After turning 50, many believe that the opportunity for a career change has passed. And after spending years gaining experience and knowledge in a career field, it’s often expected you’ll remain in that field until retirement. However, a career change at 50 is entirely possible, and may even be far more beneficial than you initially realize.
By the time you’ve reached your 50s you’ve probably been employed for the better part of three decades, which makes it easy to think most of your working life is behind you. However, if you plan to retire in your late 60s – and many people intend to work for much longer – you still have around 17 years left in the workforce. Life after 50 indeed!
Even if you take a step down in seniority to change careers, there’s still time to gain it back. Besides, if it means you enjoy your work life more, it could be worth the trade-off. In fact, the challenge that comes with learning and gaining higher positions in a new field could be part of the draw for you. It’s all too easy to get into a comfortable rut and making a career change at 50 is one way to get out of it.
You may have heard the Lord of the Rings quote, “all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” This can be applied to all things in life and your career is certainly one of them. If your work life doesn’t bring you joy at 50, it’s incredibly unlikely the situation will improve at 55 or 60. Keep yourself from descending into monotony by realizing when it’s time to shake things up.
Along with the potential for a renewed sense of joy from your work, there could also be positive flow-on effects for your personal life. Knowing you’ve made such a big change in one part of your life may give you the confidence to tackle goals in other areas – or start new projects and hobbies. You’ll meet new people – possibly expanding your social circle – and overall could simply find yourself happier. If you’re single, maybe you’ll find yourself inspired to start dating. With our members all aged 50 and over, SilverSingles is the right online dating service for those looking for mature, meaningful connections.
Of course, while you may be itching to change careers, sometimes it simply isn’t a viable option now. Monetary matters are big factors in why many choose to stay in a career that no longer brings joy, along with a lack of family support. A career change is a major shake-up, so careful decision- making and timing should certainly be taken into consideration.
However, if a career change isn’t a possibility at present, perhaps applying for a similar job at a different company could be a good move. Alternatively, many workplaces prefer to hire from within, consider your options for reassignment or taking on another role within your current company. And finally, if you can’t decide right now, take the time to develop a plan for your career change that you can work on over months or years.
Don’t neglect the emotional side of change
Former management consultant and Harvard Business Review contributor Ron Ashkenas has noted that those undergoing a career change need to overcome three emotional obstacles to succeed. Firstly, embracing your selfish side to override the guilt of leaving your current company and workmates. Secondly, working out your new identity and self-image after your career change, and thirdly, dispensing with comfy, old patterns and habits and adjusting to new ones.
Consider an “encore career”
There’s a growing desire for those over 50 to contribute to the well-being of others and after gaining skills in their first career field are perfectly placed to do so. Organizations such as Encore.org are on a mission to harness the resource that is our growing 50+ population and involve them in new career paths for social change. It’s basically about leaving the world better than we found it and that can’t be a bad thing.
Make the transition as smooth for yourself as possible
However quick the decision to change careers may have been, there are things you can do to make what can be a stark change somewhat easier. A trial period or even an internship could solidify your new job path. Writing down goals for the short and long term could keep you focused. Also, arranging to speak to a mentor in the industry is a great way to get insight. If you’re changing from a corporate environment to a more relaxed setting, do some research into the company structure to avoid surprises. Making the transition as easy as possible will make the change so much easier.
Don’t forget your social life
While 55% of employed adults admit their job gives them a sense of identity, it’s important not to neglect your life outside of work. This is particularly important during a career change when your sense of self will be changing. You could go on a weekend trip, pick up some fun hobbies, attend local events, or spend time with family and friends. If you’re single, why not find a partner to meet with on a date. SilverSingles is here especially for men and women over 50 looking to form meaningful relationships.
Joining SilverSingles could usher in the same positive change for your personal life that your career is also benefiting from. Our members hail from all walks of life, bringing a range of lifestyles, personalities, and passions with them. We match members with compatible preferences and personalities, then leave them to chat and find that special spark. If you’re ready to find a genuine connection there’s no need to wait, take our personality test and we’ll start introducing you to people today.