Dos and don’ts for a midlife career change

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Editor’s note: Have you ever had a sudden idea or feeling that’s so great or overwhelming that it becomes your sole focus? It’s like you thought you were happy until you had this idea about how you could be so much happier?

And then as soon as you have this idea you really wish you didn’t because you know it’s going to change your life forever, and life change is a huge, scary inconvenience?

Yes? Well, congratulations, you’re having a mid-life crisis.

Just kidding. But if this big idea has to do with your work, then you may be on the brink of a midlife career change.

You might be bored, you might have a newly discovered passion or you might just want to spend more time with your family, but you’ve realized that what you’re doing isn’t what you want to do.  

This desire to change careers happens to a lot of people — it’s hard to do the same thing every day for 40 years without needing to switch things up every now and again — but just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s comfortable.

To help you evaluate this huge, nerve-wracking life decision, Selena Dehne, a guest contributor for TheWorkBuzz, asked Kristin Cardinale, author of “The 9-to-5 Cure,” for her advice. Here’s what Cardinale had to say.

Selena Dehne: What should a person do or think about when contemplating a midlife career change?

Kristin Cardinale: First, clearly define your priorities. Know what the keys are to feeling accomplished, passionate and fulfilled.

Next, have a big-picture goal for your career and your lifestyle in mind. From there, begin to compartmentalize that vision into an actionable plan. Knowing that you want to make a change is the first step in the process, but be sure not to get stuck there. Take the next step by identifying specifically what you would like to see in your next career, taking into consideration the type of work, environment, schedule and intensity level of the field or position that you have in mind.

Also, know what you are hoping to achieve this time around that is different from what you have already done up to this point. What are the gaps in your previous career endeavors that left you feeling unsatisfied?

SD: How can someone change careers without going back to school or starting over?

KC: First, inventory all of your traditionally marketable skills. Create a laundry list of any nontraditional skill set you may have obtained through life experience, military training or while in pursuit of a hobby. Oftentimes, these nontraditional skills offer new opportunities in career fields that you may not have previously considered. Be willing to try out multiple career avenues simultaneously until seems to “click” for you. Success comes from trying out new ideas until you find what works for you.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of volunteer training and internships. Nonprofit organizations and corporations often provide on-the-job training opportunities that would otherwise be too pricey for you to afford when you are testing the waters in a new field. Additionally, these opportunities allow you to access decision-makers within the organization who get to see you in action and may consider you for future opportunities ahead of an unknown applicant. Access is power.

SD: What would you caution a career changer from doing?

KC: Don’t give up too soon on a great idea. New endeavors take time to blossom. Give yourself permission to have a few failures, learn from them and come out of the experience stronger, smarter and more confident.

Don’t forget to keep the big picture in mind. This is an easy mistake that many newcomers to career change make, and it can spell disaster for some people. To keep your new career path clearly in focus, create a written list, outline or plan that you can refer back to on a regular basis to be sure you’re still on track. Getting caught up in the day-to-day activities of your new career is necessary, but don’t forget to remind yourself along the way about why you made this career change.

Don’t ask too many people for their opinion. If you know in your heart that it’s time for a change, listen to what your intuition is urging you to do. You know yourself better than anyone else. Remember, career change, especially in midlife, goes against the traditional framework with which we are all so familiar. As a result, some people may try to persuade you to just “ride out” your current career path despite the circumstances rather than to reinvent yourself. However, midlife is the perfect time to take the skills and accomplishments you have earned up to this point in your career and charge boldly in the direction of your dreams for this next, best stage of life.

Thinking about making a career change? Why? Let us know in the comments section, below.

  1. Pingback: Wiser Worker Blog » Blog Archive » Thinking About A Midlife Career Change? Well Here Are Some Do’s And Don’ts

  2. Hello, I made a career change when I took the LSAT and began law school in 2006. However, I am still working towards completing it — now at 57 years of age. Being a paralegal for over ten years, law is my passion. I was so excited when I began classes and knew it would be a lot of work, but had no idea how much, and my enthusiasm began to decline. During my first semester, I discovered that I have invisible disabilities — ADD, slow reading, and dyslexia. It’s no wonder I had to work so hard to achieve honor status in high school and college! The law school I attended was new and did not have adequate facilities or accommodations for those with invisible disabilities. I was granted some accommodations, but did not receive what I really needed to succeed. I mostly had problems keeping up with the reading and the commuting turned into a nighmare because of road construction. My approximately 1 hour drive turned into 2 to 2.5 hours. I changed to part-time at night, but those classes were accelerated, which I did not know, so it did not help. I stressed out so badly that it seriously affected my health. I withdrew last year and now taking care of my 80 year old parents. However, I am not giving up! I have never been a quitter. I plan to go back to the law school and see what my options are at this point! I hope my experience helps those who are thinking about or already pursuing a professional degree. Never give in, never give up, and do all you can to help yourself succeed, because you cannot depend on anyone else! Thanks.

    • Sandra – Congrats on your persistence! I hope you have sought treatment for your ‘hidden disabilities’. The Learning Disabilities Assn. in Redmond, Wa. would be a start. I,too, discovered my ADHD later in life (@age 44), but unfortunately not until after I had completed grad school :( There are a number of resources @ most libraries, or you could try , also in Washington. Good luck to you. NJJ

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    • Hi Sandra-

      Your story gives me some hope…I am currently enrolled in online classes to obtain my Bachelor’s degree in sociology; I also work 42 hours a week as a home health aide, do a whole lot of driving, and take care of my disabled husband. I decided to make a change last year when I woke up one morning and realized that I didn’t want to scrub toilets for a living for the rest of my life.

      I, too, have felt stressed out and overwhelmed recently and gave some thought to putting my education on hold-simply because even at my age, I was bursting into tears on a daily basis and rolling out of bed each morning thinking that I am just too tired to keep all this up.

      However, after reading your post I am going to keep trying. Thank you so much for your inspiration. Best of luck to you!

      • CB,
        After 20 years in a caregiving field, I went back to college to finish my BS. I too was working full time, trying to maintain a family life, and had a long commute. The first week of classes, I was exhausted, anxious, and would often break into tears for no apparent reason. On a whim, I visited the campus counselling service for advice. I was referred to a psychologist for weekly therapy sessions and a psychiatrist for “medical management.” While it went against everything that I grew up believing, I decided to accept both forms of mental health help. Two years later, I graduated with a 3.9 GPA and had a better understanding of who I was and what I needed to do to better manage my life. Caregivers often give too much of themselves, so my advice is to do what you can to take care of yourself first. Self preservation in the form of asking for and accepting help will ensure that you’ll have something left to give. As for me, I did switch careers. After 20 years in a very demanding field, I chose an aspect of my career that I loved, found my niche, and built a small “business” around that. Now, more than ten years later, I am able to give more of myself to my clients without depleting my own reserves, but I still occasionally “check in” with my psychologist for a tune-up. BTW, I was diagnosed with a bit of a learning disability back when I started therapy… I was almost 40 and never realized that my scatterbrain was treatable :-O Best wishes to you on your journey CB!

      • CB,
        I am touched by your courage to do something to better your lot, I was a cna for 8 years got tired of the job and could no more find fulfilment in doing that. At age 41 I enrolled in nursing school, put all my heart into it,my co-worker and friends thought I was crazy, but anybody desperate about changing his or her situation will be view that way keep on believing in yourself, I graduated 2years ago now working as rn. The job is good, the pay is x3 what I use to make. Follow your heart and make those career changes you can do more than you think.

      • Your post is very inspiring. I am 54 and left a bilingual permanent teaching position about 5 years ago due to stress my performance went down. I have had temp and sub positions currently.Permanent positions seem to be extinct. I went back to school and obtained an MBA with 3.89 G.P.A. I became more connected to my spiritual self and a obtained a broader picture to life. I am still looking for steadier full time work. I am looking into obtaining an Spanish interpreting certificate. I understand it is in high demand. I am concerned about job opportunities in this depressed job market,but I do not give up easy.

    • In 1984 my brother-in-lasw finished law school and could not find a job in Minnesota. On t.v. some lawyesr are asking if you have been bitten by
      a dog. Look in the yellow pages and see how many lawyers there are in your area. Law would be the last place I would go to school for!

      • Gerry – Did you ever consider that you’re brother in law is a jerk or that he can’t interview? Maybe he has the same negative attitude you have. I can not stand people who try to dash the dreams of another person. It’s so transparent that you don’t have any backbone or belief in yourself so you lash out to those that do.

        Sandra – You rock! I’m a 51 year old IT engineer and I make it my goal to gain one certification or take at least one glass every year. As law is your passion, IT is mine. I’m not making any career changes but I try to stay as current as I can.
        I like your “can do” attitude and if you keep pushing, you WILL DO! Stay on the grind. Once you pass the bar exam, it’ll mean so much more than to someone who’s mommy and daddy wrote the check for. And God Bless you for taking care of your folks.

        • Hey:

          My pet peeve is when people assume unemployed lawyers are just losers. The fact is, only about one in three law school graduates can get a job. That does not mean that the other 66.6% are a bunch of jerks who can’t interview. Law schools simply graduate way more people than the market for lawyers needs.

          • Gerry – the fantasy begins in the students head. They have seen too much Boston Legal, LA Law or any number of these shows that show millionaire lawyers living like rock stars. Thats their idea of what a lawyer job should be.I know at least a half a dozen lawyers who “maybe” make fifty thousand a year in a private practice. The graduation to job rate is horrible in most fields today and not just for lawyers. I firmly believe if your brother in law presents himself well and gets on the grind, he can practice law. He can forget about being the next Denny Crane but he can put his education to use. I’m sure you know CPA’s who work out of their den. They could make a heck of a lot more money working for Big 5 firm but would rather work a normal job and have a normal life. I wonder if that’s you brother in laws hang up. Maybe he thinks that kind of practice is beneath him. He can keep his pride and be the only greeter at Wal-Mart with a law degree.

              • One last thing to all who think a law degree is a dead end you probably souldnt even bother going school. My wife recruits for a hospital management company. I told her about this little back and forth and she said a law degree could slide into being a hospital administrator. Pay is 150k-200k. It’s not practicing law but you’ve got to be flexible in this world. An education of that level has worth in the job market. Anybody who thinks a law degree is worthless is grasping for an excuse to explain their failure or are just whizzing in the wind.

                • Just need to add a bit to this thread. I got a degree in Elem Education and after 10 years needed a change. I got a certification with Microsoft (MCSE) and 10 years after that I am a Director of IT Operations for a consulting company. Sometimes it isn’t about your degree but more about your degree of understanding in how to apply your skills to a job or role that you are interested in as a career. In my career change, I got funny looks from IT folks when they did not see a Computer Science degree on my resume, but an Elem Ed degree. Once I started talking about my background, skills and goals, the funny looks turned into head nods in agreement. Funny thing is that I am using my classroom management skills from teaching and my Elem Ed degree on a daily basis in managing a group of IT engineers…much like a law degree can assist in being a hospital admin.

              • Whoa Jim, you’re so misinformed it makes me sick. I graduated from law school. There are not enough law jobs. Law is a TERRIBLE field.

      • Gerry,
        You speak the absolute truth about law school graduates. The vast majority will not find a job in their chosen field unless their parent owns a law firm or they graduated from an Ivy League school. Too many law school grads and not enough work to go around.

        Law schools should be obligated to explain this to every applicant, or better yet, many of these law schools should close. They are trying to sell something (a law career) that will never materialize for most of their students, even the ones who pass the bar exam.

        Everyone needs a dream, but it should be realistic, unless you were born rich and don’t need to support yourself.

        • This really does depend upon where you live. I am in a rural area and we are desperate for attorneys, so much so that smaller towns are using attorneys as far as 45 minutes away as their city/county counsel. I guess if you insist on living in an area where there is a glut of attorneys, you may have trouble making a living, but isn’t that true for almost everything?

          • I live in a rural area–deep south. I moved here after my big city job went down. Our problem is that we have an abundance of law firms here. They fight for clients, aggressively and do everything they can to ensure that no self-help law clinics don’t sprout up, although the people in this city cannot afford attorneys and most of their legal problems are basically simple ones. In sum, I guess it all depends on the city’s dynamics. All rural areas don’t need any more attorneys than they already have.

      • My 19 yo dd is dreaming of a career in corporate law. Her adviser offered 3 areas for her to pursue, and told her a bit about each one, including which area has a current high demand. At some point in everyone’s life, a lawyer will be needed, so there is a need. Being willing to move where there is a job opening is the most important detail many going through college do not consider. If someone wants to stay local, they need to consider the needs of the area. IF someone wants to achieve their dream career, they HAVE to be willing to move to any place at any time. It is not that your brother is a loser, the school has failed him, or the field is saturated everywhere, it is just one point that all students and future students need to take into consideration when working to that dream.

        I WAS an elementary teacher with a masters in curriculum and instruction. The masters is an administrative position, but I cannot use it where I am because the demand for that position is limited in every district across the nation, and once the position is filled, few leave it. But that doesn’t mean an opportunity isn’t available some place else. The same goes for elementary teachers.

        Regardless of degree or career interest, you have to be willing to relocate if you really want your dream job.

        • For anyone to think of “law” as a dream job, you should know that you have to have your OWN clients and bring them to the law firm with you which gives you status and the right to make decisions about how many billable hours you bring to the business. Lawyers have a partnership and lawyers at the firm are either partners or associates who work for the partners. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd year associates go thru hell at large firms where they are required to put in a certain number of hours every year (billables). You won’t have a life. It’s almost an internship when you add up all the hours you’re working and what the actual financial benefit you get out of it–but you gotta do it so you can pay your law school tuition! That “dream job” can become a nightmare. I don’t want to squash any dreams–but law is no joke, but it helps if you chose a practice that’s not going to give you an early heart attack.

    • Good for you!Keep plugging away at it.You deserve to be happy.In the end,it will all be worth it.I am glad you will continue on,despite these learning disabilities.My son is 7 1/2 ,is very smart,and is struggling in school.He will be evaluated soon.People like you can inspire others to keep on.And,don’t wear yourself out caring for your parents.Put an ad out,and find a few good live ins or aides,or nurses to help you.Skip the agencies.I’m a RN.Agencies lie and drive up costs.I think it’s great that you keep going.Take care.Lisa

      • Have you considered the possibility that you don’t have these “invisible disabilities.” Stop whining and just get it done.

