7 Midlife Career Change Tips - how Van Gogh did it
It’s never too late for a midlife career change. Before he taught himself how to paint, *Vincent Van Gogh was an art dealer, schoolmaster, student priest, and missionary. Indeed, he was well into his thirties before his artistic talents were recognised. Not too shoddy for a midlife career change!
Whether you want to return to work, get your dream job, achieve a better work-life balance or simply need the challenge, this 7 step career decision making advice will help you think through your midlife career change.
Let’s get started…
1. What skills and experience do you possess?
List exactly your skills and experience, focussing on what you
can do, not on what you can’t. These are commonly
called “transferable skills” because no matter
what line of work you’re in, they are useful.
Okay, so there may be some gaps between you and your dream
job, but if you could do it all already, why bother with a midlife
career change? It’s highly likely you can close those gaps without going back to school full-time.
2. What field would you like to work in?
So now we know what you can do. Maybe you want to stay doing what you do, but in a different field? My uncle moved from a high flying banking job to become a financial director of a large theatre, fulfilling his love of the arts whilst still getting his “fix” of numbers.
Science, medicine, government, working from home, military…. There are so many choices it can be overwhelming. Luckily the next step will help narrow it down.
3. What lifestyle do you want?
Your lifestyle aspirations change as your circumstances change. What suited you as a footloose fancy-free twenty something may no longer hold water as a thirty something with 2.4 children, dog and pet rabbit. What is your ideal day? Who do you see? What kind of people are around you?
4. Where do you want to live?
Choosing to live in a remote community may be tough going if you have super niche skills. Maybe you can market those skills online – just check out if you can get broadband before you move :>)
Travelling is another consideration, be it the daily commute or international globe-trotting. Does this figure in your dream job? If so, you need to consider the dull reality of trains, planes and automobiles.
5. What salary fits your lifestyle?
Let’s talk money. How much money do you need to live
your life - now and when you retire? It’s a sorry truth that
most of us have to work to get bread on the table.
6. What career progression exists?
Are you painting yourself into a corner career-wise? Does your dream job have a finite life span or are there opportunities to grow and develop? Lack of career progression may be why you are looking to change careers now! I certainly moved from one job as the glass ceiling was firmly fixed above my head.
7. How will you progress this?
Right, here’s the really difficult bit. I never said it was going to be easy ;>) In fact, I’ll spill the beans now. Making a midlife career change can be slow, hard work, and requires you to do some tough thinking. But consider the alternative – wasting your life in a dead end job, unfulfilled and embarrassed about how your obituary will read. (Besides, if you make the right decision, your enthusiasm will carry you through the trickier bits).
So come on, how will you progress this?
I'm not going to let you off the hook here! How are you going to land that dream job? Who do you need to speak to? What research needs done? Who can help? Just like fishing, you can only catch a fish when you have a line in the water. Your dream job is out there waiting to be caught.
Giving midlife career change advice is easy - it’s up to you to make it happen. But whenever you find the going getting tough, remember Van Gogh! Pull together an action plan and do it, no excuses.
By Lyndsay Swinton
Citation Information: Swinton, Lyndsay. "7 Midlife Career Change Tips - how Van Gogh did it." Mftrou.com. 14 September 2004. < http://www.mftrou.com/midlife-career-change.html >.blog comments powered by Disqus
* Footnote: Okay, some may say Van Gogh had a troubled life, and is perhaps not a great role model for midlife career change. The simple point is that it took him many years to find his vocation, but find it he did. The rest they say, is history.
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