Should Change Careers After Age 50?

July 14, 2020

Changing careers at any age can be daunting but the thought of it after the age of 50 can lead some to think you might just be crazy!

However there are many reasons it might just be time to do so. With people living longer and working longer, a person turning 50 may have 20 or more years to go before they retire.

Staying in a job that isn’t satisfying can be downright torture!

Below are things to ponder about making a career change after you’ve turned 50.

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Anisa

1. You Have A Dead-End Job…

There are many declining industries and the fear layoffs are always stressful. Rather than waiting for the axe to fall, start preparing for a new career while you’re still employed. It is important both financially and mentally to prepare while still employed as it can be challenging to bounce back from losing your job.

If you’re worried about being forced out of your current job, it makes sense to begin preparing for a new one, says New York-based career counselor Rebecca Weiler. Older workers “can take classes to improve or sharpen skills or try to further specialize in an area that can make them more marketable and profitable,” she adds.

I have a friend who at the age of 54 decided he wanted to become an accountant, after a whole lifetime of working in a manufacturing plant. He went to school at night and earned his CPA. He was able to take an earn-out from his old company and now he comfortably does taxes for friends, and family. They all have recommended him to others and now he works for himself and is loving it!

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2. You Want To Follow Your Passion…

In our 50s many of us have often saved enough money to start a business of our own. Or maybe the saved money allows you to return to school and learn new career skills.

If your home is paid for and your children have finished their schooling, you may have the funds to pursue a career you’re passionate about, says Weiler. After age 50, she says, many people are in a position to “do something meaningful for themselves.”

3. Use A Network To Find A New Career…

One of the advantages of having been in the workplace for many years is that you’ve had the opportunity to build up a strong network of professional contacts.

Cynthia Corsetti, a Pittsburgh-based career transition expert, says she often recommends that people looking for new career opportunities write down a description of the type of job they’re looking for and share it with family members and professional contacts.

The ability to reach out to others for help and advice is invaluable when changing careers.

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4. Don’t Hide Your Age, Build On Past Successes…

Now that you’re older you more than likely have a list of accomplishments to show to prospective employers.

Think of all the examples you can show; clients you’ve won, ways you’ve helped increased productivity; or even better how you helped increase employer profits!

Showing and explaining these give you a better chance of landing the job you want.

Instead of trying to hide your age, present yourself as a person with valuable experience.

5. Age Isn’t A Barrier…

Sometimes people avoid changing careers because they’re afraid they’re too old to master a new profession. Corsetti says there are plenty of examples of people who’ve successfully taken on new careers after age 50.

“Look at the ages of successful people who didn’t start until later in life,” she says. “Louise Hay didn’t write her first book until she was over 50, and Hay House is now a huge publishing house.”

She notes that entrepreneur Harland David Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders, didn’t find success with his Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises until he was in his 60s.

6. Test the Waters…

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It’s not enough to want to have a new career after 50; you should also try it out before committing.

Look for ways in which you can test out your new career, such as getting a paid or unpaid adult internship. Maybe even a part-time or flexible job in your newfound area of interest.

This firsthand experience will help you determine if this job type—and industry as a whole—is a true fit for you.

It’s not enough to want to have a new career after 50; you should also try it out before committing.

Look for ways in which you can test out your new career, such as getting a paid or unpaid adult internship. Maybe even a part-time or flexible job in your newfound area of interest.

This firsthand experience will help you determine if this job type—and industry as a whole—is a true fit for you.

In Closing…

As mentioned changing careers after 50 can be scary. The whole pandemic can either make it easier or harder for you.

Easier if you find yourself out of a job due to company closing. Harder because the security of a current job is comforting and the fact that right now there are not as many job openings as previously.

It is important to consider the employment outlook. If you can’t get a job, there is no point in choosing that occupation.

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