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Making a Mid-Life Career Change

October 04, 2012 by Careerminds

So many people are content to go on being discontented with their jobs, grumbling and groaning every morning and every night about their distaste for what they do for a living. If this sounds like you, consider making a change NOW, before it’s too late, and you’ve spent most of your life doing something you hate.

Naturally, it does get more difficult to make a career change with age. You may be dissatisfied with your current job situation but quite happy with the pay and health benefits. You’ve worked your way up the ranks, and it’s scary to think of starting over at the bottom somewhere else when the job you’ve got seems good enough.

It’s important to realize that job satisfaction has a big impact on your quality of life.  Accepting your current position as your ‘lot in life’ – especially if you’re downright miserable every day – can lead to cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, disordered sleep, depression, and burnout. Staying at a job just because it pays well is not reason enough to ultimately sacrifice your health and your happiness.

Instead of letting financial risks run your life, consider the possibility of making a mid-life (or late-life, even) career change. Aim to do what you love. They say that if you do what you love, the money will follow. What is important to remember is this: while you should do something you love, you must also have a very solid plan in place in order for it to work out.

To begin the process of switching careers, try surveying some people currently working in your desired field about their job satisfaction.  Make sure it is as enjoyable as you think it is. It’s possible to build up a fantasy image of your ideal position, when in reality it’s much more stressful and less satisfying than you thought.

If you’ve done your research and feel confident about making a switch, now is the time to focus on finances.  Although we initially mentioned that money shouldn’t be your motivator (and it shouldn’t), it does have to be taken into consideration. In order to make your job switch successful, build up your nest egg significantly before making any moves at all.  This is extremely important, because, if you take the leap too soon, especially if your dream job pays less or involves starting up a business, lack of a financial cushion might land you right back where you started.

The most important piece of advice when making a career change at any time of your life is this: make sure you understand where your discontent comes from.  This means taking a look within yourself to determine what kind of profession really will fulfill you. Ask yourself if you’re just feeling bored at your current job because you’ve mastered it.  If this is the case, chances are really high that you’ll jump to a new position and master it as well.  Then what?

If boredom is your main issue, perhaps you need to consider a job that allows you bigger freedoms and more control over your time and income.  Maybe you should consider entrepreneurship or joining a start-up company. You could also look into careers that are extremely challenging and ever-changing, to avoid hitting that burnout wall.

Changing careers will not be easy.  You must combine your desire for a new career with adept financial planning so that your switch will be successful and your job satisfaction will be worry-free and as fulfilling as possible.


Careerminds provides scalable, strategic solutions to organizations seeking affordable, web-based outplacement services. Using a Web 2.0 e-learning platform that delivers affordable, online career transition services, Careerminds provides a high-tech and high-touch blend of on-demand career transition education supported by senior-level career consultants to help displaced workers reenter the workforce quickly.

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