Your present job is comfortable, but there’s so something missing. Is it a sense of fulfillment, and the need for a midlife career change?
A midlife career change is a huge leap but also a chance to live ones’ dreams. It’s good to know what one is in for before taking the plunge. We have tips for midlifers whose careers need a change of pace.
Pros and Cons of a Midlife Career Switch
A midlife career change is an opportunity to embrace your desired lifestyle. But while this is tempting, are you ready to step into the unknown?
Building a stable career takes hard work and years of commitment. That’s why some professionals find making a switch impossible. There are also others who are eager to take significant steps to launch their dream careers.
Of course, launching one isn’t as easy as it sounds. It involves making sacrifices. Remember too, that you’re starting from scratch and will have less experience than others who work in your field of interest.
Before leaving your well-paying job to pursue the career of your dreams, consider the pros and cons.
a. A Prevailing Network
First of all, your years of work experience mean that you’ve established an extensive network of contacts. These will stand you in good stead when you move on to a new career. You’ll rise through the ranks faster than fresh graduates.
b. Availability of Transferable Skills
While you may not have relevant industry experience, you may have the soft skills necessary to cope in the corporate world. For example, excellent presentation skills matter wherever you work.
c. Potentially Higher Earnings
Also, your prior job experiences would allow you to transcend your pay ceiling. Your relative inexperience in the new field won’t enable you higher earnings immediately, but could in time to come. Furthermore, the prospect of building your dream career is rewarding.
1. Family issues
You may have family members who have pressing health needs, so you may not be able to have the resources or inclination to make this move. Furthermore, commitments such as housing or car loans may make a career switch difficult.
2. Steep learning curve
A new career is a chance to learn and embrace new challenges. However, the learning curve is a steep one. You may find keeping up with your more experienced colleagues a problem.
3. Smaller pay cheque
Since you’re starting on the same footing as a fresh graduate, brace yourself for a marked decrease in pay. You may not earn as much as you used to until you learn the ropes.
What else to consider before making a midlife career switch
1. You’ll need more than passion
You would have heard that you must feel passionate about your career before you can be successful at it. While this is true, being successful in your career also takes talent and hard work. Before rushing headlong into a second career, consider your expertise for it carefully. If you wish to be a teacher who specializes in early childhood development but throw up your hands in despair when you see children running and screaming, it’s probably not the career for you.
2. Consider Your Energy Level
Taking on the challenges of a new job takes energy and determination. Prepare yourself to work hard. You’ll need the strength of a 20-year-old; consider if you have this.
Think about your desire to work with such youthful enthusiasm. Do you have that vitality? Many midlifers will have family and personal interests in their minds. Would you want to give up your travel plans to learn new skills? Are you looking for a new career as a way to cope with a midlife crisis?
3. Consider your financial position
You may be overwhelmed by health problems as you age. Medical insurance claims are costly, especially as you approach retirement. You may also have dependents to consider.
3 Ways to Switch Careers
A midlife career change is overwhelming, but there are ways to make the task easier.
1. Go Online
The first place many people go to these days to seek guidance is the internet. Sites like ONet give descriptions of jobs where the services of those making a career switch are in demand. They also outline the training required.
These are not tests, but tools used by guidance and career counselors to assess if a person has a temperament to perform job-related tasks. For example, teachers and nurses need extreme patience. These tests do not provide definite answers but can give you direction.
3. Finding out the needs of the job market
Perhaps you’ve tried to change careers before but became stuck because there weren’t enough jobs in your our field of interest. Books like The Occupational Handbook and some job sites project the needs of the workforce over time. You can find out if there is a need for personnel in your field of interest.
4. Assess Your Interests
Ask yourself what interests you. Consider the projects that you’ve enjoyed and the roles you’ve undertaken where you’ve experienced considerable success.
5. Get Personal
Reach out to contacts in your field of interest. Friends who’ve worked in the industry that interests you may give you hints about what it takes to be successful.
6. Get internships
Establish situations which will allow you to observe people working in the industry. Your college alumni office may be a suitable place to secure job placements.
7. Upgrade your skills
If a complete career change is too overwhelming, consider upgrading your skills. The upgrade will allow you to assume responsibilities in a different and perhaps more fulfilling job position.
A midlife career change takes courage and self-confidence. If you’re ready to make the switch, these suggestions can point you in the right direction.
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