What Do You Need to Prepare for Career Change Over 40
As populations in the developed world are growing older and many countries are experiencing a crisis in the pension system, we are facing the prospect of having to work past the usual retirement age.
Yet, at the same time, older people are not always welcomed back into the work force. Many also have difficulty finding a new job if they have an unbroken track record and are simply looking for a change in career after the age of 40.
There are a number of steps you can take to maximize your chances of getting a job, despite negative views regarding age on the part of some employers.
Develop Your Mental Strength
The most important for career change is mental strength. A career change needs lot of mental preparation. If you have a family, that may get disrupted by your career change. The income may stop for some time. The decision itself may turn out to be a wrong one. It needs mental strength to change career. Let us see what it requires.
A change of career shifts us from a comfort zone to a zone full of discomfort in the beginning. For a full time production engineer, a change to a career as human resources consultant may need a total about turn, back to school and learning new skills for the new job. Some people change careers so totally that it looks incredible. Let us talk about changes that can be done more smoothly. I am talking about learning about a new career along with the old one and then shifting to the new career slowly. This process also requires mental strength, because it needs lot of extra work.
Questions to be Asked
The first barrier that one encounters while thinking of career change is- how did I get into a wrong career? What if my new decision also turns out to be wrong? What if I continue with my present career? Why should I change my career? Some of these questions need head to answer and some questions are for the heart such as asking why did I chose the wrong career to begin with, may involve damage to self esteem, and acceptance of failure.
Before thinking of changing career, one needs to do analysis of life goals, and deciding about how the present career does not satisfy those goals. Only after deciding that something drastic needs to be done can one think about changing career. One has to develop mental and emotional strength to undergo these changes and emerge a winner again.
Once you are mentally prepared for the change, it’s time to look at what are your strength over 40.
The fact that you are older means that you have valuable experience in many areas and you need to make good use of this in your application. Don’t worry if you are returning to work after bringing up children – soft skills, such as communication, time management and the ability to meet deadlines are crucial in the workplace today and all of those will be skills you have developed as a parent.
So take a good look at all the skills you have acquired both at work and in other areas of life and make a list. You’ll be surprised to see how many you have and how many of them are transferable.
If you find your particular career favours youth, consider the possibility of self-employment. Could you use your existing skills as a freelance? If you aren’t up to date with computer packages, get your kids to teach you or find out about local classes, which are sometimes free. If there have been changes in your particular industry, look into refresher courses.
Many people make the mistake of assuming that they will get job satisfaction in one place, but this is the exception rather than the rule. So make a list of all the skills you’d like to use (or learn) at work and a list of the tasks which give you job satisfaction. Then consider the possibility of becoming a portfolio worker, that is, someone who has more than one occupation.
You might, for example, work as a freelance in your existing career for two or three days a week and set up a small business doing something completely different during the rest of the week.
Or you might write about, teach or run workshops in one of the skills you have developed. This doesn’t have to be work-related – it could be a hobby you’ve been interested in for years, it could be an aspect of parenting or coping with a health issue. Look at everything you’ve done in your life so far and you’ll find that there are several areas in which you are an expert.
If you are prepared to look beyond the conventional 9-5 job, you will find that there are many opportunities open to you, regardless of your age.
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