Steps to Change Career at 40 [Career Guide]

There are several reasons to seek the steps towards a career change even at age 40. For some people, chance takes care of it, disguised as an illness, injury, mass retrenchment, or any other unplanned incident.

For others, luck intervenes, and they win a large sum of money or find the right person. Yet again, others find a new career path that may become a necessity because of a pressing need. Such needs may include dedicating more time to the family or preserving one’s health.

Career refers to a job or business that you commit your life to, and from which you get an income. It is an individual’s work and life roles over a lifetime. Since a career is an event of a lifetime, it takes a careful choice. However, at some point, one may require to change the course of the job.

Therefore, it is valuable to understand the most efficient steps to change career, especially in later years like 40. If by then, one is yet to have a stable job, it points to a reason to rethink and strategize.

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”

Stephen Covey

change career options at 40

What does a Professional have to say?

Donald E. Super established the fact that one should “be able to stand firm or being unwavering at a career” by age 40. Therefore, he referred to that stage as The Stability Stage in his theory.

Besides, Donald believes that individuals should be flexible in switching from one career to another. He added that this step might be vital until one finds the best choice with the most satisfaction.

Perhaps you are 40 years old and are wondering, ‘Is it not too late to change careers?’ The answer is NO! We will share some easy steps to follow for a change in career at 40 and overcome all your fears.

Before we begin, let us consider the crucial question below:

“There is no passion for being found in playing small—in settling for a life that is less than you are capable of living.”

Nelson Mandela


Is Changing A Career A Good Idea?

Change is difficult, but switching jobs may be necessary for both personal and professional growth. You may be coasting at your current job, or being underpaid, which is preventing you from feeling more successful. You can easily change careers if the essence of such work is not flowing as expected.

Summarily, the importance of work includes:

  • A sense of accomplishment
  • A sense of identity
  • Means of meeting basic needs of life
  • It is an avenue to reduce meaningless activities such as boredom, idleness, truancy, etc.
  • To escape poverty

Therefore, if at age 40, the stated importance of work above is yet to come through, career switching is advisable.

“Why do they always teach us that it’s easy and evil to do what we want and that we need the discipline to restrain ourselves? It’s the hardest thing in the world–to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we want.”

Ayn Rand

career growth at 40

Rediscover yourself! Find Your Rhythm!

Perhaps this point is the most critical part of your journey and the very beginning of it. Take a deep breathe to know that the first person to discover before changing a career is yourself.

The quest to change careers often meets with limitations and fears. Some of the concerns may be legitimate, while some may not be. However, in all these cases, the journey begins from within.

Let the conviction and will to switch careers be greater than the opposition that will arise because of the change. Moreover, be ready to esteem your happiness and fulfillment above satisfying the needs of others.

Pursue a new opportunity for that new career dream at 40. Discover what self-discipline and retraining mean at 40 means. Do you have to go back to university to get a degree?

Alternatively, are all the experiences you have picked up so far enough to land you your dream job? It may shock you to discover some unexpected career options even after age 40.

“Insist on yourself. Never imitate.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson


What is a Career Change Assessment?

If you decide a career change is necessary, you will need to weigh up your values, skills, personality, and interest. The way to go about it is by using self-assessment tools, often called Career Test Tools.

Self-assessment tools are applicable to generate a list of occupations concerning your answers to some specific questions. You must consider your skills, your strength in line with your personality and interest. Therefore, a career test is essential.

A friend told me of a story of a man who desired to get a Ph.D. at age 57. However, he felt, ‘by the time I get the Ph.D., I will already be 60. Of what use is the Ph.D.?’ His friend asked, ‘in the next three years, without going for the Ph.D., won’t you still be 60?’ In other words, whether you do what you ought to do or not, time is ticking, and it will still tell.

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

—George Eliot


Change a Career at Age 40 – How to Make it Happen

Not long ago, you were just a kid playing conkers in the playground. Now, you are already 40 and stuck with a job you do not like. So stop thinking about some conkers that got away and start making things happen. Here is a breakdown of how.

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

Steve Jobs

ready to change your career at 40

1.       Look in the Mirror

Yes, we mean the metaphorical mirror! Nevertheless, if it helps, stare into an actual glass if you like. Now, it is time to consider what parts of your job make you happy.

Do you prefer working with others? Do you enjoy leading a team? How much do you enjoy being creative? How are your problem-solving skills?

Be honest with yourself. If you like working alone – in your headspace – that is okay, too. Now, make a small part of your job you enjoy the most, the central aspect of your new career. The excitement to change a career is irrespective of age, even if 40.

2.       Think about the Final Product

On getting home after a typical day and switch on Netflix to relax, what would you have achieved that day? Making something with your bare hands, or is it earning more money, or contributing to society?

Visualize that thing – together with the accompanying feeling – and that will help you achieve it. Thinking about the final output will help you to understand the new stuff you are about to commit.

3.      Roll up your sleeve

Retraining at 40 can sound intimidating, but you should know by now the most effective way to learn. Have you, at any time, thought of taking a break from the office? Do a ‘Luke Perry’ and go back to university as a mature student.

Learn some skills on the job or do an internship, if it will give you the foot in the door you need. Are you worried about your degree not being relevant to your new job? Worry less – feel free to still get to change your job at age 40.

Many employers now value employee experience more than the letter that follows your name. You may get surprised by how many skills are transferable – including teaching in the university or on the shop floor –. Make these skills bold on your CV and commit them to heart for interviews.

4.       Network like its 1999

You have met more people, shaken more hands, and done more deals than the 25-year-old you. Take advantage of this experience and network with colleagues and acquaintances. These people can give you pointers about breaking into a new industry – and might even put in a word for you.

