We’ve all heard the sayings: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”; “a leopard can’t change its spots”; “old habits die hard”; and other assorted proverbs that point to the conventional wisdom that at a certain point in life, it’s difficult for us to start something new—especially something as all-encompassing as a new career.
But the fact, is, no one is ever too old to make a change, especially if it’s something that’s important to who you are as a person or to your satisfaction with life. And as a matter of fact, you can teach an old dog new tricks—both the actual canine and the human being who wants to open a brand-new chapter. We have an acquaintance who tells about a conversation with a friend “of a certain age” who wanted to go back to school for a teaching degree but thought she would be “too old” at the end of the two years it would take her to complete all the course requirements. He said to her, “You’ll be the same age in two years, whether you get the degree or not; the question is how you choose to spend the time.” In other words, there’s usually no reason to allow our age to prevent us from pursuing a career interest we’re passionate about.
Especially for those in GenZ and the Boomer generation, career changes have been a fact of life. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average Boomer has held 11.7 jobs between the ages of 18 and 48. Not only that, but according to the American Institute for Economic Research, 82 percent of respondents to a survey reported making a successful transition to a new career after age 45. Not only that, but with more people living longer, a second or even third career is likely to become more common in the future.
So, what can you do as a worker in the 50+ age bracket to prepare yourself to actually pursue that dream? According to career resource site LearnHowToBecome.org, the process should include many of the elements you’d expect, such as inventorying your current skills and experiences for applicability to your new endeavor; figuring out how to acquire any new skills or certifications you’ll need (including allotting a budget for associated expenses), and working on your network (which, these days, needs to include at least a basic familiarity with social media). But, according to career coach Ken Coleman and others, the all-important first step is to gain clarity around what you want to do and, even more important, why you want to do it. You should allow yourself plenty of time to ponder questions such as:
- What are the things I love doing, and what do they have in common?
- Which of my talents am I passionate about or do I find most fulfilling?
- Is there a specific group of people, type of person, or interest I’m drawn toward?
- Is there a problem in [the world, business, my community, etc.] that I really want to solve?
As you contemplate your “why” questions, certain patterns will emerge. Those are your guides toward a career pursuit that will engage your imagination and energize you.
Empyrion Wealth Management is a fiduciary financial advisor specializing in providing research-based, market-tested guidance to family stewards and others who need to make smart financial decisions that benefit themselves and others. Whether you need to make a strategic plan for a mid-life career change or your goal is to provide lasting financial security for future generations, we can help you find the answers you need. To learn more, click here to read our recent article, “You Can’t Know Everything and You Don’t Have To: A Different Way to Look at Investing.”
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