••• The International Writers Magazine - 24 Years on-line - Changing Careers
Ready for a Change:
3 Steps to Change Your Career Path at Any Age
It's never too late to invest in your life and career
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Changing career paths is a move often associated with younger adults. When you’re just starting out, it’s easy to make a switch before investing yourself too deeply into one specific path. However, it’s never too late to make that decision and switch careers.
No matter your age, you deserve a job that makes you feel fulfilled. Once upon a time, it was commonplace to get a job at a young age and stick with it for decades — whether you were happy or not.
The rules have changed. The average person switches jobs anywhere from 5-7 times throughout their life, and there’s no age limit to that.
You might be considering a career change for a variety of reasons. Maybe you want a salary increase, more flexibility, or perhaps your philosophies and goals in life are changing. Whatever the case, don’t let age be the factor that stops you from pursuing a new career.
If you’re a bit apprehensive about the idea, that’s understandable. Starting a new career at any age can be a little overwhelming, but it shouldn’t be the thing that holds you back. Let’s cover a few steps you can use to change your career path at any age, and find success doing something you’re passionate about.
1. Transition the Smart Way
Maybe you know you’re ready for a career change, but haven’t given much thought as to why. Some of the most common reasons why people decide to leave a job include:
- You need a greater challenge
- You’re not making enough money
- Your passion is elsewhere
- Your circumstances have changed
- You want to follow your passion
There’s really no “bad” reason to leave a certain career path if you’re unhappy or your needs aren’t met. However, there are bad ways to do it. You’ll want to be smart about your transition and do it in a way that works for you.
A good rule of thumb is to decide which career you might want to enter before you leave your current job. You don’t necessarily have to have another job lined up. But, at the very least, you should start looking and applying at other places of interest. The last thing you’ll want is to quit your job and be out of work for months because you didn’t plan ahead.
Second, make sure you don’t burn any bridges. Whether you like your current job or not, you should do as much as possible to leave on good terms. You never know when you might want to ask for a letter of recommendation. Plus, future prospective employers might contact your previous employer(s) to learn more about you. Give plenty of notice and keep doing your best until your last day of work.
2. Build a Better Budget
Before you leave your current job, consider putting together a budget. Doing so will give you a better idea of the kind of income you’ll need to make as you go forward.
As you’re switching careers, you’ll probably experience irregular paychecks. You might receive a few checks from your previous employers depending on how often they pay. However, if you choose a career path that pays hourly, or you decide you want to be self-employed, irregular paychecks will become the norm. Take the time to get used to them now so you can build a budget that works for you. You can do that by:
- Determining your average monthly income
- Listing your baseline monthly expenses
- Reconfiguring your debts
- Adding extra income to your savings when you can
The great thing about putting together a tangible, detailed budget is that it gives you a clear image of how much you make and spend. When you use a lot of detail, you can adjust your budget easily based on your needs and wants. If you’re in between jobs or starting somewhere new, having a budget in place can give you peace of mind in knowing you’ll be able to make things work financially. As you start to find more success in a new career, you can shift your expenses or choose to put more away in savings. Just as it’s never too late to change careers, it’s also never too late to save more money for retirement!
3. Find an Employer That Provides What You Need
If your current (or former) workplace doesn’t prioritize mental wellness, you’re probably doing yourself a favor by switching careers. A person’s mental health directly correlates to their happiness and productivity at work. A toxic work environment can lead to burnout, causing problems like:
- Sadness or anger
- Low motivation
As you change your career path, especially at an older age, it’s essential to choose a career and an employer that will meet your needs and support your mental well-being. Consider looking for employers that offer subsidized clinical screenings for depression and other mental health issues, or those that encourage a positive work-life balance.
Think about other things that might have been missing from your previous career that are important to you. If you’re switching careers because you weren’t passionate about the work you were doing, what would help you reignite your spark? Consider your interests and how you can make a living doing what you love.
Maybe you also want an opportunity to grow in a new field. Work with employers that offer training, or even those who will pay for your education if you want to go back to school. When you choose an employer that’s willing to invest in you and your success, you can be fairly confident you’re in a positive, healthy work environment.
You’re never too old to chase your dreams, no matter how cheesy that might sound. Let go of the old mindset that you need to remain in one career forever. Whether you’re unhappy, want the ability to grow, or you’re ready to try something completely different, it’s never too late to change career paths and find what truly makes you tick. Keep these steps in mind to make the process as smooth as possible, so you’ll have an easier time finding a career that works for you while remaining financially secure and in a better mental space.
© Indiana Lee 12.01.23
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