Is it too late to make a career change over 40? There was a time when this might have been true and anyone giving career advice would have told you to stay where you were. But when it comes to jobs, things have changed dramatically for everyone and although some employers are a bit slow to catch on, the smart ones are employing older people.
Why is so much changing? You already know about the economy and the effect that is having on jobs. Another important factor is the changing population. More people are living longer and many people are having fewer children. So this means that in the majority of western countries, the population is aging. And, significantly, there aren’t as many young people to take their place in the labor market.
So what does this mean for you? If you are 40 or over, the first thing you need to realize is that your working life is likely to be a bit longer than you expected. But you had probably already figured that one out! You know you won’t be retiring any time soon.
With plenty of people living to 100 these days, that means around 35 or 40 years of life past the usual retirement age. And unless you have a private income, a huge pension fund or your children become incredibly wealthy, that means you will have to support yourself for all those extra years.
This information enables you to view career change in an entirely new light. If you are 40 now and are going to have to work until you are 80, you have what used to be an entire working life still ahead of you.
There are plenty of positive things about changing career in midlife. For one thing, you have around 20 years of work experience, which has taught you plenty. You have skills which can be used in many different work situations and you know what you are good at and what you enjoy doing.
So it will be easier for you to choose a new career based on interests and aptitudes. When you were in your twenties, a certain career may have held an appeal for you, but you didn’t have the experience to back up your choice. Now you do. There are also challenges involved in changing career at 40 or over.
You may need to go back to college which can be expensive and if you have been away from studying for a long time, you might wonder how you will cope. And of course you could find yourself in a classroom with a bunch of 18 year olds. But you probably won’t be the only mature student in the class and you will find that colleges are well equipped for dealing with students who have been away from education for some time.