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What is it about the age of 40 that suddenly seems to provoke feelings of the best years of your life being behind you, that if you haven’t achieved all of your goals by now then what?? The world will implode? Or that you’re so old that you may as well stop dying your hair, wear sensible shoes (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and start taking it easy…
Well luckily and rightly, these days, 40 is seen in a more positive light where women are looking better than ever, being fit, eating healthily and dare I say it, changing careers!!
But if the nagging feeling that being in your forties is a hindrance rather than an advantage when it comes to changing careers then please read on and I’ll give you my 7 tips to navigate this life change with skill and grace.
1.Accept that being over 40 is an advantage. Thinking back to your younger self, how many things would you have done differently? A lot I’m sure and that is with the benefit of not only hindsight but experience as well. I’m sure these days you’d tackle a job interview with more confidence and experience than you would have 20 years ago. So, use that to your advantage. Don’t look at being over forty as over the hill and tired, instead reframe that thought into being experienced and empowered. Thinking this way will change not only your attitude but how people will perceive you.
2.What are you actually looking for in a new career. I highly recommend that you firstly assess what you’re after in a career, whether it’s less stress, more money, less hours, more hours etc before you do anything else. Once you work out how you want this dream job to look like and your subsequent life for that matter then can you honestly decide on what that career is.
3.Research role models. There are many women out there that have made a career change after 40. Google any one of them and you’ll be able to see their story and be motivated. Here are 3 amazing women to get you started. Shannon Lush (from art restorer to household management expert and author), Jan Cameron (From owner of Kathmandu to Philanthropist) and Ronni Kahn (from being in an events business to founder of OzHarvest). Now, of course these are extreme examples but inspiring nonetheless.
4.You’re never too old to go back to school. Chances are that the career you wish to transition to may require more or other skills and/or qualifications. If it’s something minor like needing Microsoft office suite knowledge then this can be achieved after hours and a lot of courses these days can be done online. When I did my life coaching course it was in the evening and online as I worked full time during the day. But if you require a whole degree or diploma then this is certainly achievable although not as easy and will require more of your time but it is still doable. Remember to look into HECS and how to enrol as a mature age student. These days you wouldn’t be alone as a mature age student. I remember when I did my nursing degree many years ago, I was only 18 in my first year (still a child in some ways) and there were a couple of students who were much older and who had waited till their children were all grown up before embarking on a career they had always dreamed of doing. AMAZING!!!
5.Volunteer. Another way to gain that elusive experience needed (or which is highly desirable) is to volunteer somewhere that will give you that experience. It will also help you to ascertain whether the career you’re hoping for is in fact the right one for you.
6.Take a strengths test. If you’re not sure what you’d prefer to do as a career, then take a strengths test. You’d be able to find some free ones online if you use Google. Otherwise one that I recommend is a book called Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath which comes with a unique code that you can use to take their strengths test online.
7.Network. Networking is a tip I use in a lot of my posts and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sometimes it’s not what you know it’s who you know. You never know what you find out or who you meet when you network, it could really help you get to the career of your dreams. One place to get started on finding a networking group is meetup.com, I really recommend that you check it out. Here is a past blog post that I wrote about how to network effectively.
There you have it, my career change tips for women over 40, I hope you found them useful but really I suppose, my biggest tip would be to look at being in your forties as the start of something big not the end of it.
If you have any useful tips that have helped you navigate through career change then please let me know below.
Till next time