How to Change Your Career After Fifty

By on February 5, 2019
Career After fifty

When you reach your middle years, even if you’re healthy and young for your age, you may feel you’d like a change of pace or fancy exploring new possibilities such as starting your own business. If the work you do is physically demanding and you’re finding it struggle, or you have a health problem that affects your fitness and stamina, you may wish you could find a less demanding way to earn a living.

You may want to devote more time to your other interests, and have the opportunity because your living costs are lower now the mortgage is paid off and the kids have left home. There are many reasons why a change of career could be at the forefront of your mind, but how can you make sure you’re doing the right thing, and what’s the best way to approach a change of career at this stage in your life?

Should you change career?

This is a question only you can answer in the end, but it’s useful to try and be objective about it, and see if you can gather information that will help you make the right choice. Rather than going over the pros and cons in your head and constantly changing your mind, write everything down. List all the reasons you have for wanting to change career and what is preventing you, then think about how you feel when you consider either changing or staying put.

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If you feel excited about making a change, or you know that you aren’t able to continue as you are, that’s a good indication that change will be a positive action. If the thought of change fills you with fear, ask yourself why that is; could it be that it’s a simple fear of the unknown, of giving up what you’re familiar with? Or is it that you are genuinely happy where you are and dread the thought of giving it up?

Only you can answer these questions and decide on your future. You can ask friends and family, and they may have some valuable insights and ideas you hadn’t thought of, but remember this is your life and you have to make the decision for your own reasons. If you’re struggling to reach any conclusions, a careers counsellor or life coach could be very helpful in guiding you through your indecision, and they’ll also have aptitude and psychometric testing options to give you more evidence about what kind of career suits you best or where any problems may lay.

How should you change career?

There are three possible approaches to changing your career:

1. Use your existing qualifications and experience to make a sideways move into an allied profession. Diversifying within a related industry is a good option, especially if you love the job you do but aren’t able to carry on for some reason. Nursing and other caring professions, for example, are physically demanding and you may not want to leave your job, but have to because you’ve developed a back problem, or arthritis. Instead of having to give up doing what you enjoy, you could consider moving into an affiliated role, perhaps in occupational therapy, sports massage, patient relations, or many other roles in which you’ll still be helping people.

Do some research on the various roles available and find out what you’d need in the way of qualifications, and don’t forget to check on the typical remuneration packages on offer, because you need to know what you’d be making on a massage therapist salary or as a patient liaison officer to help you work out your budgets. You’ll almost certainly need to complete some retraining or take additional qualifications, but if you have the core skills and experience in the sector, you’ll be off to a good start.

2. Retrain from scratch in a completely new field. If you want a complete change of direction, the world is, in a way, your oyster. Further and higher education opportunities are open to people of all ages, and with the widespread availability of distance learning, part-time courses, and other flexible ways to learn, there are very few careers you couldn’t move to in later life. You do need to be realistic, after all trying to train as a ballerina in your fifties isn’t likely to end up with you appearing in a national production of Swan Lake. However, if you have the abilities and the ambition, your age needn’t be a barrier to making a radical career change.

3. Branch out on your own. Going freelance or starting your own business is a change that many older people are embracing with enthusiasm and great success. Being older means, you have far more experience and have accumulated a great deal of knowledge through your life, which is a brilliant foundation for setting up a business of your own. You can use the career you’ve devoted your life to so far as the basis for a new business idea, perhaps creating a service or filling a gap in the product ranges which you’re aware of from your industry knowledge. Or you could use the transferable skills you’ve accrued to head in an entirely new direction.

The key to succeeding in your new career is to do your homework before you take the plunge. Find out everything you can about the work, what you need to do to attain any new skills or brush up on your existing ones, the prospects of finding a job or making money from your business; all the information you need to ensure the choice you make is the right one for you.

You need to be willing to start at the bottom and work your way up if necessary and commit to studying for qualifications that are recommended for your new career as well as the ones you have to have. Making changes can be scary, but if you’re prepared for and enthusiastic about your new life, it could be the best decision you’ve made.


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  1. Pingback: Your Career at 50: Reasons Why You Should Keep LearningYour Career at 50: Reasons Why You Should Keep Learning - LivingBetter50 - LivingBetter50

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How to Change Your Career After Fifty