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Time to Make a Midlife Career Change?

Is making a midlife career change right for you?midlife career change

My real question to you is…is it ever the right time to take a career risk?

To follow your dream?

To regret-proof your life?

You may not think so…for so many reasons!

Some might say that midlife complicates things like your career.

You know, all that midlife stuff that creeps in to your brain. Especially with seniority and leaving a job you’ve had for a decade or two.

One type of change that seems more and more common is leaving a long-term job that’s just not cutting it anymore. There are many reason’s you might feel this way. Maybe your values or priorities have changed. Maybe you’re feeling stagnant or bored. Maybe you just want to try something new.

One of the most common reasons my clients want more out of their careers is that they don’t feel fulfilled anymore. Can you relate? That’s what it was for me. I was in a long-term job for 19 years. There was nothing wrong with my job. I had been exceptionally content for 14 of my 19 years there. But…eventually, I was no longer content or fulfilled. I hated that feeling and also found it a bit confusing.

When it comes to making a midlife career change like this in your 40s or 50s, you might also be thinking:

  • Am I too old?
  • Will I be able to find another job?
  • How will I compete with millennials?
  • At what age can i retire?
  • Is it stupid to leave now?
  • Is the best I can do?
  • What would leaving mean to my pension?
  • What about the stability I crave?
  • What do i really want anyway?

Personally, I used to fantasize about getting laid off. But then, five years in to my midlife career funk, I received a layoff notice one week after my 19th year anniversary.

My feelings were all over the map when this happened. I felt shocked, betrayed and stressed. But I also felt hopeful, less confused and curious.

Those feelings were definitely a step in the right direction.

Midlife lay offs can be an interesting part of your career change.

Ask yourself, is it better to have the decision to make a change made for you?

My layoff forced my hand and opened up so many amazing possibilities!

But now, in hindsight, I really wish I had made the decision to make the change on my own.

I’d like you to meet someone who DID make a big change on her own! I like to call her a “regret-proofer extraordinaire.”

Meet Jill Angie of Not Your Average Runner. Hear her story about how she coped with a job that was no longer satisfying and made the decision to completely change her life!

(Note: this interview was recorded in September 2016, but I love this little interview so much that I wanted to keep it in this updated version of the blog post.)

Well, what did you think? Yes, that ending is a bit rough, but this was recorded in the early days of Facebook Lives and recording quick videos like this. Video editing is on my list of things I want to learn but haven’t learned yet! And, I love that we took the time to record on the fly like that back then. Just love her story!

What did you think about what it’s like to make a midlife career change? Jill and I were teaching together at The Life Coach School when it was still in California when we recorded  cute little video ( which was taken at 6:00 am one morning before Jill took me on my first run.) It’s rough, but what we talked about is so good.

Jill feels strongly that you need to try some different things and believe that it’s not too late!

And yes…my first run. That’s just ONE of the changes I’m was on the brink of making at this time.

What are you ready to change?

Here are THREE important things to consider when you are ready to make a midlife career change (or any change in your life.)

1. Clean up your thinking.

It’s important to remember that it’s never wise to make a big decision when you’re full of negative emotions. Think about it. How do you think you want to feel when you’re making a huge change in your life? My guess is probably excited or motivated, right? That’s a very different feeling than being filled with frustration about your work or extreme dislike for your boss. The reason is that THOUGHTS create feelings. So if you want to feel motivated and excited, but you are completely aggravated and frustrated, your thinking won’t produce the result that you want because your thinking is producing those negative feelings.

2. Give your self time to dream.

It seems like the older we get, the less time we give ourselves to actually dream about what we want to create in our lives. Do what it takes to figure this all out. If money were no object, what would you want to do? What’s stopping you from doing things that you really want to do? Be really honest. Then ask yourself a few more questions. What are you making these reasons mean? What would your future self tell you right now? How is your decision not to pursue your dreams serving you? Or not? What will you have regrets about?

3. Appreciate what you love or loved about your current job.

Even if you decide it’s time to leave your job, it’s important to remember what parts of your job you really enjoy or enjoyed at some point. Do you love working with people? Do you like the level of decision making you have? What skills do you love using at work? What was the most rewarding part of your current job? These questions may give you insight into what else you might like to do. Thinking about the answers will also help prepare you for future interviews.

Remember, life really is short. No one wants to live with regrets.

My advice to you is to take your valuable time seriously. Really think about what you want.

If you’re not anywhere close to figuring it all out, make sure to take those important steps to GET what you need so you can get on with the important business of regret-proofing your life!

Here’s a great option for you! To learn more about the secret of getting unstuck in your career, check out my new career clarity group coaching program, CLEAR ON CAREER!

Career Change 50+

Originally published September 2016; Updated March 2021

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