping your career for another one that does not inspire you. If you have developed a love of art, could you retrain as an artist? If you have found out that you have a special gift for working with children or animals, could you swap to a career that makes the most of that? If you are someone who has learned a lot from developing your own fitness then this would be knowledge and experience that you could share with others. It is easy to access PT courses near to where you live and you can use this personal training education to build up your own business. You will be able to work in a discipline that interests you and will get great satisfaction from the knowledge that you are helping others on their fitness journey.
Understand what your needs are
Take some time to think about exactly what you expect from your new career. What hours do you want to work? Do you want to work from home? Many people find that a flexible career suits them in midlife because they have the time to pursue other hobbies as well. You may feel that you want to give something back to society at this time of your life. Perhaps you would like to pursue a caring career or work with a charity.
You also need to think about your budget. You may no longer have children to support and you may have paid off most of your mortgage but you still need to pay for essential household bills and food and drink. Work out how much money you need each month before you hand in your notice.
Look backward before you look forwards
Learn from everything else you have done in your life. Think about the times in your life when you felt happiest and most fulfilled and think about the type of job that could provide that feeling again. Look at the skills and experience that you have obtained and about how they can help you with your future career. Never underestimate your soft skills. People in midlife have had to deal with a lot of situations in their lives. This means that their communication, team working, leadership and crisis management skills are very developed. Employers appreciate this.
Look before you leap
Don’t make any major decisions in a hurry. Instead, you should have a go at your new career. Volunteer or try to obtain an internship. This will give you a real taste of what that type of work involves. Many careers look attractive from the outside but the day to day routine of holding down that sort of job may be very different. You may have enjoyed bringing up your own children but you may find that you hate working with other people’s. You may enjoy visiting a DIY superstore but you may find that working in one is not so great! Most companies are happy to offer a few days of work experience.
The most important thing is that you are fulfilled in your new role and so it is worth taking plenty of time to ensure that you are making the right decision.