Changing career in your 40's

Sometimes an event or situation occurs that makes us question whether our life is how we want it to be. You may be asking yourself, “Am I happy in my work? Has my career turned out as I imagined? What is missing in my life?”  Every so often it can be worthwhile to stop, take a look and consider how our life could be enhanced even further.


I work with a lot of people in their late 30’s and 40’s that want to make changes to their career. Sometimes people have been in the same line of work for years and now desire something different.  Milestone birthdays can be a defining moment for change and often people say, “If I don’t make a move now, then I never will!”, so they consider taking action but it can be difficult to see the next step. 
You don’t want to be in your current situation but the problem is; where do you want to be?  

This is where career coaching can help. 

Through coaching you gain insight into what is now important to you. Our values are the things that ‘matter’ to us such as family, career, fun and financial security. They are also the personal qualities that we feel are important such as honesty, confidence, integrity and kindness.  

We all have different values and they shape our decisions, choices and behaviours.  Over time your values change depending on life events, experiences and the people you meet.  That is OK, because through your experiences you have changed. It’s all part of life’s journey. However, as your values change other areas of your life e.g. career, may no longer be aligned with them. When you entered your current career it may have been ten or even twenty years ago. Back then your priorities and values may have been a lot different than they are now.

Changing aspects of your life also requires re-evaluating your values to ensure your goals are congruent with them. Do you want more financial security? More time with your family? Or a more fulfilling career?

Often people blame the job for their dissatisfaction, saying; ‘My workplace has changed’; ‘They don’t value me’; ‘I am not earning enough’. So they leave the ‘motivation draining’ workplace and enter another similar role elsewhere (because that’s where their experience lies). Then after twelve months they discover they still aren’t happy. So maybe it’s not the workplace that is the problem. Maybe it’s because you and your circumstances have changed, meaning that your original career no longer suits your present situation and values.

Significant conflicts between your values and career can lead to discontent, frustration and in some cases, it can affect your mental well-being. For these reasons, it is essential that we can recognise and set our career goals in alignment with our values.

Recognising your values

A list of common values includes:

 Financial security;  health;  kindness;  family;  friendship;  adventure;  trust;  honesty;  creativity;  integrity;  freedom;  love;  confidence;  hard work;  dedication;  fun;  humour;  fitness;  strength;  calm;  spirituality;  empowerment;  motivation;  relaxation;  enthusiasm;  determination;  resilience;  charity; wellbeing;  fulfilment;  supportive; empathy.

List the values that are important to you (including any not mentioned above).

Now write down the top 8 values that are most important to you. For each value give a mark out of ten as to how much your current career is meeting this value (where 1 is ‘Not met at all’ and 10 is ‘Completely met’).  

Look back over this exercise and answer the following:

  • How is your current career meeting your values? 
  • What values would you like your career to meet?
  • What is now clearer than before?

Helping you gain insight into the values that are important to you allows you to set career goals in alignment with them. When considering potential careers or jobs, you now have the tools to see if they will meet your values.  This will allow you to make a more informed decision as to whether this is the right career move for you.  When you change to a role that meets your values you will feel more fulfilled and therefore happier in both your work and home life.

 “Values are like fingerprints, nobody’s are the same, but you leave them all over everything you do” (Elvis Presley).

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Ashton-Under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, OL6
Written by Joanne Forristal, Imposter Syndrome Specialist I ACT & CBT Coach.
Ashton-Under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, OL6

Jo is a Career Coach for people in their 30's and 40's and the owner of Dovestone Coaching.

She is also an OCD awareness campaigner and speaker.  She helps clients, who are in the process of recovery set goals and find purpose. Jo continues with her own recovery and despite her OCD she achieves her goals and is a happy, positive person.

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