If you’re thinking of changing careers at 40, let me start by saying this: You can do it!
You’re not crazy.
It’s not too late.
You haven’t wasted your life up until now.
There’s something about the age of 40 that makes us want to take a time-out and evaluate our lives. Professionally, we’re close to the halfway point. If we assume that you graduated college at the age of 22 and are lucky enough to retire at the age of 65, your “official” halfway point is the age of 43 1/2.
And that’s an important point to make. You’re not even halfway there yet! If you’ve gotten on the wrong career track in your life, you still have a long way to go. Switch trains now while you still have the chance. It’s not too late to get on the right one now.
Turning 40 makes us think about what we’ve accomplished in our lives. Chances are, you’ve got a pretty decent accomplishment list, whether you think so or not. Some pretty big life changes typically happen in that period between college and hitting 40. We get married, have kids, “settle down,” and give living “the balanced life” our best shot. We somehow become grown-ups, responsible not only for ourselves but for others as well. Sometimes we wonder who we’re kidding. How did we get to be the ones in charge anyway?
Along with evaluating what we’ve accomplished by the time we turn 40, we also tend to think about what we still haven’t accomplished yet, too. What was on our list of hopes, dreams and goals that still hasn’t been crossed off yet? It’s a time for some serious reflection on those goals. Are they ever going to be achieved? We have some decisions to make here.
We’ve got one of three choices to make:
1. Let the Dream Die: Maybe it was just a silly dream from our youth. Maybe it was completely unrealistic anyway. It’s not really something we’re interested in anymore, and we’re quite content to cross it off the list as a “never gonna happen” dream. And we’re completely okay with that.
2. Save the Dream for Later: We acknowledge that we still want the dream, but… now is just not the time. We have too much going on at the moment to even begin to entertain the thought of going after the dream now. Maybe later.
3. Go After the Dream: We realize that yes, we do still want to achieve those goals. They’re important to us, and we realize that it’s not too late… yet. With a plan and some deliberate actions, we could in fact still pursue, and achieve, those things that we always longed for. And we realize that the time is now for us to get serious about it.
If you’re thinking of changing careers at 40, then you’re probably finding yourself in Camp #3 above right now. You’ve decided to go for it. That there’s too much life left to live not to go for it! You know that it may not be easy, but that meaningful change never is.
Good for you!
Changing careers at 40 may be scary, but it can help you turn the second half of your career into your favorite half. Your most productive half. The most meaningful half. You’ve had plenty of time to figure out what you don’t want in a career, and now you’ve got the opportunity to re-chart the course towards the career that you do want.
Changing careers at 40 is often a courageous move. It is a refusal to give up on the goals and ideals that you set for yourself long ago. Maybe “life happened” and threw you off course over the last few years, but you’re not accepting that as the final outcome. You did what you needed to do at the time, but you’re wiser, more experienced, and more determined than ever now. You will achieve your dreams!
Make the second half of your career count. Find the work that you love. Achieve your greatest potential by choosing work that is in line with your passions and personality. Use the gifts and talents that you delight most in using. With drive and determination, you’ll be able to go back to that checklist of goals and dreams and cross them off your list with a flourish.
And you can say, with a big ol’ smile on your face, “I did it.”
LEGEND Talent Management works with both companies and individuals to ensure that the RIGHT people are in the RIGHT jobs. Our Career Management division works specifically with mid-career professionals who are ready to make significant changes to the course of their careers. Our Career Assessment tools can help identify careers that are a strong match with an individual’s skill set, personality type, and occupational interests. To learn more about our career assessment process, please contact us at info@LEGENDTalentManagement.com.