Career Change After 50 – Risks and Rewards!

By DonShook

There have been literally dozens of surveys that report more that 50% or more of professionals over 50 are not completely satisfied with their current job or career.

If you are dreaming of a career change now may be the time to assess the overall risks of a career change after 50.

If you have lost your job or find that your career is a dead end a career change may be a matter of survival. For others a career change after 50 may be a ticket to realizing dreams, finding challenges and achieving long held ambitions. Whatever your reason to consider a career change, without the proper planning and analysis it can be a scary journey.

Everywhere you read the first step is to determine your reason for changing careers. This is not as easy as it sounds. If you are bored with work, what if anything, have you done to find new challenges, and new ways of doing things, it’s far less risky taking this route than to jump to a new career.

If a bad boss is the cause of your dissatisfaction perhaps a new employer or a transfer within your current employer will resolve the problem.

After you’ve analyzed all the aspects of your current position you make the decision to make the career change. Now the risk/reward analysis is very important. Planning the career move is the key to overall success.

The use of informational interviews can be a help assisting you in exploring the proposed new career. Through alumni groups, relevant career associations and LinkedIn you can find a dozen or so individuals working in the proposed career. In a short 10-15 telephone interview with most of those on your list you can find out a great deal about the career: qualifications, education, future prospects, possible employers and industries, salaries, and referrals to others who can help you

While in your current position, you can acquire needed education (formal, self-study and internet learning) to qualify for your new career. The risk is that you leave your current position before qualifying for the new career.

Starting your own business is also an option. Here an in-depth risk reward analysis is vital. Don’t do what one individual did, when buying a carpet cleaning franchise, to later learn even though there were plenty of homes in his franchise area, it was a vacation retirement area, most floors were tile, many of the homeowners were older and recently two carpet stores went out of business. Needless to say, after two years of great effort he went out of business.

Central to your career change planning is to first make a list of the risks associated with your proposed career change plan. Now in looking at the risks rank them according to them happening. Then you plan how you can avoid each risk and a Plan B in case the risk materializes.

For example, if there is a risk that it will take a longer period of time to find the desired career, do you have the financial resources to pull you through and would perhaps a part-time job be warranted.

In the event you are still exploring the possibility of a new career and have not set on one particular career, you should continue to work your career plan. Join associations, ask questions, go to workshops and seminars, visit prospective industry trade shows, read relevant career and industry periodicals and research the internet.

All of this effort will pay off. As you acquire more knowledge and information on the new career you will ultimately make a better decision and reduce the overall risks of changing careers.