Career Change After 50 Involves Learning Who You Are

Are you thinking about a career change after 50? Maybe you can identify with one of these statements.

  • Your career no longer fits your interests and values. You find yourself thinking “this isn’t me,” even if you’re good at what you do.
  • You feel like you don’t make a difference working for a large, impersonal corporation. You wish you had more autonomy and flexibility.
  • You feel bored or burned-out. You miss the experience of meeting new challenges and learning new things.
  • You’re feeling pushed out. People at your company are being laid off or forced into early retirement.

The career you chose when you were younger probably doesn’t reflect who you are now. Over the years you probably became quite good at meeting others’ expectations but in the process lost touch with yourself.

The good news is you can make a career change after 50. You have the opportunity to create a new story, to construct a broader sense of self that’s larger than your job title or the old roles you may have outgrown.

Know Yourself When Making A Midlife Career Change

Self assessment is important when making a career change after 50. Take your time thinking about what you really want to do rather than what you think you should do. Avoid the temptation of rushing into another job. Your work can then be a true expression of who you are.
Learn about yourself. Know and be clear about who you are now and what’s most important to you. When changing careers at midlife, understand your…

  • strengths- your natural talents. These are different from your skills, which are learned and may or may not be something you enjoy doing.
  • values- what’s most important to you, what you believe in, what you’re drawn to. Your personal core values give you a sense of meaning and direction.
  • needs- what motivates you. Awareness of your needs is important because unfulfilled needs can drive you.
  • personality preferences – your temperament. Knowing your personality type helps you appreciate your unique way of interacting in the world.
  • interests-what attracts your attention, what you want to learn more about. Your interests can help you persist in reaching your goals.

Identify your fears and beliefs about change. It’s natural to feel scared and uncertain about how your life will change. You may need to confront obstacles or challenge negative beliefs about yourself and your abilities.

Explore opportunities. How do you want to express yourself and contribute your unique talents? Recall your early career dreams and explore what’s important to you now. What do you find fulfilling and enjoyable? Learn more about it.

Dare to dream and clarify your vision. Give yourself permission to follow your passion wherever it leads. Even when you start to see a path ahead, you may still have to learn to trust in it and in your ability to take each step forward.

Create a plan for reaching your goals. Treat it as seriously as you would a business plan. Research careers that interest you and explore the different working options that are available.

It takes courage to follow your dreams, not knowing for sure where they will lead you. But wouldn’t you rather take that chance than to look back with regrets someday? It’s never too late to start over.

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