Making a career change at age 40 can be an overwhelming task, especially if you've already made progress climbing the corporate ladder. It may sound trite to say, but making such a significant effort to change course requires a great deal of thought and reflection. The difficult weighing of pros and cons that comes with a career change decision-making process is often amplified when someone is deciding to make the jump at 40, after having dedicated so much time and energy into their current occupation.
The pressure that builds when looking for a career change at 40 can be daunting. Depending on your field and experience, it's possible that you could be entering an entirely new industry or looking to join a company where your existing skills will pay off. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to making a successful career transition, there are some useful tips that can help those over forty make informed decisions about their future.
In order to successfully transition from one job to another at any age, taking the time to identify your goals and values is essential. Knowing what's important to you in terms of job satisfaction and growth potential will inform the decision-making process for any potential career change. Doing research on industry trends and staying up-to-date with market changes can also help ensure that you move forward with confidence - no matter how old you are!
Pros and Cons of a Career Change at 40
Changing careers at 40 can be a daunting prospect, but there are some main advantages to making the shift. For those who have been in their current job for 25 years or more, reaching retirement age before they are ready may make a career change necessary.
Making a good career change can positively affect your life in many ways. Increased confidence is one of the biggest benefits and you can also apply your current experience and transferable skills to your new role. If you have younger children, switching to a new job may provide better financial stability to cover mortgages and higher annual expenses.
On the other hand, changing careers at 40 can be difficult as it requires you to learn new skills while continuing full-time work in your current job. It also means that you will likely reach retirement age later than you planned, as you will start from scratch with fewer years in the workforce.
Transform Your Life: Making the Change
Making the change to a midlife career change at 40 can be a difficult and effortful endeavor, but it is possible. To make this transformation, you must first take an honest look at your current life situation and determine if you have the energy and resources to commit to this endeavor. It may indeed feel like starting over as if you were ten years younger, but with dedication and hard work, it will be worth it in the long run - even if it takes a bit longer than expected.
At age 40, many people are considering a career change. The first step in this process is to remember what you were taking in high school, as well as any career tests that you may have taken. It is important to assess your interests, personality type, aptitudes and work-related values before deciding on suitable options. This career planning process can be daunting but with the right guidance, it can be made easier.
By familiarizing yourself with the different elements of your skillset and strengths, you can begin to narrow down the potential areas you could pursue within your new career path. Don’t forget that age 40 is not too late to make a successful transition - many have done it before you and have gone on to find great success!
An adult internship can be a good match for someone at age 40 who is considering a career change. With approximately 25 years of working life left, it can provide the opportunity to begin working in a new career fairly quickly while managing any financial responsibilities. It also allows for time to study and prepare, so that you can gain the necessary skills and knowledge to progress in your chosen field with additional preparation.
3. Leveraging Your Past Work
As you contemplate a career change at 40, it's important to remember that you have accumulated many years of experience and skills that can be leveraged in your new venture. Transferable skills are the foundation of a successful transition, so use the time and energy to prepare formally for a shift in your professional life. Even if your new career requires additional schooling or formal training, the transferable skills you already possess can provide valuable insights and make the transition easier.
4. Gather Job Information
Making a career change at 40 can be intimidating, but with the right information it can be incredibly rewarding. Gathering job information is pivotal when considering a career change. It is important to explore educational requirements, job duties, economic outlook, median earnings and related information for a chosen position. A great resource for labor statistics is the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics website - here you can evaluate data and make suitable comparisons between job duties as well as get an up-to-date job outlook. With this knowledge in hand, you'll have a good amount of data to help you decide if the chosen position is the best fit for you!
Discover the Purpose Behind Your Goals
Are you considering a career change at 40? It can be a daunting thought, but it is important to remember that the only thing stopping you from achieving your goals is yourself. Sherry Ellis, founder of SBE Consulting, a business consulting firm that helps women make midlife career changes, understands this feeling. She has helped many women break through plateaus and hits ruts in their careers.
