Maybe you married and had children young and never really had time to deliberately build a career, or perhaps you’ve been working for years as a professional without feeling fulfilled. Perhaps you’ve reached the top of your field and are simply looking for a new challenge or re-entering the workforce after years away. Whatever the reason, making a career change later in life, when you are 40, 50 or even older, can feel intimidating. However, you won’t be heading down an untrodden path. Plenty of other people have made a similar change.
Read About Others
It can be scary to make this leap, especially if people in your life aren’t very supportive, but it can help to read about others who have done the same thing. Search terms like late bloomers can get you to articles about people who reinvented themselves and started down a new path as well as plenty of advice about how to do it yourself. If you aren’t sure what you want to do but only know that you need a change, this kind of research can provide inspiration as well.
Career changes can be costly in terms of money and time. Money-wise, this can mean anything from taking a significant pay cut to having to go back to school. If you are going to be making less money for a while, you may need to look at where you can cut your expenses or whether you might need a loan. Those going back to school may qualify for student loans. These are often relatively simple to apply for online. Note that there are varying interest rates and terms for repayment, so be sure to read over all the fine print carefully. You might need to commit to taking classes outside of working hours or a few years of study and training, but if you are clear about your goals, this will all be worthwhile.
There is a tough balance between not allowing the expectations or limitations of others stop you from pursuing your dreams and being realistic about what you can accomplish. There are many things people will try to say you are too old to do when what they really mean is that they can’t imagine making such a change themselves. However, there are a few limited situations in which this concern might be warranted. For example, deciding to become a doctor later in life is not very realistic simply because of the sheer amount of time it will take you to get through medical school and residency not to mention the grueling schedule that wears down people decades younger. By the time you graduate with a hefty amount of medical school debt, you may only have a few years ahead of you in the workforce. However, there is no reason you can’t pursue a different profession in the health care field, such as becoming a nurse or a physician’s assistant. Outside of these obvious external limitations, however, you should not let groundless views about what is possible or appropriate for certain ages hamper the pursuit of your dreams.