Is There a Best Age to Change Careers?
Is it a certain age or is it the planning and execution that is more important?
If I were to review my 25 years of working as a Recruiter and Career Coach into one simple lesson, it would be this:
The knowledge of your best career path will not magically drop into your brain one day in a blazing flash of insight. Instead, it’s something you will discover incrementally, over time, through a process of trial and error.
Running full-speed from one career to another probably won’t lead you to where you need to go. Take your time, explore, and figure out what you really love.
In fact, many times it is our missteps in our career choices that may prove to be the most informative. They guide us forward on our career paths and help us figure out what does and does not fulfill us professionally.
I often counsel my clients to think of every position that they take as a way of testing out a career-path theory.
Maybe you were told that you were born to be an accountant. After surviving your first few busy seasons with a new level of knowledge and experience, you might revise your initial theory. You love working in tax but sense that being an auditor would be a better fit.
Much like a science experiment, not every theory will turn out the way you expected. Wondering whether it’s time for a new experiment?
You can bet that you will change careers several times in your career life.
You often hear about people changing careers 7 times during their lifetime. The problem is there is no actual data to back it up.
Statistics from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics do not include tracking changes to careers during a person’s lifetime, but anecdotally, we know it happens a lot and never more than during this pandemic.
Common reasons for changing jobs:
• Salary increase
• Opportunity for advancement
• More fulfilling role
So, what to do next?
Make like a Top Gun Pilot: Nail down a plan & consider the alternatives
Creating an effective action plan is the next step in turning your career goals into reality. Here are some simple tips to create a plan that will help you achieve your goals:
• Define a clear goal and a timeline.
This means knowing exactly what type of job you’re looking for and what industries interest you. You should also know your strengths, preferred job titles, and desired salaries. By this point, you should have researched companies and industries that interest you, updated your resume, and identified a specific occupation for which you’re interested in changing.
Do you need new or updated certifications? New degrees? New skills?
Be honest with yourself. If you are making the time and effort to change careers, be prepared.
How much time will it take to get up to speed?
Write down what steps you plan to take and a specific timeline to completion.
Building that timeline is very important – I would say, vital, in fact. You don’t want to spend months in limbo – or hampered by inertia, if you are not getting results.
How long will it take to make a full career change? It’s hard to say, and that’s because we all have different levels of motivation. Some people are in a rush to transition into the career of their dreams and may want to be done in months; other people may want to take their time on the journey.
• On any timeline, stay motivated
A spreadsheet can help you record your progress in a way that allows you to acknowledge all the small victories along the way—and that can make you feel a greater sense of accomplishment as you successfully make the switch.
So, how do you get started? The first step is deciding what kind of goal sheet you want to set up. Do you want to track your monthly or weekly progress? Set specific goals for each month or week? Or maybe just use it as a place to log your accomplishments every day? If you choose the last option, then make sure it’s something that will fit on one page: no one wants an endless list of tasks!
Once you have determined what kind of goal sheet works best for you, set some SMART goals (specific, manageable, action-oriented, result-oriented) for yourself.
What age is the Right Age to change careers?
The average age a person changes careers is 39 years old. Workers may feel stagnated once they reach mid-career, as it could indicate that their careers are plateauing. This results in them making a career switch for a new job opportunity.
As people get older, they change jobs less and less. Between the ages of 18 and 24, people change jobs an average of 5.7 times. The average number of job changes between 25 and 34 years old is 2.4. From 35 to 44 years of age, the average decreases to 2.9 jobs, and then to 1.9 jobs from 45 to 52 years of age.
The career change statistics show us that charting a new path is not always easy and it can be difficult to know what you want to do next. There are many factors that go into making this decision. Until you find something that suits you, it can feel like an endless search.
This is where Career Coaching can come into play. It gives you opportunity and resources without the risk involved in exploring different fields on your own.
If you are ready to consider the Next Step, reach out to me and let’s chart a path together.