Consider the costs
At the same time, you'll need to crunch the numbers to determine whether the move you're considering is financially feasible. Career changes cost money -- often, a lot if it involves studying for a college degree.
"If you love what you do, you can conceivably climb mountains, but understand that money is practical," says Berger, who points out that a midlife career change often involves a reduction in lifestyle.
Consider also the possible impact of reduced retirement contributions, as a future employer may not match contributions at the same rate.
If you're starting your own business, such as a consulting firm or photography studio, the financial stakes are higher still. Estimate how long it will likely take to be profitable, using the most conservative industry data, and determine whether your savings can supplement your income until the paychecks start rolling in.
Expenses may include new equipment such as computers, business suits, office space and health insurance.
Berger suggests making a practice budget. Estimate your projected earnings and compare that to your monthly expenses.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides national wage and salary averages by occupation on its website, while sites such as Salary.com, PayScale.com and Monster.com enable searches by job description and ZIP code for more regional data.