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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