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How to Successfully Make A Midlife Change of Careers in 2022 [Even If You’re Scared and Clueless]

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

Just admit it. Even just thinking about it makes you tremble in fear. Midlife change of careers is terrifying.

You've been denying this for so long, hoping that you're wrong and that the condition would turn for the better.

Unfortunately, no. You're not wrong. And you know things would never improve. You feel like getting a hard punch in the gut.

This is not how you want to spend the rest of your life. You feel stuck.

You want to quit, but it's like saying that years of your effort to get where you are right now is for nothing. All the blood, sweat, and tears you shed will go down the drain.

And don't forget the horror of having to start everything from scratch. Again. In your not-so-young age.

Stop right there. Take a deep breath and calm your beating heart. You're not alone. This guide will take your hand and walk you through the process of midlife change of careers step by step.

It's a bumpy ride, but you'll be just fine.

Part 1: Understand where you stand

Why Do People Change Careers?

How do people end up with their job? If we consider that our career is something that we will do for almost the rest of our lives, it's scary how there are still many of us who choose our career based on what others told us, or by “fate”.

There are tons of students who still don't have a clue about what they will do with their life until the last minute of having to choose their college major, or even after they graduate.

Choosing Careers Based on Ignorance

Many kids their age haven't grasped real life yet. It's just another adventure for them. They just boldly go to where their destiny takes them. How blissful youthful ignorance is.

And after spending most of their 20s surviving the harsh real world, these kids grow wiser and develop new perspectives of life. They already have goals and aspirations of what their life should be. For the lucky few, those goals and aspirations are aligned with their current path. For most of the others, they find themselves in a world that they don't want to be in.

Reason for Changing Careers

This occurrence is so common that statistics show that the average American switch jobs 10-15 times in their lifetime.

Maybe it's because they grow different passions, they want to find a more fulfilling and satisfying occupation, or they're tired of working 9-5, they seek financial stability and can't find it in their dead-end job.

But it's also possible that they need to change careers because of company downsizing or closing, unwanted job relocation, poor relationship with their co-workers or managers, ineffective leadership, or feel undervalued.

While it's better to smile, say c'est la vie, and move on to the next job; making this kind of transition is dreadful for some.

Why Making A Midlife Change of Careers is Scary

One of the very basic survival abilities of any living creature is learning to identify and avoid dangers. We don't naturally touch fire or jump off the cliff because we know those activities are dangerous. Similar things happen when we have gone through something uncomfortable in the past, we will try to avoid repeating the previous experience in the future.

For most people, especially those whose career is not aligned with their passion, their professional experience of climbing the career ladder from the very bottom is not something that can be categorized as pleasant. They will try their best to avoid having to re-living the whole process.

Different from when they were still young and have nothing else to think about except for themselves, middle-agers have to balance the current work and family life. Mid-life career change will affect the personal life, relationship, and health. The older they are, the more difficult it will be; as responsibilities will increase with age.

The Drawbacks

But what exactly are the factors that stop most people from chasing their dreams and get out of the dead-end career?

First, new career fields might require different sets of hard and soft skills. To acquire these new skills, one needs additional training/education/school/courses or even a new college degree. This equals extra budget, time, and effort. Something that someone who wants to switch paths might not have.

Second, to get the extra time needed, one might need to quit the current job and lose the regular income. Meanwhile, no income means no additional funds for education - what a vicious loop.

Transition time is also challenging. It requires more work, more learning, more time, and more adapting.