Changing your career in your thirties

What you are is what you have been; what you will be is what you do now” Buddha.

Generally by the time you reach your thirties it is expected, either from others or yourself that you will be rather stable in your career and your time will be spent advancing in your chosen career. However, life does not always go according to plan and if you find that your career is not fulfilling, the good news is that you are not stuck, doomed to have to spend the rest of your life dreading the alarm clock every weekday.

Some of the most interesting people I know, have no idea what their passion is well into their thirties and even into their forties. It is fairly common for people to change their careers numerous times and some of the most well-known and successful individuals did not make a success of things in their first careers or even their second or third. Promisingly for these individuals, the manner in which the world of work is changing lends itself to assisting individuals who want to change their direction even after having spent decades in one particular field. Due to the rise and expansion of technology the pace of business has accelerated and this now means that you cannot be an expert for very long and no longer do you have to. The days of remaining in a career just because it was either expected of you or you had limited choices are done and dusted. This does not mean that changing your career is entirely an easy route to travel, however the following provide some guidance that should assist you if you are not entirely sure what direction you want to take but are sure a “u-turn”, “short left” or “complete roundabout” is needed in your career.

Disregard your CV

The first trap so many of us fall into, is searching for our CV’S to help guide us into a particular direction. We feel that we need our past experience, our courses or our history to guide us into the future. However, the mistake of following our CV’s usually leads us into another job or career that makes us feel just as lifeless as the one we had before. We have all heard, “find a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life” this is absolutely true and so fundamentally basic and yet most of us miss this vital step in finding the career we want. So forget your CV and follow your passion.

This leads us to the next big mistake we all tend to make and that is saying “I don’t know what my passion is” or even worse “I don’t have a passion”. I promise you, everyone has a passion and it is usually right in front of you, but has manifested itself in so many ways that you missed it completely. Rather than searching your past job titles, your certificates and your current field for your passion, take a holistic look at your entire life and find the common thread. For example, Jane was a lawyer by profession, she felt that through one or two choices in subject choices or one or two simple mistakes in university she had pretty much fallen into her profession. She never felt a passion for her job in the 10 years since she had first started and felt that she had made a huge mistake with her career choice. Jane felt that she didn’t have a passion and was completely lost as to where to go to from here, just knowing that she could not stay in the same career for the next 10 years. When unpacking Jane’s life she realised that, her common link was making an impact. What attracted her to law in the first place was the idea of making an impact on society as a whole, this was reiterated in the fact that she enjoyed volunteering at her local shelter on weekends and the fact that she gained the most fulfilment when the children that she taught extra maths to, showed her the difference that her help had made in their lives. Although her interests seemed scattered, the common factor was that Jane loved the impact that she made in others’ lives through all these different avenues. This now gave Jane her passion, the foundation with which she could explore her new career. How could she make the most of her joy and passion for making an impact; the possibilities were now a lot broader than just following law as her only option.

Digital Nomads

Another thing to consider is when wanting to change your career is, why? Are you perhaps just tired of the way you need to work at the moment rather than your actual work/career choice?

Most industries are embracing remote work, if you think about what is happening in the world of work today, many people have started working in an agile way. Due to smart phones most people work on the go, send emails after hours and have any information they need at their fingertips. The most productive individuals often come up with their most innovative ideas when in the bath or taking a walk; this is because the typical office space is full of distractions and more often than not is a stressful setting that is not as conducive to working as one may think. Hence organisations are now placing more focus on what their employees produce, rather than on how many hours they actually spend office bound. This means that not only can you explore changing your career path but you now also have the option of just exploring how you approach the work you do.

The idea of digital nomads (“a type of people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner. Such workers often work remotely from foreign countries, coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces, or recreational vehicles”) is growing and expanding and not only can you become a self-employed digital nomad, but you also have the opportunity to be a digital nomad that is employed by an organisation full time.

This way of working has a lot less restrictions and offers each individual a bubbling source of empowerment. The “digital nomad movement” is also becoming a global mind shift, meaning you will have many resources of support if you chose to go down this route. There are digital nomad communities all over the world which offer support and advice to anyone thinking of joining the community and also for those who already are part of the community and just need likeminded individuals as part of their support base.

Fluid Market

The rapid growth of technology and the pace in which people all over the world need and are able to adapt, as well as the fact that all markets are instantly global has opened up the possibilities of pursuing new markets. Bold entrepreneurs like Elon Musk now routinely attack undefined markets, by selling a vision before they even have a product. The possibilities are limitless.  In addition with the world of work becoming more fluid, it is more than likely that you can apply your skill sets across various jobs and careers. This means that you do not have to start right from the beginning, or work your way up from the bottom again.

You only need to fulfil your own potential by following your own passion and finding your own flow in the world. The good news is that everyone is different and thus everyone has something unique to contribute. If we all pursued the same goal or the same path in life we would lose out on our own unique contribution, potential and possibilities. Find your passion, pursue your passion in your own unique way and you really can’t go wrong.

It may not be an easy road to travel, but if you are like most people you spend about 2000 hours a year at work, so it is important to ask if those 2000 hours are being put to the best use.

Further Assistance

For further Assistance with changing your career or finding your passion, consider the use of Psychometric Assessments or a Professional Career Coach who can assist you with the entire process.