Besides, please do not be shy. Would you mind if anyone requires your expertise about getting into your profession? So, seize any opportunity to enhance your chances through the network of friends.

5.       Find Opportunities in Unlikely Places

Your new career could be way closer than you could think– like around-the-corner close. If your boss values your skills and personality above a job title, you might stand a good chance to remain.

Employers might be willing to invest in your personal development to help you change roles within the company. The boss might even create a new position just for you.

steps to change career at 40

Steps to Follow to Change a Career at 40

Here are ten vital steps that can help you change a career effectively at age 40:

1.      Understand your Underlying the Desire to Make a Change.

Maybe you are starting to be disillusioned with your work or bogged down. Perhaps you are no longer on the way up. This time, you need to step back and begin to think about life more broadly.

However, be warned: you may realize how you miss their old career, and you are not open to replacing those things. Therefore, there is a need to attempt to balance things out before getting weary. Patiently learn what it takes to change your career successfully even at 40.

The more extended period you have to plan, the better. Start working at age forty on a career. You might never get tired of at least until age sixty. If you have the required time, you can try out some ideas and possibilities, or role-play.

At times, you may even do a little bit of those things to see if that is the direction you want to go.

2.      Get your Life in Order.

Get fit physically and financially to combat whatever lies ahead. Change is stressful, so you need to prepare for it as much as you can. When you are physically fit, you get more energy and are mentally sharper to face the challenges ahead.

The start of a new career along in your life takes a tremendous amount of strength and energy. One may not always be sufficiently ready, but at least build a good cushion on which to fall. There’s more to do if you like to change your career at age 40.

3.      Get Practical!

If possible, don’t take all the steps all at once but make your move in stages. You also may need to upgrade your skills and education, but take one class at a time. That is if you would like to go to graduate school, maybe start by taking a night course.

Furthermore, you do not have to enroll in a full-course load just yet. Also, you can add more classes as your direction and motivation become clear and strong. Also, in your job search, don’t make the mistake of overspending.

If possible, try some classes while your current employer is still offering tuition reimbursement. However, be sure to investigate whether there is a payback requirement in case you leave the firm. In any case, make sure you are moving towards your career change at 40 if that is what you want.

Besides, check out some complimentary career services from your alma mater.

4.      Find a Mentor

Ask for help. There is a reason why there are career coaches out there to guide you through individual decisions. Sometimes, the help you need may be unofficial, but ensure you are not alone.

Seek advice from people who have recorded success in the field you are interested in switching to from the start. Truth is most of them will love to provide possible solutions through counsel. Change in career may be your opportunity for true fulfillment.

5.      Prepare for Setbacks.

It is not all smooth sailing, but if you have laid the proper groundwork, you will get through the rough patches. Besides, support from your partner and other family members may be highly profiting and tremendously enriching. They do not have to own your dream but be supportive.

6.      Be a Volunteer

You might have to try out several jobs before you arrive at the right one. Anne Nolan, who is the executive director of Crossroads Rhode Island, started as a volunteer.

Therefore, nothing stops you from starting from the low cadre to climb up progressively. She did not know what she wanted to do when she lost her executive-level job.

However, she had a year’s salary with ample time to think through on her options. Similarly, she decided to volunteer at the shelter–not because she dreamt of becoming a full-time employee. It was an activity that got her out of the rut to do something besides worrying about what was next.

Eventually, the job grew to become her passion. Later, the board asked her to join them and then hired her as the director. Opportunity comes from the unexpected. Be open and ready for it.

7.      Do a Research

Look for jobs that leverage experience. Check out job sites to get in tune with what others are doing or what jobs are out there. Investigate fields like healthcare, clergy, eldercare, and education that have a growing demand for workers or volunteers. Good research can guide you to change your career successfully at 40.

8.      Do Not Lock Yourself into a Salary level.

Money can be the biggest roadblock for most career changers, but that calls for caution. Chances are when you start over in a new field or move to non-profit, initial factors may not initially be favorable. You may take a salary cut, at least initially.

Moreover, if you have an emergency fund to buy you time, you can do a more thoughtful job search. Therefore, trim down your discretionary living expenses to reflect a more realistic view of what you will earn now.

What are the things that are crucial to your life? On the other hand, what things are actively giving you the pleasure that you might inevitably need to give up?

9.      Be Disciplined

Although you might have to wrestle with this choice but do not dip too deep into your core savings, of all the mistakes that older workers make in launching second careers, this is probably the worst.

Would-be entrepreneurs are not necessarily raiding retirement accounts to launch businesses. Nevertheless, they are tapping home equity and other savings. Unfortunately, that step has apparent implications for retirement security.

10.  Work every day towards your goal.

Changing careers can seem overwhelming, but it need not be. Do not struggle to find the ideal starting point or perfect path – this is a piece of great advice. Once you have some pictures of where you want to go, start moving by taking small steps toward that vision. What matters is that you should do something regularly.

“The future depends on what you do today.”

—Mahatma Gandhi

steps to change career at 40


There you have it: Steps to Change Careers even at age 40. Changing a career at 40 is indeed awe-inspiring, but you must be ready to follow through. Besides, these steps to change form a piece of great advice, and you are going to have a great experience doing it.

Amidst other considerations above are ten outlined guidelines to follow in making a successful career change. Also, we discussed facts about reasons why it is advisable to consider switching to another career.

Stay positive; make sure you think through your decisions to make your transition as smooth and profitable as possible.

A good career change can also tell on your health and relationships. So, beware of other habits you may pick up. You can even leverage your current experience into transferable skills. See you at the top!

Which stage of your career are you? Let us hear from you!

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