You have probably heard it a countless times: “You are too old to adapt to a new profession.” You’ve been in this field for twenty years, acquired experience, walked up the career ladder, earned big. Why would you want a change?” “You can’t compete with the young guns. Nobody will hire you now.”

Forget everything everybody is saying to say. There is only one thing that matters when we speak about professional career: To be happy in your daily job.

If you do not enjoy going to work anymore, if you do not see a meaningful purpose in what you do, it makes no sense to continue doing it.

Age is just a number, and what happens in the past stays in the past. What matters is your future, and especially the present moment. In this article we will give you some advice on how to successfully change your career in your forties. Enjoy!

Older manager leads a business meeting


Start with the right mindset

First and foremost, you have to believe in you, and in the change you want to make. Take a sheet of paper and write down the reasons why you want to change your career. Forget about self imposed limitations and let your imaginations soar.

Who cares what everybody else is saying? You are still young enough, you can still join new collective and learn new things. You have more than half of your professional life still in front of you. It makes no sense to waste it in a job which you do not enjoy anymore. Find the reasons why you want to make a change, and convince yourself that it is a right thing to do, and that you are ready.


Everything relates to everything

You’ve been working as a manager in a busy corporate environment, and now you want to teach, or to plant trees. At first glance these three careers have absolutely nothing in common. But is it really true?

As a manager you’ve been leading people, you talked to all kinds of customers, experienced conflicts and misunderstanding. You will do the same at school–leading students, talking to people, experiencing constructive conflicts with fellow teachers–just the working environment and working hours will be totally different. And you’ll have two months of holiday in the summer :).

And what about planting trees? Sure enough, you won’t use your brain in this career as much as you did as a manager. But you still need responsibility, time management, and communication skills to handle the job, and to enjoy your time with fellow workers in the woods.

This was just an example, but I hope that it served the purpose: To help you see the fact that all careers are at least somehow related, and that making a drastic change you’re not throwing 20 years of your life to a rubbish bin. You will benefit from the things you did and learned in the past, regardless of the change you’ll make.

Two women shake hands in a corridor in a corporation


Benefit from the economic expansion

Every time is a good time to make a career change, but now is even better. The world experiences economic expansion, and job seekers can choose. (Note: this article was written in the first half of 2019, and if you read it much later you may find your economy in recession. In such a case ignore this paragraph and move to the next one.)

Actually many institutions, both public and private, struggle to hire people. Any people. While you might face 20 competitors in your interview (for any job) in 2009, today you will likely face only two or three of them. This makes things much easier for you. It broadens your possibilities.

An employer may hire you even if you have no previous experience from the job. They may hire you, simply becasue they need to hire someone, and the supply is not high at this time on the employment market. Take advantage of the economic climate and make a change now.


Money can’t buy happiness

Curiously enough, the suicide rate among celebrities and multimillionaires is much higher than the average suicide rate, in any Western world country.

Money doesn’t equal happiness. What we do in life, how we spend the 24 hours each day, whether we feel doing something meaningful for the others and the world determines whether we feel happy inside.

Obviously you won’t earn as much in your new job as you earned in your old career. But does it really matter? I don’t think so. You are 40, and you’ve probably learned your lesson. Do not get blinded by the worldly circus of business and mass media. It’s not how much you get paid that matters. It’s what you do and whether you enjoy doing it…


Use your network of connections

Personal referral is the easiest way how to get an interview, even when you have no previous experience in the field. You have probably acquired quite a big network of people by now (or maybe you don’t but for sure you know at least some people).

Take a break, invite your peers for a cup of coffee and two glasses of beer, and talk about jobs with them. They may inspire you with what they do, and they may even arrange you an informal interview with their employer.

And who knows, maybe some of them run their own business and you may join them in their company–either as an employee, or as a business partner. Just like you, they may be seeking a change…

Two old friends meet over a cup of coffee


If they love you, they will support you

In every change we plan to do in our life, the most common showstopper is a disagreement of people we love–our partners and family members.

They are afraid of you failing, and perhaps they are afraid of a loss of the family income. And maybe they follow just their selfish desires…

People who truly love you don’t want you to be unhappy. Such people will always support you in your efforts to regain your happiness, and the sacrifice won’t matter for them. Try to remember this, and don’t get discouraged by fear or disapproval of your family members. People who truly love you will support you. Always.


Good things do not happen in a day

The last but perhaps the most important advice I want to give you is very simple: Be patient. Rome was not built in a day, and after working in one field for twenty years you can’t hope to make a smooth transition to another field of business/economy in a week, or in a month.

You may have to study. You may have to get some certifications. You will experience difficulties in the beginning, and may see colleagues twenty years your juniors doing a much better job, or even earning more money in the same job.

But this is simply the part of the process. Stay humble, and patient. Focus on yourself, enjoy the process of learning something new, of doing something new. Sure enough, you will learn stuff, and you will get better in the new job. It just takes time, just like every other worthy activity. 

Enjoy the process, and get the most of it–for you, and for everyone else involved. We wish you best of luck in your career change!


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Matthew Chulaw
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