Here are some tips on how to change career after 30:
Ask the all-important question
If you’re unhappy in your career, then you’ve likely toyed with the idea of starting over. But maybe your fears of the unknown are holding you back. That’s a perfectly natural and positive reaction. Anyone who jumps headfirst into a new career without a bit of fear isn’t being smart.
The way to push past this fear in the beginning is to ask this all-important question: “Will I regret not going for it?” Will you look back on your life in five, ten, or twenty years and think, “If only I’d taken the initiative to start over when I was (fill in the age)”?
You have plenty of time to start over now and build a new career. Don’t live with regrets. You have to try in order to find out if you can succeed.
Determine your life priorities
If your life was relegated to five main priorities, what would they be? For me, they are:
- Good relationships with family and friends;
- Meaningful work that pays a livable income;
- A comfortable, safe place to live in an interesting community;
- Time and enough money for fun, some travel, and relaxation;
- Living authentically and without pretense or the need to please others.
I prioritize these 5 things over expensive material things like cars, furnishings, jewelry, etc.
And I prioritize them over trying to impress others, having a powerful prestigious job, or making a huge income at the expense of my inner peace or happiness.
That is where I am in life, but YOU must determine what is most important for you. Starting over in a career may involve some initial sacrifices, so you must decide what you can and can’t live with.
Have a sound financial plan
- Do you have an emergency fund?
- Do you have a chunk of money put aside for retirement and savings?
- Do you have equity in your home?
- Could you afford to take a salary cut if necessary or take some time off to go back to school, build a business, or look for a new job?
- Would you be willing to downsize your home if necessary in order to have a new career?
- Do you still have college or other expenses for your kids?
- Is there a way for you to work part-time or take a side gig?
- Could your spouse go back to work?
All of these questions help you prepare for the financial realities of changing careers. Once you are 30 or beyond, you’ve likely built a life that is financially and personally complicated. It will cause short-term discomfort to arrange your life and finances to prepare for a career change if it means truly starting over.
Even if you change careers to an industry where your skills and experience make the transition smooth and less risky, it’s always smart to be prepared financially and have a back-up plan.
If you’ve prioritized meaningful, passionate work as one of your top life priorities, and you don’t want to live with the regret of never trying to make a change, then the relative short amount of time it takes to prepare your finances and save money will be well worth it in the long run. It might take a few years to do this, but you’ll have a lifetime to enjoy a career you love.
Analyze your current career
Spend some time thinking about the career you have now that you want to change. Make a list of “things I hate about my career” and “things I love about my career.” The hate list will be longer, but there must be a few things you want to carry over to a new career.
Be crystal clear on what you want to take with you and what you want to leave behind. This is valuable information as you work toward a new career.
Also, be sure it’s the career itself that’s causing the dissatisfaction — not the work environment, the people you work with, your particular job within the career, or the particular organization. Taking a career assessment will help you clarify this if you haven’t done so already.
Entrepreneur or employee?
If you’re going to make a change, this is a good time to decide whether you want to work for yourself or for an organization. If you know you’re more comfortable in a secure and predictable environment, then working for an organization is likely the best choice for you.
If you long to make your own decisions, have flexibility, don’t mind taking personal responsibility for your success, and are willing to live with a certain amount of uncertainty, then you might love being an entrepreneur.
If you aren’t sure whether or not you want to be an entrepreneur, check out this assessment to help you.
Seek out your passion
Before you launch into a new career, be sure it’s something you’re going to love to do day in and day out. You don’t want to switch careers only to be in the same dead-end kind of job you have now. Spend time learning about yourself, what skills you find deeply satisfying and fun, and what you’re naturally wired to enjoy.
Before you even think about the financial potential or what it might take to get a job in a particular field, find the thing you love. The energy and enthusiasm of finding your passion will propel you to find a way to make it happen.
If you need support and guidance in finding your passion, check out my Passion which leads you through all of the steps of learning more about yourself, your aptitudes, your inner roadblocks, and the steps you need to take to actualize your passion in a career.