Smart Steps for Switching Careers after 40

It's common for many people to feel stuck in a rut in their careers. Your home life might be fine, and your social life might be thriving, but if you're unhappy in your job it can lead to feeling as though your life remains unfulfilled.

Many people remain in a job that makes them unhappy because of financial commitments, or simply because they don't know what else they could do instead, especially after turning 40.   

Changing careers could be the ideal way of creating a truly fulfilling life. Here are some steps to consider if you're planning on switching careers after 40: 

Discover Your Passion

Most people are drawn to the idea of earning an income by doing something they're passionate about. Unfortunately, only a few people actually take the necessary steps needed to determine whether their passion could become a viable career choice.  

Take the time to talk to other people who are working in your desired field, or those who have taken the leap into turning a passion into a career. Gather as much information as possible about the benefits and potential drawbacks and learn what you can from their experiences before making your final decision.  

Develop Your Skills

While it might seem like a good idea to switch careers overnight, a more realistic approach might be to take small steps to help you reach your goal. Take the time to develop the necessary skills you'll need in order to succeed in your chosen field.

You might take a course to expand your knowledge in a particular area of interest. You could gain additional certification that could make you a more attractive candidate for an employer. 

Alternatively, you might prefer to make the switch from being employed to becoming your own boss. Running your own business can provide a massive sense of freedom and achievement. However, it also comes with a huge amount of responsibility and plenty of hard work. 

See Also: Tips to Help Older Workers Find Jobs

If your goal is to run your own business, but you don't know the first thing about starting a new business from scratch, perhaps a franchise could be the right option for you. A ready-made franchise allows you to run your own business, but you have the benefit of following existing procedures and operations. You also have the benefit of working with an established brand-name, which can make it much easier to attract new customers to your business. 

For example, a senior care franchise gives you an immediate entry into the fastest growing industry in the country. You have the benefit of support and training from the franchisors, and you have the ability to operate your business around your own hours and schedule. 

Create a Support System

Switching jobs within the same industry is stressful enough. However, switching to an entirely new career field can elevate those stress levels through the stratosphere if you don't have a strong support network around you.

It's important you discuss your decision with loved ones, family members, or friends who can help you brainstorm ways to turn your idea into a reality. It's also a good idea to begin networking with people who already work within your chosen field, as they'll help provide valuable opportunities to learn more about the reality of working within your new career. 

Build a Safety Net Before You Take the Leap

Before you take the leap and quit your existing job, be absolutely sure you have a financial safety net behind you. Take the time to build up a buffer of savings that may help you pay the bills while you're making the transition into your new career choice.

If you're planning to jump into the realm of entrepreneurship as a self-employed business owner, the need for a financial safety net is even more critical. Build up enough savings and keep them aside as an emergency fund to help you survive financially as you move into your new career. The last thing you need is your fledgling business to die a sudden death because you couldn't afford to pay the bills until the profits start rolling in.

Making a career change isn't easy after 40, but it's certainly not impossible. After all, remaining in a job that makes you unhappy can take a negative toll on your health and your future wealth creation plans.  

Take your time to plan the switch and take small steps that will help you achieve your goals. Before you know it, you could be switching into a career that you absolutely love.

Author: Philip LeBlanc, Vice President of Franchise Development, joined ComForcare in November of 2011 and is responsible for all aspects of domestic and international franchise development for new, resale and expansion sales. Phil's primary focus is on marketing strategies, sales team and process development, effective funneling and sales process management. His career also includes management and oversight of n franchises as well as mergers & acquisitions for franchise members.