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Advice on career change in mid forties

(2 Posts)
TheGirlOnTheLanding Wed 12-Feb-14 10:40:01

My DH has worked in the same sector since graduating, but it's a shrinking sector which has gone from a thriving industry with lots of options in the late 80s to very few companies left in the twenty plus years he's worked in it.

For the last few years he's been trapped in a small company which has not delivered on what was promised when they headhunted him, has shifted him sideways into a role he didn't want, and, most damaging, has a dysfunctional, bullying culture. It's too small to have an HR dept and one of the directors is the main culprit, so there is no way to address this bullying. I've seen a confident, competent, enthusiastic and positive person have all that ground out of him, to the point he feels hopeless, undervalued - and personally got at by one individual in particular, who has just been given a directorship, skewing the balance still further in the wrong direction.

I've been suggesting he look elsewhere for a long time, but now it feels urgent. There hasn't been, and there isn't, anything in his sector, and so he feels trapped: as the main breadwinner he can't take a massive drop in salary if he was to go in at entry level in a new industry. (He isn't looking for mega bucks but realistically he needs to be earning £28k minimum.)

Does anyone have experience/advice about a career shift in middle age that avoids starting from the very bottom again? I know DH has a wealth of transferable skills, but in a competitive job market, at his age, will employers even consider those? Other than LinkedIn what should he be doing to put out feelers?

I would like nothing more than to tell him to jack the job in, we'll manage somehow, but realistically we have a mortgage and children and we need his salary as well as mine. However, the longer this goes on, the worse the effects on his health and the less he's able to market himself: he's sinking fast into hopelessness and depression. I'd be so grateful for any positive stories and suggestions about how I can help him pull out of the abyss and feel like he is worth something again.

EBearhug Wed 12-Feb-14 20:46:44

Does he definitely need to start right at the bottom? What does he do now? Look at all his transferable skills - communication skills, presentation skills, report writing, time management, developing people, strategic thinking, financial management, budget planning, project management, etc, etc, etc - there must be some of those, and probably others.

It will be difficult if he's been in a bullying atmosphere, because it does make you lose confidence and self-belief, but he should be able to draw together a CV that focuses more on those transferable skills and experience than perhaps the niche specific technical skills of his industry.

Has he considered a careers counsellor at all? I found one very useful, getting an outside view on my skills and experience, and giving me some different ways to look at things.

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