It’s Never Too Late to Change Career

career change at 40Do you want to make a career change at 40 or at any age but don’t know how?

As a fresh-faced and wide-eyed graduate in your 20s, you may be in the process of choosing your career path.

If you’re in your thirties (worldly-wise if a tad less fresh-faced), you might already be working your way up the greasy pole.

Whatever your career circumstances, do you ever feel like you simply can’t do it anymore? Or maybe your priorities and responsibilities have changed (children!)

Or you’re simply sat at your desk on the verge of bouncing your head off it – thinking: “I hate this job!”

It used to be true that a job was for life. Not so anymore and it’s simply a myth for the vast majority of people today and in many ways, thank goodness for that.

Variety being the spice of life and all that. The average British worker now has at least SIX different jobs over their working life.

Now that we are expected to work until we are pretty much in the grave, radically changing your career in your 30s, 40s or even 50s is becoming increasingly common.

Think you’re too old to career change at 40 or too old to re-train as a lawyer, chef, teacher or gardener? Think again. With the average retirement age being 65+ you probably have many years of work ahead so you may as well do something you love.

7 Top Tips Make A Career Change At 40 – Or Any Age

Whatever age you are, if you’re thinking about a career change here’s some food for thought:

1. It’s Not Me, It’s You

First things first. Consider your reasons for a career change. You need to be 100% sure before you leave your current role.

Perhaps you still love your job but your employer is not meeting your needs. If this is you, before you throw in the towel have a look around at similar roles where you can use the skills you have gained along the way.

Consider a sideways move in the same field but in a different role or workplace.

Every career has a hundred different offshoots which you could transfer to (e.g. teacher to training consultant, marketing to events management and so on).

Look into all the options in your current role before you jump ship.

2. Think About Others

If you are footloose and fancy free, then you can probably just go ahead and change your career without too much impact on others.

However, by the time you hit 40 you may have a mortgage, kids, car, elderly dependents, cat, dog, budgie….The list goes on.

If they depend on your wage then you will need to think hard about how a change of career at 40 will affect both you and them financially.

Don’t let this put you off though. Training can be done part-time or online while you carry on working and with some careful budgeting, you can cut spending in order to realise your dream.

Being happy in a new career is worth the sacrifice and you may be surprised at how loved ones rally round to support you.

3. Really Want It

There’s no point in all the upheaval if you feel a bit ‘meh’ about your new career. Your potential new career has to really light your fire.

So, choose something you are genuinely interested in or have a passion for before you think about re-training.

4. Be Realistic

If you are thinking of a complete career change career change at 40 (or at any age), make sure there is work out there. We might all want to be wine tasters or TV chefs but these jobs have a very shallow job pool.

Look at job sites to find out how many positions are out there in your chosen field. You don’t want to go through the process of re-training if there’s no job at the end of it.

Also consider going it alone, after years of schmoozing for a boss why not do it for yourself? Check out our handy guide on how to start a business with no money.

5. Do Your Homework

Ok, so you’ve settled on your new career. Now is the time to knuckle down and do some research.

Reach out to people who are already working in your desired field and ask if you can come and get some work experience or observe others doing the job.

Talk to course tutors for advice and information on qualifications you need to fulfil the role. Use careers sites such as National Careers Service and Prospects and networking sites such as LinkedIn and Mumsnet to really get the low down on your chosen career and connect with others already doing the job.

6. Start at the Bottom

Let’s face it, if you’re retraining, you aren’t going to walk into the top job straight away. Even brain surgeons start off doing the dirge work.

So be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up. This might seem too much like hard work, especially if you are nearing 40, however, the learning process is sometimes just as enriching as the success. It’s all good.

7. Go For It!

If you’ve done your homework and got all your ducks in a row – go for it. Don’t delay anymore, if you’ve decided to do it, take the plunge now as sadly employability declines after the age of 52.

Remember: change is good. It might be a slog to get there, but once you’re working in your new role you won’t look back. It can be done!

Over to You

Have you changed your career later in life? What advice would you give someone considering a career change career change at 40 (or at any age)? Or maybe you are fed up with your current job? Share with us here we’d love to hear from you.

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15 Comments

  1. Fantastic tips – I certainly see myself making career changes throughout my working life 🙂

  2. So interesting and something I’ve been considering but lately. Unfortunately I haven’t found anything that fits criteria 3. If I’m going to retrain, I need to really want it, and so far nothing’s ticked that box yet.

    1. Thank you for your comments, Katie. A great way to ignite your desire to change is to find your “big why” – the reason why you absolutely want a career change.

  3. I’m in my late twenties, but since having children have decided to change my career path. I’m not set to start my masters (conversion) next year, with the idea to go on to do a more specific masters and then PHD. I’m hoping it all works out for the best!

    1. Hi Emma, thank you for taking the time to leave your comment. I am sure everything will work out in the end as long as you keep taking action. Goodluck!

  4. All really interesting and valid points. I’m trying to decide whether I should go back to my regular field (the safe choice, albeit one that’s a bit stodgy) once my little guy is old enough or to change things up and make much riskier choice. It’s a gamble at any age but definitely harder the older you get!

  5. A very thought provoking post. Thanks for the tips.

  6. I haven’t exactly changed careers. I gave up my job (which I loved) to emigrate to Portugal and am ramping up my blogging. But I don’t see it as a career. That said, once my son is in school full time, I wouldn’t rule out returning to my chosen field of science. I should also say I’m 6 months away from 40 and feeling a bit lost without my work….

    1. Hi Cath, thank you for your sharing your insight.

      It can be tricky changing career at 40, but can also be very rewarding. A great way to begin and increase your chance of success is by creating a plan that will guide you through your short and long term career goals.

  7. A really great and inspiring post! It is never to late to chase your dreams.

  8. Changing job at 40 is like making a high jump that you will need to move back in order to gain enough momentum so that you will be able to jump high. So, changing career at 40 is possible but one should prepare to experience some temporary “setbacks” in order to make a comeback.

  9. Great article, I’d like to change my career and currently working on it. Also I want to keep my option open to remain some of the work I do at the moment and have different source of income. I started doing less of current job and more my new job-in training and learning. I do feel sometimes stuck and unsure. Fingers crossed and by the end of the year I should have a new job.

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