It is said that the happiest people will change their career several times over the course of their adult life. For some people this may be a difficult choice. If, for example, you’ve spent years in school earning a medical or law degree, the amount of money you owe for student loans could mean that you have little choice but to practice your chosen profession in order to repay your debt. And declaring bankruptcy won’t get you out of the onus to pay off student loans. But there are other people willing to throw caution to the wind and try something new, expanding their skillset and continuing their education in order to try out a new career and lead a more fulfilling life.
If you’ve decided that it’s time to try your hand at something else, but you’re worried about the difficulties of changing direction midstream, you should know that there are steps you can take to make the transition easier. Here are a few tips for making sure your midlife career change goes off without a hitch.
- Consult with a career counselor. The first thing you might want to do is talk to a career counselor or coach, especially if you’ve never done so before. You may have chosen your career up to this point based on what your family wanted or what you thought you would enjoy (before you really knew what the job prospects were for a particular field). What a career counselor can do is provide you with testing, options, and advice for moving forward with a new career, one that is more likely to provide you with the challenges and rewards that make a job worthwhile.
- Consider your strengths and weaknesses. What you’re good at might not be what you’re interested in for a career path, but your strengths and weaknesses can definitely help to inform your decision when it comes to a midlife career change. Just because you’re good at math doesn’t mean you want to be an accountant, but your skill with numbers could make you an ideal candidate for all kinds of other jobs, especially when combined with other talents like communications and personal interactions or an interest in computer technology, just for example. You do, however, need to be honest with yourself. If you’re weak in an area that is paramount to a specific job, you might want to rethink whether you’re capable of meeting the requirements.
- Weigh your preferences. If you truly want something, you’re going to work extra hard to make it happen, so your level of interest in a given profession is equally important to your strengths and weaknesses.
- Look into a new degree program. If you really want to undertake a new career path in the middle of your life, you might have to go back to school in order to achieve your goal. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean getting another bachelor’s or master’s degree. You may be able to go to a vocational school or even attend a certification program that will take a lot less time than a degree and get you back to work at a new position post haste.
- Consider a transition position. If you decide to go back to school in order to learn a new vocation, you may be on the lookout for a job that can offer you the flexible schedule you need to attend classes. And you can actually find an application for Walgreens here on the web or head into local restaurants to ask about jobs and turn in a resume. If you’ve been working in the fast-paced corporate world for a while, you’ll find that such transitional jobs not only allow you to create a schedule that is conducive to going back to school, but in most cases they are far less stressful than prior positions, giving you the mental and emotional breathing room to deal with the stresses of returning to school and making a major career change in the middle of your life.