Your Green Light for a Midlife Career Change

6 11 2014

Greenlight

According to an article published in the Wall Street Journal a few years ago, an average American worker goes through seven career changes in his or her lifetime. While such switches are pretty common early on in an adult’s working life, midlife career switches are a little less prevalent.

But they’re not unheard of and if you’re at that stage of life where your profession has begun to frustrate you and going to work has become a painful, anxiety-ridden experience, it’s time to consider a change. After all, there’s nothing worse than feeling you’re stuck in the wrong job.

Here are some reasons why a career change will not just steer your life in a new direction, but also give you a greater sense of purpose:

  1. Renewed passion: Midlife career switches are not decided on whims. They need careful thought and analysis. But once you’ve decided to take the plunge, it’s more likely than not that you’ll choose a career that you’re passionate about. Believe me, this is not the time of your life when you’ll risk, your income, job security and pretty much your whole life over something that doesn’t get your heart pumping and your pulse racing.
  1. Increased self-worth: Whether or not we like it, a lot of us let our work define us. We start viewing ourselves from the same lens as our boss and co-workers. If you feel undervalued at work, you might end up with a diminished sense of self-worth and that’s just not okay. Switching professions can boost your confidence as you’ll be doing something you know you’re good at.
  1. Shot of energy: For me, starting a new job is like taking a shot of adrenaline. You’re all pumped up, raring to go, and prove your mettle in your new environment. There’s all this energy that comes from nowhere and fills you with endless possibilities. It’s as exhilarating and scary as a roller coaster ride, but lasts a lot longer and leaves you more fulfilled at the end of the day.
  1. Career advancement: One of the reasons many people decide to switch careers midway through life is due to stunted professional growth. It’s not very pleasant to stare at a straight line so far as your career is concerned. If it’s not going up, it’s not worth sticking to. A new career with a promising growth trajectory is just what you need.
  1. Maximized potential: Sometimes everything could be right about your job – work’s fun, the money’s good, boss is great, so on and so forth – yet you’re not happy. It’s most likely because you feel you can do more. That’s the time when you need to stop and think if it’s time for a career change. A career change will push you out of your comfort zone, force you to acquire new skills, compel you to take more risks, and help you reach your maximum talent potential.

A few things to think about before you make the leap:

  • Put yourself through a thorough self-assessment test. Analyze your strengths, weaknesses, interests, aptitude. Make sure you don’t make the same bad choices again just because you didn’t spend enough time to understand your own values.
  • Once you’ve zeroed down on a career, do your homework. Make sure you talk to people to understand what the job entails, how much it pays, etc. so you’re prepared for it. You don’t want to be caught in a fantasy land when you start your new career.
  • In case your new career requires you to learn a new set of skills, get ready for the long haul. School, homework, assignments, projects, examinations – the whole deal.
  • Make sure you’re in a healthy position financially, especially if you have a family to support. Take your spouse, partner, or parents into confidence and ensure you have their support before you make a move.
  • And finally, enjoy yourself. You’re going through a life-changing experience. Not many have the courage to do what you did, so take pride in that fact and let your hair down once in a while!

The real world is a scary place and it matters little whether you’re a first time employee or a seasoned worker. Ask Tina Myers from YTI Career Institute, class of 2012. A military veteran who used to work in human services, Myers went to school to get a diploma in medical billing and coding. Even with all of her real life experience, she felt nervous about changing careers. The challenge is to overcome that fear because on the other side of fear, victory awaits!

****For this post, Campus to Career thanks Ray Holder!!****

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