By the time many of us turn 50, there is a good chance we have been working for 35 or more years. Of course, this is taking into account those teen summer and college jobs that helped pay for books, clothes and parties. That is an awful lot of work experience regardless of what those jobs were. Even your first babysitting or lawn-mowing job required a certain amount of know-how and the ability to take on responsibility.
If you’re feeling a little tired, it’s no wonder. You’ve been hard at it for most of your life.
Have you been contemplating a job change recently but are concerned about where you are in terms of age? It can be a hard thing to consider, but take heart. You are not alone.
Many successful businessmen and women begin to question their place in the workforce about this time of their lives, especially when they are no longer excited about the career that in many instances has chosen them, instead of them choosing it.
Others are comfortable and anything that looks like change causes angst, so they prefer to stay put regardless of how miserable they may be. Their living expenses have risen and they have a few kids in college and a mortgage, which means going even a short period without a paycheck would prove devastating.
Of course, with fewer and fewer companies feeling anything that looks remotely like loyalty to their employees, making a change may not even be your choice at this point.
So what do you do at your age if you’re bored, miserable or through no fault of your own, find yourself without an office to go to?
The following suggestions may help you through a planned, or unplanned change as you navigate a mature career.
1. Take advantage of the fact you have so much to offer. You have been tried by fire and survived it all: bad bosses, broken promises and disappointments that only someone of your maturity could have withstood. These things have made you who you are and will be your armor when going up against younger competition.
2. Choose wisely. Don’t accept any position you are not excited about. You’ve been in the trenches of ‘what you have to do’ long enough. Now it’s time to do what you want to do, regardless of who your previous job experience says you are.
3. Be willing to sacrifice a little income for a lot of peace. Do you really need that extra $50k per year if it means more 80-hour workweeks and no time to pursue your personal passions? Many mature professionals have awakened to the idea that money isn’t everything and chasing it for so many years has left them less than fulfilled. When they learn to live on less, many times their lives become so much more.
4. Strike out on your own. It is amazing how much your corporate experience has taught you about running your own business. Draw on that lifetime of learning to build your own empire. The list of niche businesses catering to a select group is ever growing and many of these businesses are created by people just like you. Let your imagination run wild and let the naysayers be damned. There is always a market for unique products and services.
5. Above all, be kind to yourself doing this time. With so many people working well into their 80s and beyond, don’t believe for a moment you are too old to start over. You are in your prime, and time is definitely on your side.
Now go out and get what you want and enjoy the best part of this ride we call life.