Make the Most of the Time You Have Left: 5 Tips for a Mid-Career Change

You’re done. Drained. Burned out. Checked out.

Whatever your preferred nomenclature, the signs are unmistakable: You’re in dire need of a career change.

The problem is, you’re no spring chicken. You remember your university days like last month, but it’s been years — decades — since you set foot in a classroom. You’re apprehensive about sharing desk space with students half your age, to say the least.

Should you resign yourself to muddling through until the government’s actuarial tables say it’s time to hang up your hat?

Absolutely not. It’s never too late to embark on a career change, although it’s sure to be easier on you and your family if you keep a few ground rules in mind. Here’s how to start thinking about the next chapter of your professional life.

1. Look for Flexible Degree and Certificate Opportunities

You’re likely to keep working while you pursue the educational credentials you’ll need to find work in your new field. Look for flexible degree and certificate opportunities designed for part-time students; digital arts schools like Centre for Arts and Technology in Kelowna, British Columbia, typically offer such opportunities in spades.

2. Game Out the Next Five Years

Five years from now, the hope is that you’re quickly rising through the ranks in your new career thanks to Lensa Insights. The tough part is making sure you get there. Have a clear, step-by-step plan in place, along with a schedule for executing that plan.

3. Understand the Financial Implications 

Unless you’re eagerly anticipating a new career in accounting, this won’t be the most stimulating exercise. Still, it’s crucial to understand precisely how your planned career change will affect your finances. That means running a household cash flow analysis at your expected starting salary and adding expenses related to your career change, such as tuition and a lengthy period of reduced income.

4. Consider Freelancing or Consulting to Bridge the Gap

As you manage the transition, and especially if you plan to go back to school to get a second degree, consider freelancing or consulting to keep income flowing and your skills sharp. Review these tips for aspiring freelancers to maximize your efficiency during this all-important period.

5. Don’t Quit Before You’re Ready

For burned-out workers who can’t wait to get out the door, this is difficult advice to take, but that doesn’t make it any less essential. Leaving your current, ostensibly secure job before you’re ready to make the leap could have significant financial and career ramifications beyond what you’re expecting.

Learning to Love Change

People live longer than ever these days. For many, 65 is the new 45; they’re just as likely to see retirement as an opportunity to change careers yet again as an expiration date on their working lives.

In the new normal, it’s not uncommon for folks to change careers — not just jobs, but careers — four or five times over the course of a working life. That might sound exhausting to you, or it might sound like precisely what the career counselor ordered. We only get so much time in this world, after all; why not make every waking moment count?

 

Adam Hansen