Personal reinvention, deeper job satisfaction and retirement security are among the goals some people have when changing careers in midlife. Proper financial planning and personal goal setting are essentials for a successful midlife career change because the average career change takes around 18 months, according to a 2012 column in the "The New York Times" by Marci Alboher, author of “Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life.” Before making the decision to change careers, think about what you want professionally, what you need financially, and what the job market values.
Researching what potential new employers want, and comparing that to the skills and experience you’ve developed, can help you set effective goals for a career change. For example, becoming certified in a new type of software or technology can be a goal to reach to make you employable in a new field. Assessing your personal core values and the specific things you want to achieve will help you set goals that you’ll be passionate about achieving, suggests Jacquelyn Smith in her “Forbes” article titled, “How to Start Thinking About a Career Change.”
A midlife career change is a chance to reignite a passion for work with a more fulfilling occupation than what you’ve grown accustomed to. Launching a new business or working for a nonprofit are examples of the kinds of new career goals that stem from something you love. A midlife career change can also be a time to reduce stress in your work life. For example, your new career goals might be to establish a healthier balance between your personal and professional lives by reducing the number of hours you work or finding a job with flexible scheduling.
Making a career change later in life is an important part of the transition toward retirement for many workers. Many workers who are forced to change careers because of layoffs or company closings set goals that focus on continuing to earn a salary and benefits. This is especially common in workers who make midlife career changes without an adequate retirement plan in place, according to a study by the Urban Institute.
Working for someone else for the first half of your life could inspire you to want a new career that puts you in charge. For example, your goal might include freelancing, consulting, teaching or operating your own small business in a specialty that you’ve honed throughout your first career or as a hobby. Conversely, you might feel that you’ve been in charge long enough and seek a career where you have less responsibility. For example, your goal could be to get into a position that is less physically or mentally demanding, such as moving out of business management to become a teacher or coach, or trading in all of your first career’s travel demands for a home-based office.
A writer since 1995, Christian Fisher is an author specializing in personal empowerment and professional success. From 2000 to 2005, he wrote true stories of human triumph for "Woman's World" magazine. Since 2004, he has also helped launch businesses including a music licensing company and a music school.