        • I agree, get it done. I am 47, will be 48 when I get my BA in Human Services, (Social Work) and when I first started school I had the worst time concentrating on my studies. Just remembering dates, equations, and trying to retain what I had just read was not working. I thought there was something wrong with me. Nope! I wasn’t allowing myself to get use to learning again. Now 3 years later I remember everything I learned back then and can read a book and remember key points and pages for seminaring or tutor young students in math because I remember my Algebra! Good Luck….you can do it and I personally feel that as we age our minds work in a different way and when we accept this, it makes it easier to allow that information to store in our brains for recall.

          • I ago – people generally can ingest information as long as they have something to adhere it to–so learning I’ve found is like building a building–but that foundation has to be sound to build upon it. I missed math because the idea of studying algebra equations just didn’t appeal to me — I thought about it, and asked myself: Are you ever going to be a scientist? A math teacher, professor? Do you really need to know calculus? I knew I was going for the arts–so much more “me.” So I settled for knowing advanced arithmetic–balancing checkbooks, simple stuff. I also realized that math helps one to process data, to think logically, etc., but I already was adept at that. We have to chose our path and enjoy what it is we do. It makes such a difference in our lives – looking forward to going to work vs hating it. Choose well!

        • Wow…that is the dumbest comment I’ve read! You think she’d make up having disabilities? Like she NEEDS more obsticles?? Learning disabilites are real and usually are identified in situations like this when you can no longer ignore them because they are creating definate problems. Disabilties are not a reason to quit, but rather a challenge that needs to be met.

          Your attitude really makes me mad….but that you are so ignorant of the challenges some people face makes me even sadder.

    • Sandra, thank you for your post. I’m 36, not quite midlife. I’m a teacher and I use to love my job but negativity and non-productive changes have made educating children and helping them get to a better place almost like a scene out of Mission Impossible. I have considered many many options and law school has been one of them but I thought that going back to school after my masters degree would be too much, but you have given me hope that and let me know that I shouldn’t give up…change can be good. All of the negative comments after Sandra’s post were so inappropriate and also makes me realize that htere are mean people out there that have nothing better to do than to dash the hopes and dreams of people who dare to share them. Stay positive Sandra and everything you want will come to you!

      • Nicole, I couldn’t agree with you more on the points you shared about education.

        I had one parent tell me to my face during a conference that teachers have it easy with our banker hours and every holiday off. I only smiled.

        As an educator for 20 years, I was dedicated to my job, almost always the first in, last out. My work schedule started at 6:30 a.m., ended at 11:30 p.m., Monday through Sunday, 12 months a year. I brought work home with me after those hours and was up til 2 a.m. (sometimes 4 a.m.). During the summer I’d have to take classes or training to keep up with the new demands. I never took a vacation (no money, no time), and huge chunks of my paycheck went to pay for the needs of my ill supplied classroom or replace outdated curriculum material. OSHA doesn’t protect teachers as it does the rest of the population, we are our entity (according to a lawyer I spoke with). We are not blessed with the 15 minute break allotment per number of hours. I wasn’t allowed to leave my students if I had to use the restroom so I’d wait til 4 p.m. when all the kids and parents were gone. I’d have students in during recess breaks to help them get ahead or as a reward for good behavior. I rarely had a time when my lunch break was alone.

        The amount of work I did was not a choice. It was a “do it or get out”–just like any other job. When parents fail to provide adequate educational support at home, it leaves it to teachers to carry the entire load and when the child fails the parents point their finger at someone else…and the teacher loses her job.

        I chose to leave in ’09. No regrets. The cost of my career: my family. my health. My family is broken, but slowly healing. The personal debt incurred because of my career…depressing. It took me one full year for my sleep habits to change and my health has not fully recovered.

        I reached and helped many students, including that parent’s child, and never received a thank you for my work, my time, my personal sacrifices at the time. But my reward is seeing my students succeed each year and seeing where many of them are today: starting their life dream because I gave them a solid foundation to stand on. I run into many parents now and then who say I was their child’s favorite teacher or I changed the child for the better. Even my old students have called to thank me for being there when no one else was; stopped me to apologize for their poor behavior as a kid and thankful that I didn’t give up on them; or a post card to tell me they’ve chosen their career because they fell in love with it when I was teaching them.

        I can never go back to teaching. But I have many options for my future, many interests to pursue. And many more candles to burn.

    • Dear Sandra-

      Thank you so much for sharing your experiences! I’m inspired and encouraged. I’m also in my fifties, and hope to take the LSAT soon. I’m also in the process of obtaining my paralegal certification, and I left my teaching job, at a large university, in order to do so. Even though life is short, we’re living longer. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Though not always the case, age and experience are often appreciated in a world where the quality of learning and education are decreasing exponentially.

      And you are absolutely right about the dangers of stress. Though I loved my work and was very successful, I hated where I was working. I lost my hair, got arthritis in my jaw and back, and suffered from continual depression. I planned, saved my money, and just “stepped out on faith,” as they say. Because I’m physically handicapped, it’s difficult for me to exercise, but I can still walk, and that’s what I do. Exercise helps dissipate that extra, nervous energy. I also chant (I’m Buddhist). I’m not a religious person, per se. I just do what works for me. A former colleague introduced me to the practice a little before I left my job. It helped me rediscover the soul I’d thought I lost. My point: you’ve got to take care of yourself, first. Though I wish I had discovered this about a decade ago, I’m now quite certain that I’ll never forget this lesson.

      Everybody’s got an opinion about how YOU should live, and what does and doesn’t make sense. The problem with this is that they don’t have to live your life. I’m not advocating being hasty or irresponsible: I’m just saying that we have much more power over our lives than we often know. So, Sandra, good luck to you, and to all the other inspiring individuals who have already shared.

    • Sandra,
      Congratulations! I believe it’s never too late to follow your dreams. I am 52 years old, and I also have a dream to accomplish my goal in nursing and business. Maybe I’m pushing it by pursuing a double major, but it’s what I want. I started College late because I had four children to raise and a full-time job. It was tough being a single mother, but everything is possible if you have the drive to do it. My children are all grown now. I can focus on my education…yayyy!!! I have a positive attitude and I know that people just need to get that thought of being to old to go back to school out of their heads, be proactive and just do it! It’s great brain therapy too!

    • Hey Sandra:
      Two thumbs up!!! I decided to pursue a law degree in my mid thirties, with three kids. I also discovered that I was ADD, and needed glasses. I went part time, got my degree and passed the bar. Whoever said life starts at 40 (or later) was right. I always had a passion for the law, and enjoy my work each and every day. My boyfriend has just returned to school for an engineering degree and he is in his mid forties. He says I am his inspiration to finish…I am sure you are someone’s inspiration, so go for it!!! You’ll be happy you did.

    • Hi Sandra,

      I started a teaching career about 3.5 years ago in Special Education. I soon got burned out; I gave more than I got back. I felt I left my research, writing, and reading skills on the shelf and felt depressed that I was not utilizing my true talents. I have decided to become a paralegal; Like you I am enamored with the Law. I am currently enrolled in a paralegal program and take courses soon. Thanks for your story I hope you become a successful attorney one day.

    • Sandra,

      I am glad that you are not a quitter! I, too, wanted to change career and chose law school! One thing I learned is that NEVER GIVE UP YOUR DREAMS! Persistence is the key to make things happen!!

    • God bless you! It’s great to see someone like you putting yourself out there like that and going for it. I’m currently a Police Officer and I’ve been trying to go to law school for a while now and after reading your story I want to give it try so bad. Don’t give up and get it moving youngester!!!

    • Hi Sandra….Your words are very encouraging. I am 43 and just started studying for the LSAT…I wish you luck in accomplishing your goals. Keep your head up :)

    • Hi! I am 41 years old and am just going to school to get my paralegal degree. I plan to start with my Associates, then continue on from there. Law school may eventually be the goal, but first I want to test the waters as a paralegal.

    • Hi Sandra,
      Thanks for your post… I, too, am returning to school to pursue a professional degree; however, instead of law school, I hope to enter dental school in the fall of 2012. Having finished my bio/chem degree as a non-trad student over 13 years ago, I now find myself going back into the undergrad classroom for one more prerequisite. I thought that this would give me a good idea as to how I would “react” to school again as well as help me prepare for the DAT. It has been a challenge but one that I still find myself excited about–despite the number of fellow students that asked if I was there to teach the next class!! Sadly, I have accumulated a couple of other degrees along the years in order to “make up” for not pursuing dental school in the very beginning. In fact, I am still paying on some of the loans. I was attempting to take short cuts on what would ultimately make me happy. Instead, I find myself at 45, wondering “what if?” and “why not?” Since I am currently employed as a Director of National Accounts for a dental company, I find myself involved in the field and regretting my earlier decisions more than ever. Thus, the reason for my current class schedule!! Regardless, I wish you the best in your endeavors and, again, we appreciate your post! It makes the rest of us feel much better knowing that there are others out there with similar goals and aspirations!

    • Wow..I have though of doing the same but I am 53. I also have post baccalaureate paralegal certification and a master degree, but because I was home raising kids for 15 years its been tough even getting a paralegal job that can support me and my kids. So I am working in a job I hate which pays only slightly better than the paralegal jobs I was offered. I would love to go to law school but cannot afford it.

    • Sandra,

      You are such an inspiration; your tenacity and courage to pursue the alternate avenue that you’ve longed for is quite admirable. So many people have the same desire, but other circumstances often cloud their vision or dampen their desire, or courage is often lost for other reasons. Thanks for sharing, and may you prosper in all that you do!

    • Sandra, your’s is the first of many email I read about career change and the effects life situations have had while you were in pursuit. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would experience so many trials and tribulations while doing what I wholeheartedly believed was best for me. When they say when all can go wrong it will, believe me I am a living witness. The best part is we can be witnesses for others. Thank you and the others for your insight into changing careers after or during mid-life. It is our beginning and well should be all the other aspects of living were started completed and maybe left undone but we are still here and have the opportunity to begin again!

    • Sandra, before you make the decision to go back to law school, start reading the Above the Law blog. You’ll get a better idea of the possibilities after law school. Unfortunately, these days, if you are not in the top of your class at a top tier law school, you could be relegated to a low-paying document review career (or worse). As a 57-year-old former career paralegal at major law firms in a major city, I assure you that law firms can be brutal places where attorneys and paralegals are overworked, stressed out and have no life. Good luck.

  3. Having the goal and the vision in mind for a career change has to be the most important thing that you can do and probably the most challenging. Setting your sights on something that you want and sticking to the plan is something that a lot of folks don’t do.

  4. Great article!
    I am entering into my third career (at age 45) and I plan to keep doing all three. I’ve been self employed my whole life and I enjoy the variety :-)

    The topic of transitions fascinates me – I have started to interview people on my blog about this. Read these stories to see what leaps people made!

    Anyone been through something similar and wouldn’t mind being interviewed? Let me know!

    • I’m 57 and going through massive career change. I’ve been a masonry contractor for 32 years and am resorting to farming now. The income is not great but it is growing and I feel I need to give it time. I am the first operation in our county to get certified organic for the tomatoes I’m growing. The toughest part is developing the market. I probably sold only 15% of what I grew this year.

    • Michelle,
      I have been in the culinary field for 15 years. This is what I have learned:

      I am now 40 and looking to get out. I still have a passion for creating, cooking, and seeing customers happy with what I have created. The downside is the hours a week I work, normally 45-60 depending on how many banquet functions we have going on. It is long hours on your feet in a hot kitchen, constantly lifting heavy items, and reptative work at times. I started having medical issues this year and now have carpal tunnel, two buldging discs in my neck, bursitis in my shoulder and tendonitius in my elbow. I am a Sous Chef and having to manage young non-careing individuals with no morals have really wore me down. I am by no means saying these things to discourage you, I just want you to know what a kitchen is really like. I have interviewed and hired so many that think it is going to be like what they see on t.v. and find out it is not that at all. It is hot back breaking work. It wears your body down fast.
      I always tell someone wanting to go to culinary shcool, get a job in a kitchen first. It gives you an inside look at what you are getting into. Also, there are different stations in the kitchen so you find out which one you like the best. I went through and graduated with a Culinary Degree and really should have worked in the field first.

  5. I did go back to schoo at 52 to become a social worker. I too have learning disailities, but I am trying to keep up.

    One yeat and a 4.0 later I am not in statistics and boy is that a passion killer.

    Keep your vision in mind, why you wanted to make the change.

    As for the Paralegal lady. Maybe private tutoring. Just mever give up.

    But know your limitations – maybe you are where you are sapose to be.

  6. I too went back to school and I have learning disabilities.

    But more than a year later and 4.0 I am in statistics – boy is that a passion killer.

    Just reember why you made the change in the first place and know your limitaitons, maybe you are where you are sapsoe to be

    Paralegal lady could find a different school or tutur.

  7. Oh woopsy I did it twice. Look at the time. I get up this early when I have to study for class. Than I put tons of makeup on and lie and say I am just a little tired from getting up so ealry.

    Oh here is one other clue. Online school is not for the working older adult. It is uch harder, time consuming and for those of us that are old school, computer knoweldge is definitely a plus.

    The teachers will ask you weird things: post a GLogster, do a chart, Write this formula, post this, submit that.

    • Stephani- I have to disagree about online schools. I am attending a great online school that allows you to work at your own pace. The computer work is tough, but they have plenty of available support. I am now 49 and will be graduating within the year. I was working 55-60 hours and going to school online. Now that the end is near, I can honestly say it was well worth it!

    • I have to agree with Stephanie, working fulltime and taking a fulltime online class load from an accredited university will stress you beyond belief. I also agree that statistics is the hardest class I have ever taken. At the undergraduate level it should be simplified, especially for the non math and non science major.

    • Stephanie- I disagree with your comment regarding on-line schools for older adults- I am 55 and finished a Master of Health administration 2 years ago- It was certainly time consuming and I freaked when I had no internet access if traveling, but it worked out and I am really glad I stuck to it!

