Is it Ever Too Late to Change Careers?

Article by Belinda Fuller

We recently posted a graphic on Facebook which showed some highly successful people who made it big after they hit 40. People like the founders of McDonalds, Coca Cola and KFC (in fact – these three were all in their 50s). It really hit home. While there are millions of entrepreneurs out there in their teens and 20s, it prompted us to ponder this question.

Clients often seek our advice on whether or not they are too old to change careers.  As a generation, we are living longer with better health and higher levels of vitality than ever before, so what age for change is really too old?

The answer to that question is different for everyone. It depends on many factors which can only be evaluated by each individual. Everyone has different levels of risk tolerance and adaptability to change and for many a major career change is just too challenging. But for others, there may not be any real reason to wait any longer.

Since the opportunities for study these days are endless, there may no longer be the barriers previously experienced in gaining qualifications needed for a new career path. Just about any qualification you need is available via part-time, full-time, online, distance or on campus options, or in varying combinations of them all. Different budget levels can also be catered for with payment choices designed to suit just about any situation. Changing your career later in life may be easier than you think.

We meet many people in our day to day work who change careers much later than might be considered ‘normal’ or ‘ideal’ with most of them thriving. Being able to handle the physical demands of a new career can appear daunting to some – with many people believing their energy levels won’t cope. But we believe the opposite is true – when you’re doing something you truly enjoy, your energy levels will naturally be higher because passion fuels energy and drive.

In addition, the benefit of life experience cannot be underestimated. This means many late career changers enjoy immediate success with the wisdom and experience they have gained over the years. Many soft skills such as being able to get along with different personalities, negotiating mutually agreeable outcomes and knowing how to get the best out of people, identifying and dealing with issues, dealing with procrastination, and generally taking advantage of the networks built over a full working life will all contribute to success.

It’s never too late to change careers to do something you love. I recently found out that one of my favourite resources when writing – the Thesaurus – was first published when its author was 73! Although an accomplished doctor, lecturer and inventor, it was Peter Roget’s dictionary of synonyms that made his name. Since it was first published in 1852, it has never been out of print.

If you’re yearning for a change, do some research to find out what you can achieve. Even if you have lifestyle, family and/or budget concerns, you might be surprised at what is possible.

Are you thinking about a changing careers but not sure where to start? Do you think it’s too late in your life to consider a change? There are several articles on career change on our blog which can be viewed by clicking here. One particularly relevant article is our post entitled – Want to Change Careers? Here is a Step by Step Plan.

If you would like personalised help from a Career Coach to evaluate your options, please see our Career Counselling and Coaching Services which can be provided over the phone or in person in locations across Australia.