If you think you're too old to change careers

When you’ve worked in a job or career for a period of time, it can often feel like it’s not acceptable to leave. Even if you’ve stayed way past the expiry date. Even if you’re no longer learning and it feels like Groundhog Day. Even if you hate it.


“I’ve invested X amount of years so I can’t leave. What a waste of all those years.” “I’m too old to start again.” “But on paper it’s a great job”. “What will my partner/friends/employers think of me?” "What will future employers think of me?" “If I don’t know what I want to do with my life, now, I never will”.

So you stay another year….

Even though you're no longer fulfilled. Even though you are being pulled elsewhere.

But are you really too old? 

Likely you still have another 20, 25 or 30 years until you wish to retire. How does it feel when you imagine spending that length of time doing the exact same thing that you are now?

What would it be like to spend the next 20, 25 or 30 years doing something that exhilarates, motivates you and gives you a stronger sense of purpose?

Is it too late to retrain?

Your new role might involve an intensive course, or a course that takes a year or two. That’s still 18 or 23 or 28 years that you still have for a career you love. Plus unlike the first time around, you'd move into a new career with years of work and life experience, and an abundance of skills and strengths that come with those.

No one will hire me at my age

While it’s true that ageism exists in the workplace, look for evidence where that’s not true. Who has changed their career successfully? How did they do this? Who could you reach out to and ask about their experience? A quick internet search will also show several examples of those that have changed their career past their 30s, 40s and 50s.

What are you deciding that being older means about you and/or about older people in general?

Notice what thoughts and beliefs come up for you when you think about this. You can write them down if it's helpful.

Then ask yourself if these thoughts are true. Where is the evidence that supports them? Where is the evidence that contradicts them?

It is normal to have some fear and resistance around making decisions that feel like a big life change. Some strong beliefs won’t change overnight. However, tweaks in your thinking that allows you the space to explore what could feel and be better, is a great place to start.

What do you lose from exploring the possibilities?

What do you lose if you don’t?

Age does not have to get in the way of finding more meaning, purpose, and joy. And a different future doesn’t have to be held to ransom because of the length of time spent already spent in a career or role.

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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London E2 & N7
Written by Catherine Callender, Life and Career Coach
London E2 & N7

I'll work with you to connect with who you really are, what‘s important to you, your strengths, and how you really want to spend your life. I’ll support you listen to your instincts, explore what you crave and long for, and to restore your sense of self; allowing you to make choices in your life and career that you connect with authentically.

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