    • Stephanie, DO employ spellcheck. In spite of recent trends to push off correct spelling, syntax and grammar as superfluous they are still important. School or no school such blatant mistakes make you look less than intelligent and also less than precise. Whatever happened to high school education that people with less than competent skills are allowed to graduate?

  8. Presently a self-employed painting contractor..dabbling in music…both are artistic expressions of my talents. I’m considering a gradual change to music(which has always been my passion) so I still have some degree of financial security with a 3/4 part-time painting business to support my music endeavor. You don’t have to throw the baby out with the bath water all at once.

    • I too am a paiinter/contractor. However my history is employed painter/paint contractor/ now employed commercial painter. I have been working for the last 10 years with my current co. It is a small co. that does alot of work. I’m not ‘burning out’ but am surley not getting anywhere financially. I’m 45 and am in good health. My passion is music engineering. I’m not one bit educated mostly self taught. All my life I’ve said to myself “If I went to school for that, I’d be here”. I guess I’m ‘venting’ reading all of your stories. Somehow I need to find some type of online ‘engineering/mixing’ business. I know the transision is the most difficult part of changing. We alll have mouths to feed. Thanks to all.

      • I actually went to school for music, specifically engineering. I was never able to land a job in the field and fell back on my minor which was computer science. I’ve been doing software/web/database work for a few years now.

        My approach is to save money and become independent using what I’m doing now and possibly getting into property management. Then, it’s off to assembling a recording studio when there’s enough money to buy time to use it.

  9. Midlife career change is actually a boon in modern times. In the olden days,such changes would be frowned upon but no longer! The very concept is so motivating, so much so that one is charged up to perform beyond expectations in one’s current occupation and if for any reason one cannot, then a switch can help keep alive one’s aspirations of excelling in his or her performance. The essence is having an OPTION – this alone is a great emotional booster !

    • Wait till you try to interview.. I can’t even get another job in the field I’m in..I have interviewed and been called back for seconds, but never hired over 15 times in the last eight months. And I track the jobs– they have ALWAYS hired a younger (and thinner) person..and usually an internal I have been in the academic environment.. Lot nepotism.. and affirmative action..but no affirmative action for the middle aged.

  10. I have been in the legal field for 28 years. I recently left a job because part of me felt restless and unsatisfied. I left my home and relocated with what I thought was a fantastic opportunity, however, I still find myself bored and there was no spark. In June, 2010 I had looked into a career change and knew exactly what the change I wanted was, but things turned around in my personal life and I was happy for about 4 months. Now, with that behind me I still find myself restless, unsatisfied and bored. I have again looked into that change, and will begin my class in the next week with graduation in October. I am hoping to start a new career by the first of the year doing something that I have wanted to do since I was in high school. I feel good about it and my intuition says its the right time and circumstances.

  11. I, too, Sandra, have ambitions of attending law school. Its a passion and related to my work experience (when I worked) have been laid off for over a year now. David, you, are right. If I want it, I got to go get it, but I feel down-trodden by life’s adversaties. How do I find the motivation? Prayer has worked on my soul, but my mind is idle and it’s has been difficult to compel myself. What am I saying? I wonder myself.

    • Denise, many years ago I found a quote that inspires me to this day. It was Booker T. Washington who said, “I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” Each time I’ve overcome my own obstacles, I turn to that quote to drive me on yet again. In a thumbnail, I had to leave college when I got pregnant. Back in the 60′s, there weren’t the resources available that exist today. A few years later when I planned to go back to school, I was in an elevator that fell and wound up having back surgery, 5 knee surgeries, including double knee replacement. Fast forward to the last few years – I was laid off from my bank manager’s job, which devastated me financially. With all the stress, I had to have open heart surgery resulting in huge medical bills I couldn’t pay. I had to declare a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and my home went into foreclosure. Things have not improved substantially, but I know I have what it takes to go on. I am 63 years old and taking online classes and my next opportunity is waiting out there. It’s my job to find it. Denise, get up every day, say a prayer of thanks and, most importantly, believe in yourself. My beloved Grandfather used to say, “If you need a helping hand, look no further than at the end of your wrist.” Good luck, Denise. You CAN do it!

  12. I’m a 33 years old. I’ve worked in public relations and communications for the last 12 years and I hate it. I want out worse then you can possibly imagine but I’m not sure what to do and the lack of knowing makes me feel paralyzed. For the longest time I wanted to go to law school, I kept putting it off and now I find myself wondering what kind of career I could have and do I really want to put in those kinds of hours when I’m at the age where I’d like to have a family? I’m also interested in maybe getting a phd in history and teaching but thats 6 more years of school and then there is the question of money. I don’t need to be rich but I would like to be comfortable. The worst part about all of this is that I feel old, that I’ve wasted the last 12 years in the wrong field and that its to late to do anything about it. I wish I could have a do over but since thats not an option does anyone have any advice?

    • Brendan, do it now!!! Go get what you want an stop fartin around with wishy washy i dunno’s. your wastin time. tick tock. i’m 33 too and spent the last 15 years as a diesel mechanic. i got real good and absolutely loved what i did. but knew i was capable of so much more. i worked for my state airport fire department and got inspired by the firefighters i worked with to help people when they need it most. i enrolled at my local community college this past january and start the EMT program next fall after i finish my pre-reqs. do it do it now don’t waste another second. i live in hawaii and had to move to a different island to accomplish this. i miss my house, my mom and my dog. but i’m here surviving off top ramen and my financial aid. it is tough but i am passionate. good luck!!

    • You are so young!There’s still time to do whatever you wish.If you need to,get married or don’t and have kids.I have only one,glad,had him when I was 40.It’s never too late to do anything.If you are 70 and want to go to college,why not.Do what you love.That’s more important than money.Usually,the people who do what they love get support because others can feel the wave they’re riding on.I plan on quitting nursing and doing a wildlife sanctuary in a few years.A lot of people are trying to discourage me.Won’t stop me.I am a fourth Cherokee and love wildlife.Going to have to get donations from the public to do this.I did wildlife rehab,and it was more rewarding than nursing has ever been.So hang in there,and don’t let a number(age) stop you.You may live to be 110!Take care.lisa

    • Brenden,
      Seriously? Old? You are very young and I say don’t procrastinate further and just do it. I felt the same way you did at my age, 52. The way I see it, life is too short and you need to go with what your heart wants. As long as you are not working and willing to go to school, there are resources out there to help your dream come true. Trust me, I am doing it and I don’t work. In the long run, hard school work is very rewarding.

      • Hey man,

        I’m 36 and changing my career to paralegal from being a teacher with very little pay or appreciation accept from the kids and there parents. I did one semester of law school six years ago (when I only had 1 kid) and regret quitting it. I have a bunch of kids now so I figured I would be a paralegal (less expensive to be one than a lawyer) then I would really find out if I like the law. So, you have a lot of options. You are still young. I too, wanted to be a history PhD, and I have some friends that worked painstakingly hard to go overseas for PhD programs or right in their home state. Both of them now are working as part-time professors. I hope they get to be full-time eventually. Talk to new professors that have just finished their PhDs and are working as professors. Find out about how they paid for school and the outcome and square it by what you care about. Hope that helps.

        • “Accept from the kids and there parents”?? Really? From a teacher? If this is what kids today are being taught, it is no wonder so few of them know grammar or how to spell.

    • In six years, you will be six years older … with or without the degree. Take it from someone who let the six years pass, and is now just older. Opportunities often come just once, so if you have the time and desire to complete a degree, don’t hesitate to follow your heart.

    • Brenden, curious to know what about your prior career that you didn’t like. Law firms are customarily hectic places to work with very demanding partners who expect you to worship them doing everything they command. It’s a field with a lot of egomaniacs. I think it’s the idea of being a lawyer that draws a lot of people to the field. Also, there are a lot of things you should know about the practise of law, esp. how they chose associates–they prefer attorneys fresh out of school so they can manipulate their future/s. The more prestigous the graduate’s law school, the better for the Firm. If you’re thinking about private practice there are many concerns to look into. Just remember many lawyers are out of the street now looking for/can’t find work. I say this not to discourage you but to ENcourage you to get the big picture to make an informed decision.

  13. I went back to college and earned my Biology degree. Yes, it was hard and the classes kept getting harder the farther you go. But persistance does pay off and remembering that you do not have to strive for perfection. I am now at age 52 finishing up my master’s degree in Public Health and Enviromental Biology.

    Remember, what ever you do there are trade offs. But if you want something at least take a chance and go for it. Many times we are too scared to move out of our comfort zones. But you only have one life to live, so live it to the fullest that you can.

  14. I too am going through a mid life carreer change. After 30+ years of engineering in every field from automotive to electrical devices, I have been shuffled, redirected , downsized, and displaced too many times. I decided to change my carreer path into avaition maintenance. I have a love for flying and anything associated with it. I lost my pilots license in 1996 when I was diagnosed with diabetes due to not passing my medical upon renewal. If I wasn’t going to be able to fly planes anymore, I decided I was at least going to work on them. I went back to school at the age of 50 to beaome an AMT. I had been in industries that didn’t want to fix things right, they just wanted to patch things up to keep them running as long as they could on a tight budget, and this bothered me greatly. I have a long past career that encourages me to do things the right way so you dont have to keep fixing them over and over repeatedly. Aircraft owners have a lot invested in their airplanes and they want to keep them flying as long as they can. Most owners don’t spare any expenses to fix them right. I believe this carreer change was a calling for my expertise.

    • Don’t do it every company has adopted some form of lean initiative which ultimately leads to layoffs and downsizing. I was laid off from a large intl us based air carrier as they reduced their AMT work force from 13,000 to 4,500 in 2 years. All of the people I work with now are displaced from many different airlines some of which no longer exist.
      Aviation is real risky right now.

  15. My advice, DON’T DO IT! At the age of 47, I decided to leave the corporate work world, and follow my passion and go back to school and become a teacher. After two years of school, where I made the Dean’s List every semester, a perfect 4.0 in my Education classes, I got out and could not find a job. I have been looking for a full time teaching position for three years. Now my license is expiring, and by law, I cannot renew it.

    I spent over $100,000 dollars easy over five years trying to become a teacher, with no sucess. I am utterly defeated and all my goals and dreams I worked so hard to achieve are shattered. Now I am just a 52 year old, unemployed, statistic.

    • Both my wife & I have been going through significant changes. We believe God will always hold us, guide us but sometimes also correct us. We have lately felt quite corrected but realized after many many years that there is some big picture behind all of this that we cannot see. Gradually we realize that we have more blessings than we realized. My wife completed her Masters of Teaching and after almost a year land a job at age 49 but only in a place for school dropouts. It has been almost unbearable for her at this place however she has stuck it out. Maybe you need to consider relocating – physically or reviewing your life – but you will surely find meaning if you believe. I believe in you and am responding to the pain I hear from a fellow human. Reach within.

    • Brian,
      You did an excellent job with school!!! It was certainly not a waste!! We are experiencing difficult times right now but this is actually a blessing. Things are being shaken up and the old way of doing business is changing. Here is what I would like you to do with your talents. First, have hope and believe in yourself. Second, realize that the old way of doing things clearly does not work any longer so you must now be an innovator, make a resolute plan based on that fact.
      I would like to give you an idea. Learning is changing and becoming more internet based. This can present tremendous cost savings for financially strapped school systems. Use you talents and skills in teaching to develop a viable plan that will augment student learning while at the same time provide an alternative to municipalities who are struggling with costs. I am sure you can refine this far better than I for I am a mathematician, not a teacher. The point is that we live in a sea of infinity, this is just one idea of an unlimited pool which is only restrained by one’s own negative thoughts. You are brilliant!! Believe it, use it, and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. You are already half way there, keep going, please.
      Good luck my friend,

    • After working for over 15 years at the same place, I was completely miserable at my job. I hated it, I hated going to work, started being late, frustrated, and I had no respect for my boss or my peers. I started looking for another job and accepted one that I thought I would like…turns out they didn’t like me. The job was an “at will” position, so I left. Now I’m a 52 year old and unemployed. I can’t even get a minimum wage job, because of my work history, I made over 30 dollars an hour. Still I haven’t given up hope. I have little choice but to go in a different direction. My old career field is too limiting and there aren’t many jobs available, so I’m looking for a new career.

    • I Totally Agree With You! Finding a job and starting all over again after the age of 45 is one of the hardest things to do in this life. No employers want to hire people who are over 45. They only want the young people who view all of us as dinosaurs and act like we are worthless and do not have the ability to keep up.

      For example: I have always wanted to work on a cruise ship. No matter what position anyone is applying for, the requirements clearly state that you have to be between the ages of 18-35. I missed it by quite a bit! It’s the same with working for the airlines. And don’t even try to start over in the world of broadcasting! On camera females must look 20 – and not a day over!!

      Unless you have a boatload of money stashed somewhere or received an inheritance – good luck trying to start your own business.

      And there is always the “OMG! What do you mean my parent has Alzheimer’s? Any money you had saved will most likely go to helping out that parent. And when that parent has passed you find that said parent (two months before the diagnosis) had cancelled out all the life insurance policies on the whim of a greedy and evil neighbor disguised as a concerned friend. Funeral expenses are extremely costly.

      So after years of schooling and accelerated and online classes, I, too, am experiencing the defeat. I spent the last 6 yrs as the primary caregiver for my parent.

      It is difficult to keep your head up. Did you know it even costs money to do volunteer work?

      I wish you luck.
      To everyone who has made it – Congratulations!
      And yes (even through all of this) I am still searching for other options because I have to find something now! I was pushed into this by life circumstances. school … but self taught.

    • Brian,

      I agree with you. Unless you know it is a viable field and know someone on the inside (you don’t really have a chance). Teaching is a great profession if you get in and keep your job after the evaluations and critiques that are ongoing. Teaching certification is B.S. and can change at any moment. No Child Left Behind has attempted to raise the teaching profession to the same standard as an Attorney, but it ain’t. Like a buddy of mine said, The Bull crap it takes to be a teacher isn’t worth it, so I decided to got to three years of Law School and take a bar exam. I haven’t heard if he is making more than he would have as a teacher, or if he enjoys his work, but he has a point: Is the teaching profession worth it anymore? The days of the teacher like those portrayed on the sitcom Head of the Class, or even Mr. Holland’s Opus, and Dead Poet’s Society are few and far between. Now instruction is so dumbed down, and watered down that a teacher has very little “academic freedom,” talk about feeling isolated and teaching with your hands tied behind your back.

