By Melodie Veldhuizen
The years are slipping by, you are in your middle-years and still not old enough to sit around the house twiddling your thumbs, but you are fed up with the career you have been involved in all your life. Are you perhaps considering a career change? Such a move could be exciting but frightening at the same time, and present many challenges. If you are giving this serious consideration, keep the following factors and tips in mind.
More than mere passion
To be successful in a new career requires more than mere passion. It also requires certain skills, talent and hard work. Are you prepared and physically able to still work hard? You may have a passion for something, but could you really be good at it? Are you prepared to sacrifice family time, your dream of travelling as well as hobbies to spend more time on your new career?
2. Your financial position
To exchange an established career for a new one is usually accompanied by a decrease in income, whether you are going to work for a new employer, or starting your own business. This change will have an enormous impact on your pension. Even if you invest it wisely, the yield when you retire will be substantially lower. You will lose your employer’s medical fund subsidy and will be responsible for your and your family’s entire medical insurance yourself. Do you still have a mortgage on your home? Do you still have children at school or university whose school or study fees still need to be paid? Do have to resume your studies to prepare yourself for a new career? This could leave a huge gap in your nest egg. Discuss your financial situation with a trustworthy, competent, professional financial advisor.
3. What is your motivation?
What is your main reason for considering a career switch? Are you desperately unhappy in your current work situation because you are bored, it no longer is challenging, you aren’t getting promotion or due to office politics? Does it influence your mental, emotional or physical wellbeing? The promise of a new work environment and a bigger salary might seem very attractive, but every career and every work situation have negative aspects. Is your motivation so strong that you are willing to make certain sacrifices to pursue this dream?
The right age
Fifty plus is considered to be the best time for a career shift. You still have tons of energy and your wisdom and work experience will make you an asset in your new work environment. Fifty-plussers are also now emotionally mature enough to be able to overcome the challenges of a new work situation.
Gather as much information as possible
Talk to people in the industry that you intend entering, gather information about the pros and cons of the specific career and even consider an “internship”. Arrange information interviews with the management of the type of organisations/businesses where you would like to work. Ask questions such as: “How do you see the future of the industry?”, “Which professional associations or publications about the industry would you recommend?”.
Training and instruction
Some careers require the minimum re-training or additional training. If you could apply your current skills to a new career as they are, it is a bonus. If the envisaged new career requires new skills, you might possibly have to resume studying, or follow courses to master this new knowledge or these new skills. There may be short courses that you could follow, or you could acquire the necessary knowledge and skills through in-service training and courses that the company offers. Additional training could make inroads on your family and recreation time, as well as demand other sacrifices, such as finances. Are you willing to do so?
Your family’s support
To take such a huge step and be successful, you need your family’s full support. They will also have to make sacrifices – less money for luxuries and no or fewer holidays and family time. Make sure they will support you.
When starting a new career, you might only be able to apply for a higher post in the company after a few years. If you wish to become an entrepreneur, it may take years for you to establish your new business. How fast will you progress? Or how long are you prepared to work for success? It might depend on how long you will still be able or willing to work before you have (or wish) to retire.
9. A contingency plan
Even with a thoroughly worked-out business plan (if you want to start your own business) or the assurance of your new employer, anything can happen. If things go wrong, can you go back to your previous career? If you are starting your own business, will you be able to sell it if you don’t achieve your goals? Make sure you have a well-considered contingency plan.
The balance careers. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/midlife-career-change-525499