It’s a rare and lucky person who can find a fulfilling job that they like and that supports their lifestyle. More and more you hear statistics about how so few people actually enjoy their job. Regardless, some people stay in their unfulfilling job due to security, or perhaps fear of going back out into the job market. Making a career change after the age of 50 would seem impossible to many. That fear of the job market would only have increased after being out of it for so long. But post 50 is also the age range where a career change is most desired. You’ve been in the same job for decades and you window for trying something new is closing. Maybe you’re even content with your current job, but there’s been a passion you’ve been wanting to pursue for years. Don’t let fear prevent you from going after the job that makes you happy. It’s not an impossible move and here are some tips to help you on your way.
Understand why you want the change
If you’re seriously considering making a career change after 50, you better be doing it for all the right reason. I suggest you sit down and really think about what is driving your decision. Do not let that decision be about money. If you feel that you are being underpaid in your current position and want a change to something you see as more profitable, then you are going to have a bad time. Such a career change takes a lot of effort, sacrifice, and risk. You want more driving you than money. Let it be something you’re passionate about. Starting over is hard work, so your heart needs to be in it. Let it be something you would be devastated to miss out on, that way you at least know you’ll be giving it your all.
As I said, a career change, regardless of age, is a risk. I don’t care how confident you are, there are no guarantees. Be prepared for that, both mentally and financially. Before you make any decisions, you have to look at your financial state and understand the situation that you’re in. Can you take this risk? The answer may be ‘no’, and you have to seriously put your priorities in order. Even if you feel financially secure enough to make this change, have a financial plan set in place. Know how long you can go without work. Know what starting out in a new career will mean to your income. And do not keep dipping into your savings as needed. That’ll haunt you later on.
You have to be very brave to undertake a career change like this, but don’t get too proud. Yes, you’re an adult, but that doesn’t mean you need to do everything on your own. You will need help and you need to ask for it yourself. Speak to friends and loved ones about your plans. Don’t just listen to the ones that tell you it’s a good idea, hear the concerned ones as well. Connect with whatever network you might have. Business contacts, old acquaintances, friends of friends—it’s doesn’t matter where you’re able to find help. Also, seek help from the professionals. You’re never too old for a career counselor. Hear the guidance and heed it.
You have experience on your side, so find out where that will get you the farthest. Look into your industry and learn as much as you can before you start even considering applying for a job. There’s a lot to take into account and there’s plenty of opportunities that you don’t want to miss out on. You also won’t to know the market and know what you’re getting into. For instance, where is the best city to find work in your dream field? If you don’t live there, are you willing to move? As I said, sacrifices may have to be made. Know what you’re getting into before you begin.
With these tips and a lot more hard work, making that big change later in life is certainly not impossible. It may not get any less scary, but don’t let that fear stop you. You’ve made the smart decisions to get this far in life so stay smart, but it’s also that time when you can start focusing on what you want and getting what you want.