Changing Jobs when you are over 50

by | Career

We change careers at all ages, but there is something around changing jobs when you are over 50 that makes it important to get things right.

People will question why – so we need to make it clear why we are considering changing jobs when you are over 50.
We need to come from a position of planning and clarity, not panic.

We may seek something new as we are in a place (financial security, or thinking if it is not now, when) or it might be a change foisted upon us due to redundancy.
I’m writing this article as if you are coming to this from a choice – you want to make a change. It can equally be helpful for you if you have been out of work a few months and feel that you want to now look for something different.

Friends and family may consider you foolhardy, but we aren’t all winding down to retirement!

Friends and family can think we’re being unrealistic, they don’t understand why anyone would want to change jobs. – Play it safe is the motto of many, why look at changing jobs when you are over 50 when the current situation is ok.
But is ok good enough for you? Do you really want to continue to settle for what you have rather than what you really want? Are you at least considering changing jobs when you are over 50?

When we’re unhappy at work every day is like a slog, and the way it makes us feel affects us not only at work but also at home with a negative impact on our relationships with others and little energy to do the things we really want to do.

If you are wondering whether to change career, let’s look at some of the factors to consider in making the move or not.

In the words of Joe Strummer, do I stay, or do I go?

If we listen to others and stay put it might be the safe option, but this could be for 10, 15 years or even more; do we want to reach the age of 70, look back at our life and have regrets?
When we’re working in a job that doesn’t excite us it’s hard to show any enthusiasm and who really wants to be working with someone who counts away the hours till home time.

Here are 7 things we can do to help us make a choice for changing jobs when you are over 50.

  1. Know our skills:

If we are thinking about changing jobs when you are over 50, we may wonder what we could do. We should not feel constrained by our CV, but unpick it and see all the underlying skills, and not just those gained from work, what about the ones gained from home, hobbies, and other interests? These are probably not on our CV, so we need to take time to review our life and hobbies.

  1. Understand what is important:

Possibly with the mortgage nearly paid off, and the children left home, we could manage on less money. So, making career decisions based on salary may not be the priority, it’s much more about doing something that we really want to do – living a life in line with our values. So, we need to take some time to clarify what our key values are.

  1. Putting yourself first:

For many people, our children have been our priority, but now they are working they’re adults and so they will be responsible for their own lives. This gives us more time and energy to do more of what is right for us. So, we can now make decisions on the basis of what we want not what others want. Also, when our children and friends see us take bold decisions, it might encourage them to do so as well.

  1. Being mature is a plus:

So much in the media worships the cult of youth, but as we get older, we have much more experience, and can often stay calm when dealing with problems and can draw on our knowledge. This means that we are less likely to be affected by setbacks, we know we have come through these before and will be able to do so again.

  1. Using our friends and contacts:

Over the years we will have got to know many people, some we will class as friends, others are more like business associates, but these people know people and can help give us the contact we need to both find out more about new careers and also to help us get an introduction to that important contact.

  1. Let’s not forget that you may face some challenges changing jobs when you are over 50 but these can be overcome!

We may be interviewed by someone who really is young enough to be our son or daughter, and frankly they can find it difficult both recruiting and also managing someone more mature, so we need to make it clear that we are certainly young in outlook and give examples of embracing change. We need to let them know that it’s not a problem for us, but we also need to be careful not to be too assertive in our views on how things can be done, we can always learn from others.

  1. However, once we decide to move into a new area, we are likely to get through the learning curve quicker

We can use our transferable skills and knowledge that will help us to solve many problems and deal with challenges. If we’ve done our research, we will also be much clearer on why we are applied for work in this new area, be keen to make a success and thus focus our energy there.

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Denise Taylor

Chief Inspiration Officer, The 50 Plus Coach.