I read an article where a reader was asking for advice. Is wanting to change career at 30 years old a crazy idea? Basically, is it too late?
Here are my thoughts.
Firstly, you’re probably likely to be working for many more years to come. Do you really want to stay doing what you’re doing for 10 or 20 more years? 5 more years? 1 more year?
Secondly, what are your motivations for wanting to change career? For instance, is it that you don’t get on with your team or manager?
Do you feel that you’ve grown out of the role, it doesn’t interest you any more or sit with your values?
Are you bored, do you feel you’ve learned all there is to know and you’re not growing?
Maybe you’ve always had a secret desire to do a particular job, become a writer, teach, do social work, and you’re realising it’s now or never?
Or is it something else?
Whatever it is, it’s worth taking the time to uncover what’s really going on. Does it definitely mean a career change is the way forward?
If it’s a team or manager issue, can that be addressed somehow? If you have an HR department could they help? Could a side step into a different role in your company be a possibility? Do you actually need to leave, or if you enjoy the work, could the situation be improved?
If you feel that you’ve grown out of your role or you’re feeling bored, is it something you could speak about with your manager, HR or someone senior in the company? Could you change projects, start something new, move into a new team?
That restless feeling of boredom, could a more creative or entrepreneurial pursuit or hobby give you the freshness and excitement you need? Could you start something on the side; a blog, creating artwork, learning a language, volunteering, selling something you’ve created or can offer? Would that be enough to satisfy that urge?
Having a steady, slightly boring job can be an asset if you need the energy for writing a novel on the side, or starting your own small business or freelancing project.
This secret desire you’ve been pushing down for a particular job or career, what does the reality look like? Do you know anyone doing the work, or could you be put in contact with someone? Is there anybody you can speak to and get a realistic view of what the job entails? How do they really spend their time, what training did they need, how do they get started? Does the reality fit with the image you have?
Can you break down the steps you’d need to take to get there? Does it fire you up or seem like too much hard work?
Wanting to change career at any age isn’t crazy, in fact it’s pretty common. But not everyone goes ahead and does it. Because it seems daunting, scary, risky. But, for most people, a huge amount of your time is spent at work. In my opinion, the crazy thing to do would be to put up with a job that makes you miserable, depleted, frustrated – if you have the means and the opportunity to change.
Most importantly, get help – read books on career change, listen to podcasts, listen to talks. Find out how other people have gone about a career change and use their tips to guide you, you’ll always find someone in a similar situation to you. Talk to someone who’s been through a career change, maybe get help from a coach who can help you upick what’s going on in your head and make a plan.
If you are seriously considering a career change, it’s not crazy and it’s not too late. Something has obviously sparked this feeling. You just need to figure out what’s motivating you, what are your options, and go for it, small steps at a time. Good luck.
If you need help with your career change, you can contact me at LinkedIn or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.