The Emotional Realities of a Career Change at 50

  • Post last modified:February 27, 2024
  • Reading time:7 mins read

It is something that’s not just more common but widely accepted in the modern age. Go back a few decades, and you would never see somebody make changes as seismic as altering their career at 50, but with people living longer and the pandemic helping people to reevaluate their entire lives, many have stood up and thought they don’t need to be somewhere they don’t care about. 

We’ve all thought about making changes to get away from a dull desk job or to do something a bit more exciting that aligns with our passions, but making a career change at 50 is not just about finding the right types of jobs, but it’s also about being aware of the emotional adjustments that can occur. The best defence is a good offence, so here are the major pillars to be cognizant of: 

The Personal Obligations 

Transitioning into a new career when you’re fresh out of university at the age of 21 is simple and straightforward because most have very few personal commitments. Fast forward to the age of 50, and the personal obligations are not just about family but having to start all over again means putting in a certain number of hours to put yourself in a viable position to either start a whole new career or to retrain. 

Transitioning, Not Changing, is Key

It can be tough to dedicate the time you want to transition into a new career, but consistency beats intensity. At the age of 50, there can be a sense that time is getting away from us, but it’s also unrealistic to think that you can step straight into a whole new career despite having a variety of transferable skills. 

The job market is incredibly competitive in the UK due to varying factors, and with a high volume of applicants for one role, it’s understandable that employers can choose to make the hiring process tougher. The nature of job interviews in the modern-day is unlike anything that occurred even a decade ago; assessment days, having to deliver presentations, determining if you’re a good “cultural fit” for an organisation, and scenario questions are just some of the few stone-cold realities of applying for jobs. 

This is why the word “transition” is so important because making any career change is not about jumping wholeheartedly into something new because, for 99% of us, this is impossible. Start looking at where you want to go career-wise and see what the necessary steps are to gradually move there from where you are. 

For example, if you want to become a personal trainer and you are currently an accountant:

  • The best place to begin is by increasing your knowledge through a personal training course. 
  • Once you’ve done this, you can then start to look at racking up training hours or if you can’t get hired as a personal trainer, you can volunteer to help others with their fitness, perhaps creating a website for your services. 
  • From there when you have amassed enough experience this bolsters your job applications or you could choose to do it as a freelancer. 

It’s important to remember that changing careers is a massive task when you have personal obligations, which is why having to step gradually into a new career makes it manageable with regard to your personal life but it also gives you the opportunity to stop and take stock every step of the way. 

The Anxieties and Self-Doubt 

We live in a society where fortune favours the young. We have seen people come out of retirement (referred to as “Great Un-Retirement”) due to circumstances beyond their control, but navigating a career change at 50 is tough because you’re not just having to start all over again at a time when you are being told you are becoming more vulnerable due to ageing, but when you are riddled with anxieties and self-doubt because of different variables such as financial stability, fitting into a new working environment, and adapting to a different role you can lay the path ahead of you. 

Altering Your Lifestyle

As already mentioned, a career change at 50 is about stepping slowly into a whole new environment, and this is partly because of the rigours of applying for a role where it becomes essential to have quantifiable experience. But if you are concerned about your finances rather than thinking that you are going to struggle if you have a major pay cut instead you should address your lifestyle. 

If you’re used to two holidays a year and shopping at high-end supermarkets there are things you can do to make things more affordable, such as going to a budget supermarket or buying cheaper alternatives. Lots of us seldom think that we need to change our lifestyle and this is really the driving factor when we have concerns about our finances. Ensuring that you get a better handle on your finances is the best place to begin. 

Understand Your Values

When you make a change at the age of 50, it could be easy to think that you are behind the times which is why transitioning to a new career is only one component because you should also look at transitioning into an organisation that values you. 

There can be very youth-oriented careers that don’t place priority on personal obligations such as families; however, if you are determined to make it in an industry or even a company where the focus is on targets and outcomes you have to ask yourself what you value. We sometimes want a career change, but we can soon find the values of the organisation do not tally with our own outlook. 

Part of the reason we can experience anxiety and self-doubt is because we’re trying to fit ourselves into something that is at odds with who we really are. This is why tools such as the Morrisby assessment can be fantastic to help you determine what it is you’re not just good at but also how the role tallies with your outlook on life. 

Making a career change at 50 is not just about what you do between the hours of 09:00 and 17:00, but it’s also about understanding what is going to serve you well to take you into the next phase of your existence. When we apply for jobs and careers, we can become blindsided by so much, like the pay packet, but it’s even more essential once you’ve given nearly 30 years of your working life up to this point that you now ask yourself the true questions that relate to who you are.

Source link