This is a guest blog: Are you considering a career change after 40? Have you been in the same profession for the best part of 20 years and have no idea how to change direction? Guest Writer Lucy Chamberlain talks about how she proved to herself that a career change after 40 was possible, despite her concerns around financial stability, family planning and just plain old fear of the unknown.
“Believe in yourself. Your own happiness matters.”— Lucy Chamberlain
For two decades I loved every second of my career and I was lucky that for that period of time, it never felt like work. I had an enthusiasm for the role that was unteachable, performed to the highest standards and I was naturally driven to want to do well. I enjoyed many travelling opportunities, built connections with lovely work colleagues, experienced a fun working environment, and built long-lasting relationships with beloved clients who turned into friends. My career was good.
The Turning Point – My Reason Why
However in the final two years, things began to change. I was working in an industry that had become more focused on technology than people. It began to change and I could not adapt. The job was no longer the same and I could feel my spirit decaying as time passed. The previous passion that had kept me company for the past 23 years faded, and I could feel the love for my role dwindling.
At the age of 47 and with over 25 years spent in the same profession, I began to think deeply about what I wanted out of life and whether the career I had loved for the past 23 years was still for me. I was in a position I had never expected to be in. I was considering a career change in my 40s. Debating a step outside of everything I had known and worked towards up to that point, and addressing my fears of the unknown.
“As a middle-aged woman, I feel invisible. But what can I do with the feelings of sadness? I can apply them. And learn something new that will benefit my standing in the world. I can scale up, and become someone who I like.”— Funda Duval, Actress turned Software Engineer
My Career Complacency
Career complacency and immobility can be the norm for middle-aged women. Job security—whether it’s the pay, a set schedule, work-from-home flexibility—becomes increasingly valuable. Being in my 40s meant my kids were older now and less needy. I had more financial freedom to make the decision and less need to focus on the work / life ratio. But the convenience of a habitual job, and those long-lasting client relationships. The beloved colleagues and a mortgage to pay. They were all factors to consider and reasons not to make the jump into a new career. I was staying in a role out of habit and out of complacency.
5 Important Questions To Ask Yourself When Considering A Career Change After 40
- Do you feel unfulfilled in your current career?
- Are there factors that are making you unhappy, possibly even affecting and spilling over into your personal life?
- Are you feeling your passion dwindle as your frustrations build with your current career?
- Have you lost the love for the career you are in?
- Finally, are you dreaming of another career, but worried about making the switch?
If you answered Yes to most, or even all of these questions, then it might be time to consider a career change. Read on for Why You Are Not Too Old To Change Careers After 40.
Overcoming The Fear Of The Unknown
I had many fears. Could I change direction and retrain to be something else? What could I see myself doing after so many years in the same career? Was it possible to start a career afresh in my 40s, or was it too late? Was I the only one holding myself back, or were my fears of the unknown justified?
With 82% of adults who attempted a career change after the age of 45 being successful, was it time to re-invent myself, and my career, and break away from a job that no longer left me fulfilled? Whilst these fears were buzzing in my mind I realized it wasn’t only fear I was experiencing, there was also excitement. And that excitement led me to resign, in a spontaneous split second decision. In that moment I took control of my own life and I chose to let the excitement win, and overcome the fears.
“Stepping outside of your comfort zone can help you grow as a person and learning an entirely new career gives you knowledge, insight and enthusiasm to learn more.”— Lucy Chamberlain
Searching For A New Career
I was career-less in my 40s and staring out into the world. Weeks spent searching for other jobs and I even found myself completing online personality quizzes to see what jobs matched. I was getting desperate for a lightbulb moment.
All those prior fears were returning to haunt me, taunting me that I should not have left my old career. I was standing on a cliff edge waiting to step off and wondering if my parachute would open. It took time, but eventually I was offered a position that sounded interesting and rewarding. The parachute did not fail me. I found a job that truly had the key elements I was searching for.
I came to realise that my love of building long-lasting relationships with clients was because I had a natural talent and passion for helping others and connecting with people. Those online personality quizzes came in handy after all, and it even came with the added benefits of no commute!
“I believe a new challenge can refresh you and help you realise what your hidden capabilities are. Although you are faced with fear, and the worry that you will fail, or not be able to cope with new things, the flip side is that you learn new things and discover new strengths you never knew you had before.”— Lucy Chamberlain
8 Tips On Searching For A New Career In Your 40s
- Understand The Reasons Why You Are Considering a Career Change: It might be personal, for myself it was feeling unfulfilled. It may be that you require more flexibility or that your current role is causing you stress and anxiety. You may have an exciting business idea you want to try or you may want to become your own boss. Is there a career you have always wanted to work in? Tackle your reasons why you are considering a career change so you can ascertain what you want from your new career.
- Do Not Panic: Patience is key in waiting for the right opportunity.
- Online Personality Assessments Can Work! And are even recommended by Forbes when searching for a new career path.
- Assess Your Skills Set: And what area’s you would like to develop further.
- Additionally, Base Decisions on Your Passions and Talents: You might be a natural problem solver or have a knack for building relationships, capabilities which are transferable across a whole range of sectors.
- Take Advantage Of ‘The New You.’ And rebuild your CV as well as your confidence.
- Career Change Does Not Have to include a Total Career Re-invention: It could just be a subtle change. Ultimately it is critical to your overall happiness to be in a career that you love.
- Remove Your Obstacles: Over-ride the fears holding you back and choose the excitement that will propel you forward.
Finding A New Career In My 40s
I felt like a butterfly being unleashed from a dark cave and let into a meadow because I had found myself again. The training sessions were relished; proving my fears of being retrained unfounded, and I had completely changed the direction of my career, finding something that fit my passions and talents perfectly and offering me a fresh wave of enthusiasm for every single working day ahead.
I had proved to myself that a career change after 40 was possible. I know it was the right decision for me and I am glad I made the scary decision to leave. It felt empowering and exciting all at once. And a few months into my new career? I still love it. And I have never regretted that split-second decision for one moment. In fact, it made me wonder why I didn’t move on and take the brave step into a brand new world, a little sooner.
“When you do the same thing for so long, you risk believing that is all you are capable of, and yet, when you allow yourself to step into a new realm, you learn all the things you are amazing at and never even knew it.”— Lucy Chamberlain