Career Change in Mid-Life? Are you crazy?
Baby boomers started leaving the corporate world and starting their own businesses in dribs and drabs starting in the late 1990s. This trend grew over the last ten years until the current economy pushed it into a steady flow with lay-offs and midlifers no longer being comfortable with corporate values being played out in the marketplace.
Midlife entrepreneurship often starts with a few thoughts:
Hearing that inner voice asking, “Is this all there is?” “I don’t know what my purpose is!” ” I’m not happy with my job, but I don’t know what I want to do.” ” Now what?” “I have lost my job, but I really don’t want to go back to that type of position.”
This is not a gender issue, but most often the question comes up for women who become empty nestors. This happens quite frequently because they have identified so completely with the role of mother and care-giver, and it no longer fills their day. Many of these women start their own business because they don’t want to retire in a short period of time, or through life changes taking place due to changes in relationships or financial need. Others started businesses based on their passion – teaching yoga, cooking, or coaching others in business, careers, and life choices. It really didn’t matter what the business was, but it served their passions and provided them with a purpose in life that was either no longer present or had become the antithesis of their values in their current job.
Not all boomers want a second career. They may feel they have no choice about whether or not to work. Given the unemployment rate, however, many are not being given the choice. As part of the career discussion, it is always a good idea to take the time to explore their passions, interests, strengths and skills to discover the options they have. There is then a great joy in developing and visualizing your mission in life, and what that looks and feels like once accomplished. Statistics have proven that there is a 60% increase in success rates when these steps are taken, and when people work at something they truly love.
Regardless of where you are starting from in considering a career shift, whether it be to another job or entrepreneurship, transition is not always easy. Here are several tips that may make it easier.
- Identify your strengths. What have you done well your entire life? What have you been successful at, and of those, what did you have fun doing?
- Look at all of the skills you have – both those that are gifts and those you have learned. For example, you my be working in a training department writing “how-to” guides for business processes. Could you take those skills, and apply them to your passion for helping those less fortunate by writing grants for non-profits?
- Do you need a new skill or need to get current on a dormant skill in order to fully pursue your passion? Go back to school! For instance, do you love to draw? Could you become freelance graphic designer, or open a drawing school for children after school?
- Start your own business doing what you currently do for the company you work for. This used to be called moonlighting. As long as you are not in competition with your current company, you may enjoy doing this.
- Having been in your current career for a long period of time, look carefully at everything you have done, and make a list of those activities that most captured your heart. Now, identify your options utilizing only those activities, or build upon them.
- Find a friend who is starting their own business, and offer to help them build it. Get a feel for what it means to be an entrepreneur and make your decisions as you go.
If you have been laid-off or your job has been made redundant, you already know that unemployment is full of stress and anxiety. Claim your free report, Career Transitions: Initial Stages, at Collaborative Transitions Coaching, and receive a bonus of my semi-monthly newsletter jam-packed with interesting articles from a variety of authors specializing in career, business and retirement articles from a very special perspective – you.