By John Groth
You’re approaching 50 or more and the career you’ve worked in your whole life is turning to dust. It could be the atmosphere in your workplace taking a turn for the worse. Maybe the working conditions have changed, or your new boss is a jerk or perhaps the next manager up the line is impossible to talk to or combinations of all the negatives making the workplace and your career something you want to run away from.
In addition, many of your interests have changed and you know you’re not going to work out your career with this employer or perhaps even retire in this career. Well, you’re not alone; thousands every year in midlife not only change employers but move to another career as well.
Get the career change after 50 wrong and not only will you not advance but you may lose a critical year or two in the process. A career move to be successful must be carefully planned and managed. And like any important project, him each move must be analyzed and thought through with a built-in measure of flexibility.
Let’s briefly review some of the more common mistakes many make in deciding on a career change after 50.
1. Lack of Thoughtful Study: Even though a career may fit your skillset and interests, if you fail to understand, for example, you hate to be micro-managed and most of the jobs in this career are tightly controlled from the top a career change will end in failure. Or perhaps you’ll end up in a worse shape than before the career changes.
As you research the proposed career field, don’t neglect to talk to those currently working in the field to get a proper feel for all aspects of the new career.
2. Failure to consider how your interests and skills were achieved: Rarely do your interests and skills move in a linear fashion. You try something and then drop it. Your skills languish until you “get it.” New interests come to the forefront, and so it goes.
If you continue keeping your eyes open and build and work your career plan; you’ll be surprised many times as new opportunities and exactly the right career drops into your lap.
3. Only following the money: If you measure your career satisfaction totally based on your earnings you may miss the whole point of making a career change. Rather, you should focus on the overall impact the career change will have on you and your family and not purely on terms of income.
Career change based on only one of many factors could leave you more dissatisfied than before the move to another career. Add everything together and carefully consider the entire picture in your analysis and you’ll make a better decision.
4. Lack of foresight and patience: Your current job and career seem to be so bad that you make the move before you have properly researched and analyzed the next step. More often than not, being employed and developing your career plan, is preferable to being unemployed and having to act in haste.
Successfully changing careers after 50, and really at any age, requires a high level of research, a companion financial plan, and time to acquire the necessary education, other qualifications, and experience.
5. Failure to realize you’re in charge: Often the hunting for another career is outsourced to a recruiter or head hunter. The career changer mistakenly assumes their transferable skills will be apparent and easily salable a prospective employer.
Nothing could be farther from reality. It’s your new career and it’s up to you to package your skills, qualifications, and experience in the best way possible. Some of this information will come from discussing the career with others, some from your research, and in large measure from your analysis of the needs of the prospective employer.
Where is the good career change advice?
Good advice is touched on in the discussion under the five things not to do in making a successful after 50 career change.
In summary good career move advice is: to do your homework, get the advice of others, consider all the factors in the career change, build a robust career plan (and don’t forget the financial aspects of the career change), be patient, and accept the responsibility that you are in charge of the career change. Be flexible and adjust your career plan as necessary.
We all want to get control over our career and our life and a midlife career change, done properly, can do just that.
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes.
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