Changing Careers After 50? Don’t Sweat It!
Sick of your boring old desk job you’ve had for the last 30 years? Want to chase after that job you’ve dreamed of since you were six? Afraid of making the change because you’re already so close to retirement? You aren’t alone. There are many baby boomers deciding to chase after a new dream late in life. It’s not impossible to change your career in your 50s, so what’s stopping you?
Starting a new career can be time-consuming and scary, but that shouldn’t keep you from living the life you’ve always dreamed of. It will take hard work and dedication and a lot of thought. Don’t sweat the little things, though, and embrace the challenge of finding a new career in the field you love.
Having a support system helps make the transition a little easier. Family and friends are a great start, but look for people who are going through the same thing or people who are in the field you are looking to go into. Family will always support you, but they might not understand every trial you face during this journey to a new career. Looking for those who are also making a change gives you someone who is in the same boat. Mentors who have gone through this already will know what you should do next. Experts in the industry you want to switch to will help you gain a better knowledge of what companies are looking for and the latest trends in the industry. You’ll also gain more connections this way.
Be patient and open-minded through the whole process. Career changes don’t happen overnight. Over thinking the possibilities will make you question what you are doing. Just let it be and everything will work out. Try to stay open-minded in what you want to do. You may go into this thinking you want to do one thing, but through the journey, you realize it’s actually something completely different you want.
Don’t quit your day job just yet, though. While you’re looking for a new job, you’ll need something to support yourself, so resist the urge to throw in the towel and look for something new. Starting a new career might also mean taking a pay cut, so having your current job will allow you to save before you drop on the pay scale. And if you end up hating what you’ve decided you want to switch to, then you still have a job while the search continues.
While you are looking for a new job, expand your skill set in this area. Take classes and study the industry. Volunteer at an organization that does something similar to what you want to do. Create a network of friends in the industry to help you get a foot in the door and also have someone you can talk to when things get rough in the pursuit of this new dream. Always be learning and advancing in the area you want to go and you will be more qualified for jobs you apply for and entertaining yourself while you have to work that boring old desk job you hate.
Becoming knowledgeable in your new industry may seem impossible. You’re 50 years old! You don’t have time to go back to school. Actually you do. There are many online programs now, such as BLS recertification and medical transcription training, that you can sign up for online and take at your own pace. Listen to seminars or talks online from experts in your industry. All the knowledge you need is at your fingertips today.
Another huge myth that might scare you away from making the switch is that employers won’t want someone your age. Employers love the experience and leadership that comes with age. They just want someone who can do the job well, and age doesn’t play much of a factor in that. Experiences transfer over from previous jobs a lot of the time, so even though you might not be the best at graphic design because you worked as a waitress your whole life, you know how to please customers and that is something that can transfer over into any career.
Changing careers in your 50s shouldn’t be scary. You can do anything you set your mind to if you put in the effort and time. Don’t sweat it and take the leap to find the career you’ve always wanted.
About the Author: Linda is Career Coach dedicated to helping other’s identify their strengths and chase their dreams.