You’re in your 30s or 40s, and you don’t like your job. You’re wondering, “Should I make a mid-life career switch?” Use these five questions to help you decide.
Do You Know What You Would Like to Pursue?
When you’re unhappy at work, it’s easy to have an “anywhere but here” attitude. However, as Julie Jansen points out in her book, I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This, be careful. If you jump into something else without thinking, you’ll usually end up back in the same place. To make an advantageous change, you need to research, investigate and thoroughly explore your options.
Do You Have Hands-on Experience with Your New Career?
Let’s say you like the idea of becoming a customer service representative. Are you willing to spend eight hours on the phone each day? Do you mind dealing with angry customers? Since every occupation has pros and cons, it’s important to look at the whole picture. Rather than imagining how glorious a job might be, try it. You could shadow a professional, take on a temporary position, or complete related contract and/or freelance assignments. Hopefully, your new field will be everything you envisioned. And if not, you’ll realize your mistake before going through the trouble of a career change.
Do You Have Transferable Skills?
You may not have originally or specifically trained for this career. Nevertheless, as a middle-aged adult, you have a wealth of knowledge younger candidates lack. Transferable soft skills, such as communication, leadership, teamwork and adaptability, are useful across industries. Be sure to advertise these talents on applications and in interviews. In many cases, your real-life experiences are just as valuable as formal training.
Do You Recognize What’s Involved in Switching Careers?
Perhaps you self-taught yourself successfully. Still, many industries require certifications or degrees. You may be able to complete certifications within a few weeks, whereas an advanced degree could take a few years. Before you commit, consider lifestyle and finances. College classes are expensive and take away time with your family. Of course, you may find the short-term sacrifices are well worth the long-term gains.
Can You Afford to Switch Careers?
If you’re excited to try something new, this is an unpleasant yet necessary question. Remember, you may not only have to deal with education costs but also reduced income. Often, you’ll start out your new career in an entry-level position and, thus, make less money. Even if you don’t mind a potential pay cut, review your finances in case things don’t go as planned.
Do You Need Some Help Making a Mid-Life Career Switch?
If you’re thinking about a mid-life career change, the recruiters at FirstStaff can match you with the contract, temporary and even permanent positions in your hoped-for field. Experiment with different jobs and make some extra money too. Discover new opportunities with FirstStaff in Little Rock, Arkansas today!