How to make a midlife career change

Is it time to make a midlife career change?
Is it time to make a midlife career change? © Blend Images/

You can't take the hours. Your work no longer feels meaningful. Or you got shoved out in a recent downsizing.

Whatever your motivations for making a midlife career change, you're in good company.

Nearly 60 percent of American workers say they would choose a different career if given the chance to begin anew, according to a 2012 survey from Yahoo Finance and Parade Magazine.

But starting from scratch in your late 30s, 40s or 50s is a far more risky proposition than for those who are fresh out of the frat house.

"I'm almost glad I didn't know how hard it would be on me and my family, or I might have talked myself out of it," says Ron Trenouth, a former actor who was working at a New York architecture firm when he decided to go back to school part time for his Master of Business Administration degree at age 42.

Indeed, a midlife career change requires both resources and thoughtful introspection.

Before you give up your current career, you'll need to assess the advantages and disadvantages and test-drive your budget to determine whether your savings are sufficient to support your lifestyle during the transition, says Cathy Goodwin, a Philadelphia-based career coach and founder of

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With the job market on the mend, is it time for more senior workers to consider career changes? Here are some tips.

When asked, most American workers say they'd choose a different career if given the chance. And the truth is, career and job changes have become more commonplace, partly because of the brisk pace of change in the economy.

If you are thinking of hitting the switch, try to separate emotions from the equation. If you are going through a divorce, for example, the odds are not good that can you be as focused as you'd need to be.

The best time to complete any certifications or coursework you might need to make the change, is while you are still drawing a paycheck. Quitting your job -- forcing a gap in employment -- can be disastrous for your finances.

Consider the potential costs, such as tuition if a new college degree is part of the plan.

Look for leadership opportunities and training classes available within your company that may help reduce these costs, while beefing up your resume for prospective employers.

Make networking a priority, both face to face and using social media tools.



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