The Pros and Cons of a Midlife Career Change

By on April 10, 2019
Midlife Career Change

If you’re considering a midlife career change, you may be feeling pretty alone in your employment tribulations. For many in their 50s, their peers are getting closer to retirement than they are to a change in their career. However, there’s nothing wrong with looking to new horizons. At the end of the day, it’s never too late to decide to change your course — as long as you’re ready and willing to overcome the obstacles involved. 

Job Satisfaction Matters

One big pro in a midlife career change is that you can focus on finding a job that leaves you feeling fulfilled and satisfied. According to a 2014 job satisfaction survey by The Conference Board, over half of all Americans are unhappy with their current job. If you want to make a career change simply because you aren’t satisfied with it, that’s a great reason to do so.

Job satisfaction looks a little different for everyone, so make sure you’re not settling for a job that will leave you unsatisfied again. You might even consider a job freelancing in order to maintain flexibility. The gig economy has been steadily growing, and new opportunities are always sprouting up. You could start a business, go back to school, or gain entry-level employment. Whatever you choose, your satisfaction should be the most important consideration.

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Establish Your Goal First

Before deciding whether or not you should make a big career change at this stage in your life, first narrow down your goal for your next step. Are you looking for flexibility, creative freedom, better benefits, job satisfaction, more money, stability, or something easier on your body? Establishing this goal will help you to have a plan of action in your job search.

Be strategic in your focus. Look for fields expecting to experience significant growth in the future, such as healthcare. Go through your budget and decide the lowest salary that will work for your finances. Network with other professionals you may know and gain more knowledge on what is out there.

Experience Can Trump a Degree

One reason why many people wanting to change their career path late in life decide not to is because of the change in the job market compared to what it used to be. However, you can always go back to school, get a certification, or do your homework on these changes. Furthermore, you have the added perk of having years of experience just by being on this planet longer than some other applicants.

For example, many older women may feel intimidated entering the workforce late in life if they’ve spent their lives being a homemaker or a stay-at-home mom. However, these women have a ton of experience in cleaning, raising kids, cooking, etc. This can translate into a job in senior care, housekeeping, or babysitting. Though you may not have a degree, you may have a lot of real-life experience that makes you qualified.

Navigating the Financial Side

One of the cons involved in changing careers at this stage of life is navigating the specifics of your financial situation. It’s important to budget first in order to figure out the salary you’re going to need, but you should also look into the benefits package you currently have as well as the benefits you’ll need. You’ll want to take a serious look into your retirement savings, your social security information, and how to be realistic about this major life change. Job satisfaction is important, but so is your retirement.

Before leaving your current career, schedule a meeting with a representative with your retirement account and discuss how much you have saved, any penalties associated with transferring your retirement account, and how much your current company is matching. This information can help you in making a decision about your career. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t change careers; it just means it’ll help you to determine the benefits you’ll need in your next job.

The pros and cons involved in the decision to make a midlife career change will be slightly different for everyone. Weighing them will be up to you, but it’s important to remember that your decision should benefit you first and foremost. If you decide your reason for leaving is enough, then it is. If you decide to stick with your job, that’s great. Just remember, it’s never too late to make a change as long as you’re ready for the transition.


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The Pros and Cons of a Midlife Career Change