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How Do You Stack Up With Others Making A Career Change After 50?

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Is a career change after 50 in the cards for you?

Did you ever think you would seriously consider a career change after 50?

Most people have contemplated a career change at some time in their life. Many have even thought about it multiple times and just never made the leap.

As you get closer or surpass the middle-age range, these thoughts don’t just magically disappear.

Making a career change after 50 is becoming more common for these reasons

There is a reason you thought about changing careers at one point.

If those reasons were not resolved they will remain until you either retire disliking the job you held for your lifetime of employment, or make the decision it is time for change.

There are still a lot of years left to work for this midlife age group. Furthermore, they take their employment seriously. According to the national unemployment rates from February 2020, only 2.6% were unemployed. This is much lower than the overall national unemployment average.

People in this middle-age group appear to be settled in a career and enjoying life. Outsiders looking in would not imagine potential career change would be looming for many.

Why do midlifers consider or make a career change after 50 when everything appears to be good?

As the years pass by their perspective on life has a tendency to change.

The things that may have been important at one time shift to alternative things.

And the alternatives are actually not ‘things’ but rather changed values that focus more on time, family, volunteering, service to others, and in essence, heartfelt things as opposed to physical things.

Perspective on life changes as midlife approaches, creating the desire to make a career change to match the new values. Click To Tweet

Yougov completed a study on what motivates people throughout each stage of their life. The research confirms that motivation for younger people comes from goals, money and acceptance from others. On the contrary the older generations are more likely to feel inspired by family, their partners, and nature.

The following are the biggest reasons people consider a career change after 50:

  1. Less Stress
  2. Follow Their Passion
  3. Desire To Learn Something New
  4. The Need For A Change Of Pace

While there are numerous other reasons both men and women desire and seek a career change after 50, these top four reasons fill the void for most.

I can personally relate to this need.

It was #1 and #4 that I felt on a personal level and that gave me the push to finally make the change I had wanted to make for many years.

When I was just shy of turning 50 I was feeling major burnout in my chosen profession of education.

I had left the profession multiple times over the years and always returned. There was something difficult about leaving a career that I had poured my heart and soul into, not to mention my pocketbook. I had spent years earning multiple degrees thinking the next level would somehow be more satisfying.

I wanted a job that did not make nonstop demands on my time and energy.

One where I could go to work, give 100% while I was there, and walk out at the end of the day without carrying a bag full of work for the evening.

I applied at Progressive Insurance to work in the call center for commercial lines. The advertised nontraditional schedule in the job posting was actually appealing to me.

I would work from 10 am to 8 pm Sunday – Thursday. My workspace would be a tiny cubicle on a huge open floor of employees answering the incoming calls of people contemplating purchasing insurance.

I was hired and I vividly recall the first day I reported to work.

I was in a room with 20 other new hires, all but one was around 20 years younger than me.

When we did our introductions and I shared I was a prior school counselor and current university professor with a doctorate degree, you could have heard a pin drop in the room.

It was difficult for my new colleagues to understand why I would want to work in an entry level position, in a call center none the less, when I had so many other options available. The mentoring team even asked several questions on the topic indicating they were shocked as well.

how do you stack up with others making a career change after 50

Making The Career Change Jump

1 | Stress Is Bogging You Down And You’re Tired Of Trying To Ignore It

There comes a time when most people get tired of working in a stressful environment.

The benefits have kept them returning to the job year after year. Things like paid time off, medical benefits and a high salary seemed worth the sacrifice and at some point it is not worth the trade-off.

Stepping down into a lower-paying position can reduce the workload, shorten the workday, and result in fewer job responsibilities overall, creating a reduction in stress.

The people that actually move forward and make a career change after 50 typically don’t miss the higher numbers on their paycheck. They are more concerned about lifestyle than money.

2 | It’s Time To Finally Follow Your Passion

It’s easy to get stuck on a career path that was not necessarily intended nor chosen.

Entry-level positions are accepted to make the breakthrough into first time employment. However, then it can be difficult to break the chain and move into a career /you feel passionate about.

During these earlier years it can also be difficult to take a reduction in salary, which is common when moving into a different career field. Also, a young family may have expenses such as

  • children
  • saving for a down payment on their first home purchase
  • student loan debt
  • prior loans such as a vehicle loan

As years pass by and midlife nears, many people decide the quality of each day and how they spend their time is more important than the result of what they are getting from their current job. Usually, this relates to finances and all the things money can buy.

At this point in life the realization hits that ‘things’ are simply not what makes you happy.

Many 50-and-over career changers also have decided that taking a risk can turn out on the positive side as much as the negative side. They focus on the positive side and look forward as they pursue their passion.

It isn't uncommon for people that make a career change after 50 to venture into a more nontraditional job role. Click To Tweet

For example, they give up a traditional work schedule like what is typical in the business world and move into the art or photography field working evenings and weekends.

3 | A Career Change After 50 May Just Be To Study Something New You Have Always Wanted To Learn

As young adults starting out in a new career, many have just came out of a college or training program. They have no desire to return to studying and school in general.

It is appealing to go to work, come home, and hang with friends on the weekend. None of this includes studying in any way and that is a nice feeling after years of the opposite.

Over the next years a couple of different things can happen.

  1. The areer gets boring creating the desire to learn new skills
  2. A passion was never fulfilled that needed a level of training

Whichever happens, the desire to learn something new takes precedent. The potential outcome is the same, which leads to a new career through the development of new skills and learning new information.

The thought of getting excited about going to work again is appealing.

They are ready to take on new job responsibilities, make new friends, and create a new chapter of experiences in their life.

4 | Life Gets Frantic And The Need For A Change Of Pace Sounds Calming

Another reason a career change after 50 is triggered is because their fast-paced career is wearing them out. They simply make the decision it is no longer worth being tired every day just to have a good paycheck to be able to buy more ‘things.’

This isn’t to say they are not fulfilled by the work, because that is often not the issue.

They simply crave a calmer life with peaceful evenings and weekends. They want out of the so-called ‘rat race’ where life is hectic and feels nonstop on auto pilot.

Career changers in this group are fed up with working long days and weekends. They consistently take work home which gets old and creates the feeling they aren’t caught up. Essentially, the pile of work on the desk never gets smaller.

Final Thoughts On Career Change After 50

Making a career change after 50 is more common than you may realize.

Therefore, if you are in this age group and in the middle of making a career change now or thinking seriously about it, you are not alone!

I never regretted my career change to Progressive Insurance. In fact, it was the exact opposite.

It met all my expectations with the reasons that I strategically selected the company (I did loads of research before applying).

I thrived in the environment and my stress was almost immediately minimal. My first year at the company I earned the #3 spot in the entire commercial lines department nationwide for the number of closed sales on the first call in to the company.

At one point I even thought it might be a new long-term career for me. With that in mind I set my sight on creating goals to work my way up the corporate ladder.

Of course, my plans were quickly changed when my little buddy hit the radar. ?


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