Midlife Career Change | 5 Signs You Need One


Is a career change in the future

Believe it or not, you can have a midlife career change without jeopardizing all of the work that you’ve already done. Starting over may not be the right move, depending on your job and seniority. If you have 6-weeks of paid time off each year, would you want to give that up?

If your answer is no, you might want to think about a job change. If you value 6 weeks of vacation because you need lots of breaks from a job, industry or people you hate, you need to change careers.

Pivoting in middle age is a bit like roller skating while middle-aged — it seemed like a good idea until it wasn’t. Before you quit your job for greener pastures, you need to decide what you’re willing to give up for your shiny, new career.

Midlife Job Change or Midlife Career Change?

In some cases, just changing jobs would resolve your discontent. That’s much easier to do over 40 or 50.

Age has little to do with the ease of change, it’s making sure you don’t lose all of your perks that you’ve worked 20 years for. When you change jobs, you simply get a similar job at a different company.

Explore New Career Paths

You can negotiate vacation accruals or get a better salary. This would be the fix if you love what you do, but hate who you work for. Changing jobs is a relatively smooth transition compared with a complete career overhaul. 

Switching vocations is a more complicated move that means going to a different job in a new-to-you industry.

It could mean getting additional training, taking an entry-level job and literally starting over. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Often this yearning for a career change rears its restless head when you’ve been doing the same type of work for 20-plus years.

Boredom sets in. Life on the cube farm is not how you want to spend the rest of your life. 

5 signs You Need Midlife Career Change

There’s a big difference in having the occasional twinge of boredom or dread when you have to go to work and feeling beat down every day. Here are five sure signs that it’s time for a change in careers, not just a job change. 

Complain Is Your Middle Name

Check yourself. Pay attention to what you say about your work for a few days. Are you always negative on the people, the work itself and the effect it has on your life? If you complain every time you talk about work, it could be time for a midlife career change. 

You Are Stressed At Work

Signs such as stomach upset, feeling anxious, headaches, tiredness and insomnia could be stress trying to tell you something. I had a job where I was so stressed that I would leave work feeling sick to my stomach. As soon as I left the building, I would feel like feasting on a Whataburger. I started looking for another job when I finally saw the connection. I changed jobs, but you may need to try a new career path to be completely cured.

Bored Out of Your Mind

Sure there’s downtime, or you may be used to the routine, but there’s nothing worse than spending eight or more hours being bored out of your mind. You may procrastinate or avoid doing tasks, which is not good for advancing your career. Changing careers will definitely bring some excitement into your life. Just be prepared for ups and downs that rival the mood swings of a teenage girl.

Your Job Is a Sea of Sameness

Do you ever feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, but without the fun of getting to mess with people because in your movie they’ll remember it? If it’s been years since you have taken on new responsibilities or gotten a promotion at your job, then your career may have run its course. Don’t spend another 10-20 years doing the same thing. You can change careers.

Sunday is Not Fun Day

When you wake up Sunday morning full of dread because you have to go to work the next day, then you need to change things up. It’s normal to start feeling the anticipation of Monday on Sunday night, but feeling pure dread is your soul trying to tell you something. It’s time to listen.

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If You Have the Courage To Change Careers Read This

Changing careers often means making a short-term sacrifice for the greater good. Unless you are win-the-mega-ball-lotto-lucky, you will have to give up one of these things in order to be happier in the long run.

a career change might mean a change in income

Will You Get a Raise or Be Eating Ramen Again?

A career change can send your finances into a tailspin, especially if you are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Not only that, but you wouldn’t be vested in a retirement plan. When you change jobs you could have a gap in pay. For example, if you go from getting paid once a week to bi-weekly or monthly, your cash flow will be affected. It is important to consider the timing of your paycheck in order to plan for your budget.

You will most likely have to take a pay cut if you have little experience in your new career. The industry itself may not be as lucrative as your current field. If you have debts or any recurring payments such as a mortgage, car payments, cell phone bills, etc., you would need to know that you would still be able to afford them. 

Is There a U-haul in Your Future?

Will you have to move in order to make the career change? This is another question that you have to take into consideration. You might be able to change careers within the same company, but you might have to move to a new company in a new city. This is an added expense that you’ll have to plan for.

Make Sure The Greener Grass Makes You Happy

Have you done your research as to what career you want to change to? Do you know what will make you happy? Finding the right career is important to being happy and staying at a particular company. It is important to find a job that you will enjoy; otherwise, you will just end up switching companies or switching careers all over again.

Take this free career test to see what career is best for you.

Skills Still Pay Bills

Most soft skills such as communication and interpersonal skills will always be useful to a company. Any managerial skills and technical skills will definitely help out as well. Technology-related skills can definitely be useful in almost every type of career you may decide to switch to.

Will You Have to Go Back to School?

How much time and money will it take to get to where you want to be? Like most jobs, you learn by doing. But with other jobs, you may need to get more education, training, and certifications in order to get you to where you want to be. With some careers, you may be able to easily pick up on the daily activities, other careers you may need to get some professional training and/or certifications in order to get considered for the position. Whatever the case may be, be sure to research what is in demand for that particular career. 

Work Your Network

The best possible way to find your new career is to utilize your contacts. The people that you know may be the very people that can put in a good word for you or give you advice as to what you should do or what industry you should get into. Other ways to broaden your network is to join different organizations or associations. If possible and available, go through your alumni association. 

These are some helpful tips for you to consider before switching careers. Always remember that the choices that you make can either break or make you. Be bold and take risks. If you are unhappy with where you’re at, do something about it. Otherwise, you may end up asking yourself “what if…?”

Midlife Career Change - Soul-based Job Search No matter how old you are you, you don't deserve a dead-end job. Do you have the 5 signs that you need a career change?
Midlife Career Change Now - Soul-based Job Search Find out how to change careers to do work you love. You don't have to start over, but you get a fresh start.

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Tracey Lamphere

Tracey Lamphere, M.S. IMC is the editor of Job Affirmations, a publication that provides information and ideas to use mindfulness, positive affirmations, and visualizations to transform your career.

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