Career dilemma at 40
Changing careers at 40 is not easy. And a career plan can help you address the dilemma.
At 40, you seem very settled in life, especially in your job – even if you are not very content with it. You are hanging in there just because “the money is good”. There’s nothing exciting or challenging left and finally one day you realise that you’ve lost the enthusiasm for the job you do. So, what do you now? Most people tend to stick around just because they are in a “comfort zone”. People tend to live under the assumption that a mid-life career change means risking all that one has earned in their entire career span, and that’s the biggest mistake they make.
Yes, changing career at 40 is not easy. A few years ago, when you were about to begin your career, you may have felt similar apprehensions; back then, you did not have the experience and the knowledge. Also, you weren’t burdened with family responsibilities and had the freedom to experiment. Today, it’s a different scenario – you have the experience, the industry knowledge, but you also have responsibilities and a family to take care of as well as loans and bills to pay off. Most individuals are held back at these very crossroads and are unable to decide so, therefore, stick to a job they are not satisfied with.
At this stage, one needs effective career-planning:
Analyse your career: Take time out and reflect on what your career has been like. Analyse the projects and assignments you worked on and whether they helped you grow. Evaluate to see if this job has fulfilled the expectation you had before you took up the job offer.
Make a note of things that interest you about your job and things that you dislike most about your job. What are you dissatisfied about the most? Can it be worked on?
Speak to your family as well as other close confidantes about you contemplating a career change.
Read about the industry you are keen on and commit to understanding the skills and knowledge needed for it. This will also help you review your own skills.
Understand your financial standing: How will your decision to change you career affect your financial stability? Most often, the financial risks of changing a job are a major reason why people hesitate to make a career move. People prefer staying at a job that they are not content with just because they fear taking the financial risk.
Consider alternative roles within your current industry that would utilise the industry knowledge you already have.
Speak to a specialist: Recruiters are the best option one can have while in such a career dilemma. Recruiters study your career when they speak to you, and identify and understand your skills. They deal with many such individuals who are in a similar situation and can’t make up their minds. Recruiters not only help change jobs, but also act as career counsellors They try and understand what you are enthusiastic about the most as well as your career history, and advise you on your best career move.
Be confident: This is extremely important. At forty, many individuals feel a strong urge to follow their innermost desires – taking up something that they always wanted to do but could not earlier in their lives. You need to be confident about your decision and have a willingness to experiment. It is better to experiment now with some courage rather than repent on your life when you are 60.
This article is authored by Nagesh Joshi, Managing Partner Antal International Network, Pune