You’ve worked hard for the last 30 or so years, and now perhaps you’ve found yourself questioning the path you’ve taken. Whether the work you do no longer excites you or the long hours are taking a toll, a mid-career crisis is not uncommon. But for some, it’s more than a passing uncertainty. If you’re having trouble falling asleep because you’re constantly questioning your job, dread going into the office each morning, or find yourself browsing job openings on the weekends, these might be signs that it’s time for you to turn thought into action and make a career switch.
Of course, for women in the 50+ age bracket in particular, it’s important to think things through before you make any life-altering moves. Take the time to gain clarity around what it is you want to do and why you want to do it. Once you’ve figured out your why, you can start mapping out your next moves.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, planning to pursue a career change is quite like planning to pursue a career when you’re just getting started in the professional world. That is to say, it’s a process. From taking an inventory of your skills to networking (both on and offline,) there are various moving parts to stay on top of. Make sure to tailor any resume, portfolio, or cover letter you plan to send out as best you can to this new career path in this new field. Also, if there are any special certifications or prerequisites you might need, come up with a game plan for how you will secure those.
Age is a factor.
While we wish we didn’t live in an ageist society, the unfortunate truth is that we do. But age can be an asset—you just need to learn how to position yourself properly. For mid-career women, your age is something of a tight rope walk. On the one hand, you want to show that you’re unafraid to keep learning, but on the other, your lengthy professional experience makes you a great mentor. Try to strike a balance between both points during the application and interview process.
So is money.
One great aspect to aging is the financial stability that tends to come with it. When you were 20-something and just getting started, a career change might have been less risky because A) you weren’t as established and experienced in your field, and B) you probably weren’t bringing in as large of a paycheck. As a mid-career woman, the prospect of having a gap in your income or of taking a pay cut is a very real consideration. And while it shouldn’t necessarily be the reason you decide not to switch careers, it is most certainly something you should plan for ahead of time.
Here are a few things you should do pre-career change to ensure that you are financially prepared:
- Examine your budget. While there’s no guarantee that you’ll have to take a pay cut, it’s very possible that you will. After all, your industry experience is probably much lower than if you were applying for a job in your current field. Look at how much you’re currently making compared to how much you’re spending and consider whether you’ll be able to maintain your current lifestyle. If not, you may need to make some sacrifices to tighten your budget going forward. Again, a pay cut shouldn’t necessarily deter you from taking a job that will make you happier overall, it’s just something to be prepared for.
- Make sure that you have an emergency fund. We’re not saying something is going to go terribly wrong, but on the offhand chance that things don’t work out according to plan, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Your emergency fund should cover around six months of expenses.
- Consider your retirement plan. As someone who is mid-career, you’re probably more concerned by your retirement plan that you might be if you were just starting out in the workforce. Before you take a new job, be sure to look closely at the overall compensation package. Are there retirement benefits? Will you be able to stay on track with your retirement planning?
Plan Your Career Change with The Humphreys Group
At The Humphreys Group, our planning process has a single purpose: to manage your wealth so that you may live fully and confidently – in possibility. If you’re toying with the idea of a career change, let us be your sounding board. We are devoted to seeing our clients thrive, both financially and personally. Get in touch for a complimentary 30-minute call. We look forward to connecting!