How to Make a Career Change at 30 and 40

Making a career change is incredibly daunting. It’s even less so when you’re out of your vibrant twenties and well into middle age. 

Do you make a change by getting a degree or a certification? How long will it take you to find good-paying work in your field? These questions swarm like bees, cluttering your good sense and leaving you too nervous to act. 

We’re going to look at making a career change at 30 and 40, from psychology to job-hunting tips. 

Embrace The Delight of The Personal Journey

Your identity is in everything you do. It’s in your values. Your hobbies. Your goals.

Workers today are becoming reacquainted with this fact tenfold. Career changes are so attractive that nearly 60% of workers today will accept less pay if it meant doing work they love. If you’re in this camp, you’re already well on your way to making a satisfying career change. 

It may sound like a cheesy new-age guru line, but power really does come from within. If you face your career change feeling pessimistic or doubtful, this will affect how long you stick with your decision.

“You need to carry a positive mindset in life if you wish to build the wealth you want and deserve. You must believe that what you want can be attained, that you have the power to attain it, and that it will be delivered to you in your lifetime. Without this mindset, you’re more likely to give up when times get tough.”

Understand You Have Unique Insight To Offer

You may wonder if you need to compete with the twenty-somethings in the market. This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Fun fact time: the average worker making a big career change is 39 years old! Workers who aren’t quite young, but not quite old have unique insight to offer. This can be less common in younger workers who don’t yet have the luxury of comparing and contrasting multiple positions on their resume.

Positive traits more common in older workers include:

  • A more profound sense of purpose 
  • Several years’ of adjacent work experience
  • Heightened maturity
  • Being more comfortable advocating for yourself

Related: Bring Your Dreams to Life by Creating a Personal Mission Statement

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Don’t Reinvent The Wheel: Start Where You Are

Let’s say you’re a former home healthcare aide that really wants to work a desk job. Do you need to start over from scratch? Not at all.

You could go into data analysis and help clinics gather vital information on their clients. You could go into copywriting and help health-focused industries advertise their services. If you’re a highly visual person, you could try your hand at web design to work on websites or apps.

This is what it means to start where you are: you already have transferable experience.

This is just one of many examples on how career changes are pivots, not dramatic switches. 

Take some time to consider your work experience or education, then make a list of your:

  • Hard skills 
  • Soft skills
  • Degrees
  • Certifications
  • Life experience (yes, this matters!)

Related: Why 96% of Businesses Fail Within Ten Years

Need some help brainstorming what the next five years of your life could look like? Proctor Gallagher Consulting provides highly individualized and personal coaching to steer you on the right path. 

Become Comfortable With Asking For Help

This might actually be the most intense step on this list. Asking for help is hard for many people, yet it’s the difference between a confident change and a slog. 

Many people don’t ask for help for fear of looking incompetent or needy. Some are afraid of burdening others with their problems. Asking for help is actually a wonderful trait that displays self-awareness: it shows you understand your limitations and are in tune with what you need.

Not only will this trait give you the help you need, it’s a very practical ability that will translate well into your career. This is doubly true if you’re in a leadership position. 

A lack of awareness causes most work conflicts. Leaders don’t always realize the impact of their behaviors on the people around them. Because many organizations don’t have a systematic way to solve this problem, many hire a coach or apply some other form of training.”

Related: For Greater Success, Try Positive Action Instead of Positive Thinking

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The Best Time To Start Your Career Change Is Now

There will never be a perfect time for you to make your career change. Now is the best time to get started.

This doesn’t mean quit your job! Here’s how you transition into the proper mindset required for a career change. 

Firstly, you need to:

  • Write three reasons why you’re making a career change
  • Write three obstacles between you and changing your career successfully
  • Write three job positions you’re most interested in (and three you’re not interested in!)

Once you finish this step, the next step will be much easier to complete. 

  • Make a list of resources you need for the transition (certifications, work references, etc)
  • If you have any peers who made a career change, ask for their thoughts
  • Research the career fields adjacent to yours and what is most in-demand

“We’re all taught early in life that we’re supposed to grow up and work for a company like an indentured servant for 40 years and then fade away at retirement with a company pension that barely covers the necessities of daily existence. However, people are becoming more enlightened and educated, realizing that there’s a better way.”

You’re already off to a great start with your career change. Contact Proctor Gallagher Consulting to get a second opinion and launch the next stage of your life.

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