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How to Handle a Career Change Late in Life

Changing your career is a nerve-rattling experience no matter what age you are. But it is particularly difficult for individuals who are thinking of changing their career late in life. For people over 40, there are many factors that may pose an obstacle including age discrimination, lack of financial resources, and opportunity to further education among others. The opportunity cost of switching career is also usually higher.

The challenges ahead may be difficult but there are countless career shifters who had made the change successfully after 40. Some important factors that allowed them to do it include the following:

Take a Skills Inventory

While there are tests that will let you know where your strengths lie, it might be a better idea to list down an inventory of your skills yourself. Divide a blank sheet of paper into two lengthwise: on the left side, write down the type of work you've enjoyed over the years and on the right side, write the type of work you really disliked. Consider your work history, leisure activities, hobbies, mechanical abilities, and other skills. Some examples you can write down include working with people, working with your hands, and influencing others, etc.

Get Additional Career Ideas

It is important to pursue a career you love. At the same time, you should remain practical. What if there is no longer any demand for the type of work you want to do? Seek alternatives that are similar in nature to your chosen career. Some ideas may include joining career fairs, researching classified ads, and looking into the most in-demand skills in your area. From here, you'll get a better idea as to what opportunities are open to you.

Paint a Clearer Picture of your Career Path

It is one thing to think about changing your career, it is quite another to put it into action. Before doing anything drastic, it is crucial to have a more in-depth idea about your career path. Try to be very specific in terms of how much income you expect to have, who will help you accomplish these goals, and what training you will require to make the change. In addition, you should answer the question, "How do I see myself in 5-10 years?"

Seek Financial Resources

If you're not a multimillionaire, you'll undoubtedly take a hit on your way to changing careers. Some people are fortunate enough that their companies provide opportunities for career transition within the organization. For people who do not have this option, it may be a good idea to seek government grants. There are many programs that are designed to help career shifters get the training required to enter an emerging industry.

It is possible to change careers late in life successfully. However, in navigating unfamiliar waters, you should remember that the unexpected can happen. Be ready to face further challenges ahead but with perseverance, patience, and passion for what you're doing, it is highly likely that you'll ultimately succeed in your chosen career path.