    • You were an excellent student, and you want to teach but can’t find a traditional job. Consider putting that together and start your own business as a student tutor in whatever field and age-level you choose. Your door would probably be beaten down with students desperate to graduate, succeed in an important class, etc. You can continue looking for a job elsewhere if you wish. Bloom where you are planted!

    • That’s weird — if you don’t secure a teaching position after 3 years, you can NEVER do so? Not sure if I read it right. I’m thinking about millions out there who’re in school to get teaching jobs — if I hear you correctly, they have a MOMENTOUS disappointment waiting for them, because fact is, teachers have been laid off in every state in this country.

  16. Great Article.I’m 52 and I’ve lately been considering a career switch from being a government lawyer to lecturing at the university.Your article has further opened convinced me that I don’t need other people’s opinion to make a decision in this line.I hope many people out there considering career switch will just follow their convictions and move ahead to new worlds of possibilities in their preferred choices.Thanks again for a great article.

  17. Well, I did it, after 20some years of military service and the medical field, I retired and started a new career in HR. While in the service and close to retirement I went back to school and completed an MS in Mangagement. I feel very complete now, also started another one of my passions and opened a Mechanic Shop to spend some time rebuilding old cars (muscle). You have to give yourself credit for all those great experiences in life and work and put them to work for you. Don’t give up LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL.

    • roberto,how did you accomplish the restoration goal ? I love that stuff but,have no real experience,just what I have done with motorcycles on my own. Also,to all of you on here,how are you able to make it through school ? meaning,how do you pay for it ? I am unemployed for 6 mos. now and barely survive on UE benfits. now most employers say they dont hire the unemployed !!! Fantastic country and system we have here.

  18. Avoid placed that train new people on a continuous basis. They really only want the ones with experience and maybe were laid off. If they don’t want you, that friendliness turns cold real quick.

  19. Yay for everyone who followed their dream! I’m going back to something I wanted to do as a kid: writing. After going back to school and getting two degrees that are virtually useless in getting me a decent job (English and criminology), I’m determined to get out of my office slave rut. I’ve written three books and am querying agents on the last one, am working on a fourth and got a paid job writing content for a website. It’s not much but I’m actually doing it.

    The hardest thing is trying to do it while working full-time. Sometimes I have to push through sheer exhaustion but I do it because I need to do this. If I don’t try, I’ll regret it forever.

    • Oh, I would LOVE to get into writing. I love to read, and after I have read a good book, I will have thoughts in my head of something I would have written or a story that I might could put together. But, I have no idea what I would need to do to get involved in that career. I am 41 now and have thought about a career change. Any suggestions?

  20. Indeed a really fantastic article, I too have decided to make a change from engineering to nursing. What a switch I know and I’m 48 but I know inside this is what I want and I visualize the “Big Picture” everyday. What’s amazing in my A&P class, most if not all have decided to make new career changes.

  21. A lot of this I already knew instinctively but I still don’t know what to do. My biggest mistake ever was getting a degree in broadcasting, which resulted in one part-time job at minimum wage. Since then (over 30 years ago) I have worked a series of dead-end jobs to this very day. I’m presently a sort of social worker working with retarded individuals who are charged w/ felonies. I don’t care for the work but it is what it is. Being an independent contractor I have no benefits of any kind, nor any hope for the future. I considered going to school to become a paralegal but my research indicated it would be extremely difficult to get a job without experience. Also, being deep in debt I couldn’t afford to take on a student loan without some assurance of future employment. Life is anything but beautiful.

  22. I made a career change when I hit the big 40. I was doing well working in several large organizations and promoted to Senior Manager in my last job. However I always have this wish to go to Medical school. I finally had the courage to apply & was accepted into a state university doing my MD. I gave up a 4-figure sum monthly salary to do this. Sounds crazy & scary. Now I am into my 3rd yr. I am one of the oldest students in my med school but I relish the opportunity to pursue my dream. It has been a struggle, balancing my family (2 kids), working part-time to mee the expenses & studying. But I am determined to complete the course & to get a mid-career make-over. My advice is to do proper planning, including your finances, get a back-up plan if it fails & most importantly don’t look back.

    • Sandra,
      What’s amazing is how God will give you a desire right at a time when you think, ‘this is all there is to my existence’ and then, ‘BAM’! In the process of getting my Master’s in Psychology with a specialization in I-O Psychology, and relocating to Texas to pursue it, I too am in that Mid-Life changeover as well. At 40+ years of age, and working for city government for over 15 years, a change is definitely needed. The old adage bares repeating, if you want real change, it has to start with YOU!

      We all only have this one life, make it as best enjoyable and prosperous as you possibly can. Learn to create those things hidden deep down in you in order for your life to become more fulfilling.

      Congrats to all of us that have decided to take the bull by the horns and GO FOR IT!

      • Hi Crystal,

        what is an I O in psychology? I have passionately fallen in love with this field after losing my parents within weeks of one another last year. It was then I realized I wanted to pursue a degree in this field. My dream is to work in the field of Neuroplasticity at UCLA. I am 45 and had a HUGE mid life crisis that began pretty immediately after losing my parents. I have always longed to complete my higher education, currently have an A.S. degree and feel I have sooooo much more in me. I have been so scared and have felt like it was too late at 45 to pursue this dream every time I let the numbers intimidate me… “you will be 50 by the time you are done, when most people are looking at retirement… yada-yada-yada.” I am a very healthy young woman and realize I have always felt a huge void and need to go to the doctorate level. I know I am intelligent enough, just very nervous about all the discomfort along the way to get there. I am currently reading a book called, “You are not your brain” and it is most def helping. Anyway thank you for the listening ear. KUDOS to you and keep on going!

  23. At 50 I decided to change careers, doing maintenance work for 25 years was not a big enough challange anymore. Two years ago I decided to go back to school and get a degree in Culinary. I always had a passion for cooking. Now after 2 years of school, I have found a new calling. One of the best moves I have ever made. Although it has been tough, juggling school work and dealing with my four children. It has been a great experience. I have 9 months of school left to get my associate degrees, after that, since I am enjoying school so much, I am going to stay in school and get my bacholrs degree. Once I am finished with school I am going to open my own restaurant. My advice to anyone thinking of changing careers later in life, have a vision, live your dream. Go for it!

  24. I started college at the age of 47 ro obtain my bachelors degree in elementary ed/special ed. I am going to a great online college and will be starting my student teaching in January 2012. It has been a wonderful journey and I am very grateful that I stuck with it and didn’t give up. I am moving to another state and starting over with a new life and I couldn’t be happier.

  25. I went back to school at age 48 to finish my undergrad. I did a double major (didn’t know any better), graduated and began an executive MBA program 3 months later. I finished in 2 years while working a full time job, but it was grueling!!! I accomplished my goal to get both degrees, but I didn’t have a plan of what to do afterwards. So for the past 3 years I’ve been miserable working in a job I hated. My employment recently ended and now I’m searching for what to do next. Oh, and I still need a job to sustain myself. Lesson learned: Set goals but have a plan A and plan B to follow afteryour goal is accomplished.

  26. I am 51, I have been in the corporate world for my entire life. I was eventually a highly paid head hunter. The problem was I hated every minute of it. The work I did brought me no joy at all. I was getting paid well over $100K, but still I would dread every single day. I would sit at my desk and say to myself.. “what’s the point”.. I found myself at my homeopathic drs office pretty much each month being treated for stress, anxiety and other emotional issues. I had no idea that these issues were related to my inner spirit just “dying” due to the job I was doing. Then last year I could take it no longer. I finally resigned the corporate world, and sought after my passion.Animals. I began taking formal qualifications to become a professional dog trainer. I now own my own dog training company and could never be happier. Yes I earn a fractioin of the money but I jump out of bed every day excited about my day ahead. I am soooo happy!

  27. I’m so glad I’m not the only person making a major career change.

    This fall I have gone back to school full-time to pursue a degree in respiratory therapy. I worked for 19 years in banking and it was not my passion. I have spent hours worrying about this change but I can’t worry no more I’m doing it.

    My new theme song is “Dog Days Are Over” I am in control of my future and this next chapter.

    • Hi,

      I am 41 and in the past 4.5 years I have been laid off twice and had 3 jobs. I currently started to realize once I look at my resume that I have NOT had a job for over 3 years and that actually alarmed me. Working for someone else in this time of bad economy has everyone thinking, when will we be downsized or laid off.

      I have a friend that is a hair barber and while I have been struggling with finding work, and he has always been busy working his craft. I have been planning on going back to school for cosmetology which will allow me to not depend on an employer for pay, vacation or even to maintain a job. I have a plan of attack to secure my families future and the stories that I have read here have been inspiring.

    • Good luck in RT school! You and I are in the same boat. I am 46 years old and have been working in the criminal justice field my entire adult life. I am still at it, but am also going to RT school. I can’t wait to get done and walk away from law enforcement!

  28. I started my career 30 years ago as a graphic artist and advanced through the company until I was in administration overhauling the billing procedure, setting up an HR department and being buried in paperwork. I was far from my creative roots. I went back to school for a MA in Creative Art Therapy, which was rated at the time one of the best up and coming careers, and also a consideration for a career back when I graduated high school. In my second year, the economy tanked and there are few jobs in the field. I am 2 years out of school, 54 yrs old, 60K in debt and working as a Recreation Therapist which is not what I want to do but the only field that is somewhat related. I have no more money to invest in school. I am very unhappy and trying to find an alternative career based on my past experience. Unfortunately it is brutal out there, especially for those over 50. My advice would be to try to stick it out and look at your job as a source of income to use for pursuing your passions outside of work. Once the economy is doing better, then make the move.

  29. Yea the largest Population of Jobless and the terminally unemployed are Collage graduates.. there are new Young Collage Graduates everyday.. Good Luck to You guys My Age and up im 45.. I have pitched it all and have spent the last 2 Years learning appliance repair..” Shop Class for soul Craft” Great Book..the Information age is a Bust.. funny to see baby Boomers trying to compete in the Job Market with millennials, LOL! Thank god they got rid of shop class in the 90′s in High School, these kids cant do much more than replace a light bulb mechanically.

  30. I teach many adults in community college who are making a career change. My advice is to be realistic about the opportunities in your area. Are there openings in law or sociology or teaching, etc? Are you willing to relocate? All the passion and training in the world can’t create a job for you if no one is hiring in your field.

  31. Most will find that changing careers will require attending some form of training (school). At 52 I have 1 year under my belt and 1 year to go for my computer network specialist associates degree. Take inventory of your skills, interests and strengths, then research/research/research… BLS website is an excellent place to start.

  32. I am 54, and I have switched careers several times. At the age of 18, I served in the U.S. Navy. While in the Navy, I took classes aboard my ship and once I competed my tour of duty, I began my studies and obtained my BA in Sociology. While in college, I did volunteer work with a probation office helping trouble kids. After college, I landed a job as a counselor and later as an elementary teacher. I taught for a couple of years. I was blessed by those experiences, but I knew that I had to move on. However, these experiences served as stepping stones. After working as a school teacher for a couple of years later, I received a call from the director of the probation office where I had done voluntary work and was offered a job as a probation officer. I worked at this job until I was offered a position as a federal agent. I worked at that job for 22 years and enjoyed it very much. I am living life to the fullest and although I retired, I’m looking to start yet another career. I encourage you all to keep pushing forward.

  33. How does one change a field? I’m currently in medicine, I have been for almost 20 years but I need a change. I’m the sole financial supporter in my family so going back to school full time is not an option, part time would be doable.
    Any idea how a midlifer can find a new career? I feel just as lost as I did when I was in highschool!

    • lol so much Semantics.. “What I Want to Do” “What I was Meant to Do” “What I have always dreamed to Do” How about being Real? You need to make Money to Support Yourself and Your Family. this is the problem with this country everyone wants to be in a position of authority or in a position where minimal work is required. No One wants to work with there hands anymore. I can tell you after 20 years of office work. Working with Your hands can be the most rewarding experience in Your Life!

    • I, too, am so ready for a new career but being the sole wage earner in my family, there is no time to take time off to train for a new career. My family needs that weekly paycheck to survive. I also tried online courses but found it very difficult. Most younger people don’t realize that older folks don’t have the level of energy like we did when we were in our 30′s & 40′s. I plan on sitting down and making a list of all my accomplishments in the past 35 years of employment to see if I can filter that experience into a new career. From what I’ve been reading, it appears that in order to change careers, a person has to go back to school.

    • After a stint in the Coast Guard, I got a BS in engineering cause it’s the “family” business. Been here ever since then. Always thought I would do this till I’m 40 then do something completely different. I will be 47 this February and I’m still here. No advice or solutions, just needing to vent.

  34. Just wanted to say kudos to Sandra! You have a plate full!
    Secondly, I am 36 years old. I have been in the business field since I was 17 years old. I only had a G.E.D, but was fairly successful. When the economy crashed in 2008 I was laid off due to lack of work as was many other people in my field who had degrees. So after searching for work to no avail because the job market was horrible, I went back to school to make myself more marketable. 3/4 of the way through the business program I figured out that business was no longer my passion! I switched to the Criminal Justice program…. I now will graduate from the Criminal Justice program in December and the Business program in May! I have obtained employment in the Criminal Justice field and LOVE IT! My point is, regardless of your education level, age, etc…. you can do whatever you put your mind to, you just have to really want it!

  35. i to have resently been thinking about changing my career path. i may not be as worldly as some on this page but i am and i feel like im stuck in a rut. im a father of three and i just want to provide a better life for myself my wife and children. my focus like so many others is to be happy to be appricatied and to be a vital cog not only in and on my job but in society as a whole, and at the same time to be able to provide for my family. as i said i have three children and giving them the the love attention they needs takes time and effort. so pretty much leaves my wife and i little time to concentrate on other career paths. but i do give props to those of u who find a way to juggle these same daily, yearly issues. i would love to go back to school maybe learn a different skill or advance on the skills i have but money and time is my families hardship.

