When you think about it, it’s quite odd that we’re expected to find the perfect career before the age of 18. When we’re 18, we make the choices that will dictate the rest of our lives, starting with our college major. We do this even though we’re not really capable of making fully-formed decisions at 18– few of us, for example, would marry or have children at that age, as the world acknowledges it’s an age where our decision-making isn’t quite as competent as it needs to be to make such life-changing decisions.
The changeable nature of careers
Of course, there is one upside; if you make the wrong decision in terms of your career, you have opportunities for a redo. Career changes are becoming more and more common, even for people in their 50s and 60s. As we’re living longer, we’re working for longer, and that makes many people assess their careers carefully, asking themselves if they can continue their career for the rest of their lives– and often, the answer is no, so a career change looms on the horizon.
So it’s worth asking yourself: are you happy in your chosen career? Can you imagine staying in the same line of work for the next 20, 30, even 40 years?
If the answer to the above is “no”, you’re not alone– and you may find it encouraging to know that there is something you can do about it. Perhaps you always dreamt of life flexing your creative side as a graphic designer, or imagined yourself as a nurse delighting in your WonderWink Scrubs and spending your days helping others, but somehow, life didn’t quite pan out like that, or you didn’t realize what you truly wanted to do until later in life. You’ve always wondered what life would be like in that career path, but you’ve never had the chance to experience it.
Making the career change leap
If the above applies to you, and you’ve always dreamt of what life might be like in a totally different kind of work, then it should be encouraging to know that you can change your career– no matter how old you are. Even people in their 60s are changing their careers and starting businesses, acknowledging that they have another decade of work ahead of them, so they might as well enjoy it— and there’s no reason for you not to do the same.
Of course, imagining your life in another career is quite different to experience the upheaval of actually changing your career. You need to be very firmly focused on what you now want to do with your life. You will likely need some form of additional education, which you will have to juggle with your day job and your life at home. No one is pretending that entirely changing your career is an easy step or one that you should enter into on a whim.
However, there’s no doubt that going through the difficult career transition process can be absolutely worth it. Think of it like this: a few tough years in exchange for 20 or 30 years of fulfillment doing what you really want to do. When you look at the situation like that, a career change is put into perspective, and may even become an attainable goal for your future.