Folks tend to think that they’ll be nice and settled into a career by 40. Well, that’s not always the case and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. So, you’re old (well, not THAT old), so what? What you may lack in youthful ambition and energy, you make up for in life/professional experience and straight-up knowhow. Changing careers at 40 can be a little tough. But, you know how the world works and you’re ready to use that to your advantage.
Why do You Want to Change Careers?
Follow Neglected Passions
Too often, people give up on their true passion in exchange for financial security. You’ve been there and you’ve done that. All that life experience has shown you that there’s more to life than a fat paycheck.
Confucius said it best, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
There’s nothing more important in your career than feeling fulfilled. Whether it’s starting your own business or starring in a Broadway play, pursuing your passion is an excellent reason to change careers.
At a certain point, the stress from your job just isn’t worth the money anymore. Maybe you’ve thrived on it up till now. Or, maybe you just put up with it because the money was so good. Either way, you’re sick and tired of the unrelenting stress and you need a change.
Stress is another great reason for changing careers although you should make sure the stress is due to your career and not just your specific job or company. Think about what is truly causing the stress in your life before jumping the gun and changing careers.
Change of Pace
Are you sick of moving at a breakneck pace? Or maybe the sloth-paced atmosphere of your career path has grown boring?
Either way, a change of pace in your career can provide an awesome resurgence of energy and motivation.
Similar to stress, this may be a product of your office environment, and not your career as a whole. Take a step back and evaluate why your job is paced the way it is. If that style of work is unavoidable in your career, it’s time for a change.
Where to start?
The Decision to Quit
First, think about why you’re not happy in your current career. Don’t make any rash decisions because you had a bad week. Starting a new job or career is tough no matter how old you are. Make sure you think it through for, at least, a few weeks before making a final decision.
Tie up your loose ends and make sure that you are set up to live on low income for a few months.
At this point in your life, there may also be certain external factors to consider. If you have people who depend on you and your income, a career change may have to wait. A great way around this problem is to start applying and interviewing before you quit.
Maintain Professional Relationships
When you are absolutely sure that quitting is the right choice, do so while maintaining your network. One of the benefits of changing careers at 40 is that by now, you know how vitally important networking is. It doesn’t matter if you’re moving from construction to acting, every connection matters.
If you’re not sure how you can quit gracefully without burning bridges, read this post about quitting your job.
Choosing Your Next Career…
A lot of you will already know what you want to do next. Your next career is calling your name and there’s nowhere else you’d rather go.
If starting a business has always been a goal of yours, it won’t take you much time to decide on your next career path. Same with anyone who is changing careers to pursue a passion. You know what your passion is, just go out there and own it!
However, you might want a change without knowing exactly what that change may be.
In that case, there are a bunch of things you should think about when choosing a new career. Check out this article for an in-depth approach to choosing a career.
In short, you want to make sure you choose a career that lies at the intersection of your passions and your skills. For example, if you’ve been a life-long computer engineer and you want to work in a more social environment, consider teaching computer science!
Making Sure You’re Ready and Qualified!
Some careers require very specific skills or qualifications. Make sure to do extensive research into the requirements and average qualifications of those on the career path you wish to follow.
This can mean spending a few months building a new skill. It can also mean going back to school for a certificate or even a degree. Changing careers at 40 will mean you will go through some discomfort and growing pains. But, if you do it right, it’s definitely worth it.
Either way, before you take the plunge, make sure you have the tools to be successful.
Conclusion: Changing Careers at 40
There you have it. You’re changing careers at 40 and you’re going to have an awesome time doing it. Stay positive, make sure your decisions are well-thought-out and make your transition as smooth as possible.
A big part of every career change is a nice, new resume. Before you start applying for jobs, take advantage of our free resume review.