    • There are grants to help with expenses and books. You should look into them if school is something you are really interested in. You can also take online courses through most colleges and technical schools so your class time would not intefere with your family time.

  36. I have recently gone back to school at 53. I work full time in an independent pharmacy. My job is basically a clerk. My entire life I have been held back by fear of math. Now in my second semester I am finally taking pre-algebra. Its getting harder each week, but I am going to do it. I am in a class with people simular to me. People keep asking me, so what are you going for? I don’t have a career in mind. I love my nice family run pharmacy job where everything is familiar. But that said, I am bracing my self for the uncertain. Things change in a heartbeat. So off I go back to school to overcome my childhood fears,( which is now a bucket list). P.S. I got grant money to cover 2 classes per semester, plus books. which all I want at one time.

    • I only need math to have a two year degree and I’m 56 years old, divorced, had 29 years in at a business that closed and now need a job. I need to go finish and I’m the same as you! I never took math in school we had packets and the answers were in the back, go figure!

  37. i almost got tears in my eyes when reading this article. I am in the middle of a career change to pursue what I’ve always been interested in; police work. I take the test in 3 weeks and have been training physically for it. I’m only 32 but I realized what I was doing and went to school for was not what I was meant to do. I want to do something that matters. wish me luck!

    • Good Luck, Bob ! I think that’s awesome and with your passion for the job, I’m sure any department will be lucky to have you.

  38. I was excited to read this article and all the responses. I have been in retail sales for too too long! I would wake up, cry, get ready, and numb my days away. I had a problem encouraging customers to open a line of credit @ 25% apr, I wanted no part in this economy of being a stumbling block and helping people to further their debt., but it was required we open so many a month. I finally couldn’t take it anymore and quit!
    Now I am excited as I will be entering massage therapy school! I’ve always been excited by holistic healing, and the more I think about this the happier I am about my decision. I am 54! I say, go for it, take the Pell Grants, the loans, work part-time do e-bay whatever, but strive for your dreams! So yes, this IS so mid-life and yes I’m closer to retirement then some, but the thought of the next 10 or more years in retail compared with helping people…what would YOU rather be doing! right?…..after that yoga teacher training, been studying yoga for years! Good Luck All with your dreams, we only have one go round in this form, don’t let FEAR block you from your higher self!!!!!

  39. After reading all these comments.I became even more inspired.Iam 46 years of age.I began my career as an architect and urban planner.Then I went to nursing school after I came to the US. Iam currently a registered nurse, RN.I am having another career change.I am starting Pre-Med next summer to go in for Medicine to practise as a Medical Doctor.I have not made up my mind which area of specialty I want to go but I know I will make it and by the grace of God.

    • Hi Gabriel,

      I am 31. I also started my career in urban planning and architecture. I have been working as an urban designer for 7 years and it feels like a deadend pursuit. I still love thinking about urban planning issues, influencing outcomes, but I also feel limited in what I really can achieve given politics, economics and the ‘shifting sands’ that the industry is. For the last couple of years I keep thinking of completely changing to medicine (I come from a medical family) because a long time ago I considered doing it. How did you make the decision to change? Do you miss the urban planning/architecture work or are you convinced medicine is a better fit for you? They are completely different ways of working and thinking!!

  40. Hi. I am 44. I got a bachelor’s in nursing 16 to 17 years ago. It wasn’t my first love. I made the mistake of choosing a field because there would alway be jobs and the pay was decent. While I love caring for people and making their lives better, I hate nursing. You are not allowed to be a nurse; all we do is run full-tilt, push pills and perform treatments. The hours are long and the pressures high, and the buracracy, well, that’s another story. I’m finally getting out. I quit my nursing job and am working in a shoe store, learning to be a pedorthist, while I finish my English degrees I started years ago. That was my first love; writing. It’s scary because there is no guarentee for a job, English is a popular major, and there are a million of us out there wanting to write the “Great American Novel”. How will I find a job, what will I do, and how will I pay the bills? My salary has been significantly cut, I have no benefits, but I can’t keep doing what I was doing. Money is very tight, but I’m getting to where I can accept having less because I am happier, my stress level is much lower, my blood pressure is better, I laugh more and my creative side/dreams are returning.

    I do have one major question, however. I have heard that if you are going to change careers, you should do so before the age of 50. The premise is that after that, it is almost impossible to “be allowed” to start the job because of age-ism. Is there any truth to that?

    • “I do have one major question, however. I have heard that if you are going to change careers, you should do so before the age of 50. The premise is that after that, it is almost impossible to “be allowed” to start the job because of age-ism. Is there any truth to that?”

      Absolutely there is age-ism and it will only get worse due to the weak employment situation which will not get better anytime soon.

      Listen people, you most definitely should follow your dreams and passions and not let society dictate to you what you do in life. HOWEVER, you also must recognize that if you live in the USSA, you live in the most corrupt society in the history of mankind. Between the corrupt Kleptocrats in government and the corrupt banking system, the future is not bright and will not be for the foreseeable future. There are billions of workers in other countries for whom our Kleptocrats want to hire for pennies a day. Even if you do not work in manufacturing, this dynamic still affects you.

      For most of you, the added burden of being in a society that does not value experience and maturity is an added obstacle. The problem with older workers s they are smarter in general when it comes to intangible skills like recognizing BS, fraud, lies, and general corruption. These intangible skills are a huge threat to the “machine” who only wants “obedient” workers who are willing to work and not ask questions.

      Regardless of your age or experience, everyone should try to break out of what society forces on you; however, you must recognize that you live in a society whose values have become corrupted by the most corrupt government and education system ever known to mankind. America has completely lost its moral compass and has become a society of “what’s in it for me”—in summary, we are a Kleptocracy and this is not likely to change. If you have no moral values and can sleep at night raping, stealing, and pillaging, you should do well. For the rest of us, you just have to try and stay out of the line of fire and find something you enjoy that provides enough income to live. Recognize it for what it is and try to adjust because the corruption that defines America is not going to change, period!

      • John, you sound like me…
        I’m a 51 year old Manufacturing Engineer that has been involved in the “great outsourcing of America” for the past 20 years or so. If you want to find the single biggest source of America’s trouble, simply look at the number of jobs that have been sent to foreign countries in search of cheap labor. Blame your corporate leaders who are trying to score a win with the share-holders. Blame the share-holders for not caring about their country, just their own wealth. Blame the gov’t for looking the other way and actually providing tax benefits to those that do it. Blame yourselves for buying that cheap stuff made in China at Walmart and all those dollar stores. It’s ALL corrupt! But, that’s the nature of a free society. Corruption will prevai and defaultl into some type of socialism.
        The current reality is this: America is getting hurt by foreign labor — especially from China. China manipulates its currency — by buying dollars or whatever mechanism they can use — and keeps its labor cheap, artificially.
        However, this may be changing right now. Our gov’t is trashing the value of the dollar by printing more money. And, although it can cause massive inflation, especially on goods made overseas, it CAN have a positive affect on bringing jobs back to the US.
        So, yes, we’re corrupt. But, there are some positive things happening.
        (Side note: Tim Geitner just might become a hero when the dust finally settles.)

        • Jim, I agree with you on all points except for the outcome. While I understand the inherent nature of corruption in any system, once it becomes the main course of business as it has in the United States very rarely, short of collapse and civil war, is the problem resolved. In most cases it just gets worse. The problem is the banking oligarch has taken over our government. Aided by large corporations, they have stacked the deck not just in their favor, but so completely that it is impossible to compete against them.

          You sound very educated—-thank you for not being Sheeple. With that said, unless more people like you wake up and understand what has happened and who controls everything, the chances of us achieving the good outcome you hope for is unlikely. Yes, jobs may return, but the pay will be abysmal. This, coupled with the Fed’s desire to inflate the banks and government debt away pretty much guarantees that at some point we will all need some type of assistance for basic necessities.

          At any rate, thanks again for not being a Sheeple (you are rare, indeed) and I commend you for your optimism.

    • Diane, I am in the same boat. I have been in IT for 26 years. I love the industry and know it is very diverse. I would like to remain in the industry but function in a different capacity. My current employer (whom I have been with for 20 years) doesn’t offer the opportunity I am interested in so I have decided to pursue my interests outside the company. I am 49 and very nervous about this pursuit but don’t want to be miserable for another 10 – 12 years doing the work I am currently doing. I am concerned that it is too late for me in that I don’t know if employers are interested in mature workers. I think we bring valuable skills to the table. Good luck with your pursuit and don’t give up.

  41. lol so much Semantics.. “What I Want to Do” “What I was Meant to Do” “What I have always dreamed to Do” How about being Real? You need to make Money to Support Yourself and Your Family. this is the problem with this country everyone wants to be in a position of authority or in a position where minimal work is required. No One wants to work with there hands anymore. I can tell you after 20 years of office work. Working with Your hands can be the most rewarding experience in Your Life!

    • Respectfully, I have to say that I read these comments and you must have gotten something from them that I did not.Just because something is your passion, does not mean that it is not hard work. I was lucky enough to get a job in my field that is my passion… but I can promise you, it was not handed to me. I earned it! It is my passion but the money is horrible and the working conditions are less than ideal. But I also have to add this, the reality is that I probably make less money than I would if I worked in another field… as a matter of fact I KNOW I do. But I can promise that my job will be here for the long haul, unlike the job I got laid off from 3 years ago!

    • You sound like you have no idea of what you are talking about. No insult intended. I have worked with my hands all my life and hated every friggin job. They were degrading not only in your self image but financially as well. People take advantage of people without a degree. They hire them with tons of expectation and no rewards wether it be financial or advancement in their position. They give you long hours and no apreciation or reward for what you do. Most of these people are lucky if they get insurance offered to them. Most manual jobs are and excuse me for saying the slave masters of the middle class and poor. I went to school to get the hell out of that rut. I was extremely sucessfull for many years and truly enjoed what I was doing. There was a sense of accomplishment every day is seeing what I did achieve and what I did not achieve. Why am I still not doing this position any longer? Because my ex-husband along with his relatives decided to create a wonderful environment for me where I could no longer breathe. Since they created an extreme hostile environment I no longer could look at my career in the same way. Something within me died. For those of you that can step into a classroom where you no longer feel the enthusiasm you once had and are doing it to simply pay the bills I understand but I totally do not agree with what you are doing. It is because of people of that kind of mentality that are in classrooms teaching our children that we have a lot of failed adults today. I am not going to be another statistic if that makes me insane than so be it. I ma simply just fed up with the bullshit. Seeing people get away with murder and people promising the world to others when they have nothing to offer.

  42. I completed 14 years in the mlitary and separated (honorably of course)because it was not for me and I knew if was time for me to move on. I am 38 years old and currenntly work a government job which is relevant to what I did in the service, however it has been a signficant challenge in making a career change. My B.S. in Management has done nothing for me so I went back to school for an IT degree in hopes of opening more doors.

    A reader from an earlier post stated “he felt like he has wasted the last 12 years of his life in a career he didn’t like”…believe me, I can relate, however like another reader stated “do not focus on the past rather on the future.” My attempts seem to be futile in other opportunities because of “lack” of “specific” experience, but I am determined to move forward. I agree (with the exception of responsibility to our family welfare) that life is what you make of it…it is not where you started or came from but where you end up. Some of us have a heck of a better head start than others, but resilience and perseverance are the key…at least that is what I tell my self daily.

  43. I started a new career after 18 years in the USAF. I was medically discharged relating to PTSD. I chose to completely start over. I did not pursue a job related to my years of systems engineering technology in the USAF. I started a 5 year Aerospace Engineering degree. I have been an engineer for 2 years, and have a huge amount of responsibility, and expertise. I am glad to have done it.

  44. I am 54 y/o and was laid off 1 1/2 yrs ago. I have always worked in the professional/office field, claims adjuster and later legal case manager. I find that people don’t want to hire me due to too much experience, age, gender, not enough experience and the ability to hire someone with less experience for less money. I am really tired of the stressful job of adjusting and handing PI cases but this is my history so no one out of those categories will hire me for lack of experience. I am almost out of unemployment, facing foreclosure and single. How can I sell myself into a non-clerical/administrative job when my resume only reflects those abilities. It is very depressing to know I can’t get a job at a McDonalds orWalmart.

    • Sherry,

      It sounds like you have the drive and fortitude to make a change or accept a different career path…maybe a professional overhaul of your resume would help you tweek your resume to the specific field you are looking to get into.


    • Ditto.ditto for me. The thing is, is there are recruiters out there in our field and other geographical areas booming with jobs in this field; in light of a looming economy, bills and expenses mounting, and possibility of foreclosure – consider expanding your search to other states. Also, there are companies looking for remote workers. The pay maybe less, but in return you omit some of the daily factors costing your time and money. Shore up your resume. Just a suggestion, put you resume up on Word. After every sentence hit enter and put a bullet point. Then look at it and delete everything but 3 to 5 of your best qualities for each job. In an interview, you can expand your experience and qualifications when asked. Leave it no longer than 2 pages. Save it as Resume – Short. Try sending that out and see what comes. Remember you are one of hundreds of applicants so every so often take it off your search board and re-submit it. Best of luck :)

  45. I changed occupations at 50. Having completed law school some 11 years before, I decided to use my license on a full time basis instead of just part-time. The hardest part was convincing law firms that I was not over-the-hill. And law firms think that someone who is experienced and fairly successful in their prior endeavor is not going to go through the grind that an associate in a firm will endure, even when you tell them you are ready for it and want to do it. One even asked how I would feel knowing that my supervisor would probably have less life experience than me but would be giving the orders. I finally became a prosecutor, and have had a successful career doing that for 15 years. The chief prosecutor knew me from my past career and knew the kind of worker I was. That did not keep them from “beating up” on me just like they do the 25 year olds that usually come to their employment. I think that you need to just keep at it to fulfill your dreams. Persistence and determination are important along with the ability not to get too discouraged.

