Search
Advice » Career Development» Changing Careers » Career Change and the Seasone ...
Career Change and the Seasoned Worker

Career Change and the Seasoned Worker

"When you're finished changing, you're finished."
-- Benjamin Franklin 

What would it be like to quit your job and start over in a more appealing career? If you are an older worker, you may think that a major career change would require overcoming too many obstacles to be worthwhile -- like age discrimination, new technology or a salary cut. But according to Helen Harkness, author of Don't Stop the Career Clock, the real obstacles to a midlife career change may reside in your own mind. Harkness argues that several myths surrounding midlife career changes keep people from pursuing their dream job. Which myths do you subscribe to? 

Myth No. 1: I'm too old to make a career change.

Reality: Without changing your perception of what you are capable of, you'll never make a successful career change. Unfortunately, while younger workers are often expected to explore different career paths, older workers are not encouraged to do so. And if you've progressed up the corporate ladder to an enviable position, friends and family may be shocked you would consider leaving success for uncharted waters. With this much pressure to stay put, it can be easy to allow your dream job to remain only a dream. As Harkness explains, some serious soul-searching is needed to understand how and why you want your career to change, so you'll have the conviction to stand up to others' disapproval.

Myth No. 2: If I make a career change, I'll be starting over at the bottom.

Reality: Not necessarily. You're not the newbie you were when you entered the workforce. You've gained an impressive array of skills, plus you have professional wisdom and perspective acquired only through time. The key to bypassing entry-level status is to market these assets in your next interview. The skills that made you successful may be transferable to your dream job. Believing and convincing yourself, and your interviewer, of this puts you leagues -- and salary grades -- ahead of younger competition.

Myth No. 3: This old dog can't learn new tricks.

Reality: Says who? Of course there will be a learning curve to any new career you try. But isn't having a new professional challenge part of why you seek this change? As Harkness says, the goal is to find a career that taps into your innate strengths and interests. As for the aspects of the job that may intimidate you (such as becoming tech savvy), accept that getting proficient in these skills may be frustrating and difficult, making mastery of these challenges more gratifying.

If these myths are stopping you from pursuing a career change in midlife, expand your thinking about your capabilities instead of focusing on what you see holding you back. Also consider that accepting these myths is easier than taking a risk.

What if you are ready to take the professional plunge into a new career? Harkness says, "Go for it," with these words of caution:

  • Keep Your Expectations Realistic: If you've been fantasizing that your dream job will be the antidote to your personal and professional troubles, you may be glorifying what a new career can really do. Research the economic outlook and job duties for your new career, and how it will affect your lifestyle and relationships. 
     
  • Give It Time: Deciding to venture into a new career can mean changes in your work environment, coworkers, income and how you view yourself. Even if your new position is something you've always wanted to do, all these changes can be a shock. Before calling it quits, allow enough time to let the dust settle and adjust to your new profession. 
     
  • Know Yourself: It has been Harkness' experience that most people don't know what they're good at, but midlife is a good time to figure this out. You have a history of professional and personal experience to draw from when determining your natural strengths. Think about what you truly enjoy doing, what you do well and what you are proud of. Is there an underlying theme unifying these experiences that lends itself to a job description?

Latest Jobs

Tremont Technology Group
Posted: 04/15/2014
Concord, NC, 28025
Truck Driving Jobs
Posted: 04/15/2014
Spanaway, WA, 98387
Tremont Technology Group
Posted: 04/15/2014
Charlotte, NC, 28202
Career Match Solutions
Posted: 04/15/2014
Raleigh, NC, 27601
Career Match Solutions
Posted: 04/15/2014
Raleigh, NC, 27601

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.1.40.6-309
eTrustLogo