In your 40s and looking to change careers? You’re not alone. And you’re certainly not crazy.
In fact, if there’s ever a time you can – and should – reinvent yourself, that time is now.
Below are four ways in which you can start a transition into something better than your status quo.
1. Stop Making Excuses
You’ve become accustomed to the fact that your 20s were the years where you figure out what you want to do with your life and then suffer through your choice for the rest of your life.
You are most definitely not the first person that considered changing careers in their 40s and there are many stories of people just like you, succeeding against the odds.
Now, once you’ve stopped denying that you are unhappy with your current job, you are thinking up excuses why it’s ridiculous to switch careers.
It’s never too late to make choices that will benefit your health and wellness. Yes, a career you love will benefit you in all aspects of your life, including your health and wellness.
“Statistics indicate that 56% of all U.S workers are currently interested in switching to a new career, and it’s not surprising that midlife workers have had a big impact on this number”.
If you already know which career you want to change to, you are luckier than most confused career individuals. Don’t try and jeopardize the journey ahead by making excuses such as:
This is not the right time. My children need to finish school first. What will my partner think? I’m not qualified. I don’t know where to start. I’m too old to change careers.
Though these might seem relevant at the time, it will only lead to more procrastination with a choice you know in your heart you want to make. And if you feel 40 is too late, how will it be when you are 50 and still unhappy with the job that you are doing? During your interview, your prospective employer will be able to pick up whether you are holding yourself back or making excuses and this will reflect on your being less ‘flexible’ rather than open-minded and eager to develop.
2. Take A Leap Of Faith
For some, a career change can sound just as daunting as jumping out of a plane or swimming with sharks, but it’s mostly the fear of failure that holds us back. Doing the same job and managing the same lifestyle has become the comfort zone and anything different feels like the end of the world.
In order to really become satisfied with the life you are living and the career you are building, we have to take some chances. With every change there comes a fair amount of risk. Once you’ve analyzed the possible risk factors – and have distinguished between real and false fears – you might be able to gain control of the change.
Taking this leap of faith into the unknown of a new and challenging career can help you rediscover your true passion and purpose.
The odds might always seem against you, and running back into the comfort that was your previously lifestyle might sound much more appealing than restarting the steps of your career-ladder, but it will be much for satisfying than being stuck in a job that you hate.
“Doing something that suits your strengths and sense of purpose reduces bad stress and promotes a sustainable, healthy life balance”.
3. Take Your Experience With You
One of the greatest benefits of switching career in your 40s is most probably the fact that you have a world of experience to take with you. Unlike the post-grad student applying for the job, you will have an impressive portfolio to offer.
Even if you don’t have experience in the career field that you want to switch to, your previous experience is still very much relevant. Apart from the actual skills and responsibilities, your work history will showcase your credibility. It will show the prospective employee what attributes and characteristics previous employees valued in you.
Don’t be afraid to mention your previous achievements; this will most definitely count in your favor. Just because you are switching careers doesn’t mean your past experience is irrelevant.
Before hunting down your new job, draw up a list of your skills, expertise, and experience. If you are making a career shift, you probably want to focus on something that either challenges you more, comes naturally or something that you are passionate about. Organize your strengths and capabilities in such a way that you will be the ‘natural’ choice for the hiring company.
4. Make Use Of Old Contacts
Being on this earth for over 40 years probably means that you’ve met quite a few people. Whether it was on a plane, networking events or even at the gym – chances are that you know people in all walks of life.
Make use of all your business contacts to force a path in your new career. Don’t make the mistake in thinking you have to do everything yourself.
Changing careers sounds scary when you don’t know where to start.
If you are making the transition from working as an office assistant to running your own fashion line it will probably not happen overnight. Call up that fashion maven you knew in college and invite them for coffee. Get some caffeine in them and start asking questions.
Feed from those that are already successful instead of assuming that you have to start from the bottom in order to succeed.
There you have it.
Switching careers in your 40s is not as daunting or difficult as you might think. Yes, you’ll need a plan and it might take some time, but after the transition is complete, you’ll be glad you did.
About the author
Alex Simon is a career reinvention coach and speaker. The media has referred to him “a master at breaking into sexy and exciting careers” and “always the most interesting guy in the room”. After nearly 20 years reinventing himself, Alex now teaches his system to individuals and corporations worldwide.
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