One of the more difficult things any of us has to do in our lives is choose a career. When we were at school we were much younger and not necessarily sure what it is that most inspires us. Parents and teachers may have told us things to push us in one direction or another and that may be fine for a while. But what is one to do when you are in your late 20s, 30s or 40s and you have decided that this amazing career that you have undertaken isn’t so hot after all? Changing careers in your 30s and 40s is difficult when you have a lot more on the line. Here are some tips for changing careers in your 30s and 40s to make the transition from your “chore job” to your “joy job” smoother.
One of the first things you should decipher even before you entertain the notion of changing careers is do you have the ability to quit your current job? Do you have a mortgage or have other pressing financial obligations? If you have a partner who can support you, have ample savings stashed away, or have other means to get by then changing careers in your 30s and 40s is something you can begin thinking about.
What is it about your current career that you don’t like? What would your ideal career be? Is there a business in place for this currently and is there a need where you live? If there’s not, are you willing to relocate and/or found your own business? When it comes to changing careers having a solid direction for where you would like to go and what you would like to do is vital. If you have no expectations for how you would like your life to change for the better, how can your expectations be met? It’s important to be overly specific rather than overly vague. Our tendency is to stick with what we know. Educate yourself fully on your options of interest, try to set up informational interviews with people in the business. What is the job market like currently in that field? What is the outlook for the future? You don’t want change careers now only to go through the whole process again in a year’s time.
Is your support net in place? Do you have the right requirements for this new job? Do you have the means to get them? Do you have a family/social/intimate support structure in place to help you when times get tough? Changing careers is a taxing process; you need to have a clear path to your objective and you need to have a support system in place to help your reach your goal.
There may actually be a better “time of the year” for you to begin your career change journey. Does changing careers involve going back to school? If so you might want to time your exit from your current job in the summer. Do you get annual or semi-annual bonuses? If so you should be clear about whether or not these are paid out to outgoing workers so you can structure your exit from that perspective. There may be other things like seasonal holidays or large purchases which should involve your taking timing to account.
Changing careers is one of the most difficult things any of us can do. Especially when your career change happens when you’ve already developed professional roots in your 30’s or 40’s. Keep your aim clear, remain fixated on your goal, keep your objectives realistic and remember these tips and you’ll be on the road to a new, challenging and fun career in no time!