Have you changed jobs/careers in mid-life?

jenn(SoCal 9/19)November 27, 2005

It's back to work tomorrow after a blissful week off. I love where I work, I love the people, but my job (the very work I do every day) is not a good fit for me. There are parts I do well -- I'm detail-oriented, organized, etc. -- but it's like wearing a shoe that's just a tad too small, every day. I'm constantly on a learning curve and have been for years and that's starting to get old. I'd like to do something that uses my natural gifts and talents and that's not doing what I'm doing now.

I want to make the break to something completely different, something that's ME. Something creative. Something close to home (I drive more than 50 miles, or 2 hours, round-trip and it's killing me.) My dream job would involve something in the home arts, NOT computers which is what I'm doing now.

I'm beginning to pray for the doors to open to something else. Meanwhile, I just need to accept where I am and do my best every day.... and keep praying.

Anyone else ever felt this way? Did you make the break or stick with it until you were more satisfied? I've been there 20 years and I don't want to leave, but a few months ago my mind began to open to that possibility... something I never thought would happen.


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I have never changed careers but I have some thoughts on your situation. It seems to me that loving where you work and your co-workers are two very important aspects of employment. If I understand correctly, you don't enjoy your specific duties. I assume you have looked within your employer for other positions more suitable to you and they have no such position available. I have no idea what "home arts" is. It sounds like redecorating or painting murals inside homes or something. I certainly understand not wanting that long drive every day. After 20 years though; that will be quite a change. My main concern is that after a year or two in a new job you may regret having left.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 11:12PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Hi Mikey,

Good insight and wisdom. I certainly wouldn't make the break without a lot of thought and prayer and certainty it is the right move to make. I haven't looked yet within my employer.... if I found something else I couldn't leave right away, I'm involved in too much work at the current time to do that. I'd need to wait until there is a lull and things have fallen into more of a routine.

I'm keeping my mind open to anything -- even staying where I am -- and I'll see where things lead. Your concern that I'd regret the move is valid and that's why I would not do that without certainty it's the right thing to do.


    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 11:14PM
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redblossom40(z8-9 sierra)

Hi Jen, A job change? I think everybody thinks about it one time or another in their lifetime. I amire you and Mikey for staying with the same job for so long. Me, myself I'm on my third career and will be starting a new one this coming spring.

I always need a good challening job, plus everything I've done I've master. Then moved on to something new that I want to try.

I guess you can say that I like to try as many types of jobs out there as I can. plus, I've never been able to make a job 100 percent my life. Always been selfish and wanted to be with the family or gardening. They are always first and the job was always put last.
You knew, I've never been afraid to make a change. I just know that everything always works out if you believe in yourself and Boy, have I had some great jobs.
Logger helper
elect assembley worker
Auto Mechanic
Heavy Equiment Operator
and this spring(which might be my last career) Field Engineer in Construction (inspector)

I think that's all, I had a great time trying all of them and I think the only one I wouldn't do again was the nursing job. I like it, but I care too much. So I wasn't happy when people died, plus I work very long hours and DH didn't like that.
Always, it sound like your job isn't that bad. Twenty years, maybe just count your days to retirement , right Mikey


    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 11:29PM
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wanda(Z9 CA)

Does changing jobs when you're 47 count as mid life crisis? LOL
If it does, I did. I left my career as a park ranger to go into the nursery business. Before I became a park ranger, I worked in the printing industry (starting off as a blueprint machine operator and working my way up to manage a branch of a full service (offset, xerox, bindery, blueprint, etc.) company.

It's not easy to change careers, esp. when you are older, and going into a completely different field. You often have to start at the bottom after having been on top (or at least comfortably close LOL), and it often means having to work your way up the pay scale again.
I think people often get "job doldrums", esp. when you've been at the company a very long time. Maybe you just need a new challenge at your present job.
My other thought is that if you REALLY do want to try something new, then you should look into it, maybe try to find a way to "dip your toes in", so to speak, to see how it feels. I'm all for following one's heart.

I've had quite a line-up of fleeting odd jobs too.

Dog bather
rental agent for an apartment complex
proofreader for a graphics company
technical typist
Fish dept. manager at a pet store
factory worker in a plastics plant
my own business as a graphic designer
my own business running a hands on reptile educational program
telephone work for the newpaper


    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 12:49AM
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I agree with Wanda. Dipping your toes in, as she said, is a wonderful idea, and it won't mean you just give up "security" for a whim. I mean, it's worked for some people, but it is pretty scary, especially if you're not a gambler at heart. :D

I see so many new homes being built, packed in like sardines, and I imagine the families who will soon "live" there. The parents off to work early for long commutes to jobs that pay for the new home, but when are they ever home to enjoy it? It just seems like so many people are working for "things". When you do something you love, it's a bonus when you get paid for it, and the enjoyment you reap shows in the final product. :)


    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 10:04AM
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calpat(zone9ab No.Ca.)

Oh yes! I found that when I have a new job and learn the business and all it's ups and downs, that I soon get bored with it and start looking for other options. I'm now retired and have been for several years(well, I'm a very old lady). My point, I'm not sure, but we only go around this life once, so I wanted to learn, be happy and secure too. when my husband passed away many years ago, leaving me with a huge financial debt, I was able to call upon my past "ventures" and come up with a program that allowed me to not only survive, but exceed my potential. All of the careers that I had accomplished soon became the "point" of my life. I was extremely fortunate that at the age of 59, living in a foreign country, I was able to take a little of this & a little of that, combine them & I was off & running. This plan is only for the unafraid & adventerous, but it worked miracles for me! It's really for the Survivors! If you find that yor afraid of life, stay where your at, be grateful that you have a job with longavity and try to keep your options open. Changing careers is not for the weak at heart!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 11:15PM
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toad_ca(z7b Bellingham, WA)

This is a topic near to my heart. I've changed jobs and directions a number of times, and it's pretty much always been for the best. I've gained so much in terms of experience (life as well as work).
answering the request-line at a rock station
receptionist and program producer/editor at a public radio station
receptionist at AFI
reader for various literary agencies
literary manager for a playwriting award
actor in an equity-waver theatre company
ESL teacher
office manager for a chiropractic office
free-lance writer
college professor (this last one has continued the longest, though I've transitioned to teaching for Extension which is much more enjoyable for me).

My advice is, look for things that you think about even when you're not doing them (not things you stress about all the time, just things you enjoy thinking about). And in terms of age, I went to graduate school at 35, got my Masters at 38, switched schools for my Ph.D. which I got at 43.
My husband plans to retire at 60 in a year and a half. Since we also plan to move (to where we can afford to buy a house and land), I'll be going through another transition which is just fine with me. Exciting even.
All the best of luck to you!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2005 at 6:18PM
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I keep changing jobs/careers during my entire life (now I am in my early 50s). Last time I had changed not only my job, but also my country.. And I was 48 at that time.. Before that, I used to live in 3 different countries, working in few completely different fields.. and I am just happy with all that. By the way, last time, additionally to job and country , i also changed my husband, now my hubby is 15 years younger than me. Additionally to my three languages, i started learning the fourth one.. ALL that happened when I was 48.. So, here you go.. Follow your heart, and your dreams, till it's not too late! Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 3:07PM
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