Mining + Last 2 years = Radical Change for many!

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You're considering a career change in your 30's, 40's or 50's: How to do that - successfully ...

Changing Careers

At 30, 40 or 50 can be as frightening as standing on cliff edge. Most people assume that age is the only factor to consider, but it’s only half the equation. The other half is the career-changer’s support system. To use the climbing analogy, a mountaineer can descend a cliff in one of two ways: by using a rappelling system to quickly leap off or, lacking this support, by climbing down inch by inch.

Likewise, older career-changers can either make a major leap or inch into it.

Like the rappelling method those desiring to make a drastic career change must have a substantial support system in place before leaving the security of a full-time job. A good support system consists of both money and time. Before jumping into full-time university life or starting a business, there must be enough money to bridge the gap and enough time to learn new skills. Most people with dependent children  won’t be able to leap from their current job but instead must inch into a new occupation in the same way a climber makes sure a new foothold is secure before leaving the safety of the old.

Making a Career Change at 30

If you don’t have children making a change at 30 is easier now than later. Narrow your choices by taking career tests offered at Universities. When making a change at 30, you cannot afford the wrong choice.  At least one of the tests should focus on your aptitude, not merely your interests. When Dan took an interest inventory before a career change at 30, it revealed an interest in literature, but he didn’t have an aptitude for teaching or writing. An aptitude test revealed that he had the spatial and analytical abilities of an engineer.

A pitfall to changing at 30 is playing it too safe for fear of failure. Don’t let mediocre high school grades have you rule out certain occupations. Older students usually do better because they’ve developed organisational skills.

When Lori wanted a career change at 30, medicine interested her. Remembering her dismal high school chemistry grades, she chose a less challenging path. After a few years, she was as bored in her new career as she had been in her old one. When nearing retirement, she took an aptitude test and was chagrined to find that she had the ability to handle those chemistry courses after all.

If you are the sole provider for young children, make incremental moves. David wanted to change  to aerospace engineering, but he had a family to support. He got a job as a planner at an aircraft manufacturer and took classes online. The contacts he made in the engineering department put him well ahead of other applicants.

Making a Career Change at 40

Forty-year-olds typically have high levels of responsibilities and it’s probably unfeasible to drop everything to return to school or start a business.

Marketing and networking, rather than radical leaps, are the two key concepts for making career change at 40.

First, market your skill-set like a product. Marketers take an existing product and launch it into new markets. Look beyond job titles and degrees to focus on skills you’ve gained. Sarah wanted to make a career change at 40 to teaching. She had an engineering degree and moved into teaching math by taking just a few University courses.

Second, networking is crucial. By age 40 you have many more potential job contacts than at age 20.

Making a Career Change at 50

Many people consider themselves too old for a career change at 50, but an empty nest can provide the freedom to take risks. By now, you may have more savings and your spouse may have gone back to work. Analyse your finances and closely and  consider how much time you plan to work before retirement. For most people planning a career change at 50, spending several years in school is impractical. Also, choose your industry wisely since some businesses are less friendly to those making a career change at 50.

Usually at 50 job satisfaction is as important as income alone. Despite your nearness to retirement, keep your goals long-term, choose a career you will enjoy and one that could last for many years or  turn part-time later.

After raising six children, Steve downsized to a condominium to make a career change at 50. He then bought a retail store and hired his son as a manager so he could still travel.

When considering a career change at 50, don’t rule out physical careers just because you’re older. When Sue hit 50 she turned to her love of physical fitness and became licensed as a personal trainer and now has a booming business catering to older clientele. In this market, her age is a plus.

Source: Based on an article found at