    • I’m in my 50s and just retired as a federal agent, and I know what you mean about the age factor. I just went to an interview and the person interviewing me had much less experience than me. I believe she was intimidated and she turned me down. I saw that rejection as water on a duck’s back. I’m fully biligual and I have tremendous investigative skills. I’m comfortable with my pension and my house is paid in full, but I seek to get back to graduate school or getting back to the work force. The key for me now is to stay healthy. I may even consider going to live in China as an English or Spanish teacher. It seems that there is where the jobs are now any way. I noticed that I have had to tone down my resume because peoples’s head spin when they see what I’ve done and cannot believe it. Good luck my friend!

  46. Good article! Midlife changes are really desired and feared at the same time. That’s why it’s so important to stop and draw a step-by-step map for your new project. Besides, always remember: It’s your life, your only life… So, listen to people but don’t let them decide for you…With a hug from Brazil…

  47. Good article! Midlife changes are really desired and feared at the same time. That’s why it’s so important to stop and draw a step-by-step map for your new project. Besides, always remember: It’s your life, your only life… So, listen to people but don’t let them decide for you…With a hug from Brazil…

  48. I will be turning 50 at the end of the year and have been working for the same organization for 20 years. While I have worked in different positions my current position (which I have had now for about 3 years) is very overwhelming and I do not really care for what I am doing. Our organization has had a wage freeze for the past 3 years so my income is not keeping up with the cost of living. We do not have enough staff resources to cover demand so everyone is overworked. The outlook for a brighter tomorrow is dim at this point. I would like to retire when I am 60 – 62 and if I remain in the present organization I can leave with 30 years of service however I do not know if I have the capacity to stay on for another 10 years. I am also interested in moving to another geographic location. I am struggling with the decision to stay or go.

  49. I went into medicine….with those lofty goals of “helping mankind”….became an internist and subspecialist in Hematology/Oncology. However after several years….reality set in…I got tired of hearing the about everyone’s medical issues and dealing with the expense of running a medical practice, paying office rent, employee salaries etc….not to mention the god awful hours I had to work. I was driving to the hospital at 5 am to start my day while I drove past my neighbors as they went out for their morning jog, or walked their dogs! Plus…they had nights and weekends to enjoy their homes and families.
    I searched for a way out and finally work for a firm that has doctor’s deal with hospitals and the management of their inpatients. I work out of my home, via the internet, get paid well, weekends off…etc. It’s great! I searched for a way out for several years..but I never gave up…I knew I had to search far and wide….but I did it. My advice is to keep on looking and never give up……just don’t sit there and whine about it without acting on it.

  50. I am a 44 year old man soon to be 45 …….and I made it my point to take that mid-life career change. Its not easy and I’ve been thanking about this for a awhile. I’m in my 2 year in an on-line PhD program and will start research in 2012. I’ve had 2 careers Social Services 9 1/2 years and now I’m back in IT for the last 9 years. I can truly say I enjoyed both fields , but my real passion is teaching our young adults. So let me say this, go for it and dont look back later on and say “I wish I’ve could of switch careers”

  51. WoW, I want so bad to roll out of my job. I am able to retire and keep health insurance for my wife and I, and my three teenagers until they are 26 years of age. My monthly retirement is a good backdrop but will not get us through. I’m, 47 and need a breath of fresh air. Finding capitol for a business is risky and scares me to death. I think your article is very encourageing and has me thinking. As for now I have a good job, and have been at it 23 years, but I think I am spinning my wheels because having a good job is (SAFE). Although it’s my life, I have to also do whats best for my family as well. Just waiting to discover a great breakthrough.

    • Hey Chris,
      Ever consider working with a life coach? I have one (and I’m training to be one actually – hence my new career at 45 ;-) and they are great for helping you map out a vision of what matters to you and where you might like to go. Could be big like a career change or smaller things like supplementing with interesting activities on the side. It’s all about finding personal satisfaction!


  52. My husband and I have a professional service business together. He has just filed for divorce and has the insane idea that we can continue working together in this business. At 57 I am considering a career move. I can not work in an office solely with an ex. I took me 10 years going to school part-time to get my undergraduate degree. I’m game to go at it again, looking at criminal justice since a lot of the courses overlap from my current degree. Plus since I am single again seems like college is a good place to make new friends. Please wish me luck in this new adventure.

  53. I don’t usually comment on articles, but this one hit pretty close to home. I actually am just finishing my career change – it can be done! I worked in public relations for more than a decade. I liked it, but in my heart knew I could help people in a more real and meaningful way. I completed my dietetics degree online (through a very reputable program), completed my year-long dietetic internship (which is unpaid, costs tuition and only 1 of every 6 dietetic students gets placed), sat for and passed my exam and now am employed in the field! You can do anything you set your mind to. Some of my fellow classmates are having a tough time with the job market. I think my previous experience set me apart from the crowd.

  54. I made a career change at the age of 45 for my family. After 20 years in the insurance industry my 11 year old daughter became extremely sick. I continued to work the entire year that she was sick but once that battle was won, I did not look at my job the same. I left and took a job that allowed me more time to spend with her, half my salary, and it was totally worth it. The problem now is that I cannot go back to the industry I worked so long in. I am 50 and age discrimination is apparent everywhere. I have interviewed for 8 to 10 positions that I could perform with my eyes closed and still not been hired. Be careful, career moves late in life may be permanent.

  55. Hello everyone!! I am a young female (51 years young) and have been working as a printer for 30 years. My company pays for educational assistance and I have taken advantage of that for 10 years. I am now in the Master’s of Psychology program at University of Phoenix online. Next summer will be attending the Adler school of Coaching to become a Life,Career, Educational, Coach. I am not there yet but have started a website, created business cards, and have been connecting with people in the business. I am very excited to finally do something with my life to help others. My website at will be open for business next fall if I can be of any assistance!! Good luck to all!! You can do this!! Anita

  56. Never give up is right! I was in banking and finance for 23 years. I got by, but I was bored. In 2002 the bank downsized and I started college for the first time in my life. I got another job and went to school at night, off and on. In 2010 I still had a boring day job and a bad commute in Atlanta. I’m lucky, I was willing to make big changes and in a position to do so! (Divorced and no kids). I quit the job, rented the house and moved to KY. I have family here to help me. It was really hard to leave my friends, but I feel so BLESSED to be doing this! I’m going to a community college and will come out with very little student loan debt. The instructors, advisors and tutors ROCK! My attitude is that being 54 is a plus! I’m almost done with all the core classes. I have a 3.8 GPA! I will apply to the Radiology Tech program in March. I’m loving anatomy and physiology! Now THIS is interesting! Doing this may not be for everyone, but I’m glad I’m doing it. No matter what happens, I won’t be old someday and wonder, ” what if I had tried for the degree/job I really wanted?” Attitude is everything! Also, a willingness to relocate may help. :) Go for it!

    • I am 54 too, and I have switched careers several times. I started doing certain jobs out necessity. At the age of 18, I served in the U.S. Navy. While in the Navy, I took college classes with University of S. Carolina aboard my ship and once I competed my tour of duty, I began my studies and obtained my BA in Sociology. While in college, I volunteered with a probation office helping trouble kids. After college, I landed a job as a counselor and later as an elementary teacher. I taught for a couple of years. I was blessed by those experiences, but I knew that I had to move on, and like you, I was willing to relocate. These experiences served as stepping stones. After working as a school teacher for a couple of years and going to graduate school, I received a call from the director of the probation office where I had done voluntary work and was offered a job as a probation officer. I worked at this job for about 5 years. I was then offered a position as a federal agent. I worked at that job for 22 years and enjoyed it very much. I am living life to the fullest and although I retired, I’m looking to start yet another career. I encourage you to keep pushing forward. I remember wanting to quit college after the first year, but the discipline I received while in the Navy would not allow me to quit. I always remembered the challanges I faced in the Navy. That experience helped me persevere through college.

  57. I’d like to go back to school to finish a master’s degree to work at a higher level in Human Resources. I currently do not have a job. I’m 62 and am seriously concerned about spending money on school and when I get the Master’s Degree, due to my age, still won’t be hired (just due to age discrimination, which everyone knows is rampant)

  58. Awesome, I too have decided to get back into school (@ age 41). After 22 years in construction, I realize my body will not keep up for another 25 years. So I decided to become a software engineer, since I already have great knowledge about networking, and some programming skills. I feel after I reach my bachelors, life will not only be easier on me, it will be doing something I already love to do. I’m actually working towards my dream to be financially stable, and use my mind instead of my back… …When you look in the mirror every morning, thats who you can depend on… …Do what makes you happy, and life will be more worth living…

  59. here is a doozey. I want a career change and heading towards it but my spouse also has a career change but to spend more time with family. He is family man and I appreciate that but I am a go getter out of the box kind of person and always involved in something that changes things.

  60. Reading the comments has helped me really focus on the decision that I’ve made recently. To make a change in my career. I am 51, and am a licensed childcare provider. Although working with children is very rewarding, it is extremely exhausting as well. I work with babies (6 wks to 3 yrs of age) and this line of work is taking it’s toll. I went back to school as well to become a childcare provider since I had been laid off corp america in 2005, along with 100,000 other employees globally. I have been living in the US for 24 years now and love it! However, I now would love to see more of my family who all still live in Canada. Best scenario: 6 months in each country! That is my goal. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that I MUST start making my living online. Although I have NO marketing skills and only basic computer skills, I believe I can make this happen. I am fortunate that I can work on this while maintaining my current career. I’m giving myself a two year timeframe, and go from there.

    To Diane: I say the sky is the limit regardless of age! Follow your dreams! Your health is already telling you that your doing the right thing!

  61. Forget the second career. Think you’re too young to retire? Think again. The key is to watch your spending and save as much as you can so you can buy your freedom someday. I equate retired with being free. I lost my job in Oct 2008 after I had just turned 59. My employer offered to pay a firm to help me find another job but I decided to just retire instead. The only reason I was able to retire was because I never got sucked into a 30 year mortgage. I think this option would be open to more people if we simply could end exclusionary zoning so people could live where they want in a home they could afford. I bought a singlewide mobile home ($30,000 total including improvements I’ve made to it) but could only live in a mobile home park and pay a monthly lot rent. But that was so much more affordable than buying a regular site built home. The guy across the street paid $170,000 for his home and he paid $2,400 in annual property taxes. My lot rent came to $3,720 a year even though my home and lot was worth at most $37,500. So I was paying 7 times the property tax rate that he was paying. And the mobile home park was getting about a 50% return on their investment since I was actually paying enough lot rent every two years to buy the lot. When you figure out the price per square foot (lot was 26 ft by 60 ft) and extrapolate that to an acre the rate came out to $8,656 per acre per month. I lived in the mobile home park from Aug of 1991 to May of 2009. I figure I’d be about $45,000 better off today if I could’ve just bought a lot, put my singlewide mobile home on it and paid property taxes like everyone else. But I had saved a lot more money by doing this vs buying the home like the guy across the street did. He’s got all that money locked up in a house. He thinks he owns that house but that house owns him. He’s got that mortgage to pay every month which includes the cost of the home and all the interest. He’s got to have property insurance. And ofcourse the property taxes. As I saved my money I started buying single premium immediate annuties (SPIA). So I got income for life. So when my job ended I had already bought two of those SPIAs. As soon as I turned 59.5 I bought a third SPIA with my 401K money. So I only pay income taxes on that money at year end when I file my income taxes. The income is low but instead of staying in that mobile home park I moved my singlewide to a place that allowed me to place it on a lot that I bought. The lot cost $12,500 and it cost $10,000 to move and place the home on the lot. Now I’m paying property taxes like everyone else and saving about $3,000 a year compared to what I was paying to the mobile home park. The employer that I worked at for about 20 years has a pension plan that I will elect to start collecting when I’m 65. I’ll wait until I’m 70 to start collecting social security. The point I’m making here is that if we could just end exclusionary zoning then America would be a lot stronger because people would so much more financially secure and have so much more financial self determination. The company I worked at for over 20 years was purchased by another company. The new company let me go after 18 months. And I wasn’t the only one. All those people who were locked into their expensive site built homes were sweating bullets. They didn’t have the flexibility that I had. One guy from my first company actually was invited to work for the new company several years prior to the sale. He took the offer but after he got there the new company wanted to fire him. He had to go to court to keep his job. So by the time the new company bought my old company the new company had a policy that said they were an ‘at will’ company. They make no promise as to how long they will employ you. The company is free to terminate you at any time and you are free to leave at any time ‘at will’. Anyway that poor guy sold his site built home in order to move to the new company and ofcourse bought another site built home. So I guess he felt so financially locked into his home that he decided to fight like hell to keep his job. So he’s still working there in what must be hellish circumstances. When the new company first bought my old company I sent him an email to inquire how he was doing and he didn’t even respond. I were kinda friendly at the old company. But after working for the new company for 18 months and then being let go I can understand why he didn’t even bother to reply to my email. The new company is running a sweat shop. Man am I happy to be retired and free. So my advice is to look for a good employer. A bad employer can make any job very unpleasant for you. Once you are financially free then you might look at a second career with no worry about having to work. As for me ‘all day long I biddy biddy bum’ and I’m not even a rich man. LOL.

  62. My husband went back to graduate school at the age of 42 after several job layoffs. We sold our house and moved – with our three children. My husband started out in School Guidence and Counseling then added School Psychology. After 3 years of going to school he got his Master’s and a job as a School Psychologist. Those were three tough years for us – we we re living on my income – $21,000 a year. We downsized to nothing – the cars were paid for, no long distance, no cable, the kids got clothes only absolutely needed and we rented.

  63. At age 54, I’ve just completed my second career transition. With a degree in Geography, I had my dream job right out of college as a Cartographer (making maps) for the federal government. When my employer closed up shop and left town, I hired on with a telecom company and worked in IT for 20 years, though I’m not really an IT person. Laid off in 2009, for me it wasn’t as much of a “mid-life crisis,” thing, but more of a “what do I do now?” thing. The answer for me was that my passion is geography and mapping. So, I went back to school (ouch!), did a short internship, did a short stint as a contractor for the Gulf oil spill (ouch!), and now have a “Term” position with the government for a year as a Cartographer again, at a significant cut in pay, of course. I’m hoping that either my current job gets extended, or that I can get another permanent government job, because with 8 years of prior federal service, I could retire at 65, with 20 years, and get a full pension. The bottom line: it is tough starting over, and definitely a tough time for career transitions. So far, though, in my case it’s been worth it because I really enjoy my job now. I’ve trusted the Lord to guide me through this adventure and hope this is helpful for anyone caught in the same situation.

