Have you found yourself hating to go to work every day for some time now? Is it less about perhaps temporarily having a lousy boss and more about what you’ve been doing for many years? Have you lost your passion for your job and are totally bored most days? Do you daydream about another type of job you think you’d really love to be doing? Could you possibly switch careers at this point in your life with experience only in one field and also in the midst of challenging economic times? The answer could very well be, maybe not; but it certainly doesn’t hurt to explore the possibilities.
Here are some actions to take if you are contemplating a midlife career change. First, try to get some focus around what it is you believe you want to do. If you’re really not sure, talk to people about what they do and perhaps even take an assessment test to help determine what you might be a good fit for based on your personality and/or interests. Second, research any occupations you’re considering as it’s important to be informed about the field to determine if the career is a realistic option for you. Check out the range of typical salaries for people in this profession at various levels as well as the forecast for jobs in this field over the next 5-10 years. The Government Occupational Outlook (www.bls.gov/oco/) is a fairly good resource for all of this information.
If after researching, what if you determine you don’t have the education or experience seemingly required for a career you’d like to pursue? In some fields, it will matter quite a bit as a license or certification may be mandatory at any level. In others, you may presently have marketable skills that are transferable to that occupation. Try also not to steer down just one path but explore multiple roads until you discover a career path that has the possibility of getting you close to where you want to be. If you feel it would be beneficial, enlist the help of a career counselor who could objectively assist with identifying potential occupations and establishing a plan to get you there. Obviously it will not work out for everyone to make a change right when they want to? In the harshness of the current economy or given the current state of your personal situation, it may be that you’ll need to hold off until a time when you may not have the financial pressures or demands on your time that you have presently. Regardless, don’t ever give up on your career dreams due to current circumstances. Perhaps you could test out a field by starting a related hobby or doing some volunteer or part time work in it. You’ll then have an idea if the profession will give you the satisfaction you’ve been seeking and it may also help make your primary job a bit more tolerable.
Remember that it will take a bold step to change careers midlife. But if you do your homework, then add some reality and planning to those longing passions, reinventing yourself could make your career daydreams come true.