Here are five mid-life career change tips and career planning ideas. These tips are central to a successful career transition or job hunt with the integration of work, financial and life goals. It is important to consider the impact that a career change will have on your lifestyle, finances and your relationships.
Successful career planning after 50 must consider all the financial aspects of the new career. Will you replace all of your old income? If not, when can you expect to reach the former levels of income? What do you need to do to adjust your budget to reflect the newer lower income levels? Are you prepared to take the necessary steps to make it happen? How much savings do you need for your eventual retirement?
Is the new career in harmony with your life goals? For example, if you plan on retiring early and perhaps working part time; will your new career support this decision? If you plan on moving and living in a different area are there sufficient jobs in your new career in that area? How will the change of career affect the leisure time you have and how will it affect the quality and time you spend with your loved ones?
Here are the five career change tips to get you started in career planning after 50:
Change Tip #1: Make financial security one of your priorities – Change your investments to low-risk portfolios and make sure they are diversified into different areas eg. shares, term deposits, property. If a career-change option requires re-training ensure that your return-on-investment for the training period is reasonable as you may only be working in this new occupation for 5-10 years.
Change Tip #2: Consider a portfolio career – just as we talk about a diversified portfolio of investments, consider a diversified portfolio of part-time jobs. This is where you may finance your life through one part-time job, but have other part-time work that is lower paying or voluntary that satisfies particular values, needs or interests in life. For example, you might downgrade your job from full-time to a lower-skilled part-time job in a different department, but then have time to become a ‘Big buddy’ mentor to troubled youth, or spend more time painting landscapes and join a community weekend market to sell them. The opportunities are endless.
Change Tip #3: Explore your network for opportunities – an advantage of the older job seeker is that you have many more contacts from you past work to network for job opportunities. Even people you haven’t had contact for for decades are often open to talking about opportunities with past colleagues. Networking is the key skill to job searching in the modern labour environment. The adage that ‘It is not what you know, but who you know that is important’ is even more relevant today than when you first started working.
Change Tip #4: Don’t be in a hurry – a career change after 50 is a big step, full of financial and career pitfalls. Don’t expect all you job frustrations will magically disappear. This is a perfect time to take stock of: what you value in life, what you want to leave as a legacy from your life/work, and how you want to balance out the first part of your life – if you were a hard-working executive for 30 years, maybe this is a good time spend time on cultural advisory boards or local politics for wider impact on the community.
Change Tip #5: Feel the fear and do it anyway! – as long as you have conducted a thorough self-examination (tip #4 above) and the career-change on the balance of things is the better choice – go for it! Their will always be some uncertainty, but don’t let them paralyse you and prevent you from achieving greater things in life. Leaving a secure job you have had for a long time can be difficult, but don’t waste the opportunity you have to create more meaning in your life by just sticking with what you know. You may feel that the time for challenges and exciting jobs are over and that it is time to establish more purpose in what you do. For some people this is taking up work that helps people more directly, work that benefits the environment more, or work that allows more time with family.
There are many resources online you can use to explore your current position in life, but if you are finding it difficult to establish a clear path forward it may be time for you to consider a careers consultant who can directly assist you with structured discussions and assessments to find out what your needs and values are for the next step forward. Careers consultant also assist brain-storming potential occupations using a number of techniques.
For more valuable information on changing career or reinventing yourself you’ll find a wealth of information at careers-advice.co.nz