When it comes to making any big life decision like this, Ellis suggests it is important to weigh up the pros and cons list. Ask yourself specific questions such as: am I feeling the burnout or stuck in a bad management style? Or do I just need to take a break from work sick of my current job? Taking the time to understand why you are considering a bigger change can help clarify what you are looking for in the long run.
Ellis also speaks about taking action with purpose and aligning your goals with your values. Ask yourself what makes you happy and fulfilled and then create objectives that will help reach those desired results. Achieving success doesn’t have to be complicated – if you focus on why you want to make this change, staying motivated will become much easier!
Establish a Strong Foundation With Your Support System
As someone considering a career change at 40, one of the biggest challenges you'll face is creating a strong foundation with your support system. Discussing the potential financial impact of your transition period may have been something you weren't prepared for and it can leave you feeling blindsided. Having an open dialogue about the impact this can have on both you and your loved ones is essential for navigating these uncertainties as you plan to change careers.
Unlock the Power of Courage
When it comes to making big career transitions at 40, many of the main fears that hold people back are financial in nature. Babita Spinelli, a licensed psychotherapist and certified coach at Doors Psychotherapy, works primarily with clients through life transitions including career changes. It is important for those over-40 to maintain their current financial responsibilities while also attempting to make a large transition.
For the over-40 set, financial commitments such as car payments they’ve already made or years spent striving towards a goal only to be walking away after finally achieving it can be daunting. You’ve spent so much of your life working diligently to get where you are and the thought of taking a large pay cut can be terrifying. Self-limiting beliefs about money and work can really get in the way of making this change.
Spinelli believes addressing potential financial obstacles before making similar transitions is crucial. She suggests move past the fear by first identifying what money you’re worried about losing and then cutting any extraneous expenses. Her best advice for career changers is to turn off that internal dialogue and seek out support from someone who has made similar transitions. The most important thing Spinelli emphasizes is not letting fear win when considering a career change.
Brace Yourself for Criticism
When it comes to making a big life change, such as a career pivot at 40, it requires courage and faith. Faith O'Neill, author of "Life Reimagined: The Science, Art and Opportunity of Midlife", believes that our belief systems about ourselves and our lives inform our life choices. She often talks about how she didn't feel the same sense of purpose in her 30s that she did in her 20s and found herself reflecting back on her life purpose and core values to make that change.
O'Neill calls this a “deathbed exercise” - considering what you would want to reflect on if you were looking back on your long life from your deathbed. This exercise can provide great insight into the kind of life you want to live and push past any limiting beliefs or fears holding you back from making a similar leap you may be contemplating starting now.
Making big changes at any age is never easy but having the courage to believe in yourself is key. Faith O'Neill encourages us all to find courage in ourselves; revisit our own belief systems around mid-life career pivots and use the deathbed exercise to help guide us through these important life choices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is 40 too old to start a new career?
Starting a new career at 40 is absolutely possible! There are many benefits to making a career move later in life, including more experience and perspective. Read on to learn more about how you can successfully transition into a new career.
What is the best career to start at 40?
For those looking to start a new career at 40, the best option is to explore industries that match their skills and passions. With the right education, experience, and enthusiasm, any career can be successful no matter what age you are!
Should I go back to school for a degree in health care?
Yes! A degree in health care can open up a wide range of career opportunities and provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary to obtain a job in this rewarding field. Read more to find out how you can pursue your dream of becoming a healthcare professional.
Is it worth going back to school for a career switch?
Yes! Going back to school is a great option for starting a new career. It can open up new opportunities and provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in your chosen field. Read more about how to make the most of your educational journey.
How do you write a cover letter for a career change?
Writing a cover letter for a career change requires tailoring your qualifications and experience to the new position. It also involves selling yourself by highlighting your transferable skills and explaining why you are an ideal fit for the role. Learn more about how to write a successful career change cover letter here.