You’re at a time in your life when you expected to be settled in a career and well on your way to retirement, but you suddenly find yourself in need of a change. There are many reasons to look into starting a new career, including:
- Feelings of boredom or dissatisfaction
- An unreliable economy and job industries
- A change in family life
- Financial difficulties
- A desire to make a difference
Whatever the reason, you find yourself searching for an exciting new career.
A midlife career change can be stimulating and enjoyable, but it can also be stressful—that is, unless you do it right. Self-reflection, input from tests and professionals, and a quality vocational school can help you make a smooth career change. Read our guide for successful midlife career transitions below.
Step #1: Know You
If you don’t understand what is lacking in your current career—and what you hope to find in your new career—then you may find yourself in another dissatisfying situation in ten years. The best way to avoid this? Measure your needs and priorities carefully.
For many people, this first step of finding a satisfying new career is very difficult. It’s a strange irony of life: sometimes the person we find most impossible to understand is the person inside our own skin. The following questions may help:
- What strengths and talents did you utilize best in your last (or current) job? What strengths and talents have you enjoyed developing in the course of your career?
- What kind of challenges do you most enjoy solving?
- What brings you the most satisfaction at work? What kinds of situations make you feel stimulated and excited to return to work the next morning?
- What do you hope to achieve in the course of your career?
- What is most important to you in life? How have your past jobs helped you to achieve those priorities (or kept you from reaching your goals)?
- What are you willing to do to find a satisfying solution to your midlife career crisis?
As you ask yourself these questions, try to evaluate yourself honestly. Ask someone you trust to review your answers and give their own feedback.
Consider writing down your needs, talents, priorities, interests, and goals as you define them so that you can review them often. Later steps will help you determine exactly what kind of careers to look into, but if you don’t have goals and a clearly-defined vision of what you want to achieve, it could be easy to fall back into another dead-end career.
Step #2: Test Time
You need to become familiar with yourself and what you want; a career self-assessment test can help you find out which type of career can help you become the best version of yourself. These tests measure your talents, interests, and personality and match them to jobs that will make you feel useful, challenged, involved, and satisfied.
You can find career tests online, and many of them are free. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Strong Interest Inventory work especially well for those considering a mid-career change.
You may also consider speaking with a career coach or counselor. Your local vocational school likely offers counseling for those considering various career paths. A coach can help you discover specific opportunities in your community and can help you evaluate which steps to take next.
Assessments and career coaches won’t have all the answers, but they can help you articulate things that you find valuable in a job. Do you like working with your hands? Are you an abstract thinker? Do you enjoy working with people, or would you rather solve problems alone? There are millions of jobs out there, and a career assessment and coach can do a lot to help you narrow down your search.
Step #3: Back to School
Choosing a new career that you’ll love may require that you get some vocational training. Choose a training school that can help you learn the skills you need quickly and can give you plenty of hands-on experience. Certification from a reputable vocational school can help you find a job quickly and launch your new career toward success.
For example, if you like solving problems, working with your hands, and helping other people, you might want to consider a career as an electrician. A vocational school can help you become certified and learn everything you need to successfully master your new trade.
A vocational school or technical institute can also help you with continuing education as you begin your new career. Choose a school that has high job placement success after training so you can feel confident that a job awaits you.
As you learn more about yourself, set goals, get help from assessments and a career coach, and get the training you need at an excellent vocational school, you’ll be prepared to begin a new, satisfying career. You don’t need to stay in a job that you don’t like. You can begin a new life today! Begin setting goals and contact your vocational school of choice today.