Making a career change is difficult at any time, but making a mid life career change can be particularly challenging. The thought of going out into the workplace and starting all over again can be frightening. Yet many people decide that they do want to make a career change mid life and in some ways it is the ideal time for a career move. So what are the pros and cons of mid life career change?
1. You have more life experience than you did in your teens and twenties.
This means that you will have gathered a great many new skills, developed existing ones and had experience of the world of work.
2. You have more time now to think about what you want. If you have been looking after children full time, or working part time while the kids were growing up, mid life can be a good time to consider a change. Once your children are old enough to look after themselves or have left home for college, you’ll have a lot more time on your hands. This can be the perfect opportunity to choose a new direction, by following a long held dream or setting up a small business.
3. You may have fewer financial pressures than when you were first starting out, especially if the mortgage has been paid and the kids’ college funds secured.
4. As a result of having worked for some time, you’ll be a lot clearer about what you are good at and what you enjoy doing.
1. You may need to retrain and this can be time consuming and costly. Although you may be more financially secure, you may not have enough spare cash for a lengthy course.
2. It may be so long since you last studied that you are afraid you won’t be able to keep up with younger students or get your IT skills up to scratch.
3. You might not get support from friends, your partner and other family members.
4. If you haven’t had to find a job for a long time, you might not be up to date with jobsearch techniques.
5. Some employers, despite legislation, still prefer to employ younger workers.
Career change is a big decision and one that you have to make for yourself. So it is a question of balancing the pros and cons and working out what is best for you. You might be able to find your way around some of the obstacles, for example by training or studying part time or online, or gaining some extra skills in your present job and saving towards any courses you will need to do in future.
It is important to follow your heart. If you are happy, those around you will be happier too, even if they have initial misgivings.