“Celebrating another birthday doesn’t mean you’re stuck in a line of work you chose decades earlier. Age and experience can be assets in a new field.”
If you have passion for what you do, your day will not seem like work at all. But what if you don’t have that passion anymore? If you’re bored, burned-out, or your job just isn’t doing it for you anymore, there’s a good chance you’re ready for a change.
Older generations likely worked in one job or industry for their entire career and then retired. Changing careers was frowned upon. The millenniums, X, Y, and boomer generations are different. They will change-it-up when feeling discontented, bored or “been there, done that.” It is not unusual for these generations to undergo two-three-four re-careers — or reinventions over the course of one’s working life.
If you’re certain that you are ready to embark on a career change, this is what you need to think about:
What do I want?
Start by doing a self-assessment of your core values, how you like to work, and what you’d be compelled to do even if you never got paid. List the achievements of which you are most proud. These are not necessarily job-oriented achievements. List your causes and your hobbies, as well. When you do something that makes you proud, it is often something you like to do. Your list gives you a good idea of your skill sets and interests.
Do I have what it takes?
You need to know what is important in this new field, and what skills and experience are required. Then you need to figure out if you’ve got what it takes. Take stock of your intrinsic assets. We all have a unique combination of assets such as our personality, skill sets, abilities, and experiences.
People with some gray in their hair may be apprehensive about what’s out there. Will they be written off because of ageism? Will they have to take a big step down in salary? Will they find anything stimulating?
“If you’re 50 or 60, you have built up very valuable skills,” said Newport, who is in his early ‘30s and an assistant professor of computer science at Georgetown University. “Don’t discount them.” When you’re plotting your next career move, “work backwards from your skills. Ask yourself: What skills do I have and how rare and valuable are they? The intersection of your rare skills and what interests you is what should start your job hunt, not introspection about what you’re ‘meant to do.’”
Older adults bring qualities to the table that make them well-suited to diverse jobs in different sectors. Many startup companies are looking for experienced people. In fact, many startup companies are being launched by people over 50 who have developed business ideas based on their experiences in the field.
Is this career a good fit?
Make an effort to learn as much as you can about job prospects, work-life balance, salary estimates and required skills.
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