When you reach middle age or at least after a long stint in your professional life, two things can happen to your career: You get bored and want to try your hand at something different that you’ve always dreamed of, or you find yourself being nudged or sometimes forced into a new line of work by an employer.
Either way, changing careers in midlife is both exciting as well as a bit frightening. If it works out well it may be very rewarding but it never easy. There are a few things that may help you decide whether to change careers at midlife or to stick with what you’ve got. There is no right or wrong in this, it depends completely on your situation.
There is a lot of talk about finding passion and joy in what you do. Yes, one needs passion, but talent and hard work cannot be ignored. Assess yourself carefully and consider the question, if you are really good? dispassionately. Sometimes it is not enough to be passionate about something. If you are passionate about singing or painting, are you good enough to make a career out of it? Also initial part of any professional life requires a lot of hard work. Can you work hard and are you willing to work hard at this stage of your life. People in their middle ages, even if physically fit, may have other issues like family, hobbies, travel etc. If you are ready to give up on these things only then think of doing something new. Learn how to manage in this great post to read.
If you can change careers and do something totally new and still continue to make good money, then you are lucky. Usually, a job or career change generally results in some pay cut. Consider your financial position very carefully and take a close look at your financial responsibility and liabilities, if you have any. Can you handle this stress and change the way you spend your money. Live on a tighter budget and set your priorities accordingly.
Always have a plan B. A contingency plan is advisable at this stage of your life. A change in career may bring some turbulence to your life. Be prepared for it. If things don’t work out, be ready with some alternate plans. If possible, try to keep a channel open to your old career so that you can go back if things don’t as you planned.
Look at your motivation for career change carefully. Lots of people are unhappy with their present jobs. This should not be the only motivation. Some people are dreamers and feel that a career change will result in their dream job. Whatever it is that you are looking for, take care, well calculated and judicious decisions before any midlife career change.