07 Feb Mid-Life Career Change
Mid-Life Career Change and How To Handle It
Like many people, I had a mid-life career change. I had been in PR and marketing for years, starting in music PR before before going onto found my own PR consultancy. I handled PR for small businesses and coached and mentored business owners in how to do their own PR. It was interesting, fun and satisfying but, eventually, I began to feel that I didn’t want to keep doing this for the rest of my life. I wanted a new challenge. I wanted a mid-life career change.
Who Changes Career Mid-Life?
There’s no set type of person that has a mid-life career change. It’s not always that case that you’re unhappy in your current job or career. Sometimes, it can happen because industries change. I have a friend who left printing when it become digitalised, and is now a bus driver. Incidentally, he is much happier in his new role as he loves the camaraderie. Some of my clients come to me with a vague feeling that there must be something more. It’s often the case that there is an old desire, a chance for a career that they previously missed out on, and they’d like to revisit that.
The Challenges of Mid-Life Career Change
It’s not always the easiest thing to do, however. For a start, we’ve probably got a lot more responsibilities now than when we first started out. We may have a mortgage, bills to to pay, dependents to support and a partner to reassure. If you don’t have a partner then there’s less of a safety net, although you do have more freedom on making the ultimate choice perhaps.
As we get older, we often become more risk averse. A move that we would have jumped at years ago now has to be dissected, weighed up and discussed. As humans we’ve evolved to like our comfort zone and feel suspicious of change, and mid-life career change certainly has the potential to trigger those feelings.
However, it’s not all bad. For many of us, women especially, the tiring years of rearing children are over, and we have more free time and energy. Our ticking life clock also means that can feel more acutely how it would be to spend another 20 years or so doing the same thing. there’s nothing like a deadline to initiate action!
Where to Start with Mid-Life Career Change
If you already know what you want, this is relatively simple. Research is the first step. This can include looking at whether you will be need to retrain or get more qualifications and, if so, where can you do this and how much will it cost? I chose to do a part time Masters over two years. I deliberately picked a University which held the sessions over the weekend so I could fit it around my existing work. Who is within your network that could give you a bit of an inside view of your proposed career, or even let you shadow them?
If you don’t know, then more soul searching will be needed. Do be careful not to fall into the trap of merely thinking about this, and using logic as your only guide. We need to consider our feelings too in big matters such as these, so looking at some body work around your choices can be helpful. This is one of the things I do with my clients and it’s always surprising how it feels a much lighter and more enjoyable process when it’s not all in your head.
It’s also useful to consider things like your values and your energy. Let’s be realistic, we may not have the energy or physical capacity that we used to, and although some things can be improved, it’s important not to set yourself up for failure.
Make A Plan
While it may seem over-whelming at first, making a step by step plan will help you work through the process and stop you getting lost. Making a mid-life career plan with my clients is one of my favourite coaching activities, so do please get in touch if you’d like to talk through how I could help you with your mid-life career change.