So, you are in your 50s, and you are in a career you once loved but, now find it stale. Staying in that job one more day is impossible, much less the next 15 years!
The idea of changing careers in your 50s seems risky. In fact, think back to when you originally got into your career based on factors that are no longer relevant to you. To being with, you probably were in your 20s, and your mindset was completely different. Initially, you thought about the money and what your parents wanted. Secondly, in your 20s, the idea of an exciting job and living a fast-paced lifestyle was intriguing.
Now in your 50s
Now that you are older your views and concerns have changed. “Been there, done that”! Your priorities have probably changed. It’s time for a less stressful career, maybe less demanding, and offers you more time with family and friends.
What is holding you back
Common reasons for fear of change are the fear of:
- Discomfort and effort
- The unknown
- New things
When I turned 50 (pre-pandemic), it was a time for reflection. Our kids were out of the house, the company I worked for sucked, and I needed to fly out to help out my parents pretty regularly. And so, I wanted a new career with more flexibility, ability to increase my pay and the ability to work from anywhere. In fact, I have not been enthralled with my career for a while. Honestly, it was more about the company I couldn’t take anymore. Plus, my career included having clients and the idea of starting my business all over somewhere else…well, I might as well start a new career.
Considering going back to school
There was a lot to consider before going back to school. To be honest, where we lived, it would be a bit of a commute to go to a University. In fact, the universities I could attend would take an hour commute, on a good day, parking, sitting in classes, and coming home.
Next, what career would I transition into? With this in mind, I had to do some soul searching. In fact, I had to find the right fit if I was going to go back to school. I needed something that I had some experience with, and I was excited about.
My husband, a great researcher, came up with an excellent school situation and career path.
School and masters program
My spouse was a huge help in finding the right school and the right program. He has an expansive career in business and is a good resource. I needed an online program to continue working and not lose hours and hours commuting. In fact, I suggest talking to people around you as everyone needs resources when deciding on changing their career.
First, I decided on a new career that would be based on one of my biggest pet peeves – organizations that grow and change and don’t consider effects on their employees. I have “a lot” of experience and frustration with this.
I wanted my next career to be helping other people, hopefully avoiding all my frustration with organizational change. Thus, the program I enrolled in entailed; “Studying the behavior of employees enables professionals to examine and observe the work environment and anticipate change.” In fact, the course incorporates courses in the fields of communication, conflict resolution, and psychology.”
Back to school
Obviously, it has been a while since I first attended university; however, I took multiple certifications over the years, so it is not entirely foreign. The hardest thing was getting used to “how-to-do things” like signing up for classes, buying books, and finding resources. Honestly, once I figured all that out, it was exciting and interesting.
The program takes about two years to complete. One skill I suggest early on is learning to speed read. I took a quick course after finishing my first course. Learning to skim material saves you a ton of time. Although I seem to recall the speed reading course was offered free via the school program, I would imagine any course of this type is worth the investment.
I graduated with honors though I suspect any older adult would have the same focus and experience to complete the course the same way. Most schools offer you tons of resources to go back. For example, a writing course, speed reading, online libraries, and I had a coach to help me my first year.
I suggest that anyone dissatisfied with their career and wants a new path- go back to school. Going back to school allows you to get on the right path and confidence to start your next career.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or share your experiences.
If you feel anxious about making a change, check out my article on “Anxiety Sucks!”