You are considering a career switch at midlife, but you’re afraid of quitting your job and living without a safety net.
Furthermore, you’re thinking it’s a little too late considering your age. Too much is at stake!
You’re afraid of the concerned, disapproving looks your friends and family will give you when you tell them you’re giving it all up to pursue your dream career.
You’re afraid of not having enough money to meet your basic needs and of those you support.
To make it worse, you’re feeling really selfish for choosing to make a career switch at midlife because of the effects it might have on those around you.
But worse than that is you’re afraid that you could be entirely wrong about yourself and what you want.
So what do you do? Do stay in the comfort of what you know but don’t like or enjoy? Or do you take that leap of faith trusting that whatever will happen, it will all turn out for the better?
The voices that may or may not lead to the desired career switch at midlife
It doesn’t help that the gremlin voice inside your head tells you, “you’re not being smart, your options are narrow, your chances of succeeding in a career switch at midlife are slim to none.”
But on the other end, your heart says, “The unknown doesn’t have to look so bleak. As a matter of fact, it could be the one step you take that will lead you to the most fulfilling part of your life. Why not take the leap? After all, isn’t life about taking risks and daring greatly?”
It all makes sense, in fact really good sense but then you look at your surroundings and the realities of it scream DO NOT EVEN ATTEMPT TO THINK THAT YOU CAN but your heart’s like “It’s your life, you only get one shot at it. Take the plunge!”
Right there! Spot on! Take the plunge and shut out all the voices that create fear in you. Be smart about the choices you make after the decision to make a career switch at midlife. Keep making the right choices in a series of steps and you’ll be sure to get there.
How To Make The Career Switch
1. Feed the positive
Ever wondered why you feel horrible after thinking negatively? That’s because the words you say to yourself have an uncanny ability to dampen your mood. Your inner being wreaks negative energy because of the thoughts flying through your mind that create heavy feelings of lowliness.
Such thoughts drain the light and energy right out of you, leaving you with no strength to surge forward. It’s very difficult to think clearly when your mind is a hub spot for negative thoughts and more so for doing anything constructive.
The same works in thinking to yourself that you can’t successfully make a career change from your current boring job to a dream career that fills you with energy, joy, zest, and everything good.
The key to overcoming this is by capturing those “evil gremlin thoughts” and replacing them with the “believing in your best of dreams” kind of thoughts. Feed the positive by thinking positively.
Here’s an example: If you’re saying, “I’m too old for this. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time as an accountant (no hard feelings accountants) why do I think I’ll make it as a fashion designer or even consider that I’ll stand out? There are so many more deserving younger people out there!”
My friend if there’s one sure way to not make your dream career come true is by staying and believing in such thoughts because they prevent you from taking a step in the right direction.
Feed the positive by thinking about good thoughts. Cancel that horrid narrative and start talking to yourself in a manner that will create imaginations, ideas, etc. that enable you to perceive your dream career from a mental point and then take actionable steps towards it, which makes for the next point!
2. Take Actionable Steps
What’s the next best and easiest course of action to take?
So you’ve psyched yourself up to make a career switch at midlife, and you’re in the “I can do it because I can” mode. You have this mind map. The next best and easiest thing to do would be to put it down. That’s right put it down. Put it down in a way that’ll be unforgettable so that each time you look at it you’re encouraged to press on and march forward!
If you need to make a vision board, place a post-it or sticky note on your fridge or bedroom wall, write it out as a proposal. Man, go right ahead and do it.
Just do it!
The importance of this is that you won’t forget and you’ll tend to stay more on track than by not having written it down.
Now that you’ve nailed your dream from mind to paper. It’s about time to start preparing for your life after your miserable job/career in underwriting (no hard feelings underwriters, we need you).
So what do you need to prepare for?
Uh… first and foremost have a financial plan especially if you’re looking to start out your own business. If you have your savings, good for you, now keep doing that. If you don’t have any savings, fear not, start saving.
