The advantage of a career change after 40

How often have you heard friends, colleagues, or yourself say, “I just fell into my career” or “I always wanted to do X, but ended up getting stuck in this industry”?


Often, we find ourselves in careers we never truly intended, following a trajectory dictated by the subjects we chose, social expectations or family influences. 

The journey from education to employment can lead down paths that diverge from our original ideas for our future, leaving our professional lives feeling disconnected from our authentic selves by the time we reach our forties. 

Despite investing years in education and navigating the uncertainties of young adulthood, many people settle for stability over purpose, grateful for financial security but yearning for a different sense of fulfilment. 

This feeling can become harder to ignore as we reach the midpoint in our lives.

However, if you find yourself dreading the start of each week, feeling stuck in a cycle of exhaustion and frustration and craving a career that energises you and offers the freedom and flexibility you desire, it is never too late to make the change, especially in your 40s! 

Embracing experience: A key advantage

You can harness the midlife advantage of having accumulated a wealth of skills and experience rather than see age as an obstacle.  

With the average age of retirement now 67, that’s a good 20+ years of working life to either endure or enjoy. Why not embrace the benefits that experience can bring to finding a new career path to make that time count?

Your skills and experience are your assets and shouldn't be overlooked. Instead, they should be seen as invaluable resources that can be refocused and propel you forward in your search for a rewarding new career. 

Transferrable skills such as leadership, communication, emotional intelligence, problem-solving, and project management are highly sought after and will have been developed over many years – even if your career has taken a few zigs and zags. 

Your extensive experience is likely to demonstrate resilience, adaptability, and a track record of making an impact in your current field. These are all qualities that employers value. They take time to cultivate and can, therefore, prove invaluable when looking at shifting to a new career direction.

Reframing fear: From risk to opportunity

The decision to change careers can be daunting, often accompanied by fear and uncertainty. However, it's more helpful to reframe these feelings and view them as opportunities for growth and self-discovery. 

Yes, change comes with risks, but it also opens the door to new possibilities and personal fulfilment. Rather than discarding your past career, consider it a foundation upon which you can build something new and exciting – an upcycling of your skills and experiences. 

With 20+ years of experience to mine for examples of what you can bring to a new role and team, it’s helpful to step back and take a moment to reframe the fear of change to excitement for a new chapter in your work and life. 

Experience achieved through a long career development can give you an advantage you hadn’t considered before or valued.

Navigating the decision-making process

Making the decision to change careers is just the first step on the journey. It's crucial to approach this decision with clarity, meaning, and purpose and to create a practical strategy for your job search. 

Take time to focus on your whole self and whole life while thinking about where you want to take your career. Align your personal and professional values and focus on your human being before human ‘doing’.

Take the time to explore your interests, values, and aspirations. Get crystal clear on your career ingredients. Research your potential career paths to assess their feasibility and match to your ideal career ingredients. 

Ensure you have a clear understanding of your financial projections, lifestyle preferences, and opportunities for future growth.  

Remember, the goal is not just to change careers but to make the right change – one that aligns with your values, ways of living and life goals. 

The value of career coaching

Building your career change action plan can involve various activities, including training or work experience, networking with professionals in your target industry and seeking mentorship opportunities. 

Building a support network of like-minded individuals can provide invaluable encouragement and guidance as you navigate your career transition.

Investing in career coaching can be instrumental in navigating the emotions and practicalities of a career change. A skilled coach can help you clarify your goals, identify obstacles, and develop strategies for overcoming them. 

Your career coach can provide accountability and support throughout the process, empowering you to stay focused and motivated. 

With one-to-one guidance and expertise, you can confidently navigate your career transition and unlock an exciting new career for the next stage in your life.

Embrace change, unlock your potential

Changing careers after 40 may seem daunting, but it's also an opportunity to embrace new challenges and unlock your full potential. 

Your age should not be a barrier; instead, it can be celebrated and harnessed as a testament to your experience and wisdom. 

By reframing fear as an opportunity and crafting a strategic action plan, you can embark on a journey toward a brighter, more fulfilling future. After all, if we all spend such a significant amount of our time at work, we should surely find a career that inspires and empowers us every day.

If you would like to find out how my career coaching programme can help you with your career and life goals, contact me for your free discovery session. If you like my approach, then we can book your first session and start your journey to making change with confidence.

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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Faversham ME13 & Maidstone ME16
Written by Lucy Stanyer, Life Coach, Career & Business Coach, ADHD Coach, mBit Coach
Faversham ME13 & Maidstone ME16

Coaching for Purpose, Growth and Balance. Lucy provides whole-person career and small business coaching to help make work fulfilling and meet your measures of success. Coaching helps harness values, shift mindsets, build helpful habits, cultivate a sense of purpose to make work part of a life worth living.

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