By the time we get into our late forties and early fifties, many of us have worked for twenty-five years or more. And not only do we often stay in the same field, some of us have held the same job for that long. In this economy, of course, having any job is something to be grateful for!
Still, this is the time of life when you might start to feel some itchiness about your job or career, a yearning for change. My clients who are in this position usually wonder aloud: “But what should I do? I’ve been in this same career for so long, I’m not sure what to do next.”
Here are some ideas:
1. Find your Core Gift.
Your Core Gift is the essential talent that you have; the thing you do that – when you’re doing it – you feel like time is flying, that your task is easy and delightful. You feel “in the zone.”
Knowing your Core Gift can help you decide what job or career would be a true joy for you. Please see my previous post for more information, but here are four questions to get you started:
- When do you feel the most alive?
- What would everyone you know say was the one thing that drew them to you?
- What is something you have been doing with ease your whole life?
- What is the opposite of your wound, the event(s) in life that have hurt you the most?
2. Take a class in something that interests you.
Wonder if a certain career might be a good one for you? Take a class online or at your local community college to become more familiar with the field and to see if you truly like it or not.
3. Talk to others.
Talk to people who work in the field you’re thinking about joining to get the inside scoop on what that job is really like.
Also, talk to people who have changed careers in mid-life. What made them decide to change? How did they go about doing it? Was it worth it?
4. Consider “career oxygen.”
More magazine has a great article on women who kept their long-term jobs, but pursued side projects that were more in line with their Core Gifts. These projects helped the women to “breathe” more and gave them satisfaction while staying in their full-time careers.
This is a terrific idea because sometimes our passions don’t pay the mortgage. However, following your muse to create art or play music can be a great way to get oxygen when you feel stifled in your job.
So, how does this talk of career change fit in with resilience? The more satisfied you are in your daily life overall, the more you will have the energy and capacity to bounce back from the tough spots that come with being a human. Also, the ability to be aware of your own skills, passions, and dreams helps you to stay in touch with who you really are which allows you to stay grounded and able to withstand life’s storms.
Takeaway points: Thoughts of career or job change are a pretty natural part of mid-life development. Finding your Core Gift, becoming more educated about a dream job, and using your dream as “career oxygen” can help you feel more fulfilled, grounded, and resilient.
What’s your dream at this point in your life?