Mid-life career change: follow your dreams
You’ve reached your ‘middle years’ – retirement is 10 or even 20 years away, and you can’t face spending all those years in the same job. Does that ring a bell for you or for someone you love?
You are not alone. During their 40s and 50s many people find that work is no longer as satisfying as it once was. Redundancy may be looming, or it may simply be time to re-think work and life priorities.
Let’s meet a couple of them.
Shireen had been at the same blue chip company for over 20 years, working her way up to a very senior position. Despite her success, she had started to feel that her job no longer seemed a good fit for her values and beliefs. She took a bold step into the unknown when she resigned in order to volunteer as a teaching assistant and youth worker in her local community.
Shireen is thriving on the new challenges and delights of working with young people, and can’t wait to start training as a secondary maths teacher in September.
Having been made redundant for the fourth time, just as his daughter was heading off to university, Will decided to stop feeling sorry for himself and to take back control of his own career.
He talked to everyone he could think of and came up with a plan. He would stop chasing ‘permanent’ jobs, set up his own company and market himself as a management consultant. Two years on, he remains in full time employment and is happier than ever back in the driving seat of his working life. The future is looking very bright for Will.
So, if you are considering a mid-life career change, here are some ideas to get you started:
- What really matters to you? Make a list of your values and beliefs, and ask yourself whether your current job allows you to live by these values on a day to day basis.
- Talk to people who know you well and who you trust – friends, family, ex-colleagues, school friends. Now, here’s an important coaching tip: don’t ask them what you should do! They’ll be more than happy to give you advice, but you are the only person who can decide what is really right for you.
- Ask them instead how they see your strengths and invite them to give you an example of a time when you used these strengths in a really powerful way.
- There are so many options open to you: applying for a different job; setting up in business; re-training. Get them all out without censoring yourself: make a list, a mind map or doodle and use images and colour to help you visualise your new future.
- Do your financial planning carefully – take professional advice if you need it.
And when you’re ready – make the decision that’s right for your future.