  64. I made the change to the Healthcare field after being in a family business for 20 years. Though the paycut hurts I wouldnt change a thing and am reminded I made the right move verytime I meet and overcome a new challenge.

  65. I have worked for 35 years and now unemployed- did electrical, electronic and mechanical work and cant find a job in rochester ny to save my life– been trying hard and now giving up- money will run out, then what- have to make some kind of decision soon– been on unemployment too long— need a life change- they are not hiring because i am too old- age discrimination but try and prove it– too young to retire—- too old to be hired– life is a bitch—

  66. I am a 59 y/o man who has been a field service tech/eng for over thirty years. Three years ago I was laid off from a national machine manufacture. Now I have a bad back and can no longer do what I did and loved for so long. I cannot find work of any kind and like a lot of folks I am in jeopardy of losing all that I have worked for. I would love to go back to school, but most of my time is spent just keeping the lights on. I have no Idea of what I want to do for a second career. The things that I would like to do I fear that I would not be able to because of medical problems. Any suggestions?

    • Clint- in your same situation bud- bad back, not enough money for school and waiting for my ssdi to kick in, and that could take years. Will run out of money– very scary situation and in danger of using up my life long savings- not a very nice feeling– our government has put us in this situation and very bitter–

    • Hi Clint, get an appointment with your state’s vocational rehabilitation division and get screened for work related disability which will start the ball rolling for a career change. I hurt back back at my job and went through the vocational rehabilitation program in my state (Florida) and qualified for retraining. They paid for the class and all materials. Do it now! See a social worker or vocational rehab counselor. They even offer career testing paid for by the state to see what you are best suited for or where your job related talents lie. Good luck and don’t give up!

  67. i am on unemployment- cant find work as an technician, electrician, electronics tech– been looking for work for a year now and no one will hire me because of my age– not old enough to retire– or collect ss. not sure what i will do now– unemployed in rochester, ny—-

  68. I went back to school at 47 after finding myself unemployed. Although I already had a PhD, I entered a Master’s program in the field of Medical Physics. Now, instead of making extremely boring and practically meaningless measurements on silicon wafers, I am part of a team that helps people fight cancer (I am also a cancer survivor). My wife has now returned to school full time to advance from a LPN to an RN.

      • Haha!
        I managed to hit reply before finishing my thought :-)
        I wondered how you arrived at the decision to take medical physics? Did you have some coaching or on your own you explored what was of interest to you?

        • In searching for work, I noticed a lot of opportunity and good pay in the field. Also, my wife is in the medical field (nurse) and she kept mentioning that she has never been unable to find work.
          As suggested in many work search forums, I called the head physicist of a local health care organization, out of the blue, and asked how to enter this field. He advised that I was not qualified at the time, but that there was a graduate program starting the next semester, where I could get the proper educational credentials.
          Then, it was a matter of spending two years in school.
          In my third semester in the program, I celebrated the 30th anniversary of my very first ever college semester at that same institution.

  69. Mid-life career change is nowhere NEAR as “easy” as these people claim it is. For too many Americans, like myself, we were dumped, from jobs, when, as middle-age came on, we began having health concerns, just as our OWn parents did, before us. Thanks to modern labor, employers are, now, allowed to FIRE middle-aged workers, without facing prosecution. How? When a middle-aged person receives a doctors restriction note, the employer simply places the worker into a job, which directly VIOLATES the restriction. When the worker is un-able to perform the job, the employer FIRES the worker. To “cover” themselves, the employer makes a point of never telling the worker that, for the restriction to be legally binding, that the employer must SIGN, and DATE, atleast TWO copies, of the restriction note. One copy, for employee records, and one, for company files. So long as workers do NOT know about this law (in states such as Illinois), employers can violate workers health restrictions, then DENY any knowleedge that such restrictions ever existed. THIS is the nature of the modern work-force.

    As for changing jobs, in Illinois, atleast, the state does NOT allow change of career. If one has been a janitor, for 20 years, this is the ONLY field which Illinois will consider placing the un-employed in. Re-training, is ONLY for TEENS, in Illinois. There is NO re-training money, for middle-aged people, in Illinois.

    I do state that the facts, presented here, are true, and correct, with a full knowledge of the penalty for Perjury.

    Werlcome to life, in Illinois.

    • You are so Right Norman; and believe me these types of EMPLOYER TRICKS are rampant in just about every company in every state; they routinely discriminate due to disabilities and even more often AGE. It’s a pitiful situation we’re dealing with. I know what I’m talking about, I’ve worked in Human Resources Management for over 20 years!

    • Have you tried to get information from the Division of Rehabilitative Services in Illinois. I was injured on the job at 51 years old and after a lengthy workers comp case was given a lifting disability of 50 lbs. weight lift restriction.. This eliminated the possibility of me returning to my former job so I contacted the State of Florida Division of Rehabilitative Services and did an intake visit with a counselor who determined I was eligible for money to retrain for a new career. See a social worker. Their main job is to help people like you! Good luck!

    • I also work in Illinois. Not a fun state to try to make a life for a family in. Im 35 and have worked in communications of all types for over a decade. I started out in my career as a tower climber and have worked in communications of all types. My wife and I are both very hard workers and have insane work ethic. We have both found that when you are are the hard worker and can be relied upon you are the one who will work your tail off while others are allowed to make the same or more money with little or no effort. Both of us have burned our selves out several times and had to start over at new jobs because we hit brick walls called “bosses” that would rather ignore our suggestions to improve the business by allowing us to take a little more control and manage instead of working like crazy. Reciently I experienced the result of being worked to death. I was injured on the job and had to have shoulder surgery. I was working as a manager/ technician/ tower climber for a medium sized wireless broadband internet provider. I was the everything person. Because I am as good as I am at what i do the company fired all of my help and refused to give me backup. I was expected to make everything work for about 1000 customers no mater what but i was yelled at when i worked overtime. My boss had no idea what it took to run the networks. he only knew $ and if he had enough to live like a rich guy. after i was forced to take off to recover after surgery he ( without telling me ) sold the entire network to another company. now i am an injured climber/ IT professional without a job. I am forced to search for a new job while i am also trying to heal a busted shoulder. not a good situation to be in. I am trying to bill myself as a IT manager but all employers see is the climber because that is the bulk of my years and i have no formal education. I was very down about this until just the other day. I realized I can now have the freedom to do whatever i want and have a chance to get out of the IT field of work. with my skill set im open to any ideas for new careers. my wife and i both have a love for dogs and have considered running a dog boarding kennel. any advice?

      • Check this out:
        They are doing well and the community loves them.  Good luck

  70. I’m 40 and currently working a fulltime job. I want to go back and get my PhD and teach at the college level. Any advice on how to do this since you have to quit working and work for the college living on the money they pay between $20K to $30K?

    Online is not an option since most universities do not hire professors who receive their PhD online.

    Thank you.

    • It is hard when you are employed. On both occasions where I went back to school (at 33 for a PhD and at 47 for a Master’s) I was out of work and wasn’t finding anything. Student loans helped the first time, but I weighed the amount of debt against the potential income increase. The second time I had a very supportive spouse, and loans helped defer the extra expense of the 85 mile one way commute to school every day.

  71. I chose to change careers in 2008, after being a cosmetologist for 25+ years. I was hurting my body more than could be fixed. I went back to school and got a certificate in PC specialist. I have been searching for work for 2 1/2 years. I can not get a job anywhere because I do not have experience. Have been to employment agencies and nothing. What can I do???

    • The only way to get work in the PC industry without having experience is to get industry certifications, such as A+, CCNP, MCSE, etc.

  72. I recently completed a movie “Garage Dwellers” that deals with this subject. I’m also trying to make a midlife career change from IT to movie making. Still working at it and don’t plan to give up ever. I’ve been trying to make this change for over 10 years now and there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel, but in my heart I know it’s going to happen. The recession and life’s problems tried to keep us all down. But if we don’t give up we’ll eventually make it. Dreams don’t have an expiration date; they take as long as it takes to accomplish them.

  73. My transformation came when I realized that at the age of 51, I didn’t have any plan for retirement. Nothing. And with all the debt I had acquired from various life issues, I decided I needed to do something dramatic.
    The answer came in the form of a postion that inspired me. I was working as a secretary for the local Radiation Regulatory Agency issuing tech licenses to xray techs and started thinking about what that job would be like.

    Flexible work hours, opportunity for a “snowbird” lifestyle, and pretty good pay. After enrolling in the community college for the prerequisites I discovered that working as a Health Unit Coordinator while I’m on the 2 year waiting list for the Rad Tech program would enable me to leave my current job and enter the hospital environment more readily. I also discovered that I could spend one more year after obtaining my license and be a Radiation Therapist for an even better pay scale.
    I’ve been so bored and frustrated with secretarial work. It’s like a light came on and I see a really promising, more rewarding future ahead. The nurturer in me finally gets to come out to play. What a great decision!

  74. I went back to school to finish my MBA degree. I got one more test and a thesis to complete. I started the program online and should be finishing up in a year if I went back to school. I hesitate to finish my education because I currently work for an unemployment office, where I process unemployment claims. With the economy the way it is, I don’t feel my degree would change anything. I have seen more people on unemployment struggling to pay their school loans. Why add another school loan, when you are in you mid life? I would rather same the money and create a “bucket list”. I just hiked “angles landing” and encourage every one that is healthy to do so. You cannot take material things with you when you die. So why not create memories while you still can remember things!

    • I am 54, and I have switched careers several times. I agree with you about the material things that’s why I have spent quite a lot of time traveling. I’ve been around the world and have plans to continue traveling. I may even consider working in China for about a year. After all, they are taking all our jobs. If you can’t beat them, join them (meaning work for them). I never agree with their system though.

      I started doing certain jobs out necessity. At the age of 18, I served in the U.S. Navy. While in the Navy, I took college classes with University of S. Carolina aboard my ship and once I competed my tour of duty, I began my studies and obtained my BA in Sociology. While in college, I volunteered with a probation office helping trouble kids. After college, I landed a job as a counselor and later as an elementary teacher. I taught for a couple of years. I was blessed by those experiences, but I knew that I had to move on, and like you, I was willing to relocate. These experiences served as stepping stones. After working as a school teacher for a couple of years and going to graduate school, I received a call from the director of the probation office where I had done voluntary work and was offered a job as a probation officer. I worked at this job for about 5 years. I was then offered a position as a federal agent. I worked at that job for 22 years and enjoyed it very much. I am living life to the fullest and although I retired, I’m looking to start yet another career. I encourage you to keep pushing forward. I remember wanting to quit college after the first year, but the discipline I received while in the Navy would not allow me to quit. I always remembered the challanges I faced in the Navy. That experience helped me persevere through college.

  75. What about us old geasures thats 60 ish and don’t want to just lie down and die . To start over,college etc would be impractical. I started a business 37 years ago and frankly I’m burned out. Something in medicine since my business is somewhat related would be great but how do I get there? I don’t want to push patients around or do the laundry; my passion since college has been surgery. Surgical techs sometimes require extensive training etc. I don’t need to make a lot of money I just want a change doing something I can get more personal satisfaction from.Any suggestions?

  76. Wow. Lots of great ideas here. I am both impressed yet depressed on other levels. I am 46 years old and was laid off from a retail management position a year ago. Everyone is stating that going back to school is where its at,yet some people do and still don’t find jobs. I have a son who is 16, and will be going to college soon, so any resources I have will go to him, not me. I have never collected unemployement in my life, and now here I am a year later with it about to run out, and still no job. Very disheartening when you are willing a nd able to work, yet can’t. I trust God has a plan for me.

    • Jolene, don’t give up. I know your pain. I have applied to more jobs over the past year than I can recall and worry every day if I will get one before my unemployment is depleted. It is not that I do not want to work but because I have a graduate degree (which is useless where I am now), I am over qualified. Because of a work related accident that leaves me with restrictions, I am limited to my options. Because work comp has taken a year to reevaluate my injury my injury has worsened and I cannot leave the area to go where the jobs are until this is settled. I have been told to dumb down my background, deny my injury. But at what cost?

      But don’t give up hope. There are many ways to pay for college. Hunting for scholarships or grants (and there are many out there for all ages, career interests, and degree levels) requires work. For your son, go into his high school now and talk to the college adviser. I have a two in college now and a 16 year old. Pell Grants and state grants help, but the college adviser will have access to so much more!!!

      Good luck to you on your own future, and don’t give up! A door will open…when you least expect it (and don’t forget to open a few windows, too).

  77. Congrats on your perserverance. I too am in the fab 50 club and went back for my masters in marriage family counseling at 51. It has been a long process, but I graduate in November. By the time I am able to take my state exams for licensing, I will probably be about 55. I am cool with that because through this process, I have learned so much about myself and feel great about beginning a new career in this stage of life, especially a career that I feel can really make a difference in someone elses life. Because of the economy and the many people that are educated now, it probably will be difficult to find work initially (I hear that about my career choice) but where there is a desire, the universe will make a way for it. Stay on your path and don’t allow negative words and circumstances to knock you off course.

  78. I am a 53 year old single mom of a teenager.I have been working as a sales rep in the telecommunications field for the last 7 years (since my divorce). Three years ago I went back to school (online) to obtain a Master’s in Psychology which I will receive in two weeks!! I am looking for employment in that field but it is very difficult to make the switch from Telecom. It is an uphill battle to be sure.

    I am trying to decide whether I sure go on for a PhD or do volunteer work in my spare time (lol) to get some experience in the field. I am certain about making the change…just uncertain as to how.

