Whether you’re feeling the need for a change of scenery, schedule or job satisfaction, there are many reasons why you may need a midway career reorientation.
When it comes to our careers, many of us still think in terms of a linear path. We start at the bottom and work our way up, eventually reaching the top and then sooner or later retirement.
But what if that’s not for you?
What if you’re feeling restless and want to shake things up? For many people, that’s not just wishful thinking, but rather a jumping off point to changing careers. At least, that seems to be the case according to a recent Indeed survey of U.S. workers, which found that half (49%) of respondents had made a dramatic career switch — for example, from marketing to engineering or from teaching to finance. And it’s not just younger professionals shifting gears like this, but those midway in their careers and beyond.
Let’s explore six reasons why you may want to consider making a change in your career. Keep reading and let us know what you think.
#1: You know what you want (and this isn’t it)
In our society, we’re often pressured to make a career choice when choosing a university or a major. Many people remain in that career for decades, but along the way this choice feels misaligned with their purpose.
After working for 25 years or more, your priorities change and purpose become much clearer. You know what’s making you happy and what is not, and you’re no longer under pressure to choose the practical or realistic option. Like Julia Child who worked in advertising before writing her first cookbook at 50. You can find great success after a midway career jump once you have figured out ‘what gives you energy or what makes you jump out of bed Monday morning.’
#2. Your strengths and priorities have changed
You’re starting to feel disconnected from your original reason for entering the field. Makes sense. Careers are not straight lines, you’ve grown in different directions, what energized you at 30 may no longer bring fulfillment. Your strengths and priorities change through the course of your career. But few of us stop to take stock of our strengths, what we’ve achieved, or what we’ve learned. If this sounds familiar, take a step back to consider a role that truly reflects who you are. Maybe you want to give back to the community, shift from an in-house role to consulting, or simply engage in other aspects of your life. Fulfillment comes when we feel like we are leaning into our values and strengths. So, if you have grown apart from your current career, then it may be time to reflect on what’s next. Don’t jump into something new. Take time to reflect. Truly reflect. And, not just idle navel gazing. We recommend using a structured process for reflecting. We also suggest building a trusted network of advisors.
#3: You need a new challenge
Have you reached the stage where you’re doing your job on autopilot? Where every day looks like Ground Hogs Day? You’re not seeing much on the horizon, either no new opportunities to move forward — or maybe you have stopped looking for them?
You’re not alone. Many reach a point where the paycheck and responsibilities are significant but the job no longer challenges or satisfies. For some, this is a pleasant stage of their career since they don’t have to learn new things and can rely on their reputation. For others, this stage is marked by stagnation, de-energizing and loss of interest. If you’re the type of person who needs to push out of the comfort zone to feel accomplished, a career change might be what you need to put zing back into your step.
#4. Your job is in jeopardy
In the aftermath of the pandemic, many experienced workers have found themselves between jobs. A new study from the Schwartz Center for Economics at the New School suggests that many of these workers did not leave their jobs voluntarily but were unceremoniously dumped from the labor force, in what Forbes is dubbing the “Great Kick Out the Door.” It’s a pattern we often see repeated — whenever a business needs to tighten the belt, it’s the middle management, mid-career professionals who are let go first. Our research indicates, ageism globally, is on the rise.
If you’re worried about being pushed out of your current job, it makes sense to start preparing for a new one. Indeed suggests, the average career switcher takes 11 months to consider a career change before making the move, with over one-third enrolling in specific educational or training programs in order to make the transition. The more time you have to prepare, the easier it will be to land the right job and not just any job. Remember this preparation requires ‘thinking time’ to dig deep and gain comfort around these two questions:
‘who am I?’ and ‘what matters most right now?
#5: You want to work for yourself
People who have spent decades navigating the corporate hallways often feel an urge to work for themselves, which explains why 55 to 64 year-olds have the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity in the U.S. These people are building everything from simple craft companies to multimillion-dollar technology giants — and they are doing so to follow a passion and gain the freedom they would not get working for someone else.
Self-employment lets you repurpose your strengths shifting to a new area, which often translates to a new sense of purpose. Plus, when it comes to building successful companies, research shows that older founders have the edge.
#6: You’re exhausted — a big, red flag!
Everyone is stressed at times. But if you are chronically stressed, burned out, losing sleep or suffering from headaches, then that may be your body’s way of telling you that your current career is not right for you.
Has anyone commented on your irritability or constant complaining? Are you endlessly dreaming about what you will do in “your next life”? Then it’s clear it’s time for a change.
Luckily, given the Great Reshuffle, the possibilities are endless. Just make sure you are orienting ‘toward’ something, such as balance, meaning or fulfillment, instead of ‘away’ from a lousy situation. This may be your last big move, so it’s important you get it right.
Are you thinking next steps? Start here: Career Extensions — a six week online experience to explore unanswered questions, build a network and uncover what’s next.