There are countless causes and reasons to consider a midlife career change. And although every person is different, career experts agree on one thing – not to rush into a career change, especially at midlife. It’s far better to have a process, along with a set of goals, and with a commitment to reaching those goals. Midlife presents unique challenges for career transition, but the basics stay the same: assessing the options; getting good advice; and plotting out a new direction.
Midlife is a time when many are “realigning” their life – not just work and career. Personal values may be shifting, family situations could be taking a turn, and of course, financial circumstances might be changing. Hence, career transition is part of a big picture. It will pose challenges, and it will be intimidating. So asking questions is critical. Where to start? What to consider? How much risk to take? Many experts will maintain that the big rewards come from the big risks.
Statistics and studies aside, its no wonder that “baby boomers” are working longer and staying engaged, even beyond the traditional retirement age. For some, it’s about career success and achievement, while for others it’s simply about the need to stay employed. But the bottom line for anyone considering midlife career change is creating a custom blueprint that will realize personal life goals, and provide a sense of career satisfaction. In short, a proactive plan works.
Being realistic about change
It’s important to consider all the relevant angles. Talk to those with experience. Research all the options. Establish realistic goals. And make a commitment to reach those goals.
Choosing viable job options
A good way to gauge job options is to focus on industries with labor shortages. Here, everything points to the skilled trades – like welding, machining, and computerized tooling.
Developing a “master plan”
Many working people, particularly older, can be overwhelmed with the career change process. A good “master plan” makes it possible to create smaller, more manageable steps.
Having a good sense of self
Understanding personal skills and strengths is key to plotting out objectives. It’s also valuable to hone in on career highlights, specific achievements, and areas of special interest.
Obtaining career guidance
Getting career guidance can provide an objective, professional point of view. This is valuable in identifying career options that are best suited, and focusing on personal goals.
Leveraging past experience
Past career experience (especially for older workers) can be an advantage during career change. Indeed, past experience can be one of the most valuable factors for success.
Making use of social media
For midlife workers, it’s absolutely essential to get familiar with social media, online search tools, and career websites. It’s part of the landscape and part of an in-depth effort.
Growing a contact network
Networking has always been part of a good job search. It’s good to attend meetings, to exchange business cards, and engage with industry experts. The idea is to be proactive.
With any midlife career change, it’s important to keep the momentum going. There must be daily action and forward motion towards the established goals (even small steps). Many workers find that once the process begins, a natural momentum sets in with more comfort to the process.