We all have different needs and responsibilities at different stages of our lives. Our career choices at each stage reflect this. We need to anticipate the future in order to avoid frustration and uncertainty in our careers.

Many of us reach a point where we want a less stressful, more meaningful career. Making a career change after 40 is therefore more common that you might think. According to a survey by USA Today, “almost a third (29%) of pre-retirees plan to change careers in the next five years”.

Career changes in our 40’s

In our 40’s, our lives are (hopefully) more settled; we have a family (if we wanted to), and over 15 years of work experience. We’ve learned a lot along the way.

Our motivations may have switched from financial to a desire to do what we truly enjoy.

Our 40’s are actually a great time to change careers. We have nearly 2 decades of experience already, and 2 more decades until retirement. We’ve acquired a huge amount of wisdom and experience, and we’re still willing to learn from others. It is an excellent time to learn and develop new skills and qualifications that are important to us and crucial when starting a new career.
The change doesn’t need to be immense. We don’t have to necessarily take our careers in a totally different direction, but instead use our current skills o teach, start an entrepreneurial adventure, or collaborate actively with a non-profit organization or cause we care about.

Career changes in our 50’s

In our 50’s, our children may be grown, giving us more time to relax. Our lifestyle may have slowed down. However, we may have new responsibilities such as taking care of our parents. This is a great moment to start a new career path doing something we’re passionate about and avoiding a mid-life career crisis.

The 50’s are said to be our years of wisdom, when creativity comes to the forefront. It’s a perfect time to pursue our dream occupation and find a better work-life balance. Some ways to do this include becoming a mentor for young people, doing more manual and creative work, or developing those skills you always thought you could be good at. This is also a great time to travel more and start new hobbies, so why not find an occupation that allows you to have that freedom?

Our energy may decrease in our 50’s. We need to be aware of this and accept it. We may not work at the same pace as we used to, so we need to work smarter. It’s time to become more strategic and focused, and delegate some work to the younger generations.

For more handy information about how to change careers, you can check this complete guide by Open Colleges about how to change career at different ages.