Look for financial investment options that can readily convert into cash when you need it.
Go with a 6 months-1 year savings/financial investment option that will carry you until you’re able to earn a living from your dream career.
The other option would be to look for jobs within that line of work. Don’t be discouraged if you consistently get regret letters or no response at all. The thing is, keep looking until you get what you want.
Another important aspect is to communicate your intentions to have a career change especially to those that will be most affected by it. If it’s with your spouse, tell them about it. Share your heart. Besides, part of their role is to support you in your endeavors.
So go right ahead and speak your heart and mind with your people.
You may be wondering as you read this next point, “What does bootstrap have anything to do with a change in career at midlife??”
Haha, gotcha! Bootstrap means get ready to work!
Making your dream career come true is very, very possible but it’s not an easy feat. I’d be lying to you if I said it was.
This is especially true if you’re looking to start out your own business in a career of choice. It takes a whole lot more than just saving, writing down the vision, looking for opportunities. It takes your mind, emotions, and spirit to keep up with a hopeful, and steadiness that’ll keep you in gear in and out of season.
A wish or flimsy desire won’t be able to hold you down during such a time of transition. What you need is to have a faith that won’t shake even when things don’t look up as fast. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to burst your bubble of faith but I have a responsibility in telling you the truth, the truth that’ll make things work for you.
Things will look up, perhaps even sooner than you expect them to. But when they don’t, you’ve got to keep hope alive.
Keeping hope alive sounds cool but it’s work. Ever heard the phrase, “You’re your own best cheerleader?” Yep, well that phrase is true.
You’ve got to keep doing the things that help you move forward.
5. Be Open and Analyze
Have an open mind to what may come your way but not to everything. “What do you mean?” You may be asking.
You see, opportunities will come your way, some will inform your journey towards realizing your dream career and others serve better as distractions.
The key here is to be open to and analyze what will come your way. Take for example a business proposal to partner with a friend on a venture that you share interests. At the on look of this, it looks right in every way but you owe it to yourself to do a little bit of analysis as to how well the proposal fits into where you’re going.
If the opportunity gels well with your plans, by all means, go for it but if it’s headed in a different direction then politely turn it down.
6. Be Willing To Work Harder Than Anybody Else
This is your dream career! So I bet it’s worth fighting for even when the momentum slows down and there’s no extrinsic or intrinsic motivation to keep going.
Making that career change just won’t happen, and neither will it fail to come to the person who consistently, and persistently pursues it. For every right course of action taken=seed, and for every wrong course of action taken=weed and for every right or wrong course of action taken, it will = harvest.
So work hard at doing the right thing consistently.
If that means putting in more hours, applying for 10 jobs a day, working for someone or an organization for free but that gives you the mileage you need, go right ahead and do it.
Remember this, opportunity often comes dressed in an apron (if a jumpsuit does it for you, that’s fine) and most people dismiss it because they’re not willing to roll up their sleeves.
Just don’t be that person.
Just as the name suggests, repeat the steps in this process.
At some point, some of the steps in this blog is going to be like skiing down a hill. At some other time, it’ll be an uphill task.
The thing is, keep going and repeat even after you realize your dream career because it’ll still require you to stay positive, to take actionable steps, to prepare, to bootstrap, to be open and analytical, to work harder, and to repeat the process.
It’s Never Too Late To Make That Career Change
I know you’ll come to living out that career because you’ve done your part in following the steps. Your dream career is yours for the taking. It’s never too late, don’t believe that lie. Your age doesn’t matter, your circumstances don’t matter, what matters is you.
Yes, you! And what you’re willing to do and not to do in order to get there.
So get ready for one of the most exhilarating journeys of your life to make that career change.
The very best!
Image courtesy of Depositphotos
Victoria is a lover of life and God, a certified freelance writer and blogger, and a personal reflection enthusiast. Her aim is to help individuals cut on crappy habits, live their best life by writing about personal growth and development topics centred on spiritual, mental and emotional wellness.