    • I am 54, and I have switched careers several times. I started doing certain jobs out necessity. At the age of 18, I served in the U.S. Navy. While in the Navy, I took college classes with University of S. Carolina aboard my ship and once I competed my tour of duty, I began my studies and obtained my BA in Sociology. While in college, I volunteered with a probation office helping trouble kids. After college, I landed a job as a counselor and later as an elementary teacher. I taught for a couple of years. I was blessed by those experiences, but I knew that I had to move on, and like you, I was willing to relocate. These experiences served as stepping stones. After working as a school teacher for a couple of years and going to graduate school, I received a call from the director of the probation office where I had done voluntary work and was offered a job as a probation officer. I worked at this job for about 5 years. I was then offered a position as a federal agent. I worked at that job for 22 years and enjoyed it very much. I am living life to the fullest and although I retired, I’m looking to start yet another career. I encourage you to keep pushing forward. I remember wanting to quit college after the first year, but the discipline I received while in the Navy would not allow me to quit. I always remembered the challanges I faced in the Navy. That experience helped me persevere through college.

  79. well I’m in my mid 20s, but it doesn’t matter what you really do. If you don’t know anyone in the industry, or you’re not on the Dean’s list, chances are, you will not get a good paying job :/

    I have a Bachelors in finance, and have yet to get a job that deals with the subject. I got stuck as an office manager for 3 years now, and things are sure looking bright with 15 million unemployeed workers. this economy blows!

  80. At 35 I went back to school and received my BS in Food Science from K-State in 1996 and then went on to receive my MS in Grain science also from Kansas State University. The one thing I would tell anyone changing is sometimes you must at the bottom regardless of your previous experience. Most employers do not give you credit for your life time of experience because they do not know how to compare it to recent grads, but regardless do what your heart tells you. At the end you will be happier. I know I am even though I am behind my peer group because I did not go into my field directly out of high school.

  81. Wow, is this article ever timely. Just about two weeks ago I was faced with a 70% pay cut, going from $90,000.00 down to $36,000.00, doing exactly the same thing with all the same requirements, and the same required sale goals. ( Failure to meet these goals will result in unemployment.) I have worked in the same field for 36 years and like other have been laid off because of downsizing,and some poor business decisions made by the owner, so my longest stretch is 7 years with one company. I am about to turn 56 and am now contemplating starting my own business. I have been doing this new venture part time for at least 8 years. The nervy part is going from a job with a monthly check too the unknown. The one thing I will say there is a certain amount for freedom knowing I can’t be laid off because of someones irresponsible choices.

  82. What an utterly useless and uninformative article. Three questions? What? Did the economy force them to save on hard drive space too? I wish people luckl who are seeking to do what the title of this article suggest. They’re going to need it.

    Access is power. Did you make that phrase up there Kristin? That Dilbert-ism goes right up there with “let’s synergize our core principles to achieve a new paradigm”

    In other words, a useless nonsensical statement that only makes you look smart to the unwashed masses. More intelligent people see right through this swill for what it is; blathering by a liberal arts major.

  83. Pingback: 5 job-search tips for career changers : The Work Buzz

  84. Well, I know where my passion lies….teaching. However, at the age of 55 with an MBA, 2 college and 1 middle school students I can’t afford the pay cut.

    I coach youth sports, have been a scout leader, I’m on the local school board, and am married to a teacher….guess I should have followed my passion at the age of 18 and become a teacher. Back then teachers didn’t make enough to support a family. So, I choose the Business world.

    So what, Now what?

    Just got “downsized on Monday” many decisions to be made. Unfortunately I don’t see the ecomomy improving. So wake up take a shower and go to work everyday looking for a job.

    • Hi Jim

      My name is Rodney you and I sound very much alike. I too have two in college and 2 more at home. I am 50 and have been a salesman all of my working life. I have the same feelings as you about being a teacher. My wife teaches pre-school and loves it.

      I also have loved coaching all of my kids in their sports endevors.

      I am not sure if this gives you any comfort but if you need to bounce any thoughts off me I will try to help.

  85. I’m not considering a career change, b/c that implies I have a career. Except for a couple church ministries, life has been a string of jobs, layoffs, firings, reorgs, and quits. At 58, it’s time to get a career. Been through seminary and some tech schools which have prepared me for extra-curricular activities, as it were, but no career. I’m a steady free-lance writer (emphasis on “free”), adult Bible teacher, etc., but now I think it’s time to make a living from what I’ve learned and done. If this is a mid-life crisis, then I have 58 years to go! If you want to read a book that gets into the head of us who are pursuing a dream job, try Quitter by Jon Acuff. He’s been there, done that. Don’t quit your day job, but don’t quit pursuing the dream, either!

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  87. I went back to school for my undergrad when I was in my late 40′s. I graduated with a degree in Legal Studies and Psychology. I am now in grad school at 57 taking a dual masters degree in Criminal Justice and Masters of Business Administration. I have thought about law school but I really want to go to work for Homeland Security in Immigration and Customs. I have applied with them but so far no luck but I will keep trying.

  88. I am 53, and in my thirties I did the “back-to-school” and second career thing, and earned a Master’s of Divinity in order to become a pastor. After 19 years, I am in the position of looking to start over yet again for family reasons. I want to be a pastor. I can’t imagine anything else my skills would direct me to. I have no confidence about any other kind of work for my future. Yet, I can no longer yearn for what was. I must get to work. How do I even begin?

  89. At the age of 57, I too, have beenin the classroom, back in ministry, the classroom and then back in ministry as Director of formation. I love to teach, got burned out with all of the pressures of getting children ready for state testing! I still love to teach and have some opportunity to teach adults, but not always. So while I am truly grateful to have a job, I want to broaden my teaching with my music and research on scripture… all towards adult formation. So, yes, I am looking for that dream job because I’m not ready to retire even though that is many years away!

  90. I am following my mid-life dream career change. At age 52 I am completing my Master’s in General Psychology online; unfortunately this is non-clinical and I have to figure out a way to get counseling experience and if I would have to have more classes in counseling-like I can afford more student loans at my age!
    I want to follow my instincts with this, but for how long? To make matters worse, my husband wants to move away from the city and back east to the country-need I say more?

    • I did the same thing. I now have a degree in psychology from Saint Leo University. The best advice I could give you would be to get financial aid ( you can get schools loans paid off by working for a National Health Service Corp – and continue the process by getting a Masters in Social Work from Saint Leo University. They don’t require a GRE and if you’re a working adult, you can take the three year track which will give you two 16 week classes per semester and you’ll still be able to qualify as a full time student for financial aid. The program is entirely online with class room face to face being provided by Elluminate via your personal computer at home. The great thing about a Masters in Social work is that after you graduate you can put in 2000 hours under supervision and become an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) which will make you entirely autonomous…you can hang your own shingle up and start providing counseling to individuals and families. A Masters in Social Work is also a terminal degree… you can teach college level classes as well with this degree. Check out the NASW National Association of Social Workers, the SSWR Society for Social Work Research, the Social Work Podcast for a start. Also, go to and do a job search using keyword “social worker”. I’m not a recruiter, just a 58 year career changer who wants to help people!

  91. I have stopped my career 2 years ago because it had turned toxic. I started grad school as full time student and I love it.

    I am not looking for “accomplishments”, “goals” or to “compartimentalize” or “prioritize” anithing: I hope I left all this garbage in the past. Just enjoying the road…

  92. And listening to what it is urging you to do. I just decided that I’m not gonna go after an associates degree in Accounting (backpedal), I’m gonna enroll in an MBA program and set myself up for the CPA exam. This’ll get me closer to my ultimate (new) career goal more quickly, and it’s been a matter of internal struggle in my mind about which route would be the best. But it really comes down to how passionate you are about your chosen path…and I don’t just wanna be a Clerk.

  93. Its not that I’m necessarily “changing” my career. It’s really that I’ve just “jumped” into a new future by way of trusting that my progression from “there” to “here” is meant to be. I’ve been a personal trainer, wellness coordinator and fitness instructor for many years as my children were growing. I had educated myself all along the way and now that I’m more available, I’ve taken the plunge and opened my own health coaching practice! Are YOU searching for “something more” in life? Want/need to really learn about health and well-being, exercise, nutrition, meditation or mindfulness? Are you interested in the Law of Attraction? Find the answers which lie deep inside you by working with a coach from Your Wellness Now! See today! OR, are you still searching for that True Calling? I’m an Ambassador for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and can help you out with a possible scholarship. Either way, contact me: or via web. Be Well!

  94. Great post. nice to have the basics of a roadmap ready to embark upon. I am a specialist doctor doing great and steady in my job in a premier medical institute. Pay is great with great opportunities to rise further. nothing to complain about. except, i dont want to do this anymore! I sound crazy to myself and to my folks (except my wife who listens to me!). What i really want to do is make a career in music. I mean, i have always been interested in it and have picked up bits and pieces of learning here and there (piano, guitar etc) but nothing as a chartered planned out thing. Besides, my studies and my job took away whatever little time i had to pursue my hobby. I am scared of failing, of causing hardships to my family, but i cant be happy with my present job anymore. anyway, follwoing my heart psyches me out, and the effort involved seems like a mountain to climb. I am just not happy with myself, though my heart tells me that this is what will really work to make me happy in the long term.
    looking for a friendly advice, thanks

    •  @gulatigurpreet Great to hear that you are listening to your heart.  I don’t know where you live but you can try exploring some options at least online at  I have taken 2 classes so far from the school and I highly recommend it – as a music educator at the public school level and at the collegiate level.  I am a graduate of Berklee College of Music  (different from and Masters from New England Conservatory, and Bachelor’s from Bucknell and live in the Boston area.  I have been teaching and playing music for the past 15 years. Active pianist for almost 30 years (Classical, Jazz, Rock).  I am happy in my career and so I would recommend finding an alumni from Berklee College for private lessons now.  You need to learn an instrument, but find a mentor to show you WHAT to practice.   Going at it alone is not the way.  You need to meet people in the field that can help you.  There is definite study to be had and I’m sure – as a doctor you will know what that means.

    •  @gulatigurpreet Good to see I am not the only one in medicine thinking of this. I am a Neurologist and I discovered in the past several years that my true passion lies within computer engineering. I guess I don’t regret taking a medical path but I do regret not keeping engineering as an undergraduate degree.  It’s such a difficult decision to face–leaving great position with stable income with the pressure of ongoing loan payback–to venture into something new.  I totally understand how you feel about the fear of failure. I’m still deciding and it’s comforting to know that there are others in medicine that feel the same way and who don’t think I’m crazy (I get the same from everyone) to leave medicine. If you REALLY ask around, it’s actually surprising how many physicians and medical staff rather would do something else as a career if given the opportunity. You need to do what makes you happy and you can always fall back to your original career or do part time if need be. Sometimes it pays off to take the risk. Good luck with your decision!

  95. I am completing my Masters in Early Childhood Education and I am currently a teacher at a an Early Childcare Center. I feel a deep need to change my career path because I am not fulfilling my potential. My deep concern with a career change is that I have narrowed it down to three. Either Neurosurgeon, Oncologist or Psychologist. Each of which I would have to go school for a few years at minimum. I am at a crossroads right now, but I have a fear of not choosing either of the three and having a sadness because of it later.

  96. I am back in school at 33. I graduated with a degree in music 12 years ago.  Lived in NyC, teaching lessons, playing gigs.   Basically I got tired of living month to month, and dealing with the ups and downs of music.  I am now working on a masters in accounting degree.  I am worried that when I get out I wont be able to find a job because I will be 35.  My other fear is getting stuck in the town where I study.  I’d like to move out, maybe back to new york, but definitely a bigger city.  How does one relocate geographically upon graduation.  Any thoughts are apprciated.

  97. I am 39 and have been in construction since 1998, so far it hasn’t been the best choice for me its kept my family fed and a roof over us ,I cant move up in the companies I work at they man up for a big job for three month or so then do mass layoffs after I work hard and show up all the time but I just don’t know what im doing wrong its competitive in my trade its considered a specialty craft im trying to figure out what I can do with only construction experience I haven’t ben happen with my job the past 6 years not sure what to do

    • loapodaca You need a new craft.  I’m going to a community college to get new IT skills.  It’s a good thing these days.

      • WalterFrazier  I have heard that its hard to get an it job without a BA? whats the best type of IT job that has quick training?

  98. I’m 48 and looking for a career.  I was a stay at home mom for many years and in that time homeschooled my children.  I went to school part time and got a BA in English–don’t ask me what I can do with that.  I also managed some revenue properties but was self-employed.  I will be getting a criminal record for a hit and run, just a scratch but I should have stopped and gave my license plate to the guy.  I feel as though my options have run out and I don’t know what to do from here.  Going back to school is an option but I feel as though I’ll just be too old when I’m finished and will still have no experience.  What do I do now?

  99. Patrick Flynn hi, I’m thinking exactly the opposite, I’m bored with accounting and financial consulting, I love music and editing music, its weird that u r seeking the other way around…

  100. jcpapova gulatigurpreet You are right jcpapova. good to see you share a similar mental make-up. over the last year since i wrote my post, i am beginning to realize that things can be made to work in your direction provided you have the dedication and attitude (which as doctors and as life-experienced people like you, is a trait that gets engrained in us) then you can make it work. i also realized that it is best to keep the current job and simultaneously, discreetly, actively but gradually pursue your life-goal, in my case,,,music. cant afford to resign and leave your family in the lurch! i think thats what life teaches you and you dont behave like a just outta college/school guy who does what he wants to…have been learning guitar on my own (internet is a great help) and have made very good progress, i think. have met with a coupla guys and planning to start a band!! eventually, well lets see how it turns out. best of luck and keep me updated on your progress.

  101. I’m 24 and got master’s degree in computer applications  in the year 2011.because of some personal problems i have opted teaching career and now i have 1 year experience in teaching but i am not happy with that  i want to change my career i.e., coming back to software profession but i feel lack in confidence because i have no experience the concern profession, and please can you tell me which stream would be easy to get an IT job..

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  103. older You Are never too old. I decided at 49 I wanted to be a Speech Pathologist, at 52 I started back to school to finish my Bachelors. I just turned 55 and at the end of this year, I will have completed my Bachelors in Psychology, have my undergrad required classes for Grad school and hope I will be accepted to grad school in this very competitive career, so that I can start in 2015.  My Goal: Obtain all I need to begin my career by 59 years of age as a Speech Pathologist – keep my life style the same while I pay off school loans and then enjoy a career that has many options, not just a 9 – 5 job.

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