Reaching the age of 40 or 50 can leave you torn between two choices. Do you plan on sticking to your current job until you retire, or do you find yourself wanting to try a different type of work? Either way, midlife Career shifting will not only seem exciting but frightening as well.
Changing careers at this point may seem impossible, but it’s actually not. The truth is venturing out into a new career path or taking a completely different job route during your midlife years isn’t just possible, but more common than what most people would think. According to research, professionals between the ages of 45 and 65 are more likely to switch careers at least two times.
No matter your decision, it’s necessary that you still weigh the pros and cons to make sure it’s the right choice. So, here are some important things to consider before making that Midlife Career shift:
Will Your New Career Benefit From Your Current Skill Set?
One of the most important things to highlight and remember when changing careers is how your new job can benefit from your current Skill set. Successful career shifts are those that find a way to apply their existing skills to their new job instead of doing something completely different and outside their set of skills.
So even though you have to brush up and learn a few more skills, your career change is more likely to be successful if you move into a new profession that enables you to practice still the skills and experiences you have already put into years of good use. Start thinking about the new career path you’re interested in. If you find it challenging to identify what exactly your skills are, you can start by making a list of your past and current job experiences and accomplishments. From here, evaluate which ones specifically helped you accomplish company goals.
You can try to look for new career opportunities in online job hiring websites. These websites often feature established companies with enough information for you to examine and align your skills and experiences with.
Have You Consulted Your Family And Friends’ Support?
Knowing that your family and friends have your back can make all the difference when changing careers. Based on research, over 88% of successful midlife career changers believed that the support of their family and friends played an important role.
Make sure to get feedback from your support system. Talk to people who you trust, ask them for opinions, and listen to their advice. This is especially important if your career change directly affects anyone in the family, like your spouse or your children. Being open to them about your ideas can significantly help them understand your reasons and motivations. In turn, this helps you quickly get on board with the plan.
Is It What You Really Want?
It can be challenging to judge whether or not a particular job will be a good fit for you unless you’ve experienced it firsthand. Even if you think you know exactly what it’s going to be like on your supposed new career, you should still consider giving it a test drive before walking away from your current job.
There are a lot of ways you can examine and evaluate whether or not it’s the right career for you. Volunteering or interning are perfect ways to gain enough insight and experience in an unfamiliar line of work or industry. Other things you could try include attending seminars and events, freelancing, and taking short courses.
Can You Afford It?
Usually, shifting careers involve taking on pay cuts and losing a few benefits. Can you afford that?
As you get older, health insurance tends to be a bigger worry than your paycheck. Insurance is undeniably expensive, but a must. So if you’re going from a company plan to self-insurance, make sure you’re ready to take on a whole different level of responsibility and the hassles of processing documents. Also, having dependents should make you want to consider how your career change will affect them—both materially and emotionally.
The bottom line? Make sure you go over your financial plans and strategy with a professional financial adviser well before deciding on anything and pulling the trigger.
If you think you have all that it takes to make a career change, then, by all means, do it! 50 is still a great time to go for it. However, it’s still crucial that you consider those as mentioned earlier, so you don’t leave yourself [and your family or dependents] empty handed in the long run. Don’t just jump into a career change out of impulse. And most importantly, don’t sell yourself short. Your years of experience and accomplishments should come in handy no matter what type of career you bounce into.