Middle Aged Career Changers Take Note

stuart miles time to decide

This weekend I celebrated my 20th Class reunion from college.  I wasn’t a traditional student.  After getting married and having 2 children, I returned to college to get my Bachelor’s degree.  I was in class with your traditional students going to college right after high school.

I was skeptical about these students having the ability to be contributing members of society.  They were immature to me.  Maybe they were where they should have been.  But to me, I didn’t see these kids going to work every day and put in a full 40 hour work week.  Never mind report to a boss.

Well, I was wrong.  They have matured into responsible adults and are now married with children.  At this reunion, they are only a few years older than I was when I graduated.  It’s interesting to see and hear their thoughts now. 

One of the things I heard was their interest in changing jobs.  Some have been in the same company since graduation and are looking to change jobs and companies.  They feel they have done what they are doing long enough and are looking for a change. 

Here are some of my thoughts on their career change:

  • If you are interested in a career change, start working on it now.  A career change will be much easier if you have some experience in a new field.  If you company has positions that are the same or similar to want you want to do next, ask if you can them.  Other companies will hire you if you have experience in your new career.   For example, one woman is interested in a teaching career.  She should start training people in her company.  Teaching and training are very similar they are both instructional jobs.  Also, you can see if you like teaching.
  • Volunteer to do the job you are interested in.  Get the experience and try out the work.  This information is the same as above.  You can use it asexperience.
  • If you want to change careers, do so while you have a job.  There is a bias against people who are unemployed.  It is easier to get a job when you have a job.  That is so true. 
  • Don’t wait.  These people in my graduation class are now in their early 40’s.  Don’t wait another 10 years, and you are in your 50’s to try a new career.  There is a bias against older workers.   In your 40’s you are established, have experience, no longer a kid but still young enough.  You will be viewed as willing to be with the company for a good many years before you start thinking of retiring. 

It was great to see these people again, after not seeing some since graduation.  They are still full of hopes and dreams.  But they have experience and responsibility on their side now.  The world still awaits their next move and they will make a difference.  They have proven that already. 

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