Guest Author - Dianne Walker
You’ve heard it said, “40 is the new 50” or “60 is the new 50.” What does that mean when it comes to your job? What does it mean in terms of changing careers? Is there such a thing as being “too old” to change careers? If there is, what happens if you get thrown into a situation where you have no choice but to switch careers? While it may be more difficult, it’s not impossible.
Ask yourself why you are looking into a career change in the first place. Is it unhappiness with the type of work or could it be the employer? If the problem is that you’re having issues with your manager or company, but still enjoy the job – a new job would be a better decision then transitioning to a totally new career. Look into the future of your current position. If you can’t see a future, or the one you picture looks bleak, consider changing careers.
Does the new career require a degree? In addition to knowledge, skills and abilities, this is one of the most important aspects to look at when you’re considering a “late in life” career change. A new career requiring a degree is not an improbability but it is definitely more daunting if you do not possess the required degree. Don’t give up. Some (not all) organizations will take real life – relevant work experience in lieu of having a college degree. This is known as having an “equivalency.”
What should you do if you decide that a new career is the best choice? First, you need to mentally prepare yourself. Wrap your arms around the fact that you may be the oldest, “new kid on the block.” In fact, that may be the ideal situation to be in. You may not know a lot about the technical functions of the job, but you bring workplace wisdom. How to deal with managers, even work ethics are talents you can bring to the environment.
What about the technical aspects of the job? Unfortunately, some older workers are not comfortable with the more technological aspects of certain jobs. PDA’s, computers, even software is something you will need to get up to speed on. Fortunately, most of this can easily be learned through inexpensive (if not free) classes. Check out courses offered at your local library. Many have programs to teach basic computer skills.
So are you too old for a career change? Definitely not, many people are working well into their 70’s, even a few in their 80’s. Start by looking at your reasons for wanting to change careers and if it is actually the course you want to take.
If you decide that you’re ready, get up to speed. You may need to take courses to learn the basics and make you a viable candidate in the marketplace. You will need to sell potential employers on the value your work experience can bring to the workplace.
Are you too old for a career change? Absolutely not!