I started working when I was 14. Being raised in a household with lots of turmoil and uncertainty, a job was an outlet to gain control of my life and escape the noise and chaos of my family. When I started college, I worked three jobs just to keep my head above water. As I got older and got promoted, my job and financial security became the most important driver in my career decisions. College took a backseat and I had to focus on becoming what my parents weren’t- financially responsible.
When I first started that job at 14, I had no idea the impact it would have on my life. My career was shaped by money and opportunity. I had never stopped to really think about a career that would pursue my interests, it was all about stability and survival. When I blew out the candles on my 40th birthday cake I was exhausted, burned out, and uninspired. I never saw my family due to the long hours at the office and commuting back and forth. I was tired of working so hard for somebody that really didn’t have my best interests at heart. I felt the clock ticking and I was suffocating under the pressure. What was I going to do?
I’ll be candid and say that there is never an easy answer to completely change your career at any age. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a perfect roadmap that had all the answers? The truth is that each person is different and what we want out of our lives and careers is going to be different. Acknowledge that your situation is unique and listen to advice with an open mind and an open heart. My goal with this article is to offer tips to inspire you and make you think of things that you may not have considered. Below are some tips for changing careers in your 40s and beyond.
Take the time to get clarity: Whether it’s a job loss or other life-changing moment that is brought you to this crossroads, my biggest advice is to take the time to get clarity on what you want. Evaluate your passions and skill sets to understand what motivates you, what you have to offer, and what type of career environment is most important to you. There are several career clarity courses available to help you work through this process to get to the root of what you want for this next phase of your career.
Let go of expectations: Whenever our world is changing, it is natural for us to fall into preconceived expectations because familiarity is comfortable. Remember that you are at this crossroads for a reason. You are looking for something different to fill a gap in your life. Sometimes it’s hard to realize that we may not want to be that corporate climbing boss-lady anymore, that perhaps what we value out of life has changed. Get comfortable with letting go of what you’ve always done and be open to the possibility of a new path.
Build connections: As you are researching and exploring changing careers, reach out and connect with people in different careers that you are considering. This is a great way to understand your options at a deeper level from people who are in the trenches. This is also a great way of building connections in your areas of interest that can serve you later when you are building your new career.
Brush up on your finances: Ultimately, we work in order to make a living, so understanding your household finances is a key component of changing your career. Evaluate your savings and the timeline you have to make a career decision. Build a budget so you know exactly how much you need to make. Although money should NOT be the ultimate decision maker on a career change, it is valuable information to have so you know what to expect.
Get educated: Chances are if you are thinking of changing careers, you may identify some gaps in your knowledge. Be open to this and don’t discount a career just because you need additional skills. Research certifications or courses that will give you the upper hand and get moving. The more you can educate yourself and learn about potential careers, the more you’ll understand if it’s a right fit for you.
Reimagine yourself: Once you identify a career path you want to pursue, you’ll need to toss that old resume and give it an overhaul. Do the research on the top skills required and highlight the value you can bring to the table. Update your social media profiles with fresh profile headshots and new descriptive content showcasing your talents. Reimagine your life in this new career and fake it til’ you make it. Good things will come.
Lean on your networks: Your networks are a powerful tool when changing careers. Lean on your networks, talk to as many people as you can, and see where you can make connections in your new career. There is so much power in people and the more you put yourself out there, the faster you’ll see results.
Whether it’s helping you rewrite all your social media profiles, updating your headshots, or just being a sounding board, I’d love to help you achieve whatever career you aspire to. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Now go out there and make something great happen. You’ve got this.