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Midlife career change - where to start?

(7 Posts)
KittyB52 Thu 22-Dec-16 11:57:59

I am currently not working (took a sort of settlement agreement at the end of November) and am expecting a baby (through surrogacy) in March. So I have plenty of time to think (!) and I've come to the conclusion that I'd like to be doing 'something else' for work when I go back (which will likely be around summer time, as we can't afford for me to stay on maternity leave).

I drifted into my career in technical documentation after university, and while there are elements of it that I enjoy, I think I would like to try something different. And...that's as far as I've got. grin

I know loads about what I don't want to do, but very little about what I do want to do. I am quite creative, but I am trying to be realistic - creative is not going to pay the bills. Is there such a thing as mid-career change advice that ideally won't cost the earth?

Any tales of successful career changes welcome, thanks.

Crazeecurlee Thu 22-Dec-16 18:03:20

Hi Kitty, I don't have any advice but wanted to wish you good luck!

I will follow this thread with interest as my DM - who is probably quite a bit older than you but still has quite a few years left working - is also considering a career change.

KittyB52 Thu 22-Dec-16 21:58:29

Hi Crazeecurlee, as I've been thinking about it all I realised that I still have at least another 20-25 years of work life ahead of me, so it doesn't seem so strange to be considering a change.

KittyB52 Thu 22-Dec-16 21:59:31

Oops, forgot to say thank you for the good luck! And good luck to your DM too. smile

SherryRB Thu 29-Dec-16 10:28:07

hi there KittyB52, yes absolutely you can change career 'mid-life' AND be successful. I've done it myself and it's what I help my clients do too. I've shared some inspirational career change stories on my blog (and hope that's ok to share here

If you were my client, I would suggest you:

a) get clear on your values i.e. what's most important to you. Whatever work or career you choose, you need to be in alignment with your values otherwise life/work feels out of whack. For example your values might be stability and security, independence, freedom, loyalty, honesty etc. I've got a great handout on my website that will help you work that out.

b) identify all your skills and strengths - what do you love doing, what are you good at - try to be as specific as possible. For example if you're good with people - what exactly do you mean? If you're creative - what does 'creative' mean to you? What do you find really easy? What could you do all day? You mention that you like elements of the technical documentation - what specifically? When you were young, what did you daydream about doing?

c) list all your achievements and experiences (in work or life).

This might not give you the final answer but exploring in this way often leads to lightbulb moments.

hope this helps and good luck

KittyB52 Thu 29-Dec-16 17:30:44

Hi Sherry, thank you for your post.

I did work with a coach before I got my last job, and while I found it interesting, somehow there was a gap between what I discovered I enjoyed doing and a 'real' job which would pay the bills. Which is how I ended up in the job in the first place!

I am not great at listing my skills and strengths (and I can't think of a single achievement off the top of my head) so I think I have some homework to do in the new year. hmm

Thanks again. smile

SherryRB Thu 29-Dec-16 17:53:38

Yes there can be that gap - sometimes it's not about doing work that you're passionate about, but knowing what it's you're passionate about to make you good at what you do. Not sure I explained that too well ... but if you're passionate about having fun time with your kids in the holidays for example, that passion can translate into having fun at work if you know why you're going to work.

And sometimes it's a compromise to find work you love and you're good at and pays the bills. Sometimes thinking of your achievements works better with a friend who knows you well. your friend needs to ask "and what else". If you worked with a coach before, "what else" is a question you've heard before, I'm sure. Maybe look back at your CV or LinkedIn profile (if you have one) to start listing your achievements.

What skills did you learn? What things did you organise? What events did you attend? What problems did you solve? What ideas did you come up with or spark in others? And what else ...

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