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Making a Career Change in Your Forties or Fifties: The Good News

Source | LinkedIn : By Russ Finkelstein

Making a Career Change in Your Forties or Fifties: The Good News

I’ve coached plenty of people in their forties and fifties through significant career transitions, and if you’re in the same boat, then you’re likely thinking that it could be pretty challenging. In fact, you may even be considering staying in an unfulfilling and miserable job instead.

But there’s no need! I’m here to help.

If you’re in a field or industry that’s changing beyond your recognition and at a pace that is beyond your prediction, then you’re likely to be feeling a bunch of insecurity. We all take responsibility for our professional happiness, so recognizing that insecurity is important. In fact, when I dig in a bit as I have a conversation with folks who are my age, the concerns follow one of two streams:

How do I figure out what to do next? Do I have transferable skills that will be useful in that field or role? And: Are there employers that are open to hiring someone who is older? If so, how will that pay compare to what I get now?

If you’re what used to be called “middle-aged”, but what these days, we just call “a little younger than Anthony Bourdain, and hey, he’s still cool, right?”…and you’re considering a career transition, then it’s important to realize that you are by no means on your own.

75 percent of Americans are unhappy in their jobs, so, welcome to the unfulfilled majority!

Now, here’s how we can work together to get you out of it…

First, congratulations on thinking about making a proactive step to make your life better. It might feel like you have a heavy lift looming, but the truth is, your judgment is probably clouded right now by some common beliefs about making a career transition when you’re more experienced. Please allow me to take a look at some of the most prevalent negative baggage about the search that you have been carrying and help you see what’s before you in a whole new, positive, way.

One commonly held belief is that I am only capable of a small set of things given my current job. No one outside of this field or role will see its value.

However this also means that you have a history of achievement, and can add to that foundation to become a more interesting professional hybrid. 

Most people consider career transitions because they are bored, unfulfilled, or not seeing a sufficient opportunity to learn and grow. If boredom is your issue, it means you may well have additional capacity to learn new things in your workplace by requesting to engage with initiatives outside what you typically do, or that you can seek something new to do outside of work.

I encourage people considering a transition to consider how they might add to their current set of skills to become a more interesting professional hybrid, in this sense, and to break out of the box they find themselves in, without doing too much damage in the process. I know, for example, a former journalist who became an accomplished business development person, and a successful entrepreneur who is also a comic in their spare time. I know an expert programmer who is also an adept teacher. When you can combine your current skills with new ones, you become extremely interesting, professionally, to would-be employers. It is about seeing how you can build on your solid bedrock of existing skills. When you were younger most figured that you had energy and perhaps hunger to do the job. Rarely, did they think you were skilled because you had so little experience. NOW, you have the foundation of skills to which you can add.

Read On…



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