Career Change in Your 40s: What Should You Do?

by | Apr 5, 2024 | Career Transition

Imagine being in your mid-forties, having spent two decades at a job you loved. And you start asking yourself: “What career change at 40?” You excelled, climbed the leadership ladder, and cherished every aspect of your work. You could even picture yourself there until retirement. But then, something changed. The industry started to shift, becoming less creative and more challenging to navigate with its boom-and-bust cycles. Suddenly, you found yourself asking, “What now? What’s next for me?” That inner voice nagged at you, but you pushed it down, trying to make things work for another few years.erin duffy

That was me. Fear held me back from exploring new possibilities. Fear that it was too late for me to find something that inspired, motivated, and excited me.

Looking back, I wish I had listened to that voice inside me when it first came calling in my mid-forties. Instead, I stayed and tried to find and recreate that joy, inspiration, and motivation I once felt at my company. I did that for 5 more years. I was five years too late when I finally took action. You don’t have to.

How to Explore Career Change in Your 40s

Many people take time to think about their careers when they hit their 40’s. The quest for more satisfaction, meaning, and balance starts to take center stage. Changing careers around this time might seem daunting, maybe even impossible for some. Are you considering a career transformation now that you’re in your 40’s?  If so, let’s find out more.

In this post, we’ll dive into the ups and downs of changing careers in your 40’s. We’ll challenge the idea that you might be too late to try something new and shine a light on the amazing opportunities waiting for those ready to shake things up and explore new paths.”

What Makes a Good Career Change in Your 40’s?

Having amassed experience, skills, and wisdom over the years, changing careers in your 40’s offers a unique chance to explore new industries and avenues for personal and professional growth. It’s an opportunity to reassess your priorities and passions in life.

Skills and Experiences That Translate Well in Your 40’s.

  • Leadership: Experienced professionals are well-equipped for management or supervisory roles in new industries after spending years at another job.
  • Adaptability: Experienced professionals can adapt to dynamic work.  It is crucial for success in a major career change.
  • Communication: Experienced professionals have developed effective communication skills that are highly transferable to almost any role.
  • Problem-solving: Experienced professionals can tackle complex problems with confidence and creativity.

Understanding the Desire for Career Change in Your 40’s

what career change at 40

By the time people reach their forties, they often realize they need to reassess their career paths. Individual experiences, changing priorities, and unfulfilled desires push many to reconsider their journey and move towards a more satisfying job that aligns with their passions.

Common Reasons for Mid-Career Reassessment

  • Feeling stuck or dissatisfied
  • Deep motivation to reach full potential.
  • Searching for meaning
  • Changes in personal priorities
  • Awareness of life’s finite nature

The Psychological Impact of Career Change in Your 40’s

Thoughtfully exploring your options to change jobs in your forties brings a range of emotions, from excitement to fear. Stepping into the unknown, taking on fresh challenges, and seizing new opportunities can be exhilarating. However, it can also bring uncertainty and a sense of vulnerability.

It’s tough to think about leaving behind what’s familiar and stepping into the unknown. It can feel like you’re exposing yourself, leaving the safety net behind. And doing all this at a time when society expects stability, and a set path can really amplify doubts and shake your confidence.

Navigating a career change in mid-career means confronting these traditional expectations head-on. It’s about growing emotionally stronger, gaining confidence even when things feel uncertain, and breaking free from those molds others might try to fit us into

Evaluating Your Current Career Satisfaction

what career change at 40

Before starting off on a career transformation path, it’s crucial to evaluate your current job and your level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Look beyond superficial success and consider if your work brings you personal fulfillment and aligns with your values.

Reflecting on the aspects of your job that bring you joy, excitement, and engagement can really help you understand what drives you and what you’re aiming for. It’s like putting together pieces of a puzzle to see the bigger picture of your career path.

Getting input from trusted mentors and friends can also offer fresh perspectives, shedding light on areas you might not have considered and prompting some deep self-reflection. Combining these different viewpoints gives you a clearer sense of a career direction that fits with your goals, values, and aspirations.

How to Kick Start Career Change in your 40’s.

Preparation is key to successful career change and transformation. Developing skills that are transferable to different jobs or sectors lays a strong foundation for navigating challenges with flexibility.

  • Skills Inventory: Evaluate your skills to understand your strengths and plan strategically.
  • Network Expansion: Build relationships in your desired industry for support and guidance.
  • Intensify Continuous Learning: Invest in education and skill improvement to stay relevant.

Success Stories of Career Changes Later in Life

Despite challenges, many have successfully transitioned to new careers in their middle years. Examples include:

  • Eric Yuan founded Zoom at 41.
  • Stan Lee created “The Fantastic Four” just before turning 39.
  • Martha Stewart published her first cookbook at 41.
  • Vera Wang opened her first bridal boutique at 40.
  • Tim and Nina Zagat wrote the first restaurant guide when they were both 42.

Action Plan for Career Change in Your 40’s

what career change at 40

Following these five steps are essential in helping you build a successful career transformation.

  • Setting Realistic Goals: Establish SMART goals, which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Also, set clear deadlines to keep yourself accountable.
  • Building a Supportive Network: Seek advice from advisors, friends, and experts in your desired field to gather diverse perspectives and guidance.
  • Resume and LinkedIn Strategies: Enhance your resume and LinkedIn profile by highlighting transferable skills and relevant experiences that align with your new career path.
  • Personal Support: Consider working with a career coach who can provide tailored guidance and support throughout your career transition.
  • Resources: Utilize online resources to access valuable information, courses, and tools that can aid in your career change journey.  Document them so you can share it as you seek new roles.

Jumpstart Your Career Change Today

If you’re feeling that itch for change, don’t ignore it. I’ve been there – pushing down that inner voice for years until I finally took action, five years too late. You don’t have to wait. Embrace the opportunity now to explore new paths, challenge the status quo, and create a career that truly excites and fulfills you. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself.  Your 40s can be the perfect time to do it because you have had years of experience and still a long runway left in your career to make such a move. So, take that leap, set those goals, build your support system, and let’s embark on this exciting journey together!

Ready to take the next step? Download our 5-day career booster challenge and contact Erin for a consultation. Let me get you going on your exciting journey!

Erin Duffy

Erin Duffy

Founder, InspirationSQRD

Erin Duffy is more than an Executive Stage Presence & Career Transformation Coach; she’s a catalyst for personal empowerment. Her mission? To guide individuals to steer their careers and step onto the stage with authenticity, confidence, and irresistible charisma to inspire. Erin’s expertise lies in helping clients clarify their why’s and embrace their unique personal stories. These stories, traits, and values guide a career transformation journey more in line with who they are today. They also become the cornerstone of their personal brand. She empowers individuals to own their narratives and harness them to amplify their stage presence.