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5 Reasons for Career Change after 40

Updated: Oct 11, 2022

Is it time for a career change?

Does thinking about a career change or getting back into the job market after taking time off to care for kids or parents, scare you? You are not alone.

It is often said that a person will change careers 5 - 7 times in their lifetime. This is referring to careers, not just jobs. The days of a job for life are long gone. One reason for this is that corporate job security is no longer the norm. This can come as a shock to some Baby Boomers who suddenly find they have to reinvent themselves later in their career. Millennials, on the other hand, have no problem with job hopping. Statistics suggest that 91% of Millennials expect to stay in a job for less than 3 years.

Without counting various temporary jobs, I had when I was a student, I have had 4 careers. Although the career I have spent most of that time doing, teaching, took place in four different countries and so many different institutions that I have lost count! The environments and job roles were so different that they would probably count as different careers. I have been in my most recent job for almost 13 years, longer than I have been in any other job during my whole 40 or so working years. It is not surprising, to me at least, that I want a change and need to do something different. I don’t want to retire, I want to do something different. Many people think I am crazy to give up a well-paid secure job for the unknown. Maybe I am? What do you think?

As well as forced career change, such as a redundancy, relocation or for health reasons, many people choose to change career in their 40’s, 50’s or even 60’s.

Can you relate to any of these common reasons?

1. Looking for a new challenge

People would like their job to provide purpose, fulfilment and growth. You may have been doing the same job for a long time and there are no challenges or opportunities for growth. If you feel that your skills are not being developed or challenged and your strengths are not being utilised, you will feel unfulfilled and dissatisfied.

2. Make a difference

You would like to find a job where you can really feel like you are making a difference. Wanting to make a difference in some way, is the main motivator (apart from money) for going to work. If you do not feel you are able to make a difference to the lives of others by what you do, then you are likely to feel very dissatisfied.

3. Your passion is elsewhere

Perhaps you chose or even were ‘forced’ into this career when you were younger, because of your parents’ expectations; a family to support or your financial situation at the time. This option was the safe choice with a guaranteed income, status etc. Although your career fulfilled the security requirement and earned you a good income, it didn’t bring you joy. Now you want to follow your passion and pursue a career that will give you pleasure.

4. Your values aren’t in alignment with the company’s/organisation’s values.

You can never be happy in the long term if you are working somewhere that is not in alignment with who you are and what you value. If you are someone who cares deeply about the environment, you will feel out of alignment if you work for an oil company or a mining company. As you get older your values may change so that they are no longer in alignment with the values of your organisation. Or the values of the organisation may change with new policy or management. Either way if you having to be a different person at work than you are at home and you care deeply about your basic values, this can result in high levels of stress and dissatisfaction.

5. Life balance

As you get older, you may recognise the importance of a good work/life balance. After years of running around on hamster wheels you may want to get off the wheel and have more time to do other things. You may also be tired of long commutes to work which add hours to the time you can’t spend with your family. According to recent research by Gallup, 67% of employees say they are sometimes, very often or always burned out at work. Unmanageable workloads or unreasonable time pressure are some of the many factors that contribute to burn out. A 2018 Gallup Survey of job satisfaction in the US found that 34% of employees had high levels of job satisfaction and 13% were highly disengaged.

So how about you?

Do you jump out of bed every morning with excitement about going to work every morning? Do you feel anxious on Sunday as you think about work on Monday? Do you wonder whether a career change is right for you?

If you would like to explore, without taking a very big leap, I am offering a Mini Career Coaching package which will help you work out:

· If career change is the right move for you

· And if so, where to start

You will find details of the a mini Career Coaching Package for Teachers here or visit my website here.

Also look out for my next couple of blog posts about problems with career change after 40.

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