Changing Careers

If there is one thing we have learned during the pandemic, its that people have used the time in isolation to reevaluate their wants and needs when it comes to career.  True, it is unsettling how many businesses are having to struggle with staffing shortages, but if that is an indication that folks are going back to school or finally using degrees that have been languishing, perhaps the short-term effects of this change in workforce can be overlooked if it means the betterment of the workforce population, as a whole.  This isn’t a change that is being made by just the young, either.  Folks at every stage of life have been forced to take a good look at how they are spending most of their days.   For some this DOES mean going back to school to improve opportunities.  For others, it can mean retirement.  If you are a person in your forties, you might never have thought to make such a change at this stage of your working life, had you not had the last couple of years to really highlight your dissatisfaction. 


If you are a person that has any degree of success in your career, mostly your forties can be looked at as “the home stretch” towards retirement.  If you don’t love what you do, though, this is the time to decide if coasting through these years is the best way to spend your time on Earth.  Can you be happier doing something else?  Is there a dream you have always had that you would like to achieve now that the kids are out of the house?  Regardless of your reasons, if you are in your forties, there are a few things to consider when changing careers at this state in life.


Is this really what you want to do?


 Sometimes it seems that we have a lot of big ideas for the future when we are just starting out, but in truth we become different people as we gain experiences.  A person at 18 may think the future holds a pilot’s license and a job at a commercial airline—the idea of travel and adventure baked into that profession is certainly exciting when you have no responsibilities to weigh into the decision.  This then becomes a huge idea as the years go by, but as you get older, it may not be any more than that.  What is the reality of that dream?  Does the person you are NOW really want to go to flight school and put in the many hours of flight time required to get a license? No matter the profession and the dream, having a frank discussion with yourself, and your loved ones, may help you decide to either go for it, stay where you are, of choose an entirely different path to happiness.


 Ask yourself the tough questions and be honest with your answers


Can you afford to make this change?  Do you have any savings to cushion the transition?  Do you even have the energy to follow through on any training that may be required to seek a new position?  How is this going to affect your family, and are they willing to support you?  These questions should be answered before you make any life altering decisions, like quitting your current job.  All the logistics need to be ironed out BEFORE a plan of action can be taken, otherwise you are in danger of being derailed before you begin.

The forties are considered mid-life in this country.  That means that you may have fully half your life yet to live when you reach this stage.  A career change at this stage can seem terrifying, but with the right support and preparation, making a move now can put you in the position of satisfactorily living the rest of your working life the way you want.